As I was working on redesigning a unit of study for a text my students read at the end of the year, it struck me at how I might have been cheating my students regarding the richness of the content through the years. Since this text is situated at the very end of the year, my students are eager to complete the tasks and leave for summer break. However, after really evaluating what I do in regards to this unit, I recognized the need to dig much deeper into the core of what this drama is about and how these same ideas hold such value and relevancy over 50 years later.
The text which rounds off my Junior English classes’ year is “A Raisin in the Sun.” It’s a drama that focuses on dreams unrealized, as well as bigotry, racism, and prejudice. Recognizing that the majority of my students are white and can’t truly understand how offensive and prevalent this is, I realized I really needed to carve out extra time to examine these issues in greater detail. Even as I write this, civil unrest is brewing across our nation, reminding me of the need for my students to grasp the brevity of what is happening. I’m hoping that this text can act as a bridge to difficult conversations that need to be discussed in order for there to be constructive conversations regarding the unifying of our nation.
My redesign of this unit has evolved throughout the course of the last few months and seems to be taking shape. As I work to create meaning for my students, I’ve incorporated an opportunity for them to create a survey which addresses questions of prejudice within our community. In order for my students to really invest in this final unit of study, I’m having them design the survey, determining what are appropriate questions to ask (with a little guidance if necessary). Once the students have created their google surveys, they will distribute them to at least 5 people outside of the classroom. Once these surveys have been completed by their designated participants, the students will collect the data, analyze it for meaning, and present their findings to the class using a form of technology other than Power point. My desire is that this unit will be one that influences my students to recognize prejudice when they see it in order to speak up for what is right, or at the very least, change their own mindsets to ones that appreciate differences and embrace cultures of all types.