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Reading Diversity through Canadian Picture Books

Reading Diversity through Canadian Picture Books: Preservice Teachers Explore Issues of Identity, Ideology, and Pedagogy

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 232
  • Book Info
    Reading Diversity through Canadian Picture Books
    Book Description:

    This collection of original essays explores how preservice teachers from faculties of education across Canada engage with issues of diversity and national identity as represented in children's picture books.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6641-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    As Canadian teacher educators and researchers, we have become increasingly aware of the many geographic, cultural, and linguistic distinctions and similarities that exist across our country. We have questioned how preservice teachers across Canada understand multiculturalism, diversity, and Canadian identity, and how they are prepared to develop culturally sensitive curriculum and pedagogy for a diverse student population. We developed a multi-site, cross-Canada study aimed at illuminating preservice teachers’ sense of national identity and their perceptions of the diverse needs of Canadian students. We were interested to know if preservice teachers in different provinces would be willing to bring into their...

  6. 1 Picture Books and Pedagogy: From Possibilities to Practice
    (pp. 18-40)

    Through images as well as words, diverse picture books can help educators to support and encourage acceptance and understanding among their students, as well as offer an opportunity for learners to see aspects of their own lives represented at school. Picture books also provide an appropriate vehicle for helping students of all ages to become more critically literate, and an increasing number of picture books are now intended for an audience of older readers. Picture books by illustrator/authors such as Shaun Tan (Australia), Anthony Browne (UK), and George Littlechild (Canada) demand the application of sophisticated reading strategies including “critical viewing,”...

  7. 2 Who Does This Text Think I Am? Exploring Questions of Subjectivity through Diverse Picture Books
    (pp. 41-55)

    As teacher educators, we are particularly interested in the potential of contemporary Canadian picture books to engage teachers and students in complex reflections on questions of national identity, diversity, and their own subject positions in the world. In this chapter we focus on the responses of secondary-route preservice teachers at the University of Alberta to the eighty Canadian picture books selected for the national study. We follow the findings explored in chapter 1 by considering how these texts challenged participants’ sense of self and taken-for-granted views about Canadian multiculturalism, and exposed their fears and uncertainties about encountering difference in the...

  8. 3 Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Cultural, Social, and Political Issues in the Canadian West
    (pp. 56-77)

    In the fall of 2007, the Centre for the Study of Canada (CSC) at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), where I was conducting my part of the study at the British Columbian research site, hosted a conference,Still the “Last Best West” or Just Like the Rest? Interrogating Western Canadian Identities. I presented a paper, “Preservice Teachers’ Responses to Representations of the West in Canadian Picture Books,” which drew on preliminary data from the first year of the study. It was the nineteenth-century immigration poster, featured on the pamphlet advertising the conference, that provided the inspiration for this chapter.

    The call...

  9. 4 Prairie Spaces Recreated: Aboriginal Education and Canadian Picture Books
    (pp. 78-95)

    Communities are shaped in predictable ways by their natural environment. A river first connects and then, despite bridges and canoes, divides again. In the small prairie city that was one site for our national research study, the river marks boundaries between east and west, separates the university from “downtown,” and becomes difficult for some to cross. In this city, schools with high proportions of Aboriginal students are on the “west side,” but many of their teachers live on the “east side.”

    Beside the small town in British Columbia where I first taught, the river ran deep in its canyon, fast-flowing...

  10. 5 Imagining the Possibilities: The Pedagogical Potential of Diverse Canadian Picture Books
    (pp. 96-113)

    Assembled on a table adorned with a Hudson Bay blanket were picture books authored by Jean Pendziwol as well as artefacts related toThe Red Sash, a picture book that celebrates the rendezvous of voyageurs and gentlemen in Fort William. Jean invited volunteers to handle or wear artefacts as she explained their roles in the fur trade – a gentleman’s top hat, a beaver pelt, a tin cup, and a red sash. As Jean explained the history of the North West Company, she pointed to a map of the trade routes. History came alive as our visiting author readThe Red...

  11. 6 Very Far Away: Traversing the Distance between Imagination and Actualization
    (pp. 114-134)

    Ivana readTwo Pairs of Shoes(Sanderson;Bayer, 1990) to her kindergarten class. It had been her favourite book from the picture book study. The research was designed to probe preservice teachers’ ideological understandings of Canadian diversity through contemporary Canadian picture books; it also encouraged teachers to adopt the books for use in teaching situations.Two Pairs of Shoestells of a little girl who received two pairs of shoes as gifts. Her mother gave her a pair of shiny black patent shoes, which she proudly showed her grandmother. HerKokum[grandmother] then told her to find the special box...

  12. 7 Connecting Visual Literacy and Cultural Awareness through Picture Book Illustrations
    (pp. 135-154)

    Visual images take many different forms as they characterize the ways in which we interpret our world. It’s important, therefore, for young readers to learn how to read and create meaning from visual images: in the mental construction of a child’s developing literacy, visual images are often the connectors that consolidate and reinforce important concepts in their reading worlds. Furthermore, it’s important that children learn to critically analyse different kinds of images. Using picture books in students’ foundational educational experiences creates opportunities for them to gain a critical understanding of others’ lived worlds as presented through the artistic elements found...

  13. 8 Generative Ways to Promote Political Activity and Social Change with Picture Books
    (pp. 155-173)

    Preservice teachers often begin their education programs with idealism, wanting to “make a difference” in their classrooms and the lives of children they will teach. Consider these statements as to why three preservice teachers want to teach:

    I want to make an influence in [children’s] lives and make them the person they can be and try to make a difference in each one. – Karen

    I want to inspire the way teachers have inspired me. I want to make sure students have someone who wants to inspire them. – Tara

    Well, I like children and I’m really intent on just doing something...

  14. Afterword
    (pp. 174-180)

    In reflecting on the multi-site case studies that constitute this research study, we recognize that professional development in preservice teacher education programs is a complex and dynamic process, and that this process continues into teaching in the kindergarten to grade 12 school system. As literacy teacher educators we need to ask ourselves what priorities we can identify for our literacy courses in relation to subject-area knowledge and to what Santoro (2009) refers to as “multicultural pedagogies” (33). We see diverse Canadian picture books as a portal through which preservice teachers can enter and begin to negotiate the spaces around identity...

  15. Appendix A: Course Data Sources
    (pp. 181-182)
  16. Appendix B: Canadian Picture Books Used in the Research Project
    (pp. 183-198)
  17. References
    (pp. 199-212)
  18. Author Biographies
    (pp. 213-216)
  19. Index
    (pp. 217-222)