Representations in Texas english language arts' textbooks: A critical literature pedagogy study




Figueroa, Jeanette


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This exploratory qualitative study evaluated representations in literary selections in four English Language Arts textbooks for 11th grade adopted for instructional use in the state of Texas for the 2020-21 school year. The selection of this purposive sample represented the most recent adoption for ELA since the 2010 school year. Drawing on the theoretical framework of Critical Theory (Habermas, 1975) and Critical Literature Pedagogy (Borsheim-Black, et al., 2014), this study is rooted in the belief that ideology contributes to the oppression and marginalization of people and groups (Beaudry & Miller, 2016). Since the early 1900s, scholars have reported on the cultural misrepresentations and exclusion of marginalized populations in textbooks and other reading materials used in curriculum instruction (Apple & Christian-Smith, 1991; Hickman & Portfilio, 2012; Williams & Agosto, 2012). With persisting strides towards equitable learning experiences for all students, the evaluation of textbooks provided an opportunity to critically explore the representations in literary selections published between 1970 and 2020. Grounded on a constructivist approach, an emergence of patterns and themes of representations contributed to an understanding of how and to what extent the literary selections support and mirror today’s culturally pluralistic learning environments. The following four themes emerged from an open coding and versus coding method, and thematic analysis: 1) The Journey to Seeking an Identity in the United States; 2) Redefining History and Rebuilding America; 3) Modern-Day Life; and 4) Reconnecting to the Land. Keywords: critical literature pedagogy, textbooks, instructional materials, critical theory


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction




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