Multicultural Children’s Literature: An Instructional Tool for Working with Students with Disabilities in the Inclusive Classroom

By:
Dr. Grace Lappin,
Dr. Renee White-Clark
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The theoretical underpinnings of inclusion require educators to see the world through the eyes of their students with disabilities in order to appropriately address important issues and meet the needs of these students. As an international movement, inclusion aims to raise standards for all students including those with disabilities, from culturally, racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse families, and those living in poverty. As world-wide populations become more diverse effective implementation of full inclusion calls for educators’ to acknowledge students’ various cultural identities that influence teaching and learning. The use of multicultural children’s literature is a valuable tool encouraging acceptance, respect and tolerance, and one that can be used to promote social justice. More importantly, multicultural literature can also facilitate critical literacy in the classroom. Through literary means critical literacy raises students’ consciousness of social issues and stimulates their citizenry responsibilities and roles as advocates for social justice.

This article will address the use of children’s literature to facilitate social justice from a multicultural perspective and explore instructional implications of inclusive classrooms of students from diverse backgrounds. Although the authors’ expertise forces a specific focus on the United States, issues of social justice and multiculturalism worldwide will be addressed. Dr. White-Clark and Dr. Lappin are co-principal authors.


Keywords: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Social Justice, Disability
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Multicultural Children’s Literature


Dr. Grace Lappin

Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, Hunter College, City University of New York
USA

Dr. Grace Lappin completed her studies at Columbia University. Her dissertation was awarded the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Visual Impairments (CEC-DV I) Dissertation of the Year Award in 2003. She is certified by CEC as a Professionally Recognized Special Educator and Clinical Diagnostician, the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) as an Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) and by Foundations for Healthy Family Living (FHFL) as an Instructor of Infant Massage Practice (CIIM). Dr. Lappin has presented internationally on many subject areas including early childhood blindness, family literacy, teachers’ perceptions of diversity and multiculturalism, attachment formation in infants with disabilities, infant massage, and cross-cultural analysis of caregiver interactions; she maintains an active research agenda. In her private practice she addresses issues of child development, attachment, family and sibling support, and developmental variations.

Dr. Renee White-Clark

Associate Professor, Director of Scholarship Teaching and Learning, Child Study Department, St. Joseph's College New York
Patchogue, New York, USA

Dr. White-Clark's experience as an educator spans over 20 years. She has assumed a variety of roles in the field of education including classroom teacher, reading specialist, administrator, and higher education faculty member. In addition to her role as associate professor, she is currently Director of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning. Her experience in urban and suburban school districts is highly respected and prompted her research interests in multiculturalism. She has written and presented on this topic as well as other aspects of diversity on an international basis. As a teacher educator her primary goals are twofold; first, to prepare future teachers and administrators for work with diverse populations; and second, to sensitize her undergraduate and graduate students to implement culturally responsive instruction in today's inclusive classrooms.

Ref: I07P0260