Nidhi Khiantani, a Collegiate Start@Elon graduate, has coauthored an article for elementary teachers with Lisa Buchanan, associate professor of education in the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education which discusses how teachers in grades 4-6 can use the novel, "Front Desk" as part of a larger study of power, identity and racism and the experiences of Chinese Americans in the United States.
Nidhi Khiantani, a Collegiate Start@Elon graduate, has co-authored an article for elementary teachers with Lisa Buchanan, associate professor of education in the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education.
Their piece, titled, “Disrupting Dominant Narratives of Asian Americans in the United States Using Yang’s Front Desk,” was published in the September/October issue of Social Studies and the Young Learner.
The article discusses how teachers in grades 4-6 can use the novel “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang as part of a larger study of power, identity and racism and the experiences of Chinese Americans in the United States.
The article begins with a review of how Asian Americans have been depicted in children’s literature, then moves into a discussion of children’s literature as a vehicle to develop racial literacy.
Khiantani and Buchanan then overview dominant narratives of Asian Americans in the United States and the importance of centering, race, racism and immigration when teaching Asian American experiences in grades 4-6. The second half of the article is focused on how teachers can use Yang’s “Front Desk” in the classroom, and includes discussion questions, selected quotes for classroom use and a primary source inquiry.
This two-year undergraduate research mentoring relationship is an example of the power of connecting students and faculty. Buchanan and Khiantani were connected through Lesley Henry, director of education outreach and Collegiate Start@Elon.
The pair collaborated on Khiantani’s undergraduate research, which was focused on novels with a lead character of color who experienced immigration. From the research mentorship, Khiantani then selected one book and focused on it in the peer reviewed article. Their partnership spanned three semesters as Nidhi was dually enrolled at Elon and high school. Khiantani graduated from Uwharrie Charter Academy in June 2022 and is now a first-year student at Duke University, where she plans to study chemistry.
Khiantani was recently asked about the undergraduate research and co-authorship experience as a collegiate start student. She shared:
“Under Dr. Buchanan’s mentorship, I had the opportunity to spend my senior year in high school learning how teachers can incorporate more inclusive books and activities in the classroom. Dr. Buchanan was an amazing mentor who allowed me the freedom to choose what I was most interested in researching and guided me through the process. This experience gave me insight into research and the publication process, and I formed life-lasting relationships,” she said.
ABOUT COLLEGIATE START@ELON
Collegiate Start@Elon is a dual-enrollment program designed to provide high school seniors with the opportunity to simultaneously enroll in both high school and college courses, and receive dual high school and college credit. The program provides advanced academic options for high-achieving high school seniors in over 40 courses. Students enrolled in Collegiate Start@Elon are eligible to take up to two college-level courses each fall and spring academic semester.