What Do I Need to
Know about This Book?
introductory section of this book is extensive; as well as giving you some
background to the writing process, it explores some of the links among
feminism, literacy, violence and women-centred curriculum.
Two kinds of text
introductory material, you will find there are two kinds of text in the
chapters, each in a different type font. The main text, in this font, is a
straightforward description of suggested activities, readings, discussions and
so on to use with learners. Beside it you will find occasional comments, in
this type font, in which the author "muses" on the work; for example, she may
give a rationale for the activity, suggestions for further reading or comments
We have separated the two kinds of text so that when you take
the book to class or to a tutoring session, you can find your way through the
main text easily, without distractions; when you are reading it outside of
class, we hope you find that the comments enrich the main text and put it into
a context. Since that context may be like your teaching situation, or may be
very different, the comments can help you adapt, expand or contract the
activities to suit the learners you work with.
The Bibliography begins on page 389. It includes complete
listings of resources cited in the chapters, as well as ordering information
for hard-to-find items.
The jagged heart
We use this icon to alert you to activities,
readings and topics that might raise strong, perhaps painful, emotions. In the
comments beside the jagged heart you will find an explanation, or an
alternative activity that is less loaded, or a suggestion that will help you
prepare for possible reactions. Particularly, the jagged heart often refers you
to the introductory chapter, "Responding to Disclosure of Abuse in Women's
Lives," by Jenny Horsman. We suggest you read it before you work with learners
on any of the chapters in this book. We use this icon, not to scare you, but to
make the curriculum easier to use. Think of it as a heart, because it deals
with feelings, feelings that you want to treat tenderly, feelings that, by
using the activities in this book, you encourage learners to show. Think of it
also as a warning about an explosive device: pay attention to the comments
beside it, listen to learners, go slow, and be prepared to stop or change
direction as needed.
A cassette tape comes
with this book which has the songs used in two chapters, "Songs about Women's
Issues" and "Women and Work."
At the end of each
chapter we have collected all the poems, stories and songs suggested for
learners. If you would like more copies of the readings, they are available
from CCLOW (address below) as a separate package.
You will also find
exercises for the learners at the end of each chapter. These exercises may be
photocopied for educational purposes.
of readings and exercises appear at appropriate places in each chapter. Their
purpose is to show clearly what is needed for each section and to remind you of
the content of the student material. We hope they will make your class
If you read the book
from cover to cover, you will find similar material in several chapters. The
same poet, and sometimes the same poem, for example, may show up in two or
three chapters, and many chapters suggest that learners make collages or do a
media analysis. Since it seems unlikely that anyone will do all of these
chapters with anyone group of learners, we have not tried to eliminate
overlaps. If you are doing a chapter that asks your class to make collages
similar to ones you have already done, bring out the old collages and look at
them, using the focus of the new chapter as a starting point for discussion,
before going on to the next activity.
tried to refer to "they" rather than "he" or "he or she" when talking generally
about people. Occasionally we use "she" when it might equally refer to either
sex and "she" when it is likely to be a woman. Sometimes you will see "their"
instead of the awkward "his or hers," as, for example, "Ask each learner to
read their story."
If you would
like to convert this text into Braille, the disk is available from CCLOW at the
We would like to
hear your experiences with and reflections on this curriculum. Please write:
The Literacy Committee
Canadian Congress for Learning
Opportunities for Women (CCLOW)
47 Main Street
Fax: (416) 699-2145