Emotions: More Than A “Feeling”


by Mary Louise Gomez & Amy Johnson Lachuk - 2019

What are emotions; and how do prospective and practicing teachers’ frame and understand them? How may teachers understand their own identities and those of their students as composed of intersectional dimensions of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, language background, abilities, and sexual orientation? What outcomes may occur as a result of these understandings? How may teacher educators respond when faced with these interpretations? Addressing these questions, we interrogate how emotions experienced by teachers influence how we see ourselves—our effectiveness; our relationships with students and families; and the curricula, pedagogies, and assessments we employ.

We draw on our own experiences as teacher educators, as well as extant research, to explore answers to these questions. Studies across diverse fields indicate that emotions are more than feelings or uncontrollable responses to situations; rather, they are socially and culturally constructed and agreed upon among people. As teacher educators, what intrigues us most about this research on emotion are the implications it has for creating culturally responsive and socially just teachers—teachers who are able to effectively teach youth who come from racial, cultural, class, and linguistic backgrounds different from their own.

We appeal to scholars from various traditions—philosophy (Andrews, 2014; Boler, 1999; Levinas, 1972; Nussbaum, 2001), literature (Morrison, 2017), cultural theory (Ahmed, 2014, 2012), composition and rhetoric (Micciche, 2007), neuroscience (Feldman Barrett, 2017; Sapolsky, 2017), narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), and teacher education (Britzman, 2003)—to question and elaborate what the term “others” may mean to teachers. Our twin goals are to demonstrate how often prospective and practicing teachers employ dichotomies of race, ethnicity, social class, language background/s, ability, and sexual orientation, among other dimensions of identity, to distinguish themselves from students and their families, and to begin exploring how teacher educators may provide alternatives to such imposed views.



In her classic text Practice Makes Practice, Britzman (2003) eloquently laid out the emotional, social, psychological, and educational complexities inherent in learning to teach. Writing that learning to teach is a “struggle for voice,” Britzman argued that it is the alchemy of emotions, biography, and institutional structure that constitute the struggle for voice in learning to teach (p. 20). For Britzman, “the teacher’s identity emerges from a conflict in and with authority, imagination, and flurries of autobiography that seem to return when least expected” (p. 20). She wrote that a teacher’s voice comes from the “outside in,” as teachers struggle to balance their background experiences with “their idealism, their need to experiment with curriculum, and even their hopefulness that they will reach the unreachable or forgotten student” (p. 20), while coping with the “disappointment and even a shock at the difficulty of educating others, of learning authority, of trying to explain concepts that seem clear to the teacher but puzzling to the student” (p. 21). She wrote that for those learning to teach, “one of the great surprises . . . is how deeply emotional an experience it is and how quickly one’s emotions become fantasies of rescue and revenge”:

How easily one can move from elation and hope to embarrassment and blame, from feeling all is in control to becoming undone, all within a moment’s notice. How easily one can become lonely in a crowded room or suddenly wish for solitude or to be left alone. In the emotional life of a teacher, how easy it is to hate and love students, colleagues, and the self, to wish a student would just disappear or that an ungrateful student would, out of the blue, become appreciative of the teacher’s efforts and send a letter of gratitude. . . . There is a hope that teaching techniques will stabilize the efforts of teaching, guide classroom control, and so techniques will become experience that can eventually compose a sort of warning system in the technology of teaching. . . . Yet continually one bumps up against these wishes as they suddenly dissolve into so many disappointments, missed opportunities, failed attempts. And there is a sense that all of these thoughts and affects should remain hidden, lest the teacher appear too emotional, uncertain or vulnerable. (Britzman, 2003, p. 21)

