Teacher Candidates' Perspectives on Teacher Education and Critical Multiculturalism

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Lowe, Amber Kathleen
Multiculturalism , Teacher Education , Critical Multiculturalism , Diversity , Social Justice , Discourse , Multicultural Education , Teacher Candidates
This research is grounded in my observation that we live in a society that is racist, sexist, classist, heterosexist, able-ist, and oppressive in other ways for a variety of groups and individuals outside of the dominant norm. Schools functions as sites of reproduction that work to maintain the status quo through the reproduction of racist, sexist, classist, and heterosexist language and discourse (among others) that maintain the normalcy of oppressive behaviour. However, in as much as schools may reproduce inequalities, they could equally well produce possibilities for equal and just relations in society. In many ways, schools are contradictory places where the dynamics of reproduction and production are simultaneously at work. The question becomes one of how to encourage and nurture the possibility of schools to become sites of struggle over oppressive relations in society. Critical multicultural theory has been proposed as one possible answer to this question. While critical multicultural education understands schooling as a site of social reproduction, it is also believed that schools can work to challenge the inequality engendered by the process of social reproduction by educating students about the dynamics of oppression and privilege. Schools are, thus, understood as sites of possibility, where the normative and common sense understanding of society’s current oppressive relations are deconstructed and critiqued. In this work, I use critical multicultural theory to focus on the role of teacher education in the creation of new possibilities for schooling. The purpose of this research is to examine new possibilities for teacher education by making problematic the normative discourse of a university teacher education program and its implication for critical multicultural teaching. As such, this research will deconstruct the dominant discourse in a Faculty of Education at a mid-size Canadian university through an examination and analysis of the perspectives of current teacher candidates; examine how the discourses in teacher education work to constrain and limit the possibility of critical multicultural education; consider the pedagogical challenges of a critical approach to multicultural education; and provide new possibilities for teacher education and, in particular, critical multicultural teacher education.
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