Course: Literature, Media and Society
Teacher: Christine Bernard
Time: C Slot, Fall 1997
Subject Areas: English & Social Studies

Course Introduction: In this course, students will be examining education and the family. What can be learned from the ways society is portrayed in poems, short stories, novels, essays, articles, television, film, and music? How is reading, writing, talking, listening, thinking, acting, and viewing used to explore these ideas and perspectives in our Society? Some of the concepts that will be focused on will be: Race, Class and Gender roles/ differences and Family relationships (eg.mother/daughter, father/son).

Essential Questions: (The critical questions we'll be addressing throughout the course.
What is education?How is it usually defined and accomplished?
What roles do family members, friends, teachers and other resources play in education?
When looking at education from a broader perspective, what stereotypes are encountered?
What is perception, reality and truth in our society?

Course Themes:
The Promise of Education (Three -four weeks)
Students will brainstorm to answer the following questions, "What is education and what does it mean to you?" They will address the notions of formal and informal education, and continually add to this list throughout the semester as we read texts and analyze language and the meanings in reference to education, the family and society. The students will read Howard Gardner's theory on Mutiple Intelligences and create educational autobiographies. These autobiographies will first start out as an outline of evaluation and reflection; what aspects of these eight intelligences: Musical, Logical/mathematical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Bodily/kinesthetic, Linguistic, Spatial, and Naturalist, do they feel apply to them. Once they've established their areas, they will develop the autobiographies in the manners that apply to their intelligences, eg. writing essays, creative stories, a speech or presentation, a diary entry, a performance, etc. We will work on and add to this throughout semester because it will be the introduction to their portfolio.
* Excerpts from Savage Inequalities, Diary of Latoya Hunter, Sugar Cane Alley, "The Gryphon"
*Videos: Stand and Deliver, Unequal Education, Black Shack Alley

Race, Class and Gender roles and differences (Three weeks)
In this section they will be studying oppression and isolation; the notion of dominant and target groups. Students will be defining and documenting race, class and gender based on how we individually view them and how society defines them? How do these perspectives differ? How are they inter-related? How does this trilogy of oppression affect our education? How does it manifest itself? What is miseducation? How has society been affected by this? What repercussions have there been and will there be for ?

The students will be looking at the Civil Rights movement, the Feminist movements and various Class movements. They will write essays to compare and contrast each from an educational perspective, and discuss how or if changes have been made in education between "then and now". To look at history as a continuum, they will discuss the time period surrounding slavery and the suffragist�s movement in the U.S. and discuss how this built up to the movements in the 1960's and 1970's. Students will recreate scenes from these time periods in their artwork and through performance.

They will also have panel discussions in the form of various talk shows on sub-categories of their choices, as well as working onthe creation of their own mini-sitcoms and soap operas. We will be analyzing how the media handles race, class and gender. What issues are debunked or perpetuated? How will the students choose to present them?

* Poems, Shorts stories and Excerpts from Pedagogy of the Oppressed , "Ragazza" "She Proves the Inconsistency of the Desires...", "The Stolen Party", "On the Subway", "Richard Cory", "Theme for English B"
*Video- Eyes on the Prize

Family (Two weeks)
The students will be evaluating what roles the family plays in education. They will be comparing their roles in informal and formal education. They will start with written reflections from the earliest memories of their first teachers, the earliest memories of learning and how their family played a part in these experiences, and move to how these experiences and relationships have changed as the students approached adulthood. What types of reinforcement, support, habits, routines, skills and knowledge were encouraged? This will also be shown through student role playing.
*Short stories - "I Stand Here Ironing", "Another Evening at the Club"

Stereotypes (Evaluated throughout the course)
The class will brainstorm stereotypes to gauge what they themselves have been exposed to, and they will be reading and writing about new ones theye�ve discovered through their research. They will be looking in history to examine how these stereotypes came about and to see how much falsity and/or truth are behind them. They will look at literature and the media to examine how these stereotypes have manifested themselves as part of our culture and societal norms. Through this process, they will be studying alienation. How have these steretypes been used to alienate certain cultures, genders and classes? How have these stereotypes affected education? *Excerpts from Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks, "Los Vendidos", "The Test", The Dutchman

Language: Verbal and Non-verbal communication (Two weeks)
The students will be looking at the spoken and written word, as well as body language. What does this mean for education? How are words and movements manipulated to get a message across? What are the intended messages? How do they perceive them? How do they respond to them? They will be studying the different nuances of verbal language such as tone, pitch, emotion, inflection, word choice and balance and how these differ among men and womyn and how these are transmitted into the written word.

Voices: silenced and heard (Three weeks)
In this section they will be studying issues of repression and supression, and how the voices of target groups have fought to be heard. This section in particular will be centered around testimonies.
* Excerpts from Woman Hollering Creek, Voices of the Self, "Petals of Silence"

Reading List- Short stories, poetry, essays and excerpts from the following:

• Literature Across Cultures • Watchers and Seekers
• Making Face, Making Soul • Multiple Intelligences
• Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA • Perceptive Listening
• Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks • Language, The Social Act

Videos: School Daze, A Soldier's Story, West Side Story, Imitation of Life, Los Tres Caballeros... Other videos will be announced and negotiated as we go along.

Throughout the course, students will be keeping a reflection journal which will be divided into four sections: Language, Observations, Reader responses and free writes. Each student will be doing exercises in evaluating and reflecting on their own use of language; studying how a child learns and uses language, and how the media uses language. Each student will also keep an observation log in which they will record information from studying each other within the classroom space, observing different people in particular environments, and watching selected videos. In the reader response section, students will document their interpretations, feelings, any questions, confusions or comments they have in reference to the texts they�ll be reading. They will also work on becoming comfortable with their writing by practicing flow writing in the fourth section, free writes. In addition to creating their own short stories and poems, they will be doing interviews, case studies, group work and individual reflections.

Assessment- The portfolio will involve final presentations, publications, and/or panel discussions that synthesize some of the essential questions that are raised by the course and the students