Theses Doctoral

Who We Are and How We Do: Portraits of Pedagogical Process and Possibility When Teaching and Learning About Race and Racism in Social Studies Classrooms

Villarreal, Christina

This dissertation study documented and analyzed the key curricular and pedagogical features of three secondary social studies teachers who center issues of race and racism in their classrooms by examining their decision-making processes and the impact of relevant lived experiences on their practice. I utilized portraiture methodology, which included ethnographic field notes, document analysis, interviews, and impressionistic records to document and analyze the key curricular and pedagogical features of each teacher. Data were collected during the 2016-2017 school year across three racially diverse social studies classrooms located in southern New England. My findings were that each teacher treated race and racism as central objects of historical inquiry and enacted a set of curricular and pedagogical moves that were guided by a combination of what they know (technical pedagogy) and who they are (relational pedagogy). I refer to the relevant lived experiences that give shape and form to each teacher’s practice as their pedagogical origin stories. This study has implications for teacher education and underscores the importance of focusing on technical and relational curricular and pedagogical development in novice and veteran social studies teachers. Teacher education programs need to focus on preparing preservice teachers to recognize and, at times, reconcile the relationships between our respective origin stories and the curricular and pedagogical decisions and moves that we make in classrooms when we teach about issues of race and racism.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Teaching of Social Studies
Thesis Advisors
Schmidt, Sandra
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 1, 2019