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ERIC Number: ED546998
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 243
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-1301-4
Using Children's Literature to Examine the Disability Discourses of Early Childhood Pre-Service Teachers
Mankiw, Sue Ann E.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the disability discourses of ten pre-service teachers enrolled in a one-semester undergraduate social studies and language arts methods course. This undergraduate course drew on a disability studies approach that advocated a social model rather than a traditional medical approach to disability. During this course, rather than posit disability as a deficit, disability was reconceptualized within social and cultural frameworks, stressing the examination of policies and practices that hinder the lives of individuals with disabilities. The following research questions guided this study: (1) How do pre-service teachers position disability during class discussions? What are their discourses, omissions and silences?; (2) How do pre-service teachers' discourses of disability change during a one-semester social studies and language arts course aimed at challenging traditional disability discourses; (3) How do these same pre-service teachers plan, implement and reflect upon lessons designed for early childhood students that incorporate children's literature with a disability topic. Using a Foucauldian lens, this study analyzed the discourses and actions of the early childhood pre-service teachers as they examined, reflected upon and taught lessons using children's literature with a disability theme. Attention was paid to how the pre-service teachers framed disability, the language they used, and the challenges of planning and teaching lessons that centered on a disability theme. Data collection included a survey, observations, field notes, transcripts of audio-taped class sessions and documents. Documents included critical literacy worksheets, online reading responses, a lesson plan assignment and student artifacts. Two major findings result from this study. First, the same powerful discourses that influenced how pre-service teachers perceive and position disabled people are well-established in the schools where they do their practice teaching. These same discourses lead to school actions and non-actions which in turn, present challenges to pre-service teachers who wish to "do disability studies" in schools. Second, using a critical pedagogical approach with children's literature within an inquiry based course has potential for helping pre-service teachers to problematize the issues of disability and in turn, to promote a critical examination of disability with disabled and able-bodied early childhood students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A