Senin, 26 Oktober 2009

Experiencing Multiculturalism through Literature:The Fruitfulness of the Student-Centered Approach of Teaching Literature

Asih Sigit Padmanugraha
Yogyakarta State University

Extremism occurring in this world and, specifically, in Indonesia recently is one form of the failure of education which does not accommodate multiculturalism. Terrorism is obviously the result of the distorted education which only focuses on mono-cultural values. Later, this will develop exclusivism in which there is no room for pluralism. This one-sided way of communication is dangerous for multiculturalism, which is, in fact, basic for human being. Therefore, the paper will explore how literature is fruitful for the students to experience multiculturalism and freely communicating its values.
Literature is one of the best ways to lead the students to experience multiculturalism. This is supported by the fact that it is multi-interpretable. Even literature itself has so many definitions though it means nothing without appropriate appreciation. When asked to read and interpret particular literary text there will be so many ideas different one another. This is in point of fact the real representation of multiculturalism in its specific and particular definition. In addition, these colorful interpretations come about as a consequence of the different milieu of the author, the work it self and the reader: be it social, cultural, and religious background. The communication of the readers’ and authors’ values through literature is what most matters in teaching literature. Additionally, the teaching-learning process must emphasize more to embed, grow, and develop the affective side of the students than the cognitive one. And since the students as the readers are from different backgrounds, those differences must be highly appreciated and it will enrich the teaching-learning process. This is possible if the student-centered approach is employed consistently and should be explicitly stated in the course syllabus and also lesson plan.
To conclude, it is evident that the communication of the different and various values of life becomes the key of teaching literature in multicultural context. If this kind of teaching-learning process works well, one-sided way of communicating values, which is obviously dangerous, will no longer have a place to grow up, for the affective mission of literature is to be sensitive and to understand others. The students will be more open-minded and will not be trapped in the destructive extremism as differences are basic for human being. They will see life in this world not as black and white but as the rainbow, which is always beautiful through times.
Key words: experiencing multiculturalism, student-centered approach, teaching literature, communication of values

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