I have endeavored to lay out the lessons in this curriculum unit in a reasonable sequential pattern; however, they are not intended to be broken down by schedule of completed tasks. Educators are encouraged to pace lesson plans based on class need, not on a scheduled timetable. While there will invariably be some overlap in content, participants should have sufficient time to feel comfortable with the material in order to facilitate understanding of the material.
Exploring how individuals use music to identify themselves and also how they categorize others should be done with extreme care and with the full understanding that this curriculum unit is not an attempt at psychoanalysis by the class, nor the educator. The outcome of the lessons in this unit is not intended as a judgment, nor as an indictment of an individual’s choices. The goal of the curriculum is to examine how human beings create and support an identity for themselves through music as well as to raise awareness of preconceptions on another’s identity based on observed behaviors and how external stimuli influence our views while raising awareness of music’s impact on our identity, both consciously and subconsciously.
The literary tie-ins suggested in this unit are taken from the readings and discussions that occurred over the course of this unit at Yale and used in the district of New Haven, CT. Please feel free to substitute literature from within the district in which you teach and is at the appropriate level for your students. The length of the unit is suggested to take the full year in order to incorporate sufficient analysis and discussion of the literature; however, if you are restricted to a semester-length course or you are not allotted enough time to cover all the literature, I suggest providing synopsis with supplementary, targeted excerpts. In addition, there are abridged versions of a majority of “the classics” suitable for the classroom. For teachers who are not Language Arts focused, or if you are looking to get collegial input, talk with your Language Arts teachers and collaborate on a cross-disciplinary unit. Ultimately, if you are under time constraints, you do not need to use all three literary tie-ins. The units should be able to be modified so that teachers can import questions or topics from on section into another.
The methods used in this unit are based on understanding of respectful open inquiry. Students must feel safe to discuss topics that will challenge ideals. This unit is designed with high school students, targeting juniors and seniors, in mind because of the subject matter and level of discourse required to have a mature discourse. Idea hooks will be included to allow for all high school levels to be involved. Discretion will be left to an individual teacher on how to incorporate these ideas into an 8
grade unit plan.
In your classroom, be aware of student discomfort at certain topics such as, but not limited to, gender, sexual, and socio-economic identity. The facilitator should be careful to balance open discussion while being cognizant of student body language and inappropriate behaviors. You know your students and unique situations. When in doubt, consult with your peers and administration.