Beyond "white talk": Teachers' constructions of privilege in multicultural literature discussions
Hopkins, Maria Grace Baldassarre
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This qualitative multi-case study examines the myriad ways privilege is constructed in discussions of multicultural literature in a master's literacy course for pre- and in-service teachers and the usefulness of literature discussions in helping participants to unpack notions of privilege. Using a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, the exploration yielded many findings relevant to the field of teacher education. First, as participants constructed privilege through their discourse, privilege was reproduced in the classroom where participants met each week. This reproduction revealed that participants experienced the 'other side' of privilege, even though they were predominately White. Among various social positions that impacted their abilities to be heard were dominant discourses that restricted agency by virtue of tacit adherence to them. Second, participants' abilities to enter into dialogue with their previous experiences in the world had a direct relationship to growth each individual experienced throughout the semester in the course and in the years following. Finally, based on both the productive and unproductive aspects of participants' discourse, the study offers a model for thoughtful engagement with multicultural literature to serve as a tool for teacher educators.