Britzman (2003) argued that what makes emotions so significant in teaching is that they “cast a shadow on . . . experience,” making it difficult “to make a mistake and even more difficult to make from this mistake a work of learning” (p. 21). Over the course of our work as teacher educators, we are seeing an emotional intensification within aspiring, novice, and preservice teachers with whom we work. As standardized certification portfolios like the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) (Au, 2013; Dover, Schulz, Smith, & Duggan, 2015) have entered into teacher education programs, preservice teachers are finding that they have less and less room to make and learn from mistakes in the classroom. With the focus on practice, practice, practice, preservice teachers voice to us anxiety-filled concerns over finding little room for error or little time for addressing the emotional roller coaster of learning to teach. With these concerns in mind, we ask: What is emotion? How are emotions constructed and narrated in processes of learning to teach? How do teachers’ emotions frame the ways they understand their teaching contexts and students?

WHAT IS EMOTION?: SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CONSTRUCTIONS

Philosopher Megan Boler (1999) contended that “emotions define how and what one chooses to see, and conversely, not see” (pp. 176–177). Investigating such “emotional selectivity” (p. 180) and how emotions influence what teachers choose to acknowledge or ignore in their curricular and instructional decision-making is imperative for teacher education programs, particularly those committed to social justice and critical multicultural approaches. It has long been identified that collective reflection or “critical inquiry regarding [our] values and most cherished beliefs” (Boler, 1999, p. 176) is imperative for understanding what grounds preservice and in-service teachers’ interpretations of so-called “others” and their behaviors. Through such collective inquiry, teachers may recognize how their understandings have been shaped by the historical, geographical, and social contexts in which they are immersed. Boler (1999) understood emotions as collaboratively created, as they are fashioned by and circulated among individuals. Over time, as teachers are supported in processes of inquiry, we hope that teacher educators and teachers may avoid what Boler (1999) called “binary traps of innocence or guilt” and can move toward greater tolerance of ambiguity about what is right and wrong (p.187).

Boler’s work has been critical in helping us understand how emotions frame instructional decision-making. Drawing on a body of work that asserted that emotions are fashioned and named by people— rather than uncontrollable responses to which we are subject—Boler helped us understand the urgency of a teacher education curriculum that supports unpacking emotions. Composition scholar Laura Micciche (2007) argued for a similar understanding of emotions, stating that emotions are more than simply feelings. Micciche asserted that emotions are located within our bodies, are nested within the contexts where we reside and move about, and are part of the cultures in which we are situated. Micciche contended that emotions are “experienced within and between people or relationally . . . in the context of social life” (p. 11), serve to “bind[s] us together” as well as pull us apart (p. 28), and are produced through “collisions of contact” with one another (p. 50).

For cultural studies theorist Sara Ahmed (2014), persons cannot avoid what she called “doing emotion[s]," because they occur everywhere and are “social and cultural practices” (p.9) that are “intertwined with all that we say, think, write, know, withhold, remember, and wish to forget” (p. 105). In other words, emotions are all around us and cannot be avoided. Ahmed also argued that emotions “move, stick, and slide” and we with them (p. 14). She referred to the “stickiness” of emotions, or what gives them their ability to adhere to one another and to particular persons as they move about (pp. 194–195). Ahmed saw emotions as circulating among bodies, propelled socially in relation to individuals, and fiercely attaching themselves to some, but not all, bodies, depending on social, geographical, and historical contexts. In other words, contexts shape the ways various individuals and groups interpret one another in different places and times, such as whether or not an individual is deemed dangerous or valorous. Likewise, an artifact or tool may be viewed as neutral, valuable, or harmful, depending on its location in time, its place, and the interactions among people around its construction and use.

