NEWS

Mirrors and windows: Mount talk touts the value of multicultural texts in the classroom

October 24, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Jane Gangi, education professor at Mount Saint Mary College, right, and Rachel Collymore of Brooklyn, N.Y., a history major on the childhood/special education track, discussed the merits of multicultural books in the classroom.

Jane Gangi, education professor at Mount Saint Mary College, right, and Rachel Collymore of Brooklyn, N.Y., a history major on the childhood/special education track, discussed the merits of multicultural books in the classroom.

 

According to Jane Gangi, a Mount Saint Mary College education professor, multicultural children’s books serve an important role in America’s classrooms. 

Gangi and Rachel Collymore of Brooklyn, N.Y., a senior history major on the childhood education track, presented “Post-Charlottesville: Why Do Diverse Books Matter?” on Thursday, October 19. 

White nationalists marched at the University of Virginia on Saturday, August 12, 2017, igniting a countrywide conversation about race in America. Gangi and Collymore believe that valuing and engaging with diverse books in and out of schools can become part of the response for children of all ethnicities. 

“To develop healthy identities and become proficient readers, children must see themselves in books,” she explained. “All children need both ‘mirror’ and ‘window’ books – books in which they see themselves and books in which they learn about cultures beyond their own.”

Gangi, who has taught at the Mount for six years, belongs to the Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning at the Mount, a group that has worked on equity issues regionally and nationally. She is the author of three books: Genocide in Contemporary Children’s Literature: Cambodia to Darfut (2014), Encountering Children’s Literature: An Arts Approach (2004), and, with Mary Ann Reilly and Rob Cohen, Deepening Literacy Learning (2010). 

The talk was part of the Mount’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) program. The goal of the series is to “provide a forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research endeavors with both Mount Saint Mary College and the local community in a manner easily understood by attendees,” explained series coordinators Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of biology, and Jennifer Park, assistant librarian for access and outreach services. Presentations include research proposals, initial data collection, and completed research projects.

The next iROC talk, “Social Media and the Impact on Law and Business,” will be presented by Michael L. Fox, assistant professor of business law and pre-law advisor, on Thursday, November 2 at 12:45 p.m. It will take place in the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center at the Mount, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh. It is free and open to the public.

Mount Saint Mary College is ranked a Top-Tier University by U.S. News & World Report, and offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for careers in healthcare, business, education, social services, communications, media, and the liberal arts.