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Negotiating Power and Agency with Elementary Students: Critical Literacy Book Clubs Led by Teacher Candidates

Fri, April 9, 4:10 to 5:40pm EDT (4:10 to 5:40pm EDT), Division K, Division K - Section 6 Paper and Symposium Sessions


In order to develop critical literacy skills, children need participation in discussions and tasks in which they interrogate societal power (Freire 1970). Yet, many elementary education teacher candidates lack a complex understanding of critical literacy teaching. As a result, they frequently lead inequitable and low-level thinking discussions. Attempting to disrupt this, two teacher educators intentionally created practice-based teaching opportunities for seven elementary education teacher candidates. After critical literacy practices were modeled for them, teacher candidates led critical literacy book clubs in elementary field placement classrooms. Through this field experience model, this study documents how teacher educators worked to support teacher candidates in recognizing children’s critical literacy capabilities and develop beliefs and competencies around critical literacy teaching.