1674364285 The forgotten writers will be the protagonists of eight institutes

The forgotten writers will be the protagonists of eight institutes in Almería

“I think it is essential to learn from the works of great authors who remained obscure in their day. Contrasting what is considered “normal” should be a more frequent task. It’s an atypical way of learning, but very useful. You learn from the author you are studying and from those studying your classmates by listening to them in their class presentations,” says Lucía Valverde Fernández, a 4th year ESO student at IES Alhadra in Almería.

Located in the neighborhood of Los Molinos, this public institute is part of the Andalusian Regional Strategy for Cohesion and Social Inclusion in Less Favored Areas (ERACIS). Since the 2019-2020 academic year, they are developing an educational research project called Texturas on the academic treatment of women writers in textbooks. An initiative of the teacher of Spanish language and literature, Antonio Garrido Jiménez, which he shares with colleagues from the institute and with other educational centers in Almería and the rest of the national geography.

The project started with 4 ESO students. Some were part of the Learning and Performance Improvement Program (PMAR), others were repeating the year and all felt a mixture of illusion and uncertainty. There were classmates with different abilities, expectations and academic interests. In previous courses, the relationships between them had been a real problem of living together.

Garrido intends to make diversity an irreplaceable part. Research, collaboration, and the habit of sharing teachings should support this shaping process. “Promoting learning, living differences as an enriching characteristic of the group,” he summarizes.

“Textures allow us to pay attention to diversity. The motivation of the students increases as the project progresses. It is an encouragement to share the learning experience beyond your center and gain recognition from the community. Watching the students read María Teresa León or create infographics about writers was a real satisfaction,” says Raquel Soler Delgado, co-founder of the project, consultant and study director at the IES Sol de Portocarrero in Almería, also a participant in the project.

Texturas, which uses the official syllabus for the 4th ESO, incorporates media and information literacy (with an emphasis on searching for and using current media), integrates the values ​​of respect and coexistence, and addresses the theme of Spanish language and literature gender equality.

Currently, students of different educational levels are taking part in the project, from the 1st year of ESO to the 1st year of the Baccalaureate, from reception classes for students from migrant backgrounds (ATAL) and from the specific program for special educational needs for basic vocational education (PEFPB). .

How many authors did you study during your school days?

Students check the textbooks to see how many authors there are, following the literary canon, which the philologist and writer Enric Sullà i Àlvarez has defined as “a list or collection of works considered valuable and therefore of value , to be studied and commented on. This characterization entails assumptions and consequences.”

This overview will show you that the number of female authors in your class manuals does not usually exceed five. So the reflection begins: Is this treatment fair? What can we do to change that and give women back the role they were denied?

The project continues with activities of analysis and collective debate. A “literary deck” is created to associate periods, movements, works, authors and authors they have already studied. By groups, they also make a list of 10 TV series, 10 songs and 10 well-known video games, reflecting on the role of women and their importance in all these types of creations.

Students also see that many women challenged the rules of the time and the prevailing social order.

The conclusions are shared in class and integrated into the textbooks via QR codes linked to videos, audios, graphic novels or newspaper articles. At the end, they fill out a virtual questionnaire on the consequences of certain aesthetic, political, or artistic criteria in the creation of the literary canon.

Some cards from the Texturas project's 'Literary Deck'.Some cards from the Texturas.Antonio Garrido project’s ‘Literary Deck’

The students also show that many women challenged the rules and the prevailing social order of the time, speaking about free love (Clementina Arderíu, Elena Fortún…), motherhood, parenting (María Rita de Barrenechea, La Aya), submission (Discurso en defensa of female’s talent, by Josefa Amar y Borbón), violence, marriage (Dulce Chacón, Algún amor que no mate) and political participation (Clara Campoamor, El voto femenino y yo: mi sin mortal).

The students become aware of the humiliations these artists have endured, how their books are degraded to something anecdotal and abandoned to oblivion. “I dare say that Anon (Anonymous), who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman,” wrote Virginia Woolf in 1929 in A Room of One’s Own. In the 21st century, the author of the acclaimed Harry Potter saga signed on as JK Rowling to reach more people.

The selected reading, the research tasks addressed and the exchange of knowledge create communicative situations (oral and written) that Antonio Garrido integrates into his program design. At the end, students discuss the learning set out in the official curriculum and appreciate the work of these authors.

Against machismo and for equality

In addition, through the didactic poetry of the 17th century or the fables of Félix María Samaniego, they analyze some of the morals of a macho and bullying content for women, transforming the end of the story into a quest for equality: “The fox motive . The fox was sitting on his bed / asked the lady for her phone / the fox made a negative face / and the fox asked for an explanation: / I’m very angry / he told her already tired / I’m not your property / I have to don’t explain anything! / We are all the same, little fox. / Enough of prejudice” (4th ESO students).

“This rare type of work is key to enriching our cultural level and encouraging interest in literature. Proposals like this make a difference, it’s a practical way to face the world of the years to come,” says Claudia Victoria Martínez, an ESO fourth year student.

Students also create posters that synthesize the essence of each author by combining visual and linguistic resources and launch a campaign in social media (#womenofletters, #teprestomivoz) and organize a multimodal traveling exhibition about writers, during which they have already visited eight centers in the province of Almería. In addition, they have created a dramatized and virtual literary itinerary about the journalist and writer Carmen de Burgos from Almería, examining the life and work of writers to produce an interpreted video about her biography and a virtual literary map.

Posters with QR codes from the exhibition: Women of Letters.Poster with QR codes from the exhibition: Women of Letters, Antonio Garrido

Patricia Valverde, Special Education Teacher at IES Maestro Padilla in Almería, explains: “Participating in Texturas was a unique experience for her students, PEFPB boys and girls. They enjoyed meeting incredible women who were a benchmark for them.” “It has allowed for the removal of some barriers and advances in autonomy; It was an exciting challenge. Their self-esteem has grown, which is invaluable for students with functional diversity,” he concludes.

Texturas won first prize in the XIV edition of the Rosa Regás Prizes for co-educational materials organized by the Junta de Andalucía in 2019/20 and was recognized as the best experience on gender equality in the SIMO EDUCACIÓN classroom in 2020.

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