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A qualitative interview study of teachers’ experiences addressing race and racism in their early childhood classrooms.

Hensel, Riana
June 4, 2015

Source: (2014) Thesis. Degree of Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Mills College.

This qualitative interview study examines the challenges and successes early childhood
teachers in Oakland Unified School District face when addressing issues of race and
racism in their classrooms. Teachers’ and District Administrator’s stories of barriers and
strategies were analyzed to inform my professional practice. Data were collected through
qualitative interviews and a focus group. The main theoretical framework that supported
analysis came from Critical Race Theory. The data were analyzed through descriptive
coding and analytic memoing. Key findings include the impact of personal beliefs and
experiences on teachers’ barriers and strategies. Teachers’ barriers include the age or
English proficiency of their students, lack of discussion at their school site, and a lack of
training and tools. They used a wide range of strategies, including literature, general
conversations, specific questions, creating a strong link between home and school as well
as relying on experiences regarding race and racism they had in their personal lives.
Teachers and district administrators were both working on addressing racism, however,
their strategies were very distinct; administrators were working on large-scale projects
while teachers were very focused on their individual classrooms and students. This study
makes an important contribution to the literature because the role and impact of race and
racism in Early Childhood classrooms is often overlooked. There is a lack of professional
literature addressing the obstacles that teachers committed to engaging in this work face
and also an absence of reflection from early childhood teachers about what strategies they
use to support them in their anti-racist work. (author’s abstract)


AbstractCourtsPrisonsRestorative PracticesRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeTeacherTeachers and StudentsVictim Support
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