Teaching Diversity in Rural Schools: Attaining Understanding, Tolerance, and Respect Through Young Adult Literature aims to assist secondary English Language Arts rural educators and students regarding diversity education through the use of rural, small town-themed young adult literature. While appropriate for any rural educator, the Upper Midwestern states (IA, MN, MT, NE, ND, SD, and WY) are focused on because they are unique in their predominantly White residents, with few to no racial and cultural minorities in all locations, large or small.
Teaching rural students about minorities and facilitating in developing understanding, tolerance, and respect toward those different from oneself is difficult when absent from communities and schools. However, this book helps in reaching these goals through the use of titles that consider specific topics of cultural and racial minorities, such as those who are LGBTQ+, undocumented, homeless, having exceptionalities, managing grief/loss, and more. Also addressed are rural communities and schools, the purpose and importance of young adult literature, and locating quality rural, small town-themed novels. Suggestions for using this literature, activities, discussion topics, and recommended titles are also provided.
Lisa A. Hazlett is professor of secondary education at The University of South Dakota, where she teaches courses in middle/secondary English language arts education. She specializes in young adult literature regarding presentations, publications, and especially novel and other reviews.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Rurality
Chapter 2: Consideration of Canonical Adult Classics vs. Young Adult Literature
Chapter 3: Importance of Young Adult Literature with Upper Midwestern Settings, and Locating Titles
Chapter 4: Rural Public Education and Diversity Issues
Chapter 5: Rurality Denigration and Developing Lifestyle Pride
Chapter 6: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) Students and Rural Communities
Chapter 7: Exceptional, Undocumented, and Homeless Students in Rural Schools and Communities
Chapter 8: Rural Death and Grief
Appendix A: Bibliography of Rural-Themed YAL Titles by Single State
Appendix B: Bibliography of Rural-Themed YAL Titles by Multiple States/Areas
Appendix C: YAL Bibliography of Settings Outside the United States
Appendix D: YAL Bibliography of Titles from Unidentified State or Unidentified State with Named Area/Region
About the Author
Teaching Diversity in Rural Schools speaks to teachers who desire practical suggestions for teaching diverse young adult literature. Furthermore, this book provides guidance to rural school teachers for addressing diversity, death, and LGBTQ issues through young adult literature. Dr. Hazlett’s vast experience in teaching and writing about young adult literature is evident in her insightful applications of young adult literature for English Language Arts classrooms. Assisting rural students in reclaiming and appreciating their hometown values is also a central theme. Teachers will especially appreciate the resources in each chapter that include YAL titles, themes, discussion topics, and activities.
As a high school English teacher in the Midwestern states for over twenty years, a book on understanding and respecting diversity and minorities is long overdue. How can we learn and teach about differences and other lifestyles when there are not enough YAL books out there for even a small comparison for our students? Teaching Diversity in Rural Schools: Attaining Understanding, Tolerance, and Respect Through Young Adult Literature will aid teachers in YAL classrooms in their quest for authors and titles of a more diversified background to enable varied discussions.
The dearth of curriculum designed for teaching literacy in rural areas is affirmed in this book for English Language Arts educators who live and teach in what the author defines as the Upper Midwest. Hazlett calls on her long-term career as an English educator in rural South Dakota to provide a road map for those who also teach in states where they and their students are often isolated and neglected when searching for learning options. Addressing this lack, exacerbated particularly in addressing diversity, this book focuses on topics that teachers can transfer directly to the classroom. Using young adult literature as one vehicle, the content offers guidance for including the canon, defining rurality, analyzing misguided opinions and judgments, and reaching LGBTQ+ students, plus those with exceptionalities and those who are experiencing grief. The thesis that rural educators and their students constitute minority status figures prominently in the strategies and suggestions for designing appropriate classroom experiences. Peppered with the author’s experiences, this book provides connections for those who have been ignored or sidelined in literacy education.
Hazlett highlights the needs, desires, and circumstances of rural teens living in the upper Midwest by addressing how teaching Young Adult literature can benefit this population. Rural youth are often left out of public imagination, and Teaching Diversity in Rural Schools: Attaining Understanding, Tolerance, and Respect Through Young Adult Literature helps teachers see them as whole people who are desperate to see themselves represented. Testimony from a queer student highlights the need for this book, and teachers and researchers will benefit from Hazlett’s extensive documentation of rural YA as well as teaching ideas.