How do teachers have conversations about death with young children? In this paper, I focus specifically on how teachers might support unplanned conversations that were provoked by children’s literature. In analyzing a series of events in which such conversations occurred, I argue that to do so required going against three conventions in literacy education: close reading, staying on task, and appropriate school talk. I then speak to how teacher educators might prepare teachers for these unexpected but important digressions.

Author Biography

Cara E. Furman

Cara E. Furman, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy education at the University of Maine at Farmington. Prior to this, she was an urban public elementary school teacher. Published in journals such as Curriculum Inquiry, Education and Culture, Educational Theory, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education, and Teachers College Record, her research focuses on teacher development as it intersects with Descriptive Inquiry, inquiry, asset based inclusive teaching, and progressive literacy practices. Having studied both philosophy and education, she integrates qualitative research on classroom practice, teacher research, and philosophy. She is the co-director of the Summer Institute on Descriptive Inquiry and co-leads inquiry groups for local teachers. She can be reached at cara.furman@maine.edu



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