Educators across the United States have struggled with meaningfully yet appropriately addressing race within History and Social Studies lessons at the Early Childhood and Elementary level. Previous research has revealed the importance of these conversations and the benefits that learning accurate history has for students of all racial backgrounds. The literature has also revealed the discomfort and apprehensiveness that educators may feel while confronting and teaching about our nation’s complex and often grim history. The purpose of this research was to analyze teachers’ beliefs and comfortability regarding addressing race in the classroom and how that translates to their teaching practices. It was hypothesized that despite believing in the importance of incorporating race-related discussions in their lessons, educators will not frequently do so due to the lack of comfort, confidence, and support in the area. The participants in this study consisted of eight primarily White, female Elementary and Early Childhood educators currently employed in a public school in Southeastern Massachusetts. The data was gathered through a survey that was administered via email. The results revealed that while the majority of participants generally agreed with incorporating diverse perspectives and race-related conversations within their lessons, they did not always do so. Although indicating feeling supported, some educators felt a lack of comfort and confidence in teaching the full scope of Black History in their classrooms. These results provide insight into the potential discrepancy between teachers’ attitudes and their practices, revealing how it may be targeted through professional development to build confidence in instruction.
Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Dr. Kevin McGowan, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Jo Hoffman, Committee Member
Dr. Renee Somers, Committee Member
McCormack, Shannon. (2022). Black History in the Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms: Teacher Beliefs and Practices. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 552. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/552
Copyright © 2022 Shannon McCormack