Teaching Multicultured Students: Culturism and Anti-Culturism in School Classrooms

By Alex Moore | Go to book overview

8

Exercises in Illumination

Empowerment via Shared Criteria

[The teaching of literature in schools] operates within that English tradition which penetrates all aspects of cultural life in the country: namely, a firm separation of creation from criticism, of practice from theory.

(Exton 1984, p.70)


Revisiting Young Readers

Previous chapters have considered issues of repertoire extension within a generic perspective: in particular, ‘What does this piece of work tell me about this productive human being?’; ‘How might I extend this person’s expressive-productive repertoire in order that they might be further empowered?’; ‘How can I ensure that such an extension does not, in the process, threaten, devalue or destroy the person’s existing skills and interests, or undermine their self-confidence and self-belief?’ In this chapter, I shall suggest that in order to achieve genuine repertoire extension—for example, in order to help students successfully to incorporate ‘standard’ approaches and skills (even ‘standard’ responses) into a durable body of non-standard ones, we need first to accomplish two things: first, to clarify to our students exactly what the ‘standard’ forms and practices are (what the genres look like, but also by what criteria their successful reproduction is evaluated); second, to help our students to understand why—and by what processes—these ‘standard’ forms have achieved the status they have, and why it might be in the students’ best interests to acquire and develop expertise in any of these forms and practices which are missing or underdeveloped in their current repertoires. 1 I want to suggest that the achievement of both these targets is facilitated by sharing with one’s students—whatever their age may be and in whatever form may seem appropriate—the criteria, typically held in secrecy from them, by which they are being and will continue to be assessed: indeed, this may be seen as an indispensable prerequisite to such achievement.

To illustrate what I mean by this, we could do worse that return to the young readers, Jason and Steven, referred to in the previous chapter. Jason

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Teaching Multicultured Students: Culturism and Anti-Culturism in School Classrooms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Series Editor’s Preface xi
  • 1 - Themes and Perspectives 1
  • 2 - Marginalizing Bilingual Students 16
  • 3 - Bilingual Education Theory 43
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - Symbolic Exclusion 62
  • 5 - Partial Inclusion 82
  • 6 - Partial Inclusion 101
  • 7 - Working with Bidialectal Students 126
  • 8 - Exercises in Illumination 153
  • 9 - Afterword 175
  • References 186
  • Index 196
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