mutlicultural english literature programs

mutlicultural english literature programs

Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Multicultural English Literature Programs in Higher Education

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1. Introduction to Multicultural English Literature Programs

Literature, with its long tradition of exploring questions about the human experience, can provide crucial learning moments. Educators are under pressure to educate students who are wise in the ways of the world, tolerant of others, culturally literate, more self-aware, and better at leadership; multiculturalizing university reading lists is a major part of undertaking that commitment. Furthermore, multicultural literacy helps students deconstruct the rhetoric of stereotypes, recognize the ways in which language expresses attitudes and values and distinguishes between the use of language to both maintain and undermine authority where cultural diversity is concerned. According to Short, “It could be argued that language is how we build culture; therefore, global-minded critical linguistic awareness can help students to critique, analyze and build understandings around linguistic diversity”. Small private colleges such as Dickinson College even emphasize both the focus on and the integration of issues of diversity in their “English Program”.

Higher education institutions, particularly those in the United States, have begun to increase the diversity of their general education requirements in response to demographic shifts in the college-age population. English departments have played a large role in integrating multicultural requirements by instituting changes within their existing curricular frameworks. Cassetty has claimed the importance of multicultural literature study by explaining that it “serves to educate students for a more diverse, global and tolerant viewpoint”. According to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences created by The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, “Historically, greater availability of broad and deep humanistic study has encouraged deeper civic engagement. In a democracy, schools and colleges have traditionally been charged to provide education in the fuller meanings of liberty and justice”.

2. Theoretical Frameworks and Approaches in Multicultural Literature Studies

Students and their societies should look at themselves (both in a national and a global light) in relation to their insight over time through literature. This world cultural focus allows students to explore the Great Books or classics of many previously unconsidered literary traditions. A comprehension of the list is shown in the application, through comparative literary studies, to respect human universals. The second goal of this work is to take a new look at the debate about the cultural focus of the multicultural and intercultural education. In our case, the zero-sum focus question revolves around multicultural focus. Some say that since there already exists an issue which addresses all around the world wisdom (through thought, productivity, etc.; that is an education canon with a world cultural focus), there is not a particular need to provide instruction on multicultural literature.

To quote Douglas Loranger (1993), in intercultural literature classes we build “bridges, not barbed wire”, and now more than ever faculty members in literature departments have the opportunity and the necessity to further the cause of ecumenical understanding through the texts that they choose to teach. Furthermore, like those who defend these kinds of courses and claim that multicultural and intercultural education can be “the surge that may carry the walk to eliminate racism and sexism”, I believe that this could also apply to classes in multicultural literature. These comments lead me to the complementary objectives of this essay. First of all, since I trust that the revising and refocusing of the goals of multicultural and intercultural education is a worthwhile issue, I would like to offer a new theoretical construct. Multicultural and intercultural literature programs should specifically include works from all around the world. The canon of great humanities literature does not exclusively include works from traditionally defined northern, western societies. One of the objectives, then, of multicultural literature studies is to look for these excluded works, read them and share them.

3. Impact of Multicultural Literature Programs on Student Learning and Engagement

In conclusion, since students prefer literature, especially when it reflects their lives and concerns, we have an excellent opportunity to engage our students in a meaningful educational process. To ignore this opportunity is to neglect an important part of our students’ education and to convey the dysfunctional message that their culture and understanding of the world around them is worthless. Even though we may be grooming poets, lawyers, diagnostic physicians, researchers, linguists, computer analysts, engineers, or psychologists, for example, we are also preparing individuals to live and operate effectively within a diverse world. To this end, a multicultural literature program can be an invaluable tool when integrated with other academic disciplines.

The inclusion of literature from a variety of cultures allows students to develop a rich tapestry of understanding that assists them to function more effectively in a global society. As they are moved by the struggles and dreams of countless heroes, villains, and innocent bystanders inhabiting distant time periods and geographic regions of the world, they also come to understand that the meaning of family, love, home, and justice is as valuable in Xinjiang as it is in California, as valid for a Maori tribe member in New Zealand as it is for an executive in an American multinational corporation. By reading about the beliefs, customs, language, religion, social attitudes, and the political and historical development of other people, students are stimulated to re-evaluate their own beliefs, prejudices, and stereotypes which may have been chronically fostered by the media or partially developed from isolated experiences. As a result of such journeys into other times, customs, beliefs, and forms, students are better prepared to live, work, and solve problems in a global community.

4. Addressing Challenges and Promoting Inclusivity in Multicultural Literature Programs

In conclusion, the potential benefits of a multicultural literature program could be difficult to place in advance. It is difficult also to determine the ultimate consequences of the presence of multicultural literature programs at any particular institution. While it appears likely that such exposure to diverse ideas can only have long-term benefits for students, gaining these benefits is not automatic. The critical factor is in creating a curriculum that encourages thoughtful interaction and clear communication about such differences. The results call for an updated pedagogy, one that takes the diverse makeup of classrooms into account and seeks to draw students from traditionally underrepresented groups into fuller participation in the learning efforts. In other words, what has been underemphasized in past accounts are the potential differences in the scope, tactics, and philosophy of instruction in multicultural literature courses which are needed to create a complete, well-constructed, and useful effective course. Only from interactions that include all members of the community might more persuasive, clear, and insightful observations arise. As such, any critical standpoint that is genuinely gendered can be profound and good to be more multifaceted as well.

In order to achieve the benefits of multicultural literature programs, faculty members will need to address challenges and promote inclusivity, and planning and development are important. Thus, well-considered institutional plans and practices are critical, along with faculty’s careful and thoughtful planning. This planning is necessary if the challenges for both faculty and students are to be overcome, and the long-lasting benefits of multicultural literature programs are to be realized. Students and faculty working in multicultural literature classes will face numerous challenges resulting from increased diversity, and they themselves present a significant aim he can address. Both the texts and the often diverse student body represent significant challenges, and they may have potential implications for all aspects of classroom dynamics, including group discussions, writing, and other types of class assignments which worked.

5. Future Directions and Recommendations for Enhancing Multicultural English Literature Programs

Other important questions center on how assignments and exams should be addressed. Which will best support the students in realizing course objectives? Will papers focus on general literary issues and then move on to personal and cultural ones, or can the two be intertwined? Is the class objective to develop good readers of literary texts or useful knowledge about various sociocultural aspects of people from other parts of the world? Finally, these questions arising on the parameters of literary study should be addressed. Can cultural or historical knowledge be included to increase understanding of the literature works in the disciplines, or would that be seen to detract from literature science standards and presumed social realism goals?

In considering the future of multicultural literature in English programs, it is important to state that it is not enough simply to have a few courses in this area or to add writers of color to your reading list. Although the academic literature on this is still relatively new, it is clear that successful multicultural programs in English literature at the university should have clear goals. A good place to start would be by asking some important questions about how to develop a well-crafted curriculum – one that meets the special needs of the students it serves. For example, do we want to present a comprehensive global understanding of literary voices from many different cultures? Would we prefer to go deeply into a particular period, such as modern, postcolonial and contemporary literature? Can we accomplish both or should we only be concerned with the more current writers, those who are addressing today’s concerns?

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