My students need a class set of "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier", to complete a unit on child soldiers and the lifelong effects experienced by all as a result.
Stepping outside of the box may seem easy, but it is not so easy when one doesn't have the experiences to do so. For my students, stepping outside of their boxes is often unattainable, but "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" will give them a first hand account through another person's eyes.
The majority of my students belong to a minority, low socioeconomic population in Florida.
The school is a public middle school located in a community filled with drugs, violence, and many other issues which are uncontrollable by the students. Although this is the way that their neighborhoods are, this is not the reflection that I experience as their teacher on a day to day basis.
Many of my students are not exposed to experiences outside of their own communities. Although world views and international mindedness are encouraged, it is often hard to make connections. My students have a thirst for knowledge and learning, but they are sometimes faced with issues such as unavailable resources to make true world experiences come to life. As an educator, it is easy to tell students to watch television or videos to make real world applications come to life, but many of them do not even have those resources available to them. However, this does not stop them from striving daily.
"A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" depicts the the hardships that Ishmael Beah experienced as he was forced into becoming a child soldier when his country was destroyed by war. Students will explore this unit in conjunction with the unit question: How do our personal experiences shape our character? Students will gain many different perspectives after completing the unit. These perspective will include, but are not limited to: tolerance, global awareness, appreciation of others and their experiences, ways in which they can go about creating change to prevent these instances from occurring in the future.
It is my hope that this unit of study is an eye opener and allows students to see that their worlds are not always as bad as they may seem. I want them to see that there are actually other people going through similar or harder struggles as well. I want students to explore the concepts of a child soldier through other disciplines as well, by incorporating, social studies, math, and and science.
In today's public school system, so many students are not exposed to the many different conflicts happening in the world.
Many are taught that these problems existed, but do not realize that they still exist. Although I am a language arts teacher, I want to use a holistic approach to educating my students and showing them the problems that exist worldwide. It is my hope that they become advocates to support important causes years after all of the lessons have been taught.
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