Neuroscience corroborates such a view of emotions. Feldman Barrett (2017) acknowledged the role of culture in arguing how our brains work, asserting that emotions are a “social reality” and products of interactions among people (p. 134). She contended that emotions are dependent upon groups of humans (at minimum) tacitly agreeing that a concept exists, naming it something like “anger” or “happiness,” and describing what this might look and feel like. None of this requires explicit consensus, a vote, or acquiring naming rights. Rather, Feldman Barrett (2017) stated, this process is performed over time and in implicit agreement among people. She said that “emotion categories . . . are made real through collective intentionality. To communicate to someone you are angry, both of you need to share an understanding of ‘Anger,’ for example” (p. 135). In other words, she asserted that individuals require a concept of what an emotion may be in order to experience that particular emotion. Such concepts are passed from person to person and from one generation to another within a cultural group.

Martha C. Nussbaum (2001), a philosopher, also referenced the “collective” when discussing emotions. She argued that everyone has common goals and desires—for food, shelter, and safety, for example—that require us to make context-dependent judgments that are important for our own and others’ well-being over time and across occasions (Nussbaum, 2001, p. 4). She argued that to nurture the development of our humanity in contemporary times, we must attend to three capacities as people: (a) critical examination of ourselves and our beliefs; (b) viewing ourselves as persons linked to all other individuals; and (c) developing our narrative imagination, or understanding the emotions and desires of persons located in a particular context. Nussbaum (2001) believed that locating one’s self in another’s place is required for the emotion of empathy, but in order to feel compassion, one must also have a sense of “one’s own vulnerability or misfortune” and to be “willing to entertain the thought that this suffering person might be me” (p. 91). In a point we will return to later regarding differences of understandings between racial and ethnic groups—particularly those of White teachers and students of color—Nussbaum summarized:

Compassion . . . promotes an awareness of our common vulnerability. It is true that human beings are needy, incomplete creatures who are in many ways dependent on circumstances beyond their control of the possibility of well-being. . . . In a compassionate response to the suffering of another, one comprehends that being prosperous or powerful does not remove one from the ranks of needy humanity. (Nussbaum, 2001, p. 91)

Regardless of the social or institutional authority of our position, or the racial, ethnic, or gender identities we inhabit, we can strive to comprehend the concerns of another individual and respond with care for them. Likewise, they can reciprocate. Together, we can collaborate in developing emotional lives that sustain and support each other.

Another example of the importance of context in experiencing and understanding emotions has been developed in the field of narrative studies by Molly Andrews (2014), who told a story of magicians and their enactment of the “trick” of sawing a woman in half. Andrews recounted how for many years, this trick was staged using a young man, but in 1921, magicians began to use women in this “demonstration.” She contended that audiences were, in a sense, “ready” to believe that women could be sawed in half because “magic is indeed a product of a particular moment in history; a magic trick only ‘works’ if it can speak to the popular imagination, and this imagination is always contextually situated” (Andrews, 2014, p. 20). In this case, women’s suffrage had shown that women could indeed accomplish what had previously been thought of as men’s work, and, in the case of being a bloodless victim of a trick, were successful at what had previously been interpreted as a man’s job. In the case of sawing a woman in half, a particular time and place enabled viewers to experience a thrill, rather than horror or disgust, at this vision.

Andrews (2014) argued that this magic trick is an instance of how an event evokes particular emotions from people in a specific time and place. Andrews offered a critical illustration of how emotions work in our speech, in our bodies, in our actions, and in images we create in certain contexts (Micciche, 2007). Emotions are ubiquitous. We cannot avoid them, but perhaps we can learn about how they are generated and what we can do about their outcomes.

Such studies across diverse and discrete fields support an emotional turn in social science and scientific research that indicates that emotions are more than feelings or uncontrollable responses to situations. Rather, emotions are socially and culturally constructed and agreed upon between persons. Emotions frame how individuals experience and interpret their contexts and their lives. As teacher educators, what intrigues us most about this research on emotion is the implications it poses for work in creating culturally responsive and socially just teachers—teachers who are able to effectively teach youth who come from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds from their own. As Robert M. Sapolsky (2017), a neuroscientist, indicated, our understandings of how persons who are in conflict (or potential conflict) with one another may decrease their group prejudices through what is known as “sustained intergroup contact” (p. 626). Sapolsky (2017) discussed a research project in which meta-analyses of 500 studies, with 250,000 participants, showed beneficial outcomes from increasing contact between racially different groups. For example, a 1957 study of the U.S. Merchant Marine showed that the more trips White merchant mariners took with African American mariners, the more positive their racial attitudes became. A similar pattern was found with White police officers who spent increasing amounts of time with African American officers.

