Challenging Norms in Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum by Listening to Young Children: Pre-Service Teachers’ Lessons in Phonological Awareness
Phonological Awareness assessments, curriculum and children’s literature, have been treated as context-free and value-neutral. However, recent events, such as the discontinuation of six Dr. Seuss books due to racially inappropriate illustrations, suggest that content and pictures of simple rhyming books may be laden with inappropriate content. Teacher education is called to prepare early childhood teachers to meet the needs of the students through child-centered exposure to phonological awareness, including the skills to navigate potentially inappropriate state-endorsed curriculum and books. To address this challenge, four case studies (Stake, 2010) are presented to examine the intersection of a state-endorsed curriculum and early childhood pre-service teachers’ construction and implementation of phonological awareness lessons during an eight-week field placement. Using three tenets of childism, this research examined early childhood curriculum and teacher education practice for evidence of regimes of truth which serve to marginalize children’s voices, identities, and experiences. The case study data shows evidence of how honoring children’s voices can help challenge and reconstruct pedagogic and material norms for the pre-service teachers.
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