Group of friends smiling
Courtesy of flickr and hepingting.

In what seems like a century ago, I went back to school to get my English degree. My goal was to teach English, which I actually did for a while.

I don’t teach any more, largely because the education ecosystem here in Michigan has become increasingly toxic. This is largely due to statewide policies that promote unregulated school choice and unlimited charter schools, meaning that schools (whose funding is already incredibly unbalanced) now have to spend time and money marketing themselves instead of spending their resources on actually teaching. But that’s another blog post for another day. (For what it’s worth, I still work as an English tutor and writing coach on the side, and I find it enormously rewarding. This is teaching at its best.)

Anyway, as I worked through my undergrad degree, and with an eye to future graduate work, my research interests focuses on two main areas: boys and literacy, and multicultural literature.

I studied boys and literacy because as a boy, I enjoyed reading while most of my fellow male classmates did not. I knew that not much had changed since I was in school, and I would (and did) encounter the same situation when I was on the other side of the desk. As a former science teacher, I had seen much the same gender gap when it came to girls and science and math. I worked hard to overcome that particular gender gap, and I wanted to be well prepared to overcome another one.

I also focused on multicultural literature, for a couple of different reasons. The first reason is that our country is becoming increasingly diverse, and I needed to be familiar with literature that would address the needs of all my students. That is, I needed to be familiar with and understand literature that would help engage those students whose experiences are largely marginalized, while at the same time acting as both reflections of and windows into their worlds.

To that end, I created two pages on main website dedicated to these topics. And for a long time, I neglected those pages, always intending to update them at some point in the future. Part of the reason for that neglect is that those pages are all coded by hand, which is fun, but clunky and time-consuming. So there they sat, neglected and forlorn.

Given the harsh political reality we now find ourselves in, I felt it was important to get these pages going again. But I wanted to make them easier to maintain, so I decided to recreate them as a wiki. This would not only make them easier to update, it would also enable collaboration with others.

I’ve started with the multicultural literature pages. I’ve gradually begun moving the material that was here: to a wiki here:

I mentioned that using a wiki would also enable collaboration. If you would like to participate in this project, please contact me using my contact form and select “Join the multicultural literature project” from the drop-down menu. Be sure to include a few lines about your qualifications, as well as how you discovered this opportunity. If approved, I’ll send you login credentials within a day or two.

If you’ve never participated in a wiki before, never fear. I’m using DokuWiki as a wiki engine, which is well documented and has a lot of community support. In addition, I’ll be writing a series of tutorials to help you create and add content.

I will eventually add another wiki for boys and literacy as well, My goal is to start working on that by the end of 2018. In the meantime, I invite you join me in celebrating diversity through multicultural literature.

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