Bang Bang Bang: Introducing Arabic Literature in the Classroom
In teaching Arabic literature, we are continuously brokering the culture of the Middle East to our students. Teaching any literature provides a venue to make the culture accessible to students. Teaching Arabic Literature in Translation, however, brings multiple challenges. A teacher confronts a complex task that includes many elements two of which I will address: students' expectations as well as addressing stereotypes in order to unveil the culture. The first challenge is meeting the students’ expectations: How much history and culture can be covered in a literature survey course? What is “essential” for a background? These are questions that our conversation may help to answer. The next challenge is to question stereotypes in order to move towards a less biased understanding of the culture and its values. Students—and teachers too—may come to the class with certain fixed ideas about a culture. Breaking the “already set knowledge” and clarifying cultural norms create our opportunity to broaden the awareness of our students. Our conversation may facilitate ways to accomplish our goals.
Keywords: Arabic, English
Dr Maysa Hayward
Professor, English Department, Ocean College