Mapping identity: How preservice teachers explore cultural identities through mapping and children's literature
AuthorSchall, Janine Marie
AdvisorShort, Kathy G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this dissertation I examine how preservice teachers explore cultural identities when using mapping and children's literature. Twenty-four preservice teachers enrolled in a one-semester children's literature course looked at their own cultural identities and the cultural identities of others. The preservice teachers were mostly white, middle class women. During the study they explored various aspects of their cultural identities, interacted with issues of culture, and reflected upon how class engagements influenced their understandings of culture and cultural identities. Data sources for the study included the following: several kinds of written reflections; student artifacts, such as physical and conceptual maps; and interviews that were conducted with seven preservice teachers after the semester ended. Data from four preservice teachers was highlighted in the findings. This research shows that these preservice teachers had difficulty moving from an individualistic view of their identities to considering issues of group membership. The preservice teachers preferred to discuss individual characteristics such as personality and how they spent their free time. This shifted somewhat over the course of the semester as I asked them to focus on aspects of cultural identities such as racial-, ethnic-, gender-, and class-based group membership. The preservice teachers exhibited high levels of ethnocentrism and often lived out attitudes of white privilege. Their interactions with other cultures proved complex and sometimes contradictory. They promoted learning about other cultures as a way to reduce prejudice and discrimination and believed that they had a responsibility as future teachers to help their students understand other cultures. They saw our semester long theme of cultural identities as valuable, and highlighted using multiple avenues to explore the theme, such as multicultural children's literature, mapping, written and sketched reflections, and literature discussions. This study emphasized the need for considerations of cultural issues to be integrated throughout the teacher education program. Preservice teachers need to understand their own cultural identities before they can understand their students as cultural beings. Explorations of whiteness and white privilege also need to occur.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture