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ERIC Number: EJ950692
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 39
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 80
ISSN: ISSN-1086-296X
Activists, Allies, and Racists: Helping Teachers Address Racism through Picture Books
Lazar, Althier M.; Offenberg, Robert M.
Journal of Literacy Research, v43 n3 p275-313 Sep 2011
Teachers often resist discussions about racism in the classroom, yet it is a topic that is frequently addressed in multicultural literature. This study examines teachers in a graduate reading program (N = 58) who used picture books reflecting African American heritage with elementary school children in a summer reading practicum. Prior to teaching children, a subset of these teachers participated in a course that addressed issues of racism, allowing for an investigation of a course effect on teachers' comfort level with the literature and their addressing of themes that surfaced in the books. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze questionnaires, planning forms, lesson evaluation forms, and transcripts of teachers using the books to test the hypothesis of a course effect and to identify the range of variation in teachers' ways of using the literature. The teachers in both "course" and "comparison" groups tended to focus on the perspectives, feelings, and traits of the story protagonists when creating discussion questions and after-reading projects for students. Course teachers focused on the activism of Black protagonists significantly more often than comparison teachers did, although participants of both groups did not tend to represent racism as a system of White advantage. These findings suggests that literacy education programs can have an impact on teachers' ways of using multicultural literature, but to teach in critical and transformative ways, they will need programs that strengthen their understandings of constructs such as structural racism and help them facilitate thoughtful inquiries of this concept when using multicultural literature with children. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A