Theses Doctoral

Speech and Silence in Chilean Intercultural Teacher Education

Lira, Andrea Cecilia

In this dissertation, I explore and continue to ponder the work of intercultural teacher education in Chile in a context of ongoing and varied violence over territory. I analyzed how teacher educators talk about their work and looked at how the programs address or not, the context of violence and Mapuche resistance. In addition, how the programs present themselves in different documents to see what questions arise from this exploration of teacher education discourse.I asked:

1. In what ways do teacher educators talk about intercultural education?
2. In what ways do program documents, in two teacher education programs discuss intercultural education?

I am not trying to provide answers on how to improve teacher education, rather to provoke, inform, generate, and open questions about teacher education in settler contexts.

In Chile, the struggles over land for the Mapuche are ongoing and a constant focus of governments and industry that continually label and persecute this struggle as acts of terrorism. This conflict is part of the everyday lives of students and teachers across the area where the Mapuche claim ancestral land.

In teacher education there is an increasing amount of scholarship around land education (Calderon, 2014), and place-based education that focuses on bringing, alternately, place, land and water, and territory into the conversations of teacher education. In the various articles and debates about this focus, there are critiques of the ways in which earlier scholarship engaged with place without considering how it came to be occupied through settler violence, as well as with the lack of reflection of indigenous communities in that same land. In my research, I build on this work to examine the work of intercultural teacher education through two theoretical frameworks, settler colonialism, and Foucauldian theory of power/knowledge and discourse to think through this context. I used a case study methodology and interviewed nine teacher educators from two different programs in intercultural teacher education. One program is one of two fully intercultural programs and the other a branch from one of the two most prestigious universities in Chile. I also collected documents and kept a multimodal researcher journal with photos, descriptions, feelings, memos, and other items like news, op-eds, Facebook posts from Mapuche communities.

I analyzed my data through three conceptual frames, place, education sovereignty, and personhood. In my analysis of place, I considered the context of intercultural education and examined how public and government-sponsored areas communicate an ideal of peaceful coexistence between two cultures, and how, while I was there, and before, and since, this discourse is interrupted and resisted by Mapuche communities. I also analyze the architecture of the programs and the ways on which teacher educators talk about place in their work to look at the ways in land, territory, and place are in tension in the work of intercultural teacher education in this specific context. On education sovereignty, I examined my interviews and documents from the lens of indigenous education sovereignty and from the concept of sovereignty as necropolitics. In the ways in which teacher educators talk about their work there are differences regarding the ways in which they frame why they teach their students what they teach them and for what purpose.

The Mapuche teacher educators, across programs, express ideas of understanding their context and history of dispossession and the work of intercultural education as survivance, through reculturation, language, and self-determination. In my analysis of personhood and the ways teacher educators talk about teaching their students, I looked at how the focus on identity relates to ideas of diversity and inclusion that are related to the concerns some Non-Mapuche professors have about indigenous radicalism or supremacy. I traced these ways of talking about their work to the notion of culture as a way of classifying otherness to their pedagogical approaches to teaching diversity by looking at the Mapuche communities as those who are the most different. I explored their ways of talking about their work through the lens of productive inclusion, and how their concern over the inclusion of newly-arrived, migrant families can be deployed to erase the reculturation, self-determination of indigenous intercultural education.

This research will contribute to the literature in Chile regarding intercultural teacher education as well to broader conversations about including settler colonial perspectives in teacher education in general. I hope that it will also help teacher educators and new teachers have an increased sense of the assumptions of intercultural education discourse in their processes of education as well as inform discussions regarding what these discourses do in initial teacher education.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Lesko, Nancy Louise
Miller, Janet
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
November 3, 2021