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ERIC Number: EJ916841
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-1068-3844
Representations of Native Americans in Elementary School Social Studies: A Critical Look at Instructional Language
Mason, Michele R.; Ernst-Slavit, Gisela
Multicultural Education, v18 n1 p10-17 Fall 2010
This article draws attention to the language used by fourth and fifth grade teachers during social studies instruction and discusses the implications of how this language frames non-dominant groups, as in this case. Via the discussion of segments of instructional conversations, the authors point to the pervasive use of language that perpetuates stereotypes and biased representations of Native American history. To frame the analysis, they discuss three different perspectives. First, they summarize the literature on "Otherness," particularly, how the "Other" is constructed: (1) through language; (2) in Western history; and (3) in classroom discourse. Second, they share information about the Critical Language Awareness movement rooted in the United Kingdom. This body of work is concerned with the relationship between language and social context, particularly educators' awareness of how ideology and power structures inherent in language play out during daily school routines. In addition, the authors highlight the National Social Studies Standards' focus on helping students construct a pluralist perspective based on diversity. They argue that by carefully examining the talk that transpires in classroom discussions, they can have a window into how knowledge, identity, social positioning, and value systems are constructed by teachers and students. The article ends with a list of specific suggestions for educators and teacher educators regarding language awareness, primary sources, and the importance of using balanced and comprehensive historical perspectives. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Grade 5
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A