Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas R. Giblin

Abstract

This project investigates how throughout history, those who were different or atypical were often relegated to a marginalized life; this perspective was indicative in literature of previous eras as well as in historical documentation. As indicated in this research, even though literature and media has moved away from personifying disability in an overwhelmingly negative light, it has consequently moved toward characterizing people with disabilities as the antihero worthy of pity. The unintentional, prejudicial view of people with disabilities in popular culture perpetuates the idea that disability is something that must be overcome. This disconnect hinders student awareness and acceptance, and therefore negates many positive attempts, and perhaps even inclusion measures, made by educational professionals. This project highlights a one-week unit plan that aims to empower students to counter the prevailing hegemony by encouraging students to reflect, explore, analyze, and discuss antiquated and modern depictions of disability in literature and media (including non-fiction sources). Throughout the suggested lesson plans, all of which are aligned with objectives and the common core standards, students will uncover a deeper understanding of the tragic view of disability and subsequently develop greater sensitivity regarding their own unintentional bias.

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