Complexity and Transformative Learning: A Review of the Principal and Teacher Preparation Literature on Race
by Rachel Roegman, Joni Kolman, A. Lin Goodwin & Brooke Soles - 2021
Background: Racial inequities are a persistent reality in K–12 schools in the United States. There is a need for consensus and coordination between principals and teachers if they are to address the harm of racial inequities in education. Yet, despite this need and the interdependence of teachers and principals in schools, their preparation is profoundly distinct.
Purpose: Although teacher and principal preparation practice and research are distinct, addressing racial inequities in K–12 students’ schooling experiences is central to the work within both professional arenas. In this literature review, we bring together these bodies of literature as we think about ways that preparation supports principals and teachers in developing skills, knowledge, and dispositions to counter racial inequities in their schools. We focus our review around one central question: In what ways does the teacher and principal preparation literature address candidates’ transformative learning around race?
Research Design: This review focuses on peer-reviewed literature on race within teacher and principal preparation published between 2001 and 2018. We reviewed studies here that are: (1) empirical, (2) focused on principal or teacher preparation, (3) focused on preparing candidates around issues related to race or racial inequity, (4) published between 2001 and 2018, and (5) based in the United States. We ultimately identified 79 articles, 24 related to principal preparation and 55 related to teacher preparation. We drew on critical transformative learning theory to guide our analyses.
Findings: Overall, we identified more commonalities between the two literatures than differences. Our review suggests that race is understood in three main ways: in terms of “difference,” “power,” and “racism.” Race-as-difference focuses on differences between individuals related to race or culture. Race-as-power emphasizes that these differences result from systemic oppressions. Race-as-racism centers racism and/or white supremacy. This review reveals complexities of transformative learning across three areas: how candidates’ backgrounds inform their learning; how clinical experiences present opportunities and constraints for learning; and how emotions influence learning.
Recommendations: Preparation programs must educate teachers and principals about race-as-racism. Candidates need to come to understand the role of systemic racism in society and in schooling, beyond understanding individual differences. Critically, teacher and principal preparation faculties must work together across courses and experiences. Finally, there is a need for those who educate educators to receive preparation for this role.
Racial inequities are a persistent reality in K12 schools in the United States. Students of color have lower graduation rates (Zamani-Gallaher et al., 2014) and standardized test scores (Milner, 2012). Compared with their white peers, they consistently are provided less access to advanced coursework (Tyson, 2011; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2018), are more likely to be suspended or expelled (Morris, 2016; Skiba et al., 2014), and are more likely to be labeled as having a disability (Artiles & Kozleski, 2016; Blanchett, 2009). Across a range of measures, students of color experience negative school cultures and climates; they are underserved and disproportionately impacted by systemic racism masked as color-neutral, meritocratic policies and practices (Kohli et al., 2017). Like students of color, educators of color experience similar levels of racism, marginalization, and cultural violation, facing everyday racism, microaggressions (Kohli et al., 2017), disrespect, and devaluing (Griffin & Tackie, 2016) in their schools and districts.
There is a need for consensus and coordination if principals and teachers are to address the harm of racial inequities in education. Yet, despite this need and the interdependence of teachers and principals in schools, their preparation is profoundly distinct. Teacher preparation and principal preparation are generally two separate processes, with limited interaction among faculty, candidates, and field-based educators. Often housed in different departments within colleges of education, presenting at different conferences, and writing for different journals, teacher preparation faculty and principal preparation faculty rarely collaborate on teaching or research. We posit that when school stakeholders come together, they are better positioned to dismantle inequitable schooling contexts and create racially equitable practices and policies.
PURPOSE AND FRAMING QUESTION
In this literature review, we bring together these bodies of work as we think about ways that preparation supports principals and teachers in developing skills, knowledge, and dispositions to create more equitable school experiences for students of color. Through this review, we examine what is known about how teacher and principal preparation address race focusing around one central question: In what ways does the teacher and principal preparation literature address candidates transformative learning around race? We look to places where the two bodies of literature converge and where they diverge, considering specifically how different conceptualizations of race shape this work and the implications for preparation program design.
