ERIC Number: EJ1001520
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Reference Count: 32
Intersecting Realities: A Novice's Attempts to Use Critical Literacy to Access Her Students' Figured Worlds
Saunders, Jane M.
Multicultural Education, v19 n2 p18-23 Win 2012
Research suggests that while students in public schools in the U.S. are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, class, and culture, the pool of prospective teachers is made up largely of White, middle-class women. The demographic imperative indicates that this trend will remain stable for the foreseeable future, reinforcing the necessity of critical multiculturalism as a vital component of the teacher preparation process. By asking novices to examine the institutional practices and hegemonic norms that reproduce inequity in public schools, teacher educators can help develop young teachers as agents of change prior to their entry into urban classrooms. Putting these notions into practice, however, is a daunting task for fledgling teachers, particularly for those completing their apprenticeship in schools that offer minimal flexibility in terms of planning and curricular design. In attempting to document life in schools, one must first acknowledge that schools are foremost institutions with rules and procedures that are produced (and reproduced), rules that often do little to serve those students existing along the margins. To address the competing realities co-existing within these institutional spaces, the scholarship on figured worlds offers a meaningful roadmap for analyzing data. Figured worlds have four characteristics: they are historical worlds in which people are recruited for participation (or willingly enter); they are social realms in which positions of the participants matters; they are socially organized and reproduced; they are peopled by familiar social types developed by the particular worlds' activity. By using this body of work as a lens through which to examine a novice's entry into the profession, it is possible to gain greater clarity about the challenges of negotiating the different realms--and competing realities--of all who labor inside a school's walls. This qualitative case study followed a secondary English/language arts preservice teacher as she completed her final intern and apprentice (student) teaching semesters at a large urban university in the Southwest. In addition to documenting the practical considerations of learning to teach in her content area, this study investigated the preservice teacher's understanding of multiculturalism and her attempts to enact a culturally responsive pedagogy (Gay, 2000). What this article suggests is that certainly positions matter in figured worlds; however, by acknowledging the lived realities of all of those laboring in a classroom and building connections between the differing worldviews and the curriculum, students can become empowered agents of their own, developing literate practices along the way.
Descriptors: Cultural Pluralism, Critical Literacy, Public Schools, Novices, Teacher Educators, Preservice Teachers, Urban Universities, Student Diversity, Educational Trends, Whites, Cultural Awareness, Teacher Education, Teaching Methods, Equal Education, Case Studies, Qualitative Research, English Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, Language Arts, Cultural Differences, Culturally Relevant Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A