A Re-evaluation of Texts Taught in High School English Classrooms: Why a Need for a Curriculum Reboot is Necessary

Morgan Fields

Name: Morgan Fields
Majors: English, Education
Minor: Philosophy
Advisor: Dr. Leslie Wingard

Most Applicable in the Current Moment Award

This Independent Study is an examination of teachers’ perceptions of using multicultural literature in public high school English classes in Northeast Ohio, as well as an evaluation of texts being used in these classrooms. Although the teachers in these classrooms are working to increase the amount of racially diverse literature utilized in their courses, some of the classrooms examined in this study would benefit from what I call a ‘Diversity Reboot,’ or a re-evaluation of the canonical literature used in English courses statewide. By looking at how teachers are currently incorporating diverse texts into their classrooms, as well as applying various educational theories, I give suggestions for creating a diverse curriculum that is rooted in anti-racist pedagogy and aims to sharpen students’ literature comprehension and social literacy skills. While talk of a fully representative curriculum is frequently embraced, it is often the case that the implementation of a diverse curriculum is only surface level and does not truly engage with social justice. When teachers align their lessons with the traditional American literary “canon,” or merely dabble in racially diverse works, they are a microcosm of the larger problem that is America’s vexed history with racial tension. My proposed ‘Reboot’ aims to address these issues by ensuring that anti-racist curricula are not only established but are sustained through the entirety of the school year.

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Morgan will be online to field comments on April 16:
4-6 pm EDT (PST 1pm-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 3, 2021.

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