Building Cultural Competence Through Multicultural Fiction

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Keally Luckhardt (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Cultural competence is a set of skills which is gaining recent attention as a tool for navigating a diverse American society. This study examines the purposeful instruction of select multicultural literature which can aid the construction of these frameworks and skills for mature students. To clarify the significance and relevance of building this set of skills, this study explores traditional literature classroom to reveal the often missed opportunities to build these life skills. I then address and define the concept of cultural competence, followed by a discussion of three novels selected to be applicable to this purpose: Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, Linda Hogan's Solar Storms, and Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. These novels are particularly well-suited to build cultural competence because of the deep and emotional connection that readers find to the texts. These stories are constructed in similar ways which promote heightened reader responses, utilizing the perspective of youth, time devices, and storytelling to engage the reader in an interactive and transformative reading experience. Combined with thoughtful instruction, multicultural novels like these hold the capacity to transcend their literary value and contribute to cultural awareness and social change. The resulting effect of purposefully studying these novels is a heightened ability to receive, process, and respond to multicultural stimuli. Students become enlightened with academic knowledge; more importantly, they become empowered as culturally competent global citizens.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010

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