Sapolsky (2017) also recounted a more recent meta-analysis that found that “the beneficial effects [of sustained contact between groups] typically involve both more knowledge about and more empathy for the Thems. [emphasis added] . . .Contact between a traditionally dominant group and a subordinate minority group usually decreases prejudice more in the former; the latter have higher thresholds” (p. 627). Additionally, discussing the power of the “contact” with an “other” and its potential positive outcomes, Sapolsky (2017) told the story of a Black South African member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, who, through interviews, had prolonged contact with a White supremacist police officer, Eugene de Kock. De Kock had been a commander of an elite police unit that committed many brutal murders of Black activists. Over time, and most troubling to her, Gobodo-Madikizela became increasingly empathetic toward de Kock, who was then serving a life sentence for his crimes. This example, too, shows the power of prolonged contact with someone considered an other to oneself.

Sapolsky told these stories of reduced conflict to help his audience understand both that conflicts may be decreased between those who are seen as “us” and “them” as well as how it may be done. Like Feldman Barrett (2017), Sapolsky saw some of the most profound understandings about human behavior as cultural, or as a combination of cultural and biological dimensions. Elaborating on such interpretations, he wrote, "It can take discipline, hard work, and willpower to accomplish either something wondrous or something appalling. ‘Doing the right thing’ always is context dependent” (Sapolsky, 2017, p. 673). Teacher educators who are committed to equity and social justice imagine how they might deploy Sapolsky’s ideas of increased contact with others in order to reduce new teachers’ stress and anxiety about persons unlike themselves in dimensions of identity. We also may consider how to provide diverse contexts in which new teachers can interact with students, families, and communities over time and in varied locations.

UNDERSTANDING OUR TEACHING CONTEXTS AND STUDENTS: TEACHING THOSE WE SEE AS “OTHERS”

Often, it is images of ourselves and those we consider others that evoke emotions. Toni Morrison (2017) argued that racism serves the dual purposes of distinguishing and separating persons from those perceived as unlike them, while simultaneously highlighting a particular group’s prominence. Classification systems have been developed that elevate “us” and denigrate “them,” thus confirming one group’s intrinsic worth. Morrison (2017) called this idea of “one’s own valued and enshrined difference . . . [the] racialized rank [of Whites]” (p. 30). In naming these enshrined differences as such, Morrison made clear that race as a mechanism to sort, order, and value particular people and ideals has remained in place across historical time, geographic spaces, and multiple, varied occasions, and has been deployed to serve different purposes in various periods.

Perhaps, as educators investigate teaching with regard for race and other dimensions of identity, they might take their cue from Ahmed’s (2012) term “space invaders” (p. 13)—that is, those who investigate spaces that are not necessarily allocated to them and inquire what is happening there and how it affects its inhabitants. As space invaders, educators interrogate who they are as teachers—in their race, ethnicity, gender, social class, ability, and language background/s and as people with sexual orientation. Such interrogation is committed to unpacking notions of us/them and we/other; understanding what exactly constitutes the other is imperative for doing such critical work.

