chapter  39
16 Pages

Social Justice Teacher Education

ByMORVA MCDONALD, KENNETH M. ZEICHNER

Increasingly, teacher education programs of all stripes claim to prepare teachers from a social justice perspective. For example, a self-proclaimed liberal teacher education program aims to prepare teachers from a social justice perspective-one in which they become “aware of the ways schools may reproduce hierarchies based on race, class, gender, and sexuality. Awareness should lead to action as teachers embrace their roles as student advocates and active community members.”1 Likewise, a Christian-centered program also aims to prepare teachers to promote justice2 and develop a commitment to “providing a classroom where their students learn about and experience compassion and justice.” This program acknowledges that such an effort requires “students’ commitment, refl ection, discernment and hard work, and above all, the transforming power of God’s spirit.” Although the social justice emphasis in these two programs may not necessarily confl ict, the lack of clarity in the fi eld at large about what constitutes social justice teacher education, and the lack of knowledge regarding the practices that support such an effort make it possible for institutions with differing perspectives, political agendas, and strategies to lay claim to the same vision of teacher preparation.