UNT Theses and Dissertations - 3 Matching Results

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The (Mis)representation of the Middle East and Its People in K-8 Social Studies Textbooks: A Postcolonial Analysis

Description: Critical examinations of cultural groups and the ways in which they are presented in schools are missing from current elementary and middle school curricula. Issues of this nature often fall under the umbrella of “multicultural education” or “cultural pedagogy,” but this rhetoric is dismissive in nature. Constructing the non-Western child as “culturally deprived,” “culturally disadvantaged,” or “at-risk” perpetuates an “us/colonizer” versus “them/colonized” mentality. The purpose of this study was to examine critically how the Middle East and its people are represented in U.S. social studies textbooks. Through the use of qualitative content analysis, 10 elementary and middle school social studies books from Florida, Texas, and Virginia were analyzed. Drawing largely from the postcolonial Orientalist work of Edward Said (1978/2003), this study unveiled the ways in which American public schools other children, specifically children of Middle Eastern or Arab descent. Othering occurs anytime an institution in power constructs a certain reality for a marginalized group of people.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Salman, Rania Camille
Partner: UNT Libraries

Preschool Teachers’ Constructions of Early Reading

Description: Much of the current discourse surrounding the practice of early reading has emerged from policies that dictate the definition and means by which reading is taught and by which reading success is measured. Although this discourse directly influences the work of preschool teachers, little is known about what preschool teachers think about early reading and how they develop these understandings or constructions. Research concerning preschool teachers’ constructions is useful because of the potential influence on teachers' decisions and classroom behaviors. The purpose of this study is to better understand preschool teachers’ constructions concerning early reading and the process of learning to read. Six preschool teachers, with a variety of personal, educational, and professional experiences, from four diverse early childhood programs in the North Texas area were interviewed over a nine-month period during which each participant was interviewed for approximately three hours. Through systematic, inductive analysis, three themes were identified under an overarching theme of the interdependent and relational nature of early reading influences: out-of-school interactions, in-school interactions, and interactions with text. Without exception, these teachers referred to their life experiences as influencing their approach to teaching in general and to teaching reading in particular. The goals these preschool teachers had for their students and their instructional decisions were indications of their unique and evolving constructions of early reading and are absolutely grounded in their practice – in their life experiences and in their daily interactions with children. This study suggests that stakeholders should remember that these practical experiences are a primary influence on how preschool teachers think about early reading and the process of learning to read.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Walker, Karen Elledge
Partner: UNT Libraries

Uncovering Gendered Teaching Practices in the Early Childhood Classroom

Description: For many early childhood teachers, interacting with children about issues concerning gender and sexuality is fraught with feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. For others, familiarity with research on these topics has resulted in rethinking their approaches to sex, gender, and sexuality in their early childhood classrooms. This inquiry examined the tensions associated with the researcher’s attempts to rethink gendered narratives and childhood sexuality in her own classroom. The study took place over the course of 4 months and involved a traditional public kindergarten classroom. Queer theory and feminist poststructuralism, along with a multi-voiced poststructural autoethnography were used to demonstrate the researcher’s shifting identities and the cultural context that shaped the researcher’s behaviors and perspective. Multivocal autoethnographic narratives were written to illustrate the researcher’s journey between trying on, being in, and becoming a feminist poststructural educator who uncovers and troubles gendered teaching practices in her own early childhood classroom. The following insights resulted from this study: young children actively and knowingly talk about gender and sexuality and do have a considerable amount of sexual knowledge; heterosexuality plays an integral part in children’s everyday experiences; and a lack of equity and inclusion associated with family diversity or queer identities exists in the early childhood classroom. Young children’s access to knowledge about gender, relationships, and sexuality has critical implications for their health and well-being, not only in their early years but also throughout their lives. This knowledge can build children’s competencies and resilience, contributing to new cultural norms of non-violence in gendered and sexual relationships. With a growing diversity in the make-up of families, it is now more critical than ever that teacher training programs move away from a single way of knowing and make room for multiple perspectives, which in turn influence innovative kinds of teaching decisions and practices. This research illustrates ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Larremore, April, 1972-
Partner: UNT Libraries