Exploring identities through reading and writing.

The human being has a lot of mysteries that are buried deep inside within us, this make it had to know people for who they really are as most of the time their identities are normally misrepresented. At times these identities can only be expressed during reading and writing. In writing, there is a representation of persons and their world views.

Self-discovery is in all way very positive, however, to many is a very daunting and painful task. Writers may find themselves, through critical self-exploitation, changing, altering and even adjusting these identities to fit the environment and other dictates of the world.
Definitions of identity evoke an image of a bounded, rational, and unitary self, capable of agency and autonomy. The classroom on the other hand is where teachers and students investigate identities by interacting with literature from a global and multicultural dimension. While the students in question may be anyone from the preschooler tot to the graduate intellectual giant, each student is able to stretch their comprehension of their own cultures and the cultures of others through their intercourse with quality and diverse literature.

As teachers it is important to use multicultural literature in the curriculum simply because it allows the learner to draw on cultures that are different from what they have been accustomed while at the same time examining their own linguistic and cultural heritages and back grounds. The key here is to select stories and literature material that students can identify with and invite them to think and talk about their own experiences. It is also important to negotiate with our students on how the topics of writing are selected. By doing this, students are encouraged to be critical learners in their understanding of social issues as well as themes which are presented in the reading and writing. This will prompt the student to be expressive in their own language and view thus enabling their identities to come out.

Examining students’ initial reading and writing responses and journal entries help teachers understand how experiences can be topics for exploration. Even students who do not usually take up reading and writing to read and write are become eager to read their work aloud to the others in the group or classroom. There is always a motivation to read and write about their stories and anything that has to do with what they have experiences and about themselves or their identities because they are the experts in their identities. Students develop positive self-concepts while at the same time getting to know about other cultures and the identities of their peers.

Students help teachers understand how they developed and grew and how they look at themselves which is essentially their identity. It is therefore important that students engage in authentic reading and writing exercises. Exposure to diverse literature provides students with wonderful opportunities to extend the learning experience and apply concepts and ideas “to and from” their own lives. By interacting with the different element of literature, they can therefore put into writing the image that they have in them.