How might we unpack how we see the other and the consequences of these understandings? One idea comes from Kapuscinski (2008), an international journalist who interviewed people from many nations and was struck by the similarities among them, regardless of where they were from or their social class, racial or ethnic identities, or occupations. To understand these commonalities, he drew on the philosopher Levinas (1972), writing that each person is two intertwined—one is like all of us, containing joy and sorrow, hunger and pain, while the second “overlaps and is interwoven with the first, is a person as bearer of racial features and as bearer of culture, beliefs, and convictions” (Kapuscinski, 2008, pp. 14–15). He argued that these are not fixed categories but are characterized by “dynamism, mobility, variability and differences in intensity, depending on the external context, the demands of the current moment, the expectations of the environment or even one’s mood or stage of life” (p. 15). In other words, the other is like all of us, but is also unique as a vessel of “culture, beliefs, and convictions” (p. 14) that has the capacity continuously to change.

Importantly, Kapuscinski (2008) reminded us that we are always the other to someone else. He told us that Levinas recognized that “the Self . . . is not just a solitary individual, but that the composition of the Self also includes the Other” (p. 37). Simultaneously, we are at once our own selves and the other at whom we are gazing. It seems to us that this has profound consequences for teachers, as we interact with and teach persons who frequently embody what we may see as many elements of difference from us. Levinas has said that it is the obligation of an individual to those whom they view as others to take loving responsibility for them (Andrews, 2014; Kapuscinski, 2008; Levinas, 1972). It seems to us that if we take up this orientation, we can no longer gaze in a detached way at people who differ from us on a number of dimensions. As Morrison (2017) suggested, in continually recognizing differences, we may come to understand how these always are present in others, as well as embodied in ourselves. Then, as teachers, we may “take loving responsibility” for our students.

Clandinin and Connelly (2000), narrative-inquiry theorists, also explained how such reciprocity works, explaining what they called a three-dimensional narrative inquiry space as a research and teaching context. They wrote:

We learned to see ourselves as always in the midst—located somewhere along the dimensions of time, place, the personal, and the social. But we see ourselves in the midst in another sense as well; that is, we see ourselves in the middle of a nested set of stories—ours and theirs. (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000, p. 63)

Building on Connelly and Clandinin, Danielewicz said that as teachers, we are always in a process of becoming (p. 75). We are never finished, continually reexamining and refashioning ourselves as we engage reciprocally with others. We envision teaching in this manner as well. As teachers, we are always “in the midst” of many nested stories engaging time, space, personal investment, and social interactions as we provisionally become ourselves via a “restless, unstable, ever-changing [and] fluid process” (Danielewicz, 2001, p. 75). It is only through reciprocity with others that we may transcend the anxiety, worry, and distress accompanying so much of our professional lives. We may then be able to focus on the needs, assets, and possibilities for growth and change of ourselves and those with whom we work.

CHANGING OURSELVES, CHANGING OUR INTERACTIONS WITH STUDENTS

Focusing on the needs, assets, and possibilities for growth and change of our students and ourselves is required in contemporary times, when the United States is experiencing a rapid rise in the numbers of students of color in its schools contrasted with a teacher workforce that continues to be overwhelmingly (82%) White (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). In 2024, 56% of all U.S. school-age children are projected to be students of color (Musu-Gillette, Robinson, & McFarland, 2016), yet schools continue to privilege White skin, speaking standard English, and middle-class economic status as indicators of what it means to be “good” at school. Thus, students who are White, native English speakers, and middle class frequently outstrip other groups in school achievement—particularly those who are students of color, are immigrants, are not native English speakers, or live in low-income families. While U.S. citizens often view their situation as unique, majority groups in nations around the globe find themselves in similar circumstances, as growing worldwide political and economic unrest results in vastly increased migration of displaced persons.

