ERIC Number: EJ783082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Heightening Awareness about the Importance of Using Multicultural Literature
Colby, Susan A.; Lyon, Anna F.
Multicultural Education, v11 n3 p24-28 Spr 2004
Using multicultural literature in the classroom has become a focus in recent years as classrooms have become more diverse. While offering teachers and students many opportunities to gain broader understandings about the world, the use of multicultural literature also presents challenges. The challenge is not only obtaining high quality multicultural texts, but the greater challenge may be creating an awareness among teachers of the important role multicultural literature plays in the lives of children. In this article, the authors explore prospective teachers' understandings of the use of multicultural literature in the classroom. Specifically, the authors examined changes in their beliefs and proposed practices based on new understandings regarding the importance of using literature in the classroom that portrays a variety of cultures, themes and views. They collected student response papers from approximately 100 preservice teachers enrolled in elementary language arts methods courses. Data were analyzed on emerging themes using the following four-phase process: (1) coding the data; (2) developing themes from the data; (3) defining themes based on the findings; and (4) connecting and interrelating themes. During the development and defining of themes, five categories were identified: (1) "it opened my eyes"; (2) "finding yourself"; (3) "opening their minds"; (4) "not just African-American"; and (5) "it's my responsibility." Implications for educators are presented.
Descriptors: Preservice Teachers, Methods Courses, Multicultural Education, Literature, Cultural Pluralism, Teaching Methods, Reading Material Selection, Preservice Teacher Education, Attitude Change, Student Teacher Attitudes, Consciousness Raising, African American Students, African American Culture, Whites
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A