Invisible Visible Minorities: The Experiences of Racial Minority Teacher Candidates on Practicum and in Teacher Education Programs
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The experiences of racial minority teacher candidates are often unheard in teacher education programs considering that the student population is increasingly diversifying and the teaching population does not reflect this dynamic. In a country that is internationally known for its multicultural practices, it is important to examine the experiences of racial minority teacher candidates in order to gain a better understanding of the ways in which issues of race and power persist in our education system. This qualitative study documents the experiences of a small group of racial minority teacher candidates who recently completed post baccalaureate teacher education programs at universities in Ontario, Canada. With a particular focus on their practicum placements, the five participants were interviewed in order to bring to light their experiences of working and living in an education system that sustains, what has been called by critics, “a culture of whiteness.” Over the course of the interviews, the five racial minority teacher candidates reveal that the often covert and overt forms of racism are systemic to the education system. It became obvious that in many cases, the participants did not consciously recognize the racism they encountered while working, living, and learning within the education system. Considering a culture of whiteness that is endemic in schools, power relations were further jeopardized and imbalanced by their race. Despite this, the participants also exhibited forms of resistance to the Eurocentric culture that is so deeply entrenched in the education system. Through an investigation of these themes, this thesis offers implications for future racial minority teacher candidates and anti-racist educators.