Frustrated by the challenge of opening teacher education students to a genuine understanding of the social justice concepts vital for creating an equitable learning environment?
Do your students ever resist accepting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer people experience bias or oppression, or that their experiences even belong in a conversation about “diversity,” “multiculturalism,” or “social justice?”
Recognizing these are common experiences for teacher educators, the contributors to this book present their struggles and achievements in developing approaches that have successfully guided students to complex understandings of such threshold concepts as White privilege, homophobia, and heteronormativity, overcoming the “bottlenecks” that impede progress toward bigger learning goals and understandings.
The authors initiate a conversation – one largely absent in the social justice education literature and the discourse – about the common content- and pedagogy-related challenges that social justice educators face in their work, particularly for those doing this work in relative or literal isolation, where collegial understanding cannot be found down the hall or around the corner. In doing so they hope not only to help individual teachers in their practice, but also strengthen social justice teacher education more systemically.
Each contributor identifies a learning bottleneck related to one or two specific threshold concepts that they have struggled to help their students learn. Each chapter is a narrative about individual efforts toward sometimes profound pedagogical adjustment, about ambiguity and cognitive dissonance and resistance, about trial and error, and about how these educators found ways to facilitate foundational social justice learning among a diversity of education students. Although this is not intended to be a “how-to” manual, or to provide five easy steps to enable straight students to “get” heteronormativity, each chapter does describe practical strategies that teachers might adapt as part of their own practice.