It’s in Black and White: Preservice Teachers’ Perceived Abilities to Facilitate Literary Conversations about African-American Picture Books
Type of Degreedissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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The purpose of this study was to examine how preservice teachers perceive their abilities use African-American picture books to facilitate literary conversations. Two preservice teachers, one Black and one White, examined their growth and ability to use multicultural literature with a small, diverse group of children. This case study was based on a theoretical framework that supports social construction of knowledge by participants. Observation of conversations, the use of audio recordings, artifacts from the students, and interviews with the teachers were used to examine the data sets. Each teacher was given one of two African-American picture books to read aloud to students. The preservice teachers chose one book to read at the beginning of the semester, and the other at the end of the semester. Preservice teachers, in accordance with class requirements, were asked to reflect on their ability to facilitate grand conversations about literature, particularly African-American literature. The preservice teachers engaged the students in discussions, reflections, and activities that created learning opportunities for students to co-construct knowledge. The information gained from the data was analyzed with the purpose of understanding the phenomena occurring during the read-aloud and the activity, or conversation that followed. The results of this study suggested that both preservice teacher subjects exhibited and reported discomfort when discussing issues of race using picture books with elementary students. The author offers practical suggestions for improving multicultural practices of preservice teachers and teacher educators.