Change Agents: Empowering White Female Preservice Teachers Through Dialogue and Counter-Narrative
Laughter, Judson Crandall
This dissertation represents an attempt to uncover, understand, and unmake the structure of racism and its place in Master Narratives of education. This dissertation presents a counter-narrative to Master Narratives of meritocracy, Whiteness, and monologue by addressing two primary research questions: (1) What might dialogic teacher education that prepares a teacher to see the classroom as a site for social change look like? and (2) How might I, as a teacher educator and dialogue facilitator, develop teachers to see the classroom as a site for social change? I define the Social Context (Chapter 2) of this project’s counter-narrative by defining Master Narratives of Meritocracy. I continue with a Theoretical Context (Chapter 3) that describes methods and tools for countering Master Narratives of Whiteness. I situate this project in a larger Academic Context (Chapter 4), describing how other researchers in the field of Multicultural Teacher Education are combating racism in education. I continue with this project’s Methodological Context (Chapter 5), a detailed description of how this counter-narrative arose from a dialogue circle with five preservice teachers, thereby countering Master Narratives of Monologue. In Chapters 6 and 7, I recount a narrative that runs counter to these Master Narratives, a counter-narrative that is relational, critical of Whiteness, and dialogic; this narrative includes stories of the participants and myself and our individual racial identity developments, as well as the story of our dialogue circle as we investigated race and racism, ways racism appears in society, and methods for fighting racism in the P-12 classroom. In Chapter 8, I conclude with implications for theory by problematizing the conceptions of colorblindness and stereotypes. In the area of practice, I propose a possible foundation for talking about race with preservice teachers and provide possible resources for learning to dialogue. In the area of research, I problematize the conception of homogeneity among White female preservice teachers and the possible influence diversity in the classroom has on a teacher’s willingness to address social justice issues.