Elementary Teachers’ Perspectives on the Use of Multicultural Literature in Their Classrooms
Keywords:Elementary teachers, Multicultural Literature
This qualitative study set out to determine how multicultural literature was used and perceived by US elementary school teachers, and how the beliefs of teachers shape perceptions, selection, interpretation, and the teaching of multicultural literature (Ketter & Lewis, 2001).
Twenty-six (26) elementary school teachers across the country responded to this study. An invitational email with a web-survey hyperlink was utilized. Variables pertaining to participant background, definition, selection acquirement and application of “multicultural” literature, the elementary school community and district mandates were addressed in the web survey.
Findings revealed that all participants used multicultural literature sometime during the school year. The majority of participants were Caucasian females teaching in suburban schools, which did not have a mandated multicultural curriculum. Regardless of mandates, the majority applied a “narrow” definition for multicultural literature using the words “cultural”, “race,” and “nationality.” Other findings indicated that elementary school teachers used multicultural literature more frequently when they had strong administrative support, regardless of their students’ or their own ethnicity.
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