We begin with our own understandings of race and how those influence our review of the literature. Race is a social construct, with no basis in biology (Mukhopadhyay et al., 2014; Omni & Winant, 1994), that plays a major role in determining childrens educational pathways (Ladson-Billings, 1998). Race extends beyond surface differences such as skin color; race is given meaning and significance in specific historical, political and social contexts (Brown et al., 2017, p. 454). As a social construct, race in the United States is the primary criterion used to classify individuals classifications [that] have become social and psychological boundaries that influence where one lives, the quality and context of ones schooling, ones earning ability, and ones access to social and health institutions and services (Carter & Goodwin, 1994, p. 293). Consequently, racialized identities are manufactured and assigned to pathologize, demonize, and marginalize people of color, and simultaneously privilege whiteness.
We inductively developed our own schema to categorize how the studies seem to conceptualize race. Our reading of the literature suggests that race is understood in three main ways: in terms of difference, power, and racism. Note that these are not derived from researchers explicit definitions, in part because researchers rarely define race explicitly, but from our attention to their language choices (Table 1) and how race is taken up in their study design and findings.
Table 1 -Different Conceptualizations of Race
In studies that conceptualize race-as-difference, the researchers examine how teacher and principal preparation efforts prepare educators to work with students who are different from them; that is, race is positioned as one of many ways in which individuals may be similar or different. It is one facet of human diversity. Much of this work is framed within discussions of diversity that revolve around social and cultural differences between individuals in a pluralistic society (McLaughlin, 1992). For example, Akiba (2011) discusses the major responsibility of educating pre-service teachers to develop multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills for teaching diverse students (p. 659), noting differences in ethnicity, language, racial background, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, and country of origin. In Bell, Horn, and Roxass (2007) examination of service learning and preservice teachers understandings of diversity, they similarly note race, class, gender, disability, language, and sexual orientation (p. 124) as salient aspects of diversity of which preservice teachers need to be aware, with the goal that they attain a pedagogical understanding of differences among individuals and groups and the ways that these differences have consequences for teaching and learning (p. 124).
Articles that conceptualize race-as-power emphasize that the differences that make up student diversity are the result of the historical and current realities of discrimination and exclusion in American and other societies (Nieto & Bode, 1992, p. xiv) and draw on ideas from critical multicultural education and social justice education. Kemp-Graham (2015), for example, focuses on principal candidates learning of social justice leadership, defined as principals who make use of issues of race, class, gender, disability, sexual orientation and other historically and currently marginalized conditions in the US central to their advocacy, leadership, practice and vision to ensure the academic success of all students (p. 104). Similarly, Ritchie, An, Cone, and Bullock (2013) examine how teacher preparation supports candidates in working toward social change, and understand social justice education as important for all members and groups in a society, we also appreciate the importance of the local-global relationship and how local issues are situated in a global sociopolitical and economic context (p. 65). As with race-as-difference, these researchers do not focus specifically on race or racism; and similar to race-as-racism, described next, these researchers position difference within systems of oppression.
In articles that conceptualize race-as-racism, researchers investigate racism and/or white supremacy specifically as a critical aspect of U.S. society that has dramatic and inequitable consequences for individuals of color. This conceptualization is aligned to central ideas from critical race theory and critical whiteness perspectives on schooling (Jupp et al., 2016) and, drawing generally on critical race theory, these scholars attend to race explicitly to address racial inequities in schooling (e.g., DeCuir & Dixson, 2004; López, 2003; Parker & Villalpando, 2007). For example, Diem, Carpenter, and Lewis-Durham (2018) examine preparation of antiracist school leaders who are racially conscious and model practices focused on the purposeful addressing of social, political, and educational oppression resulting from racism (p. 6). Hines (2014, 2016), likewise, considers racial identity development, examining how white preservice principals engage in topics such as white privilege and white fragility and what this means for their leadership practice.
THEORETICAL FRAMING: TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING
Regardless of their conceptualizations, these studies largely consider how teacher and principal preparation serve as sites for transformative learning around race. By transformative learning we mean learning that requires candidates to identify, examine, change, and act on their newfound learnings related to race. In so doing, we draw on critical adult learning theories that highlight the opportunities and barriers for teacher and principal candidates learning about race and schooling (Merriam et al., 2007). Finding roots in multiculturalism, critical race theory, Afrocentric theory, sociocultural theory, Black feminist theory, and postmodernism, critical adult education attends to issues of race, power, social justice, history, and oppression (hooks, 1994; Merriam et al., 2007; Sealy-Ruiz, 2010; Tisdell, 2006).
