Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A qualitative interview study of teachers' experiences addressing race and racism in their early childhood classrooms
by Hensel, Riana, M.A., Mills College, 2014, 104; 1557346
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative interview study examines the challenges and successes early childhood teachers in Oakland Unified School District face when addressing issues of race and racism in their classrooms. Teachers' and District Administrator's stories of barriers and strategies were analyzed to inform my professional practice. Data were collected through qualitative interviews and a focus group. The main theoretical framework that supported analysis came from Critical Race Theory. The data were analyzed through descriptive coding and analytic memoing. Key findings include the impact of personal beliefs and experiences on teachers' barriers and strategies. Teachers' barriers include the age or English proficiency of their students, lack of discussion at their school site, and a lack of training and tools. They used a wide range of strategies, including literature, general conversations, specific questions, creating a strong link between home and school as well as relying on experiences regarding race and racism they had in their personal lives. Teachers and district administrators were both working on addressing racism, however, their strategies were very distinct; administrators were working on large-scale projects while teachers were very focused on their individual classrooms and students. This study makes an important contribution to the literature because the role and impact of race and racism in Early Childhood classrooms is often overlooked. There is a lack of professional literature addressing the obstacles that teachers committed to engaging in this work face and also an absence of reflection from early childhood teachers about what strategies they use to support them in their anti-racist work.

Keywords: anti-racist teaching, early childhood education, critical race theory, obstacles to anti-racist teaching, teacher strategies

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kroll, Linda, Nicholson, Julie
School: Mills College
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 53/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Early childhood education, Elementary education, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Barrier, Critical race theory, Race, Racism, Strategy, Teacher
Publication Number: 1557346
ISBN: 9781303946585
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