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ERIC Number: ED554319
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 237
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-7709-5
"I Never Hear It Talked About": Exploring Discourses of Whiteness in a Predominantly White Elementary School
Heuschkel, Kimberly A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
Much is known about the practices, beliefs, assumptions, and discourses of teachers as they look at issues of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity but little has been done to understand how racial injustice is sustained in these school settings and how whiteness operates in predominantly white educational contexts. White elementary school teachers committed to providing quality education in predominantly white settings offer researchers an opportunity to examine how whiteness operates and how it is sustained or disrupted though the work of these white teachers. The research questions that guided this study were: 1. How do overarching discourses of whiteness operate in this predominantly white elementary school? 2. How do these white teachers resist/disrupt/challenge or perpetuate/contribute to/sustain the discourses of whiteness through their images, practices, and talk? Data for this qualitative study was collected using ethnographic data collection techniques such as critical interviews, participant observation, artifact and document analysis, and field notes in order to focus on whiteness and examine how it is reified or challenged through the discourses of two white male first grade teachers. Whiteness studies and critical theory were used as a theoretical lens to guide interpretative qualitative analysis in order to fully investigate the data within its multiple and varied contexts. In this predominantly white environment it was found that whiteness operated in two fundamental ways. First, it functioned through a discourse of silence that was supported by a pervasive ideology of colorblindness. Second, it functioned through a discourse of hypervisibility/invisibility that utilized a conflation of culture and race to render culture hypervisible, while at the same time making race invisible. What these findings indicate is a need for continued research with white educators a) to investigate how the discourses of whiteness impact their implementation of multicultural education in the classroom and b) to challenge them to critically analyze the unexamined power of whiteness at work in these elementary school settings. [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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A