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Secondary English Language Arts

Secondary English Language Arts

MPS Secondary English Language Arts

It is impossible to talk of respect for learners for the dignity that is in the process of coming to be, for the identities that are in the process of construction, without taking into consideration the conditions in which they are living and the importance of the knowledge derived from life experience, which they bring with them to school. 

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Learners deserve a highly engaging learning experience that reflects and celebrates the cultures, values, and lived experiences within our MPS communities. Secondary English Language Arts in MPS aims to honor and respect our learners’ realities— “the conditions in which they are living and the importance of the knowledge derived from life experience”—and their identities, love and celebrate who our learners are, while cultivating the literacy skills to prepare them to lead flourishing lives. By incorporating research-based best practices in curriculum development, racial identity development, and culturally sustaining practices, anti-racist, anti-oppressive education is created for all.

Secondary ELA partners skills and proficiencies alongside individual and community identity awareness and development, critical scholarship, and joy. With the goal of creating collaborative spaces for educators and learners to construct knowledge and engage one another in cultivating a culture of literacy, ELA curriculum strives to enact Muhammad’s vision of literacy development, grounded in historical literacy framings of Black literary societies (Muhammad, 2020). These historical framings include literary presence, literary pursuit, and literary character. 

Literary Presence: Staking a claim and making oneself visible within the intellectual community through acts of literacy

  1. Create in-school contexts for learners to share their voices and visions through acts of reading, writing, and speaking.

  2. Select texts that speak to their multiple identities instead of selecting texts based on their reading identities alone.

  3. Scaffold ways for learners to share their thoughts and respond to texts.

Literary Pursuits: Activities that lead to liberation, self-determination, self-reliance, and self-empowerment and build literary character.

  1. Engage learners with texts that create social action and cause them to think differently as a result of what they read.

  2. Create an environment that affords learners the opportunity to shape their own ideas through acts of literacy.

  3. Structure opportunities for critiquing and evaluating what learners read and write about within the instruction.

Literary Character: Possessing and practicing self-discipline, intellectual curiosity, and civic responsibility.

  1. When literary pursuits are enacted, learners will become thinkers and resilient beings.

  2. Learners will have confidence in reading, writing, and sharing their ideas.

  3. This confidence will transfer to other spaces in and out of the classroom.

When literacy is grounded in these historical framings, it is not solely tied to skills and proficiencies, but it is also defined as liberation and power. Thinking about literacy in this way allows us to move beyond teacher-led instruction and towards learners’ self-empowerment, self-determination, and self-liberation (Muhammad, 2020).