7 exciting reasons to use novels in development education

“Children’s books with multicultural settings and characters can transport us on a global adventure, dispelling negative stereotypes, teaching tolerance and respect, encouraging pride in kids’ cultural heritage, and showcasing universal human emotions and feelings. When paired with extension activities, quality multicultural literature teaches kids about the world beyond our communities while sharpening their critical thinking skills”edutopia.org

  1. The diversity and vastness of the world is opened up to the reader from an exciting variety of perspectives other than the more familiar and often limited mainstream or social media perspectives.
  1. It provides a safe platform for exposure to and potential understanding of the daily lives of individuals and groups from around the globe; it can share stories, experiences, viewpoints and values which are revealed through the various character(s)/scenarios/issues portrayed in each novel.
  1. It encourages and promotes a wider perspective and a more critical understanding and appreciation of the multiplicity and diversity of cultures, religions, genders, ethnicity, etc., and their specific contexts and experiences. As such it encourages readers to access worldviews frequently ignored or neglected.
  1. It provides a reference point for exploring shared experiences and realities despite important and significant differences.
  1. It encourages curiosity and the desire to engage more broadly with development and related issues and perhaps to take relevant and appropriate action in support of others.
  1. Novels provide historical depth and understanding of issues in a format that is accessible to all age groups, and at the same time encourages skills in communication, creative thinking, problem-solving and informed decision-making.
  1. It encourages cross curricular teaching and learning in addition to growing our emotional intelligence (’emotional learning’).

Source: based on Weiss Reading Extravaganza, Amnesty International and the Asia Pacific Human Rights Information Centre

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