Teaching the Background of Middle East Culture to Adolescents?

Last week in my Literature for Adolescents class (EDU T&L 3356), we read a novel titled Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan. It was a well written story about a young woman who grew up in a very poor area in Afghanistan, that was majorly effected by by the war. She deals with many tough obstacles in her lifetime such being born with a cleft lip, her mother passing away, moving to Kabul and getting abandoned by her father, and having to spend a portion of her life in an orphanage that was ran by people who killed members of her family. This story is a perfect example of life going on in the Middle East.

In our class discussion, the question arose “if this novel should be given out to read in a high school English class?” My first reaction was YES. I thought that this novel, along with everything that we have read in our World Lit class, shows great examples of the lifestyle in the Middle East. Then I backtracked and thought to myself how much knowledge I lacked about the Middle East before enrolling in this class and having discussions. Which is why I came to the conclusion, if someone was going to assign this novel for their high school class to read, then they better be sure their students have some kind of understanding on the culture and background of the Middle East. But that may be difficult to do in a short period of time, oppose to an entire semester on becoming familiar with it.

~Nate

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