Critical adult education literature suggests that shifting principal and teacher candidates existing viewpoints and practices around race is challenging in part because their learning is situated within the breadth of racialized experiences they bring to preparation programs (Knowles, 1980; Solórzano & Yosso, 2001; Villegas, 2007). For white individuals, learning around race is challenging because it often leads to discomfort as they grapple with their race-based privileges (DiAngelo, 2011; Jarvis, 1987; Raths, 2001; Villegas, 2007). Yet, if candidates enter preparation programs with color-neutral ideologies, programs must address these barriers to equitable teaching and leadership (Crowley, 2016; Rubie-Davies, 2008; Sue, 2010).
In contrast to informational learning, the intended outcome of transformative learning is fundamental change in actions informed by perspective and belief changes (Brookfield, 1995; Liu & Milman, 2010; Merriam et al., 2007; Mezirow & Associates, 2000). We attend to three central aspects of transformative learning theoryexperience, critical reflection, and dialogueas a means of examining how the literature on teacher and principal candidates perspectives, beliefs, and actions related to race are transformed through preparation.
EXPERIENCE, CRITICAL REFLECTION, AND DIALOGUE
Transformative learning theory positions experience as central to changing beliefs and actions (Brookfield, 1995; Fenwick, 2003; Jarvis, 1987; Kolb & Kolb, 2005; Mezirow & Associates, 2000). For teacher and principal candidates, opportunities to be exposed to new ideas and realities about race are abundant through student teaching and administrator internships, as well as out-of-school settings. Although candidates engage in these types of experiences, it is important to note that not all experiences are inherently transformative (Imel, 1998), and experiences can be mis-educative (Dewey, 1938/1997); merely being in a certain type of school does not guarantee that candidates will learn racially equitable practices. When examining the role of experience within the reviewed literature, we focused on the ways in which the experiential learning opportunities provided through teacher and principal preparation shape candidates perspectives, beliefs, and actions related to racial equity.
Critical reflection is another key component of transformative learning (Au, 2017; Brookfield, 2000; Liu & Milman, 2010; Mezirow, 2000). This form of reflection moves beyond navel-gazing and is a process of constantly analyzing, questioning, and critiquing established assumptions of oneself, schools, and the society about teaching and learning, and the social and political implications of schooling (Liu, 2015, p. 10). This echoes Brookfields (1995) and Mezirows (2000) sentiments that the result of critical reflection in transformative learning should be actions informed by these new understandings and aligns with Freires (1970) notion of conscientizaçao (critical consciousness). When thinking about critical reflection in the teacher and principal preparation literature, we considered opportunities that elicit candidates reflections on themselves, their learning, and/or their experiences. We sought to understand what the studies tell us about the role that critical reflection plays in changing beliefs, perspectives, and actions related to racial inequity.
Dialogue around race in critical adult education is also often seen as a catalyst for transformative learning (Brookfield, 2014; Friere, 1970). The research shows that the experiences of discussing race in adult education spaces are often fraught (Baumgartner & Johnson-Bailey, 2008; Brookfield, 2014; Johnson-Bailey, 2002; Kong, 2010) and complicated by the emotions that individuals bring to the discussions (Baumgartner & Johnson-Bailey, 2008; Manglitz et al., 2014). In examining dialogue in the literature on teacher and principal preparation around race, we focused on what the research reveals about the ways in which conversations contribute to changes in perspectives, beliefs, and actions related to racial equity.
Critical adult education highlights how experiences, critical reflection, and dialogue shape transformative learning. In examining the literature on teacher and principal preparation, we considered the challenges of advancing racial equity and the ways that preparation can serve as a catalyst or a barrier to candidate learning. In so doing, we considered how both literatures address candidates transformative learning around race.
REVIEW METHODOLOGY AND LITERATURE SELECTION
This review focuses on peer-reviewed, empirical literature on race within teacher and principal preparation published between 2001 and 2018. Although we acknowledge the large body of teacher preparation research produced on this topic during the 1990s (e.g., Melnick & Zeichner, 1997; Sleeter, 1991), we choose this period to demarcate the time since the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which had the stated purpose of ensuring that students from all demographic backgrounds receive the same high-quality education. Similarly, principal preparation literature shows an expanded interest in issues of equity and diversity since the early 2000s, ushered in, in part, by NCLBs mandates (e.g., Davis et al., 2005; Hess & Kelly, 2007; Larson & Murtadha, 2002). This time period is also marked by increased global mobility and attention to racial equity in U.S. K12 schooling (Pew Research Center, 2015; Sugarman, 2017).
