Family Stories Matter: Critical Pedagogy of Storytelling in Fifth Grade Classrooms
Critical race pedagogues and culturally responsive educators advocate for greater emphasis on the voices of Students of Color that invoke their lived experiences, cultural knowledge, ancestral wisdom, and supportive familial relationships. However, few educators have adequately described how to bring these stories directly into K–12 classrooms. Using participatory action research methodology, we incorporated the counter-stories of Students of Color in the elementary school curriculum. A co-practitioner research group (CPR) including the principal, teachers, a parent, and a community activist planned and held Community Learning Exchanges to share student, teacher, and family stories. As we practiced storytelling in the CPR meetings, we listened for the epiphany moments that demonstrated how storytelling could be an act of critical literacy, described as “listening to witness.” To be successful, the process must be symmetrical; teachers needed to experience storytelling and authentic dialogue before applying the theories of culturally responsive teaching and critical race pedagogies in their classrooms. We then co-designed and implemented an experimental curriculum in 5th-grade classes. The innovation shifted roles in the classrooms; as students and teachers witnessed each other’s stories, they redefined power relationships in the classrooms and the school at large. Listening to witness is a critical component in bringing forth the voices of Students of Color in schools. The findings have implications for anti-racism education as the stories of Communities of Color enable educators to unmask the role of privilege and subtle forms of oppression.
Machado, Moraima. (May 2021). Family Stories Matter: Critical Pedagogy of Storytelling in Fifth Grade Classrooms (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9084.)
Machado, Moraima. Family Stories Matter: Critical Pedagogy of Storytelling in Fifth Grade Classrooms. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, May 2021. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9084. July 30, 2021.
Machado, Moraima, “Family Stories Matter: Critical Pedagogy of Storytelling in Fifth Grade Classrooms” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, May 2021).
Machado, Moraima. Family Stories Matter: Critical Pedagogy of Storytelling in Fifth Grade Classrooms [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; May 2021.
East Carolina University