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Ashwin, Christina (2019) BEYOND “TALKING DIFFERENT”: WHITE PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ CRITICAL RACE TALK ABOUT TEACHING DIALECT DIVERSITY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation documents 214 White pre-service English Language Arts teachers’ engagement in explicit discussions of race and racism in online class discussions about teaching about dialect diversity. Participants were recruited from eight geographically distinct teacher education programs in the United States that implemented Godley and Reaser’s (2018) dialect diversity mini-course. Informed by scholarship on White teachers’ talk about racism, I analyzed participants’ engagement in what I call “critical race talk” – talk about race that acknowledges systemic racism and White privilege. I used qualitative research methods to identify themes within the subset of White teachers’ comments that included critical race talk. Even when prompted to discuss race and dialects in critical ways, only 3% of the 2,900 discussion board posts authored by White teachers included critical race talk. Twenty-nine percent of White teachers voiced critical race talk at least once. Teachers avoided critical race talk through implementing discourse strategies like silence, changing the topic, denial of White privilege, color-blindness, and abstract liberal discourse strategies. Four themes emerged within the discussion board posts that included critical race talk: descriptions of how systemic racism operates, explicit discussions of Whiteness, admissions of the prevalence of deficit thinking about people of color, and genuine questions about teaching about racism and linguistic profiling. Additionally, more diverse teacher education classes and discussion prompts that directly addressed issues of racism and discrimination elicited more critical race talk. When teachers responded to each other’s critical race talk, 83% of their responses challenged their classmates to be even more critical. Finally, White teachers who voiced critical race talk identified a three-step approach to teaching about linguistic discrimination: knowing your individual students’ linguistic and racial identities, choosing classroom resources and materials to suit their needs, and creating a dialogue about linguistic profiling and racism focused on social justice. Implications of this study include the need for future studies to frame White teachers as capable of critical race talk and to include larger and more diverse groups of teachers, and the need for more a more diverse teaching force and teacher education curricula that explicitly engages White teachers in critical race talk.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ashwin, Christinacma63@pitt.educma630000-0003-3839-0035
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGodley, Amandaagodley@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGodley, Amanda
Committee MemberSondel, Beth
Committee MemberMilner, H. Richard
Committee MemberReaser, Jeffrey
Date: 29 January 2019
Date Type: Acceptance
Defense Date: 16 July 2018
Approval Date: 30 January 2019
Submission Date: 29 January 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 256
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: teacher education, dialects, language ideologies, language attitudes, race, whiteness
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 23:09
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2019 12:23


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