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Our students are nearing adulthood and independence. They are surrounded by all the social pressures of adolescence. One of our goals is to provide as sophisticated and age-appropriate a curriculum as possible. As teachers who wish to use literature—for its own value, experience, exposure, and as a vehicle to explore human growth and behavior—we needed to find a way to teach fiction (short stories, plays, poetry, novels) that will neither frustrate nor intimidate our students.
The teacher’s love and interest in the material being taught has a tremendous effect on the degree of motivation shown by the students. This unit is an outgrowth of our own love of Twentieth Century American authors, taken in tandem with the complex and varied problems of our students.
Theories for teaching any subject matter to special education students usually encompass multi-sensory stimulation. Often such techniques are referred to as VAK, meaning the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. We find that the showing of films is highly received by our students.
The Public Broadcasting System has produced a series entitled “The American Short Story,” and includes brief biographies of the authors it includes. We have created a unit around three of the films: “Almos’ A Man,” by Richard Wright, “The Sky is Grey,” by Ernest Gaines, and “Soldiers Story,” by Ernest Hemingway. These films can be borrowed from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute for classroom use. The films serve as the foundation of the unit, around which other films, readings, and special activities are interwoven.
(Recommended for Remedial English and Remedial Science/Family Life and Human Sexuality classes, grades 9-12)
Don Quixote Spanish Latin American Literature Teaching Special Education Literature