Literature was selected for review through a series of searches that began with electronic databases (i.e., Education Full Text, ERIC, EBSCO, JSTOR, Google Scholar) as well as the Sage and Taylor & Francis education journal databases. We used keyword combinations that specifically name race (e.g., racism, racial equity) as well other words or phrases that scholars use to discuss race (e.g., diversity, social justice, or culture), and preparation (teacher or principal). Following, we examined peer-reviewed educational leadership and teacher preparation journals to identify any articles that did not emerge in our database searches, particularly newly published articles.
We review studies here that are: (1) empirical, (2) focused on principal or teacher preparation, (3) focused on preparing candidates around issues related to race or racial inequity, (4) published between 2001 and 2018, and (5) based in the United States. We exclude research that centers on in-service teachers and principals, studies that focus specifically on faculty experiences, those that examine only syllabi, as well as purely conceptual papers. We ultimately identified 79 articles, 24 related to principal preparation and 55 related to teacher preparation.
Each article was read separately by the authors of this paper, notating the researchers conceptualization of race and key information; we each concluded with a summary of the degree to which the study reports transformational learning. We attended to key aspects of critical transformative learning theory including the following: racialized experiences candidates bring to the program, discomfort or emotions, changing perspectives, changing actions, experiences in coursework, clinical experiences, reflection, and dialogue.
We purposefully structured our authorship team to include two faculty members who work within teacher preparation and two within principal preparation. All of us are former K12 teachers, one is a former principal, and we are all current or former preparation faculty who engage questions of race and racism in our teaching and scholarship. As white and Asian American, as immigrants and United States born, as Jewish, as queer, we engage this literature from our individual and collective standpoints.
We are aware of the ease with which faculty with full-time university appointments can be critical of teachers and principals in schools. We thus focus our review on examining how the two bodies of research are engaged with each other, and not on the candidates who are the participants in the research. We acknowledge that who we are as antiracist reviewers has direct relevance to the direction and substance of this review, and who we are is multiple, intersecting, and evolving. Thus, we position ourselves as both works in progress and seekers of understanding who bring only partial knowing.
FINDINGS: TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING AROUND RACE IN PRINCIPAL AND TEACHER PREPARATION
Overall, we identified more commonalities between the two bodies of literature than we had anticipated. Although each set of articles does discuss a small number of discrete practices, significant overlap exists between both sets of articles in relation to researchers framing of how preparation programs engage candidates in transformative learning related to race. Our explorations of the literature reveal the complexity of transforming candidates perspectives and actions across three areas: how candidates backgrounds inform their learning, how clinical experiences present opportunities and constraints for learning, and how emotions in dialogue influence learning.
TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING OF CANDIDATES INFORMED BY THEIR RACIAL BACKGROUNDS
Candidates are not blank slates (Jacobs et al., 2013). Candidates bring to preparation their own set of experiences, assumptions, and knowledge of race, and this influences what they learn through their programs. A number of studies in both teacher and principal preparation discuss ways that candidates race, racialized experiences, and racial identity inform transformative learning (Amos, 2010; Bloom et al., 2015; Boske, 2010, 2015; Brand & Glasson, 2004; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Diem & Carpenter, 2013; Durham-Barnes, 2015; Garmon, 2004; Genao, 2016; Gooden & ODoherty, 2015; Groff & Peters, 2012; Guerra et al., 2013; Hernandez & Marshall, 2009; Jacobs et al., 2013; Kohli, 2009; Kumar & Hamer, 2013; Kyles & Olafson, 2008; Rivera Maulucci, 2013). Many studies report that the majority of white candidates enter programs with limited experiences with people of different racial backgrounds (Baldwin et al., 2007; Bloom et al., 2015; Brand & Glasson, 2004; Lee, 2011; Whipp, 2013) and with deficit views about people of color (Baldwin et al., 2007; Boske, 2015; Cho & DeCastro-Ambrosetti, 2005; Hill-Jackson, 2007; Kumar & Hamer, 2013; Lambeth & Smith, 2016; Peters et al., 2016; Seidl & Friend, 2002; Ukpokodu, 2004; Weisman & Garza, 2002). As a result, the research suggests that when white candidates and candidates of color complete the same preparation activities or readings, they learn different things (Boske, 2010; Brand & Glasson, 2004; Chang et al., 2011; Diem & Carpenter, 2013; Gooden & ODoherty, 2015; Guerra et al., 2013; Hernandez & Marshall, 2009; Jacobs et al., 2013; Milner, 2006; Sperandio & LaPier, 2009; Whipp, 2013). For example, Chang, Anagnostopous, and Omae (2011) found in their quantitative study that white preservice teachers became more aware of their biases than did candidates of color after engaging in service learning in racially diverse spaces. Sperandio and LaPier (2009) report that principal candidates of color were more interested in leadership positions in majority-minority schools than white candidates after examining how parents and teachers treat individuals based on race and gender in schools. However, it should be noted that for some quantitative survey studies with small sample sizes and small numbers of participants of color, researchers report very few or no significant differences between white candidates and candidates of color (Cicchelli & Cho, 2007; Kemp-Graham, 2015).
