ERIC Number: ED374430
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Aug
The Ninjas, the X-Men, and the Ladies: Playing with Power and Identity in an Urban Primary School.
Dyson, Anne Haas
A qualitative study, presented in the form of an analytical narrative, examined children's symbolic and social use of superhero stories--popular media stories that vividly reveal societal beliefs about power and gender, which are themselves interwoven in complex ways with race, class, and physical demeanor. A second-grade classroom in an East San Francisco Bay K-3 school located in the south central part of an urban area and serving a population diverse in race and social class was observed for three months. Through the writing and acting of stories as part of "Author's Theater" (an optional activity during daily writing time), the children let each other witness their imaginations at work and then raised issues about who plays whom in whose story. The dialogic processes thus enacted allowed more complexity in the rigid images of gender relations and of glorified power. There is no simple classroom procedure that will allow children to achieve some sort of critical consciousness and a world of greater imagined possibilities for all. But there are processes, rooted in the social lives and play of childhood, that can help children deal with the contradictory pressures of growing up in a multicultural society where power is not equally distributed. Contains 20 references and 15 notes. An appendix listing the sex and ethnicity of the second-grade children is attached.) (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Study of Writing, Berkeley, CA.
Identifiers - Location: California