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ERIC Number: EJ1090590
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0737-5328
"We Make It Controversial": Elementary Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about Race
Buchanan, Lisa Brown
Teacher Education Quarterly, v42 n1 p3-26 Win 2015
The impetus for this study began during an elementary teacher education course meeting, where preservice teachers discussed whether or not it was appropriate to discuss controversial topics--including race--with young children. Preservice teachers disclosed their "uncomfortableness" with race at large, and emphasized that discussions about race in the elementary classroom were inappropriate. Their responses compelled the author to thoughtfully consider how the topic of race, students' experiences with race, and students' ideas about the presence and function of race in school could be more deliberately woven into courses in elementary teacher education. This study positioned three experiences with race into course meetings in an attempt to continually engage preservice teachers in identifying and articulating their beliefs about race, their childhood and schooling experiences with race, and their beliefs about discussing race. Three research questions guided the design and development of this descriptive case study: (1) What are elementary preservice teachers' experiences with race?; (2) What are elementary preservice teachers' beliefs about race?; and (3) What are elementary preservice teachers' beliefs about discussing race? Study findings illustrate that preservice teachers' ideas about race being controversial impacted their beliefs about discussing race with elementary students and with peers in teacher education. When race was positioned within the elementary classroom, students appeared to believe that it was potentially more controversial than in the context of discussions with their peers and family members. Similarly, their level of comfort in discussing race in the teacher education setting was gauged by their relationships with peers. This collective reservation about discussing race paired with preservice teachers' beliefs about discussing race with others and their prior experiences with race illustrates opportunities for teacher educators to create experiences within and across courses that help preservice teachers identify and articulate their beliefs while also challenging their beliefs about race.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A