Part 6: Creating mirrors for Muslim students, a categorical understanding of texts that feature Muslims.
Scarcity of literature with portrayals of Muslims is a rather lamented issue within educational discourses of culturally-relevant literature. Michael Abraham has spent four years researching texts that can be used for K-12 reading levels and standards with portrayals of Muslims. In this seminar, educators will be introduced to a categorical understanding of the different ways Muslims are portrayed in literature, so as to have the ability to recognize books with characterizations that follow common and historically produced patterns of stereotyping and cultural appropriation. In contrast to that educators will be introduced to texts in which Muslims are portrayed positively and that allow for Muslim students to bring their Muslim identity into the classroom, creating a positive entry point for it in their discourse with peers and adults alike, as well as draw upon predictable background knowledge that Muslim students possess.
The presentation will show specific features in them that can be drawn upon to engage Muslim students as well as teach cross-cultural respect and understanding. Also offered are cross-cultural lesson plan ideas and connections to reading standards and concrete curricula material and instructional guides that have been developed by Michael Abraham for teachers. The beauty of this part of the training is that all of the cultural learning that has been brought to the educators in parts two through five has been meticulously chosen to provide for quality teacher knowledge of content when teaching with these books.
These books will work in compliment to the background knowledge of Muslim students as oppose to against it, drawing on their cultural funds; conversely it can give the experience to non-Muslim native-English speaking students what it is like to lack background knowledge to understand a book and perhaps offer their Muslim classmates the chance to be in the empowered position of providing the class with background information