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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


MARTIN, Adrian D.. The Agentic Capacities of Mundane Objects for Educational Equity: Narratives of Material Entanglements in a Culturally Diverse Urban Classroom. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2019, vol.8, n.1, pp.86-100. ISSN 2221-4070.

Research on teachers' professional practices to facilitate equity and social justice has often focused on pedagogical approaches or dispositions aligned with this aim. Less attention has been given to how interactions with material contexts, tools, or resources can also contribute towards such a purpose. This article reports on a study that sought to investigate the ways material resources served as a vehicle to promote social change and educational equity in a culturally and linguistically diverse early childhood classroom. The study reports on objects from the classroom of Valentina, a mid-career Latina preschool teacher in an urban context. Data sources were multiple observations of Valentina's teaching, audio-recorded and transcribed interviews, lesson plans, and reflections on her practice. Employing a new materialist theoretical lens, analysis suggests that the micro-politics of classroom activity reflect inter/intra-actions with myriad tools (i.e., objects) with the agentic capacities to advance educational equity. Classroom objects were chiefly employed to promote student learning. Nonetheless, they were also repurposed, both by Valentina and by her students, in ways that highlighted the objects' agentic capacities. Recommendations for future research on objects are provided.

Keywords : urban education; new materialism; early childhood; objects; social justice.

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