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Elementary Education and the 2016 Election: Navigating Politically Divisive Rhetoric with Young Learners

Wed Nov 28 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm
Columbus G, Ballroom Level, East Tower

Kathryn Obenchain, Purdue University

Will Donald Trump Knock Our School Down if He Doesn't Like It?: Creating and Teaching Civics Curriculum in Contentious Times

Discussant:Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Michigan State University

This study focuses on the experiences of creating and teaching locally-relevant civics curriculum at two different elementary schools, one of which served primarily Latinx-identifying students. Findings indicate that the contentious political climate that followed the 2016 election influenced what happened with teachers and students at each school.
William Toledo, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


This campaign has become X-rated: Exploring Elementary Teacher Decision Making and Student Civic Learning in an Election Year


This qualitative multicase study explores elementary teacher decision making and student civic learning during the 2016 presidential election. Findings suggest that the teachers' personal beliefs regarding the aims and purposes of civic education was a primary influence on student learning. The increasing controversy during the campaign also lead both teachers to ultimately limit their instruction.
Alice Sullivan, University of Texas at Austin


Addressing Contentious Politics and Political Trauma with Elementary Students


In this case study of an exemplary fifth grade teacher during the 2016 Presidential Election, we explore how controversial political issues, particularly issues that implicate student identities, can be broached in the upper elementary grades. Our findings offer support for the teaching of difficult subjects in the elementary grades.
Katherina Payne, University of Texas at Austin; Wayne Journell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Moving Beyond Civic Rituals: Elementary Students' Understanding of Civic Life in the 2016 Election


This qualitative study conducted with a group of third graders explored how young children understood their r