Zembylas (2010) narrated one such example, which, while it occurred in Cyprus, was also happening in European nations such as Spain and Italy, as well as other geographic locations. Over a period of years, Zembylas and colleagues (Boler, 2004; Boler & Zembylas, 2003; Zembylas & Papamichael, 2017) have explored Michel Foucault’s ideas about self-questioning practices they termed an “ethic of discomfort” that challenges “their familiar and comfortable worldview” (Boler, 2004, p.131) and “a pedagogy of discomfort,” or recrafting our teaching. Such practices aim at teachers' both examining their sociocultural contexts and applying empathy in response to dilemmas located in their practices. Zembylas and Papamichael (2017) highlighted how the sort of empathy they called upon teachers to practice is “strategic” (Lindquist, 2004) or used “in ways that empathise with the difficult knowledge learners carry with them, even when this knowledge is disturbing to others” (p. 4), and, we add, perhaps implicates teachers in creating such conditions. Zembylas & Papamichael (2017) acknowledged that such work calls on teachers to examine what may be feelings of “guilt, embarrassment, and uneasiness” (p. 14) once they understand their complicity in creating and maintaining challenging circumstances for some students. The authors encouraged teacher educators to create safe and empathetic spaces for practicing and prospective teachers to examine their long-held beliefs and their consequences.

However, simultaneously with those who call for individual teachers to examine their own prejudices, other researchers ask us to consider what Hargreaves (1998) called the emotional politics of teaching, or how schools as institutions are “organized, structured, and led” (p. 316). He emphasized caution in attributing teachers’ emotions to their individual psychological traits or dispositions. Zembylas (2004) also referred to teachers’ emotions as influenced by politics and power relationships, as well as evaluative structures in place within schools and broader societal contexts. Hargreaves (1998) further reminded us that emotions stem from how teachers’ work is designed and regulated. His words implicated policymakers, school administrators, and teacher educators, as well as regulators, in shaping what teachers feel and how they deploy those feelings.

Indeed, understanding another person’s perspective, outlook, and/or dilemma is challenging work, especially for those whose identity differs from those of the people we are asking they be empathetic toward. Feshbach and Feshbach (2009) named two critical components of the development of empathy: “(1) the ability to understand and identify another’s feelings and perspective; and (2) the ability to communicate that understanding to the individual with whom one is empathizing” (p. 88). Hatfield, Rapson, and Le (2011) argued that empathy requires two additional skill components besides those named above: sharing another person’s feelings of distress, and responding compassionately to that distress (p. 19). Further, Feshbach and Feshbach (2009) emphasized: “The crux of teacher empathy lies in the interaction of the teacher with the student” (p. 88), enabling the student to feel the teacher’s concern. Hargreaves (1998) concurred, saying that across cultures, teachers recognize that establishing close relationships with their students results in high levels of student learning and greater achievement.

A number of researchers (e.g., Marx, 2008; Warren, 2014, 2015; Warren & Hotchkins, 2015) have investigated how White teachers communicate their concern for students of color and what personal experiences and intentions undergird their efforts. In one study enrolling four White, early-career female participants, Warren (2015) found that even while teachers assert they are empathetic and caring with students, they may be entrapped by self-delusion. While teachers employed various strategies for increasing their knowledge and understanding of students unlike them in identity categories, some of these proved to communicate what Warren and Hotchkins (2015) referred to as “false empathy,” or the “failure to consider the wants, needs, and desires of individuals most vulnerable in any given interaction” (p. 267). Then the teacher often acts with surety that their assumptions about the student are correct and should be practiced. Warren (2015) also termed this certainty regarding themselves and the worthiness of their chosen goals and practices “the whiteness of good intentions” (p. 595). In a parallel study, Marx (2008) observed four popular White teachers of Latinx students in an urban high school. She found that while the teachers were popular with students, as they clearly enjoyed the youth, all but one held deficit views of their students as learners. Teachers misjudged both students and their families, drawing on stereotypes to inform their supposed lack of value placed on schooling and negative attitudes towards women, for example.

