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Global Young Adult Literature in the Classroom: The Benefits of Introducing Global Texts to High School Students

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The changing student demographics of schools in the US offer opportunities to introduce new curriculum. Schools are seeing an increase in the diversity within classrooms, including an increase in the amount of students from other countries. This project discusses the

The changing student demographics of schools in the US offer opportunities to introduce new curriculum. Schools are seeing an increase in the diversity within classrooms, including an increase in the amount of students from other countries. This project discusses the potential benefits of introducing four specific Global Young Adult novels to high school classrooms in hopes of achieving a more culturally-responsive classroom. These novels include: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams, Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman, and The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez. As there are many arguments for Global YA Literature, this project focuses on the themes of the novels and the implications for the classroom. From a thematic approach, these four novels offer insight into the fluid nature of culture, as the characters must balance different identities as they move around the world. These themes can be used to create dialogue between students on cultural identity and how cultural surroundings affect their identities. These novels can also give students a more empathetic approach as they encounter cultural differences, creating a better community within the classroom.

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2015-12

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From fiction to fact to potential action: generating prosocial attitudes and behaviors using young adult literature

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This dissertation investigates the impact reading Young Adult Literature (YAL) has on students' empathetic responses as well as their capacity to take action regarding a social justice issue chosen by the student. Drawing on data from a 10th grade honors

This dissertation investigates the impact reading Young Adult Literature (YAL) has on students' empathetic responses as well as their capacity to take action regarding a social justice issue chosen by the student. Drawing on data from a 10th grade honors classroom at a Title 1 school in the Southwest, this ethnographic case study investigates how students use YAL to formulate knowledge construction, empathetic responses, action plans and personal healing. Data for this research includes ethnographic fieldnotes, semi-structured participant interviews, daily journals and a focus group interview. Throughout this study, the teacher and researcher worked together to develop a flexible curriculum that implemented YAL and social activist ideas, such as investigation into action plans and discussion surrounding ways to make change. Results demonstrate that students who had some prior experience with an issue, coupled with identification with a helper character from the novel were more inclined to attempt to take tangible, victim-focused action, whereas students with no prior experience with an issue or those who identified overtly with the victim in the novel were likely to create action plans that spread awareness for others who were unaware of the complexities of the issue. Additionally, the students who had little exposure to the social justice issue they chose demonstrated a level of productive discomfort and a shift in the way they perceived the complexities of the issue. The importance of YAL in the students' social and emotional growth, coupled with an opportunity to create civically minded citizens signals the growing importance of this type of literature in a socially minded world.

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2017