Geo-literacy through World Literature

August 29, 2016 – 01:44 am

By Kate Swanson

Your new CGA leadership team has been working hard to build exciting and innovative collaborations to help promote geography education in California’s schools. We recently had an opportunity to collaborate with the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP), a high school that has been teaching girls in San Diego since 1882. Working with English teachers Katie Turner and Laura Rodriguez, we helped develop an exciting sophomore World Literature curriculum that focused on geo-literacy and girls’ global education and empowerment.

Geo-poetryToday I’m going to give an overview of this collaboration. In next month’s newsletter, you’ll hear from one of the school’s World Literature students as she gives her thoughts on how the curriculum fostered her desire to change the world for the better! The following month, we’ll hear from teachers Katie and Laura as they describe their World Literature curriculum in more detail. We hope their curriculum might serve as a model for how to incorporate geography education into the classroom in engaging ways.

World literature, states Alexander Solzhenitsyn, is “the one great heart that beats for the cares and misfortunes of our world, even though each corner sees and experiences them in a different way.” This quote, taken from the OLP World Literature syllabus, captures a major goal of the curriculum – to help girls step outside of their comfort zones in order to help them understand global social and environmental issues through a different lens. The books they read and the films they watched spanned Norway (Ibsen’s A Doll’s House), Zimbabwe (Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions), Iran (Satrapi’s Persepoli), India (Mehta’s Water), and New Zealand (Caro’s Whale Rider). Each student in the class was also assigned a country to profile. Their task was to explore national level geography, culture, politics, and economics in order to explore factors affecting women’s and girls’ literacy levels in each of their assigned countries.

Source: calgeography.sdsu.edu

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