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ERIC Number: EJ1085191
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1946-7109
Using Literature Circles to Discuss Social Justice in Teacher Education
Madhuri, Marga; Walker, Nancy; Landmann-Johnsey, Erica; Laughter, Judson
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v12 n1 p67-70 Fall 2015
Literacy educators feel it is incumbent on teacher preparation programs to prepare teacher candidates with the dispositions and competencies needed to work with students from diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. As a way to initiate the discussion and help candidates examine their own views on race, literature circles are used. The authors chose literature circles because of their documented success in multiple contexts in the decades since the introduction of "grand conversations", as well as their own experiences using them across grade levels. By facilitating lively discussions, literacy circles increase students' comprehension and multicultural awareness, while also building community. Simply put, literature circles are discussions based on a text. In this case, the authors created a list of books (see Appendix of article) from which students could choose, each of which they thought would provoke targeted discussions and reflection about race and social justice, particularly in American public schools. After they briefly introduced each book, candidates selected which book they wanted to read, forming groups of three to five students. As a way to model how literature circles are used in the classroom, the authors used the roles introduced by Daniels (2002) to prompt discussion, such as Discussion Director, Vocabulary Enricher, and so on. The candidates divided their books into three sections, and held three discussions about their books, rotating roles each time. Each discussion lasted about 30 minutes, and although some discussions were held online in a Google chat, most were face to face in the classroom. These books were introduced over a two-year period in five sections of a Secondary Reading Methods Course, which was offered to candidates from all content areas earning a secondary teaching credential (grades 7-12). Positive outcomes, concerns, and recommendations from the literature circle discussions are presented in this article.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A