Kumashiro talks on the difficulties of reading literature of any kind in an liberating rather than oppressive way requires using a variety of lenses and asking meta questions like “Why do we say some interpretations are more correct than others.” Reading and learning is an inherently political and biased act since each reader bring their own world and ideas into the discussion. Using literary lenses and asking probing questions as Kumashiro suggests can help students learn to interpret not only texts but also the politics behind texts and interpretations.
Appleman asserts that literary lenses will enable students to read critically. Both Kumashiro and Appleman seem to agree that literature can lead students to thinking critically and fighting oppression. Appleman though calls explicitly for the use of Literary Theory in classrooms to teach students to think about issues that concern them. Kumashiro indirectly leads the reader to the idea that students should be taught to read under lenses in order to prevent oppression. An important part of Kumashiro’s writings is:
The ‘classics’ are not inherently oppressive: They can be useful in an anti-oppressive lesson if teachers ask questions about the ways they reinforce the privilege of only certain experiences and perspectives. Conversely, “multicultural” literature is not inherently anti-oppressive: They can reinforce stereotypes if teachers fail to ask questions about how students are reading them. (Kumashiro, 2015)
With this perspective it allows an educator to potentially teach any text, even one they find oppressive or even just dislike. Having a collection of curriculum, activities, and teaching strategies that allows for questioning and inquiry into any kind of text. A teacher will not always have total control over what they need to teach for any of numerous reasons. Therefore, teachers need to be able to utilize all sorts of materialize in ways that will positively engage their learners.
Appleman covering Literary Theory Lenses offers more direct suggestions for possible ways to cover texts in a variety of ways. By utilizing different lenses, we can show students how to approach text from outside their own from Feminist lenses to Critical Race Theory and more. Freire says the teaching is an inherently political act and most would agree. Learning theories, texts, and hierarchies are all inherently political due to their nature. Everyone has inherent biases and outlooks based on their world experiences. Teachers should not be dissuaded from using different critical lenses because it is “too political” anyone that makes that claim has not seriously considered the work that educators do. Appleman even shows how she engages learners in her book by using Ray Ban sunglasses and short poetry to demonstrate how literary lenses can be applies and help use learn through them. With this sort of open approach learners of a multitude of levels and engagement can learn through hem and become critical readers.
Appleman and Kumashiro offer a way to show students how to become a critical reader which a goal for teachers everywhere. The potential in literary theories covered by Appleman and Kumashiro should not be ignored of forgotten even if traditionally literary theories are though of as to “academic” for K-12 education, they have real and direct meaning for our students.
Today's resource: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/
While having a number of lesson plans you can adapt to the material you have is the goal sometimes that's not possible. TPT has resources other teachers have made that can get you a head start on your lesson planning if you have a time crunch.