Bagwell College of Education 2020-2021 Projects

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  • 2020-2021 First-Year Scholar: Symphony Williams, integrative studies

    • Still Racist, Sexist, Classist, and Ableist: Analysis of Children's Books

      Children's books are an invaluable source of information and values. They reflect the attitudes in our society about diversity, power relationships among different groups of people, and various social identities (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, and disability). The visual and verbal messages young children absorb from books (and other media) heavily influence their ideas about themselves and others. Depending on the quality of the book, they can reinforce (or undermine) children's affirmative self-concept, teach accurate (or misleading) information about people of various identities, and foster positive (or negative) attitudes about diversity. Children's books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible.

      Therefore, carefully choosing and using quality children's books is an indispensable educational and child-rearing task. It is important to offer young children a range of books about people like them and their family's as well as about people who are different from them and their family. All of the books should be accurate and appealing to young children.

      Fortunately, there are some good anti-bias children's books, which are available as a result of the ongoing activism of many individuals and groups over many years. However, while choices have improved over past decades, the lack of quality multicultural kids books currently being published has frustrated many communities. The number of children of color in the United States continues to rise, but the number of books published by or about people of color stays the same or even decreases.

      This research analyzes the recently published children's books and investigates if the books reproduce or challenge societal biases and prejudices on different groups of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, economic class, disability, and sexual orientation. The goal of the research is to report the current state of children's books regarding its role to teach children anti-bias understanding and, ultimately, to educate children better with anti-bias education.

    • Students will learn every step of conducting research. From formulating research question to conduct a literature review, data collection, data analysis, and writing a conference proposal and a manuscript. Particularly, the student will learn how to analyze children's literature and the verbal and visual messages in the books.
      • Review previous research on children's books
      • Analyze children's books in terms of content and illustration