Each class will follow a similar format. First, students will have read a short story for homework. Then in class we will discuss the story in a broad, open, response-driven context. The class will then receive a supplementary text (written, visual, oral, or audio-visual) that highlights, complicates, or challenges our ideas of what it means to be who we are. That is, some text that addresses issues of literature and identity. We will then have a focused discussion on the narrative and class text as it relates to issues of identity. Afterward, students will have time to work on their papers.
The discussion will be difficult. It’s going to require flexibility, as I won’t have a clear idea of how students respond to the stories or class texts until they have read them. Planning will require a great deal of preparation in the reading and analysis of the texts myself, but the activities and discussions really can’t be planned ahead.
The strongest classroom strategy for this unit, then, is the cultivation of an environment where students take on a perspective that leads them to insights on the issues of the unit.