Theses Doctoral

Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Teacher Education Course: Critically Analyzing Preservice Teachers' Reflections and Actions

Jun, Eun Jeong

This qualitative case study explored four early childhood preservice teachers’ experiences and reflections pertaining to a required critical multicultural teacher education course and sought to understand how they navigated student teaching the following academic year. Inquiring into teaching and learning in a critical multicultural education course and seeking to examine possible connections between the course and subsequent enactments of pedagogical practices in student teaching, this study was guided by the questions: How did preservice teachers construct their experiences in a multicultural education course? How did preservice teachers who had previously taken a multicultural education course make sense of and navigate their student teaching experiences? The dataset was comprised of three in-depth individual interviews with four early childhood preservice teachers—two White preservice teachers and two preservice teachers of color; field notes from observations of each preservice teacher’s student teaching placement; three individual assignments written in the multicultural education course; and reflective journals and lesson plans submitted during student teaching. These data were analyzed through a critical pedagogy lens via axial coding.

Findings demonstrated that the required multicultural education course influenced preservice teachers in different ways, conveying the complexity of learning to teach and the intertwined nature of personal and professional identities. Preservice teachers’ experiences in the multicultural education course were deeply informed by their identities, dis/privileges, and representation in the course (in readings, videos of teaching practices, and the identity of the teacher educator).

Preservice teachers’ navigations of student teaching in the following academic year were complex, being informed by a variety of factors, including their racial identity development, their life experiences and prior knowledge about race and difference, the racial identity of their mentor teacher in relation to theirs, and the demographics of their placements. Findings complicate simplistic notions of teaching and learning within the context of initial teacher education, pointing toward the need to recognize and account for the deeply entwined nature of racial identity development and the development of teachers committed to fostering equity and justice. Implications point toward needed transformations in early childhood teacher education.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Souto-Manning, Mariana V.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
October 22, 2020