“Becoming” a Teacher
by Mary Louise Gomez , Rebecca W. Black & Anna-Ruth Allen - 2007
Background/Context: In this article, we trace the development of a prospective secondary science teacher as she begins to examine her identity as a White person. We explore how the social languages of her teacher education program challenge, intermingle, and blend with ones she brought to the program from her midwestern small-town childhood and a professional life in science.
Research Design: In this case study, we deploy Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin’s notion of ideological becoming to trace her development from program entry through four semesters of program participation. We show how various fieldwork, course, and volunteer experiences challenge the ways she talks and thinks about herself, her students, teaching, and the roles that race/ethnicity and culture play in these relationships.
Research Questions: We ask: How does this prospective teacher understand her identity as a White person? What relationship does she understand that this identity has to teaching students who are from many different cultural backgrounds? What kinds of dilemmas arise for a prospective teacher when she begins to understand who she is as a White person? How does she negotiate them? And what role does her teacher education program play in encouraging and supporting her negotiations?
Conclusions/Recommendations: The article concludes by considering what practicing teachers and university teacher educators might do to support new teachers who have begun to question their identities and those of their students, and to craft pedagogy to meet students’ needs. Included in the recommendations are considerations for the location of classroom placements for prospective teachers; the nurturing of collaborative relationships between classroom teachers and university teachers; teacher education program pedagogy that promotes critical inquiry into issues of race; and the development of communities of prospective teachers who can struggle with such issues as their identities as racialized beings.
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