7th grade literature analysis curriculum unit: identifying theme through multiple intelligences

In the area of literature analysis, fifteen-year-old students American are not competitive with their international peers (OECD, 2010). Students are currently taught to recall information on a test and not think critically through problems (Jennings & Rentner, 2006). When given a test not based off of their textbook, they are unable to translate their memorized facts into applicable information. Currently, on an international level, American students are falling further behind in their ability to interpret text because they are not being given the tools to transfer the information learned in the classroom to practical applications (Naumann, 2005). The purpose of this project is to develop a reading curriculum with an emphasis on identifying theme. The curriculum will be developed for middle school students based on the educational pedagogies used in one of the repeatedly top performing countries, Finland. These pedagogies consist of teaching to multiple learning styles and with multiliteracies. The goal of incorporating these methods of instruction into a literary analysis unit is to improve the understanding and usability of analysis techniques in all contexts, resulting in improving American education achievement. The data for this study came from a variety of sources. Beginning with evaluating international test scores to understand the problem, and followed with research from both America and Finland of current and past curriculum and teaching strategies. The theoretical basis for the curriculum is based on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory and the New London Group's Multiliteracies. Students need to be taught literary analysis lessons in a language that they can understand, remember, and transfer to practical uses outside the classroom. My textbook and data analysis demonstrates that although students are taught how to identify theme in a story, they are unable to transfer this knowledge to questions that are not directly stated in the text. Learning literature analysis in a way that students can successfully understand and remember, will save valuable time in the classroom by eliminating hours of re-teaching each year, as well as benefit them outside of the classroom.