Australian Educational Researcher
School of Education
Children’s books play a central role in today’s classrooms. Educators can use children’s literature to promote children’s social and cultural understandings and critical thinking skills. This is particularly important when extending children’s knowledge and understandings of themselves, their identity and those who may differ culturally, socially or historically, thus supporting diversity and inclusion. Further, when diversity is considered, valued, and supported through Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP), outcomes for children from underrepresented backgrounds improve. This paper reports on a study conducted in four early learning settings in Western Australia investigating educators’ practices when sharing diverse literature with young children. This study found in the majority of book sharing in these centres the cultures, backgrounds, life experiences and funds of knowledge of children from underrepresented backgrounds were invisible. Further, educators’ practices were bereft of CRP and likely to demean and confuse those from underrepresented backgrounds and increase all children’s misconceptions of others.
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