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Volume 94, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0360-9170
  • E-ISSN: 1943-2402


Current scholarship documents the importance of language arts teachers creating connections between students’ lives and literacy experiences through practices of critical witnessing wherein teachers witness students’ individual stories of trauma and disrupt marginalization experienced through schooling. This qualitative study of a preservice teacher’s experiences with critical witnessing in an afterschool book club illuminates the challenging and rewarding emotion work that is required of being and becoming a critical witness. Findings suggest that critical witnessing requires emotion work of resisting and challenging assumptions, sitting with discomfort and confusion, and making deliberate choices about exposing vulnerabilities. Further, findings suggest that emotion work can create spaces where historically marginalized students might take significant risks, both in giving voice to their lived experiences and engaging in challenging literacy practices. Recommendations are offered for increasing teachers’ critical emotional knowledge with the goal of leveraging emotion work toward disrupting and creating equitable classrooms.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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