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Title page for ETD etd-07142015-103303

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Wood, Summer Denise
URN etd-07142015-103303
Title What is critical?: An analysis of small group critical conversations with African American second grade males
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Deborah Rowe Committee Chair
Kevin Leander Committee Member
Robert Jimenez Committee Member
Tony Brown Committee Member
  • reader response
  • black males
  • literacy
  • critical literacy
  • literature circles
  • elementary
Date of Defense 2015-06-30
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation examines the ways in which six second grade African American males engaged in critical conversations. This qualitative study addresses three primary research questions: 1) What is the nature of small group literature discussions focused on issues of power and privilege?; 2) How are students working to collectively build critical knowledge in a small group literature discussion focused on issues of power and privilege?; and 3) In what ways do issues of racial identity emerge among a small group of African American males participating in a discussion about race, power, and privilege? In order to address these three research questions, data was collected using the following methods: interviews, audio and video recordings, and field notes.

A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data, and results suggested that students who participated in the small group discussion sessions: 1) primarily discussed major themes the text inspired; 2) used an argumentation framework as a way of discussing critical topics and building knowledge; and 3) leveraged their own cultural histories and racial identities as tools for interpreting a major historical event.

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