Teacher Education, Neoliberalism, and Social Justice

Authored by: Christine E. Sleeter

Handbook of Social Justice in Education

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805859270
eBook ISBN: 9780203887745
Adobe ISBN: 9781135596149


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Social justice in teacher education can be conceptualized as being comprised of three strands: (1) supporting access for all students to high-quality, intellectually rich teaching that builds on their cultural and linguistic backgrounds; (2) preparing teachers to foster democratic engagement among young people; and (3) preparing teachers to advocate for children and youth by situating inequities within a systemic sociopolitical analysis. These strands resonate with dilemmas that Delpit (1995) discussed regarding teaching other people’s children. For communities that have been historically subordinated, gaining access to the dominant culture of power is of paramount importance. Reflected in the first strand above, teachers must be able to teach such children effectively so they can master that culture. At the same time, as the third strand suggests, the culture of power must also be critiqued, particularly for processes by which oppressive relationships are perpetuated. All of this must involve dialogue—the second strand—in which those who occupy positions of privilege, including teachers and teacher educators, learn to listen to, hear, and work with those who do not.

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