Contradictions in Teaching: A Collective Case Study of Teachers' Social Justice Literacies in Middle and Secondary English Classrooms Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Boyd, Ashley Summer
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • In recent years, discourse in education related to issues of equity has broadened to include an emphasis on social justice. This phrase refers to both a critical stance and a propensity to act for social change. As part of this movement, teacher educators strive to facilitate the development of teachers who are cognizant of their own backgrounds and those of their students, are critical consumers of knowledge, and are committed to culturally relevant pedagogies. Yet, the literature on social justice in discipline-specific areas, notably English Education, offers few models of effective social justice educators. This study uses a collective case design to investigate the social justice literacies of three individual teachers. Deductive coding is used to determine teachers' strengths in practice, including their conceptions of students and use of multicultural and sociopolitical content. Findings in each case present the contradictions that emerge within teachers' attempts to implement social justice in their classrooms, and these serve to complicate the image of how social justice appears in context. Findings across cases highlight the importance of teacher biography, particularly identity and experience, the struggle for authentic and critical collaboration in schools, and the challenges of cultivating students as change agents. Implications of the study suggest that teacher educators must find ways to uncover the myriad biographical experiences of preservice candidates and to incorporate reflection on them in meaningful ways. Additionally, we must work to provide field experiences in varied cultural contexts so that preservice teachers can better work with students, especially those from non-dominant populations. Furthermore, we need to offer opportunities for critical collaboration both within field experiences and in the university context. Finally, for English preservice teachers specifically, we must model for both deconstructive and reconstructive pedagogies with classroom texts for preservice candidates, so that they can begin to discern ways to cultivate students as change agents. Ultimately, the findings from the study suggest that embodying social justice literacies is dependent on context, teacher, and student, yet the conclusions across cases also suggest vital spaces where English teacher educators can impact future practice in the field.
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  • In Copyright
  • Glazier, Jocelyn
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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