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Title Page Equity from the Start: Examining In-Service and Preservice Teacher Beliefs and Discourse of Colorblindness in the Early Childhood Classroom

Briggs, Jennifer O. (2019) Title Page Equity from the Start: Examining In-Service and Preservice Teacher Beliefs and Discourse of Colorblindness in the Early Childhood Classroom. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Colorblind ideology, or the belief that one does not and should not acknowledge race, is common across fields of education. Particularly in early childhood, there is a belief that children are too young and innocent to notice race. Researchers have found however, that by the time children reach preschool age, they are making decisions about who to interact with and how based on skin color. Yet little is know about the beliefs and practice of early childhood educators in addressing race in the classroom. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the colorblind beliefs and discourse of in-service and preservice early childhood teachers to understand current practice and preparation. Study 1 included a sample of preschool teachers and families across nine classrooms with varying racial compositions. The purpose of this study was to understand the alignment between teacher and parent beliefs about addressing race in the classroom. A combination of classroom observations, interviews, and parent questionnaires revealed that teachers unanimously believed children noticed race. While results were mixed about whether teachers believe they should talk about race in the classroom, none of the sample teachers were intentionally addressing race. On the other hand, parents largely believed teachers should be addressing race in the early childhood classroom. The implications of this misalignment are discussed. Study 2 focused on a sample of undergraduate education students (UESs) enrolled at a university’s School of Education with a commitment to race and equity. Students were part of a course focused on specific race-related topics. Pre and posttest measures of race-related beliefs/experiences and demographic information were collected and examined across UESs. Results showed that over the course, there was some change in race-related beliefs across students. However, individual UES experiences may have also contribute to beliefs regardless of course experience. Implications for practice are discussed. Taken together, the findings of this dissertation add to the literature by illuminating the need for more intentional race-related in-service teacher training and preservice teacher preparation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Briggs, Jennifer O.jok62@pitt.edujok620000-0001-7207-3178
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWanless, Shannon B.swanless@pitt.eduswanless0000-0003-1766-6418
Committee MemberArlotta-Guerrero, Annaana28@pitt.eduana280000-0001-7602-2861
Committee MemberHuguley, Jameshuguley@pitt.eduhuguley0000-0003-4659-939X
Committee MemberRussell, Jennifer L.jrussel@pitt.edujrussel
Committee MemberWhite, AishaAIW9@pitt.eduaiw9
Date: 26 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 March 2019
Approval Date: 26 June 2019
Submission Date: 20 May 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 118
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Psychology in Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Race Early Childhood Education Urban Education
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 18:58
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2019 18:58


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