Critical Self-Reflection as Disruption: A Black Feminist Self-Study
As the PK-12 student population grows more diverse, the teaching population steadfastly continues to be white middle-class women (NCES, 2016). Critical teacher educators understand the importance of preparing pre-service teachers to become culturally responsive and sustaining (CR/S) practitioners by engaging in culturally relevant education (CRE). Critical teacher educators, particularly those of color from historically marginalized groups, can be important advocates in the struggle to strengthen the teaching candidate pool of CR/S practitioners. Building a cadre of teachers, who are poised to decolonize minds and spaces, sustains the work of many teacher educators of color. However, the acts of teaching and learning in most institutions of education are inundated with oppressive norms such as white privilege, xenophobia and anti-blackness. It is this reality in which I, a Black female junior teacher educator, attempt to disrupt normative teaching practices within a special education course. This self-study examined insight derived from a focus group as well as from my self-reflections conducted over the course of two semesters (Spring 2018 to Fall 2018). Using a qualitative methodological approach, the findings indicated tensions between my vulnerable position of being a junior faculty member and my desire to dismantle normative deficit practices through critical self-reflection.
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