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Lesson Plan

Young Adult Literature about the Middle East: A Cultural Response Perspective

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Young Adult Literature about the Middle East: A Cultural Response Perspective

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Scott Filkins

Scott Filkins

Champaign, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Incorporating literature from diverse cultures and with diverse points of view means more than adding new books to the reading list. Exposing students to literature from and about the Middle East requires particular sensitivity, as students may approach the text with incorrect, often negative, prejudices. This lesson supports the use of multicultural literature through modification of traditional literature circle roles using a cultural response perspective. Students read and share their responses and research in collaborative groups. At the end of the lesson, they write a letter about their book's main character as if he or she has just moved to their school and community.

This lesson plan adapted from classroom ideas in Middle Ground: Exploring Selected Literature from and about the Middle East by Sheryl L. Finkle and Tamara J. Lilly.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

In Middle Ground: Exploring Selected Literature from and about the Middle East, Sheryl Finkle and Tamara Lily offer a framework for incorporating multicutural texts in the literature classroom. They note the importance of exposing learners to a broad range of texts, explaining the need to "dispel cultural myths and give students opportunities to view issues from the perspectives of different individuals and groups" (29""30). They suggest that when introducing texts that represent cultures or world views that are significantly different from the students' backgrounds, there is a need to change the instructional approach.

They assert that reader response and New Criticism are insufficient and instead support a cultural studies approach in which students "build cultural insight through sharing different views in class or conducting research . . . and experience reading as a dialectic process where they work from initial raw connections and uncritical stances to make connections to other readings that may make them uncomfortable, creating critical interpretations" (31).

Further Reading

Finkle, Sheryl L., and Tamara J. Lilly. Middle Ground: Exploring Selected Literature from and about the Middle East. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2008.

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