Academic journal article Language Arts

Critical Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom: Unpacking Histories, Unlearning Privilege

Academic journal article Language Arts

Critical Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom: Unpacking Histories, Unlearning Privilege

Article excerpt

Critical Literacy in the Early Childhood Classroom: Unpacking Histories, Unlearning Privilege by Candace R. Kuby, Teachers College Press, 2013, 137 pp., ISBN 978-0-8077-5469-6 (paperback)

"There is no such thing as neutral text and there is no such thing as neutral teaching practice. . . . Whether we realize it or not, every word that we utter and every action that we take in the classroom involves a choice." (Vasquez in Kuby, p. ix)

In this autoethnographic account of her experiences teaching kindergarten during a six-week summer enrichment program, teacher-as-researcher Candace Kuby walks her readers through the tumultuous process of decision making that many teacher- researchers face as they attempt to bring about social change in their classrooms and communities. When another teacher orders the children off the shaded "teachers' bench" at recess, Kuby grapples with her own feelings of uneasiness and discomfort at what she has witnessed. She asks, "What is a child to do with what they observe-if what they witness and experience is a common belief or way of being in their community-even if at gut level something does not feel right?" (p. 49). Although Kuby is apprehensive about broaching the subject of injustice with her students, she opens up space within her classroom to allow her students to engage in critical conversations about their experiences.

Using autoethnography, critical literacy, critical sociocultural theory, and Whiteness theory to undergird her teaching and research, Kuby begins by "unpacking" her own history, beliefs, and personal experiences relating to the power struggles that often take place within society. She investigates how her Whiteness influences her decisions and actions in the classroom and explores her own moments of consciousness-raising-a step she deems necessary for all educators. According to Kuby, teachers must "intentionally examine who they are and how their beliefs shape teaching decisions" (p. 11). However, Kuby believes that merely raising one's consciousness about social issues is not enough. She challenges educators to take action by allowing students to be co-inquirers along the journey to better understand the intricate systems of privilege and power in society. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.