A Mixed Methodology Exploration of White Female Pre-Service Teachers’ Discussions of Race and Gender through Presentations of Counternarratives in Children’s Literature Books Open Access
Downloadable ContentDownload PDF
This research utilized performance autoethnography and case study methodologies to explore the ways in which White female pre-service teachers’ perceptions of race and gender are informed by their reading of four counternarratives about Black females written by Black female authors and their participation in a book club. Specifically, this study looked to uncover how engaging with a practical classroom tool like children’s literature books in a book club format creates a transformative space for White female pre-service teachers to critically interrogate notions of race and gender. Performance autoethnography allowed for an exploration of how I contributed to and was affected by the book club setting as a Black female and teacher educator. Case study methodology was used to explore the research questions more directly to capture the essence of the bounded system of the book club. A review of literature revealed teacher education needs more structured spaces to support pre-service teachers’ ability to have conversations about race, gender, and other categories of diversity. This study focused particularly on White female pre-service teachers as they make up the majority of the teaching force in the United States. Additionally, focus was given to White female pre-service teachers as the literature shows that White women tend to use “white talk” - or ways of talking about race which allows them to protect themselves from having a conversation about race. The results of the study are presented in the order of the books read by the pre-service teachers and myself. The findings show that the pre-service teachers did not experience the counternarratives as counternarratives, they reappropriated the texts to fit their dominate narrative. Further, the pre-service teachers were more comfortable having discussions of gender rather than race. The discussion provides description of how each book resonated with the pre-service teachers by focusing on how they conceptualized the messages presented in each counternarrative. Implications of this study for teacher education as well as further research are also provided.