Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anchoring Text for Teaching Social Issues, Developing Tolerance, and Building Community in the Classroom

In reading Feathers, the advice that Frannie’s grandmother gives her is so true, and I reflect back and think on all the advice or consejos my grandmother used to give me. When Frannie tries to tell her grandmother about the new boy in school, her grandmother says “remember there is a time when each of us is the different one, and when it’s our turn we’re always wishing and hoping it was somebody else. You be that somebody else when you see that boy. You be the one to remember.” This is so true, whether you are the new kid at school, the new person on the job, the new family in the neighborhood, or anywhere else, there is always this shy and awkwardness at first. The people that are nice to you and actually try to help you are usually the ones you remember the most and sometimes end up being some of the best friends. I think this story is meant for students to be compassionate and more understanding of other students, and people in general that are different from them. Not only from the differences among Frannie’s friends, but also among the new boy in school, and Frannie’s brother. In this section Frannie’s brother smiles so confidently for the hearing girls that are talking to him, until they realize he is deaf, and his smile sadly leaves him. Frannie can’t quite understand why he seems disappointed, but quickly realizes how he really just seeks a connection to a world he feels outside of. I think in the classroom I might ask students to talk about or write down an experience they had when they felt awkward, shy or as if though they didn’t belong. Or even a situation that they might have witnessed that made them feel like they should have said something, or done something but didn’t or couldn’t. I would also take the time to have an open discussion about the book and see what the student’s reactions are to certain situations like the argument between Trevor and the Jesus boy. I would ask them what they might have done in the same situation, or if they were also watching from the sidelines if they would have intervened or done anything differently. While discussing some of these issues, I might give the students an example of a new student in the school and offer different situations to see what their reactions might be, or during the course of reading this book, to have the students write a small story of a situation and what they would do in that situation. I would definitely hope to build a community and foster tolerance, but hope that acceptance and understanding would trump fostering tolerance. 

1 comment:

  1. Great, detailed post! Frannie's grandmother couldn't have said it better. There comes a point in our lives in which we are the "new" kid wishing it were someone else. Some people get so caught up in their lives and don't really put their feet in that person's shoes to really understand their story. I am very compassionate and soft hearted like Frannie. Even if people are not deserving of a friend, they still need one. A simple act of kindness can go along ways even if we don't recognize it. I believe that God blesses us so we can bless others.