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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Let’s Talk about Race: Children’s Racial, Ethnic, and National Identification and Teacher’s Socialization Practices

  • Author(s): Hazelbaker, Taylor Rae
  • Advisor(s): Mistry, Rashmita S.
  • et al.

This study used a mixed methods approach to examine children’s racial, ethnic, and national identification in middle childhood, as well as teacher’s socialization practices across two program structures. Participants were racially and ethnically diverse and included 64 3rd grade students and their 8 teachers. Children identified with a variety of racial, ethnic, and national labels – most often selecting American to describe themselves, and frequently referenced family heritage, birthplace, and cultural practices and language to explain their identification as well as other sources (e.g., food, books, and conversations with parents) that informed their identification. Teachers reported using read alouds and incorporating multiple perspectives as strategies for talking about race, ethnicity, and nationality in their classrooms. Further, results suggest more in-depth conversations and lessons about race and ethnicity in the dual language immersion classroom. Thus, middle childhood is an essential time for racial, ethnic, and national identity formation, and teachers are important socialization agents.

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