In considering candidates backgrounds, two concerning patterns emerge within both teacher and principal preparation: the difficulty in overcoming whiteness for white candidates, and the realization of the intractability of racism for candidates of color. Several studies report that whiteness is a hindrance to transformative learning because it prevents white candidates from engaging in critical self-reflection and often leads to stereotypes being reinforced instead of challenged (Amos, 2010; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Galman et al., 2010; Hines, 2016; Lambeth & Smith, 2016; Marx, 2004; Matias et al., 2014; Peters et al., 2016; Picower, 2009). One study (Guerra et al., 2013) also concludes that whiteness is a hindrance to persistence; when faced with similar race-based challenges in their clinical experiences, white students did not persist whereas candidates of color attempted to overcome or circumvent the challenges they faced.
Also, alarmingly, a small number of studies find that coursework and clinical experiences have a negative impact on candidates of color. Candidates of color report their white classmates to be frustrating, if not racist (e.g., Amos, 2010; Boske, 2010; Kohli, 2009). One study notes that principal candidates of color had painful experiences in their clinical placements when they became privy to the racist beliefs of the other teachers (Jacobs et al., 2013). Similarly, Boske (2010) reports that principal preparation confirmed the worst fears of candidates of colorthat the system is indeed racist, perhaps insurmountably so, and they ended the program feeling more marginalized than when they entered. Racist experiences in their preparation programs reinforce that racism is endemic, which may be part of the reason candidates of color do not enroll in preparation programs (Kohli, 2009).
A number of these studies also report heterogeneity within racial groups, finding that candidates from the same racial or ethnic background have different experiences, beliefs, and degrees of criticality about racism and structural inequalities within K12 education (Diem & Carpenter, 2013; Durden et al., 2016; Weisman & Hansen, 2008). This resonates with Jackson and Knight-Manuels (2019) finding that even though teacher candidates may share a similar racial or ethnic background, they do not necessarily share the same sociopolitical consciousness. Thus, even as many studies report that white candidates and candidates of color have different responses to the same activities, it is important to remember that not all candidates of the same racial group will, by default, have the same response.
These studies overall suggest candidates of color learn about race during their preparation in different ways than white candidates, and that often this learning is emotionally or psychologically harmful. Thus, the research overall indicates that when preparation programs, courses, or activities aim to encourage transformative learning around race, attention must be paid to candidate backgrounds and racialized experiences. Indeed, several researchers ultimately call for differentiation in preparation pedagogy for white candidates and for candidates of color (Genao, 2016; Guerra et al., 2013).
TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING IN CLINICAL EXPERIENCES
As adult learning theories posit (Dewey, 1938; Imel, 1998), not all experiences lead to transformative learning nor lead in the direction of racial equity even when designed with that purpose. The clinical experiences examined through this review are ones where candidates spent time in K12 schools or communities and the researchers considered those experiences through a racial lens. In the literature on teacher preparation, these experiences include those attached to coursework (e.g., practicum, service learning) as well as the more intensive student teaching experience during which candidates engage in the practices of teaching in a concentrated way in a classroom under the supervision of a cooperating teacher. Principal candidates, on the other hand, often have an internship where they complete several tasks under the supervision of their current principal in a K12 school; many preparation courses require engaging in tasks, such as data analysis, at their current school sites. Although several studies find that clinical experiences are catalysts for transforming perspectives, others report that they serve as sites for reproducing racism or leave candidates unable to enact equity-oriented actions.
