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Making Connections: Anti-racist Pedagogy and Social Justice

Author(s): Theresa Montaño, Anne Powell, Faye Peitzman, Jody Priselac, Camille Wilson Cooper, Eloise Lopez Metcalfe, and Leslie Kapner


“Making Connections: Anti-racist Pedagogy and Social Justice Teacher Education” is a chapter in a book we are writing called, Side by Side: The Successes and Challenges of Preparing Urban EducatorsSide By Side is a collection of cases written by the faculty of UCLA’s Teacher Education Program. The cases address struggles we faced in our own practice, and struggles we believe others will share. Our hope is that our book will create more national dialogue among teacher educators about the practices of teacher education. The case, "Making Connections," we share here describes a three-day retreat whose goal was to improve  the UCLA Teacher Education Program faculty’s ability to facilitate the “hard conversations” they engage in with their graduate students—conversations about race, class, language and sexual orientation that inevitably bring to surface deeply rooted beliefs and emotions. The retreat’s dual goal was to expand faculty members’ repertoires of facilitation strategies so that they, themselves, could effectively work with their graduate students as difficult issues surfaced. They also wanted this way of negotiating hard topics to serve as a model their students could draw from. Clearly, difficult topics in K-12 classrooms should neither be whitewashed nor ignored, and student teachers need guidance in developing their own skill set.

As the case unfolds, it becomes clear that this enterprise of critical inter-group dialogue isn’t one to be taken for granted and can’t be rushed. What happens when teacher education faculty dedicated to social justice engage in dialogue with their own positionality center stage? What happens when respectful, collegial colleagues meet one another in a way that spotlights the intersection of personal and professional identities? In this case, the story is one of colleagues torn by matters of race and the accompanying issues of positionality and privilege.   

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020TEPEduPP011.pdf — PDF document, 582Kb

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