Type of Document Dissertation Author Dellinger, K. LaNette Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-42298-195935 Title Wading in the Water: a White Educator and African American Girls develop Critical Literacy Degree PhD Department Curriculum and Instruction Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Lalik, Rosary V. Committee Chair Carico, Kathleen M. Committee Member Garrison, James W. Committee Member Kilkelly, Ann G. Committee Member Niles, Jerome A. Committee Member Williams-Green, Joyce Committee Member Keywords
- urban education
- critical literacy
- teacher education
Date of Defense 1998-05-07 Availability unrestricted AbstractWADING IN THE WATER:
A WHITE EDUCATOR AND AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRLS
DEVELOP CRITICAL LITERACY
Rosary M. Lalik, Chairperson
Teaching and Learning
This qualitative study focused the experiences of a white educator who
spent twelve months working with a group of 8-12 African American adolescent
girls at a community center in an urban community. Data collection methods
included fieldnotes, interviews, questionnaires, photographs, participant's
journals, and other artifacts.
The study focused on the use of performance activities to stimulate
critical reflection about issues that were generated from the daily experiences of
the girls involved. Performance activities were based on the work of Augusto
Boal in liberatory theatre and the notions of Maxine Greene about opening
critical space through the arts. Activities engaged in during the twice weekly
sessions included drama, poetry writing and reading, singing, and visual arts.
The purpose of these activities was to stimulate the girls' development of critical
literacy, a concept that may be defined as reading the written text and reading
the sociocultural dimensions of society for the purpose of transforming society
toward greater justice and equity. The researcher examined her own
developing critical literacy, as well, throughout the study, particularly as it
relates to issues of race and white supremacy.
While the development of critical literacy is something that is a lifelong
project, not something to be achieved in one year of work, analysis of data
reveals many times when the girls were able to identify conditions in their
experiences that worked against them. They were able to consider possible
ways of changing negative situations in their lives. Working together as a group
enabled the girls to pool their ideas and to learn from one another. They were
also able to experience how powerful collective action can be. Comments by
the girls in interviews, journals, and questionnaires showed that they believed
that their understanding of issues important to their lives had changed as a
result of participation in the group.
The things learned as a result of this study are useful for understanding
how to work with adolescent African American girls in urban communities, as
well as how to prepare teachers to work in such communities.
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