Clinical Experiences Supporting Transformative Learning
The research reviewed suggests that clinical experiences can support the transformation of equity-oriented beliefs. Exposure to diverse clinical experiences was found to support candidates in dispelling stereotypes about students of color (Akiba, 2011; Amatea et al., 2012; Bloom et al., 2015; Ukpokodu, 2004), in part by making visible how racist schools can be (Hernandez & Marshall, 2017; Kohli, 2009; Picower, 2013; Wiggins et al., 2007). They also provided opportunities for candidates to interact with students from different racial backgrounds (Akiba, 2011; Lambeth & Smith, 2016; Miller & Mikulec, 2014), increasing their comfort-level in racially diverse school settings (Peters et al., 2016; Ukpokudu, 2004) and allowing candidates to see teaching and leadership strategies working with students of color (Athanases & Martin, 2006; Barakat et al., 2012; Figueiredo-Brown et al., 2015; Kumar & Lauermann, 2018; Rivera Maulucci, 2013; Ukpokudu, 2004). Moreover, researchers found that clinical experiences with Black and Latinx students provide candidates with experiences that push back against prior negative beliefs about students of color (Akiba, 2011; Athanases & Martin, 2006; Barakat et al., 2012; Jacobs et al., 2013; Mensah, 2009; Seidl & Friend, 2002; Ukpokodu, 2004; Weisman & Hansen, 2008).
Although the majority of the studies examine candidates placements in school-based clinical experiences, several studies explore learning in out-of-school contexts (Amatea et al., 2012; Baldwin et al., 2007; Bell et al., 2007; Boske, 2012; Chang et al., 2011). Baldwin and colleagues (2007), for example, examine community-based service learning experiences for undergraduate teacher candidates. These researchers found that service learning positively shifts candidates perspectives and beliefs about diverse settings and students. Specific experiences, including those where candidates were not in the role as expert, were reported as developing more nuanced understandings of diversity (Bell et al., 2007). Learning from service learning experiences was also shaped by the mentoring within those spaces (Chang et al., 2011).
Clinical experiences outside of schools, such as the educational plunge described by Hernandez and Marshall (2009), are not unique to teacher preparation. This study examines principal candidates tasked with having an experience of their choosing in a marginalized community. Although some candidates embraced the discomfort of the experience and put themselves into situations where their beliefs and perspectives were challenged, others did not. The researchers conclude that learning from such experiences can reshape perspectives, but it depends upon candidates willingness to engage in discomfort and the kind of plunge they choose.
Clinical Experiences as a Barrier to Transformative Learning
The empirical evidence also highlights how clinical experiences can be mis-educative and a barrier to transformative learning around race. Indeed, several researchers found that clinical experiences perpetuate othering, reinforce stereotypes, and further reinforce savior-positioning by candidates (Barnes, 2006; Brand & Glasson, 2004; Cross, 2003; Farnsworth, 2010; Groff & Peters, 2012; Groulx, 2001; Kumar & Hamer, 2013). For example, Groulx (2001) found that urban clinical experiences reinforced candidates negative views of schools and neighborhoods, including heightening their concerns around safety, lack of parent support, and violence, as opposed to shifting their perspective and beliefs in a positive direction. Cross (2003, 2005), similarly, found that clinical experiences often reinforced teacher candidates negative stereotypes about Black and Latinx students and did little to foster competence with teaching racially diverse students. Moreover, she describes a voyeuristic effect wherein white candidates see their clinical experiences as an opportunity to focus their gaze on students, as opposed to using their new knowledge to develop positive educational experiences for students, making the experiences educative in a problematic direction. Both Kyles and Olafson (2008) and Cross (2003) assert that although clinical experiences may provide opportunities for candidates to grapple with their beliefs, they do not necessarily equate to a greater commitment to equity-oriented education or changes in behavior.
