In this paper, the authors – a preservice teacher (PST) and a teacher educator – consider how teacher education might better prepare PSTs to use picture books to facilitate difficult conversations in elementary classrooms. They share missed opportunities from their own experiences in a fourth-grade fieldwork classroom and in a graduate-level elementary literacy methods course where they felt unprepared to respond to students’ comments about “controversial” topics. They reimagine how these experiences might have been transformed to be more educative for PSTs, first by considering how they could have responded more thoughtfully in the moment and then by thinking about how they could have built upon these particular moments to deepen PST learning. Lastly, authors share ideas for how current assignments in a literacy methods course could be revised to more intentionally support PSTs to use picture books to engage with content that may be difficult to address with elementary learners.
Ahmed, K. S.,
What Do You Do When You Don't Know How to Respond? Supporting Pre-Service Teachers to Use Picture Books to Facilitate Difficult Conversations.
Occasional Paper Series,