In another study, Warren (2014) emphasized the rich cultural knowledge teachers intentionally developed and practiced in their everyday curriculum and instruction. Importantly, he discovered that three of four White female teacher participants had attended the same high school in which they now taught many African American youth. The knowledge gained from living in the community of the school was a key factor in teachers’ success in knowing students well and building on their assets and strengths. These teachers also instituted what they termed a time to talk daily about “family business.” He found this was an effective tool for gathering information about students’ preferences for people, places, and activities; challenges and ongoing turmoil in youths' lives; and students’ hopes and dreams. The combination of familiarity with the school community and working continually to understand what youth brought to school from home made these teachers particularly successful with and well-liked by their African American male students. The reciprocal positive emotions around teaching and learning that were generated from these sources were satisfying to both teachers and students.

PROBING OUR BIASES AS TEACHERS

Examining our deeply held biases, as well as those of which we are dysconscious (King, 1991), or unknowingly prejudiced, is of key significance for unpacking how teachers’ emotions influence the quality and character of their engagement with students and their families. However, it is not only the misunderstandings and prejudices around race, social class, ethnicity, language background, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., that prospective and practicing teachers bring with them to the classroom; emotions also influence countless other dimensions of teaching. These aspects of teaching can also cause great anxiety and stress for individuals and deeply influence and what teachers feel able to accomplish in their classrooms, how, and with whom.

Worries that cause emotional stress for prospective and practicing teachers include, for example, their classroom management skills, interacting adequately with parents, and having sufficient content knowledge for the ages and grade levels of students they instruct. Some of these worries are related to whether, how, and when issues of such concern are addressed in teacher preparation. Others are connected to opportunities, the time to perform them, and the chance to receive coaching and feedback regarding one’s practices.

Research summarizing studies conducted on emotions (Frenzel, 2014) has found that positive emotions predominate for teachers with happiness and pride prevailing in their professional lives. Teachers report feeling happiness and pride in their own or in their students’ accomplishments. Conversely, teachers sometimes report feeling anxiety, shame, or guilt; however, these frequently are not named by teachers as emotions afflicting them. For some elementary teachers, anxiety is linked to teaching particular subject matters, such as mathematics, and, more recently, to the increasing use of technology for many dimensions of pedagogy.

Foreshadowing many worries that understandably plague aspiring, novice, and even some experienced teachers, Shaffer, Nash, and Ruis (2015) summarized well how technology may affect teaching in the future. The authors wrote that, traditionally, teachers have fulfilled five functions: content delivery; epistemological guidance, or how to think about particular problems; socialization, or acclimating students to certain norms of self-conduct; nurturing; and assessment. They argued that many of these functions can be allocated to various technologies, including computer-based workbooks for skill practice, the digital equivalent of books, films, etc. for pupil viewing and critique, and virtual computerized environments that allow for engaging students’ existing knowledge and skills in practice-oriented tasks. The authors acknowledged that prospective and novice teachers, in particular, require attention to curriculum, instruction, and pedagogies that will help bridge the achievement gap between students of color and other groups, as well as sophisticated knowledge of digital tools to inform their management, assessment, and delivery of instruction. So, too, did they claim that practicing teachers will require updating on such use of digital tools.

We understand aspiring, novice, and experienced teachers’ anxieties about the authors’ predictions of the appropriation of many of their functions by various technologies. We do not concur with these or other forecasters who predict the immediate end of teaching as it is currently organized and enacted. We do believe that more and deeper digital-tool knowledge will be required of teachers to manage their classrooms, and the degree to which this will be true varies according to one’s role and the needs of students.

We do strongly agree that teacher education needs to address more culturally responsive (Gay, 2010) and/or culturally relevant pedagogies (Ladson-Billings,1995a, 1995b, 2014) nested within frameworks of social justice and equity for all teachers. We endorse such curriculum, instruction, and teaching strategies for all students. Perhaps Carter (2009) said it best when she declared that, as citizens, we need to think of what is good for others as part of our own self-interest. Until the time that teachers embrace such thinking, they will continue to privilege that which benefits them atop a racial, ethnic, economic, gendered, and social hierarchy.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 13, 2019, p. 1-16
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22961, Date Accessed: 10/23/2021 7:42:00 PM

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