In addition, several studies describe the limited opportunities for candidates to actually enact equity-oriented practices learned in coursework, even when desired (Barakat et al., 2012; Genao, 2016; Gooden et al., 2018; Jacobs et al., 2013; Lee, 2011). One study notes that several focus group participants were quite frustrated because they had not been given the opportunity to share what they had learned in regards to social justice, diversity and cultural competence in their schools (Barakat et al., 2012, p. 252). Another reports that candidates were expected to enact their supervisors vision, regardless of its alignment to the antiracist vision advocated by the preparation program and many of the candidates themselves (Gooden et al., 2018). Thus, even when clinical experiences or coursework shift beliefs, candidates may struggle to translate theory to practice due to contextual constraints.
The research suggesting that clinical experiences support the transformation of candidates beliefs and perspectives around racial equity rarely finds that all candidates achieve the desired outcomes. Indeed, within individual studies, researchers generally find some candidates shift in equity-oriented ways whereas others remain steadfast in their color-neutral and racist views of schools and students.
EMOTION-LADEN DIALOGUE AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING
bell hooks (1994) argues that feelings and emotions undergird commitments to eliminate racism. In fact, emotions can be a tool for change when not being used to justify separation, fear, and guilt (Lorde, 1997). Transformative adult learning theorists concur, arguing that emotions, discomfort, and cognitive dissonance are necessary components of a disorienting dilemma (Mezirow & Associates, 2000). Our examination of the literature on principal and teacher preparation reveals the emotion-laden nature of dialogue around racial inequity, a phenomenon previously revealed by other researchers within critical adult education (Baumgartner & Johnson-Bailey, 2008; Manglitz et al., 2014). These emotions include fear, confusion, disappointment, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, and discomfort. As with clinical experiences, emotions for some candidates facilitate transformation of perspectives whereas, for others, they are a barrier to transformative learning.
Emotions as a Catalyst for Learning
Several studies across both literatures find that emotions can lead to positive change in candidates perspectives and/or beliefs about race in schooling (e.g., Athanases & Martin, 2006; Boske, 2015; Brown, 2006; Carpenter & Diem, 2013; Diem et al., 2019; Durham-Barnes, 2015; Gooden & ODoherty, 2015; Hernandez & Marshall, 2017; Hyland, 2010; Martinez, 2015; Matias & Grosland, 2016; Marx & Pennington, 2003; Picower, 2013; Riley & Solic, 2017; Rivera Maulucci, 2013). The majority of studies that note this positive perspective transformation are ones that analyze candidates written or visual self-reflections in response to readings and prompts, where the student is individually in dialogue with the course instructor (Boske, 2015; Brown, 2006; Gooden & ODoherty, 2015; Hernandez & Marshall, 2009; Martinez, 2015; Matias & Grosland, 2016). For example, Brown (2006) explains that principal candidates fear, anger, and guilt, expressed through their journal entries, were often reported as the impetus for shifting perspectives on racism in schooling. The findings from these studies suggest that readings and written/visual assignments can elicit emotions that support candidates transformative learning, including acknowledging and addressing their own racist views.
Other studies examine how emotions allow candidates to learn through dialogue alongside their peers (Diem et al., 2019; Hyland, 2010; Marx & Pennington, 2003). For example, Marx and Pennington (2003) describe how disappointment and shame, elicited through in-depth discussions during a course session, led white teacher candidates to reshape their perspectives and beliefs about students of color. Candidates ultimately expressed dismay at the pervasiveness of racist thinking in schooling. Hyland (2010) finds that teacher candidates learning was the result of sadness, shame, and anger elicited through both in-class and outside-of-class conversations. In their study, candidates of color and white candidates discussed issues related to racism within and outside of class time, and this seemed to support the white candidates changes in perspectives on racism in education. One study (Diem et al., 2019) finds that the emotions that came through in-person dialogue shaped some candidates perspectives and beliefs; however, this learning was not universal in that several principal candidates remained resistant to the conversations and unable to shift their views.
Emotions as a Constraint to Learning
Emotions, however, are more commonly found to be a barrier to transformative learning about race (Amos, 2010; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Galman et al., 2010; Groff & Peters, 2012; Matias & Grosland, 2016; Matias et al., 2014; Picower, 2009; Swartz, 2003). Matias and Grosland (2016) suggest that race is such an emotionally fraught topic, particularly for faculty of color to discuss with white teacher candidates, that candidates often need opportunities to help them emotionally break down Whiteness (p. 153) prior to engaging in other kinds of learning around race.
