Three Approaches to the Preparation of Culturally Responsive Teachers in the Elementary Classroom: Picture Books, Persona Dolls, and Immersive Field Experience
The elementary student population is becoming increasingly diverse while the elementary teacher population is not, thus there is a significant need for teacher education programs to prepare culturally responsive teachers. The purpose of this three article dissertation is to analyze the impact of teacher education interventions aimed to promote culturally responsive teaching, specifically with the use of picture books and persona dolls. The views of teacher candidates from a southeastern US public university were collected through course assignments focused on providing diverse representation within picture books in the classroom. The teacher candidates indicated they plan to include diverse representations of race and ethnicity, ability, language, religion, and family structure within their class libraries, but few plan to include diverse representations of gender. A notable obstacle identified by teacher candidates who want to include diverse representations of gender in their class libraries is a fear of administrative and parental response. A key finding was that imagined contact with diverse students may help teacher candidates select more diverse literature for their class libraries. I argue that the use of authentic multicultural literature, place-based persona doll stories, and immersive field placements in settings with diverse student populations combined with discussion, reflection, and guided practice in teacher education courses will prepare more culturally responsive teachers.
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