Several studies describe fear as a dominant emotion that prevents candidate learning about racial equity. Three articles (Groff & Peters, 2012; Picower, 2009; Swartz, 2003) describe candidates fearing situations involving people of color, making assumptions about students from particular neighborhoods and schools based on racial stereotypes communicated through the media (Swartz, 2003) and through candidates families (Groff & Peters, 2012; Picower, 2009; Swartz, 2003). This notion of difference as dangerous (Picower, 2009, p. 203) is a prevalent finding throughout these studies. Swartzs (2003) study concludes, and Groff and Peters (2012) echo, that those who express the most fear change the least in their perspectives on racism in schooling.
Fear is also an emotion that emerges in situations where both white candidates and candidates of color learn together about race in schooling. White candidates in Case and Hemmingss (2005) study, for instance, describe their hesitancy to discuss race in class for fear of being wrong or inciting anger from their peers of color. Amos (2010), conversely, explores experiences of candidates of color within a multicultural education course. These candidates were similarly fearful of participating in class discussions, feared their voices would be overpowered by the white candidates in the room, feared they would be treated poorly by their peers for agreeing with the minority instructor, and feared ostracism in future courses resulting from speaking up in class. In both studies, candidates silence and hesitancy are reported as hindering transformative learning.
Preparation faculty also report that fear served as a barrier to setting up transformative learning experiences for candidates. Galman et al. (2010), for example, describe their insufficient push back against racist conversations in their courses because they privileged the comfort of white teacher candidates. This showed up in course evaluations from candidates of color who expressed concern about the implication for students of color when racism is not addressed in courses. The researchers conclude that by creating this comfortable space for their white candidates, transformative learning about race was hindered.
Other emotions, such as guilt and anger, are also described as barriers to learning about racial inequity in schooling. Several researchers assert that guilt stemming from white privilege led to resistance to learning about race in schooling (Hines, 2016; Picower, 2009; Matias et al., 2014). In Matias et al.s (2014) study, for example, white teacher candidates are described as angry and resentful when reminded throughout the course that they need to understand race to be effective in the classroom, with one student stating they were sick of being told over and over about the importance of race in education.
As with the findings on transformative learning from clinical experiences, the literature reveals that emotions can be both catalyst and barrier to transformational learning. Overall, this literature argues that emotions are a hurdle to transformative learning, particularly when white candidates, candidates of color, and faculty of color are in dialogue together around racial inequity. Strong facilitation and support by faculty is a necessity to support candidates in moving from emotional response to transformative learning.
CONCEPTUALIZING RACE AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING
We now consider how the different conceptualizations of race as difference, power, or racism inform the research on teacher and principal preparation. Although the patterns we identify did not hold entirely across the board, they are very clear: overall, studies that conceptualize race-as-difference are more likely to report positive findings around transformative learning within teacher and principal preparation. Conversely, those that conceptualize race-as-power and race-as-racism are more likely to report mixed or negative findings. That is, the research shows that it is easier to shift beliefs or knowledge about cultural difference between different racial groups than to understand schools as racialized institutions and develop skills to create systemic change.
Studies that conceptualize race-as-difference found the most positive outcomes for white candidates, but all studies that look at candidates race identified specific areas of concerndisinterest in a racially diverse site placement (race-as-difference), inability to move beyond discomfort (race-as-power), or advancing white supremacy (race-as-racism). For candidates of color, although articles reported some transformative learning in terms of increased knowledge, self-reflection, and critical consciousness, many ended their courses and programs silenced.
The 32 articles that conceptualize race-as-difference (25 on teacher preparation and 7 on principal preparation) position teacher and principal preparation as sites for transformative learning. These researchers generally find that preparation leads to white candidates becoming aware of the languages, cultures, histories, and beliefs of students and families with different backgrounds (e.g., Bell et al., 2007; Cicchelli & Cho; Mensah, 2009; Ukpokodu, 2004). They also report that clinical experiences do a good job of expanding candidates knowledge of cultural diversity and beliefs about students different from them (e.g., Akiba, 2011; Barnes, 2006). In particular, service learning experiences are described as increasing candidates commitments to work in culturally diverse settings or with culturally diverse students, and may give them positive opportunities to practice what they are learning (e.g., Athanases & Martin, 2006; Chang et al., 2011; Kumar & Hamer, 2013). When faculty have explicit commitments to cultural diversity throughout a preparation program, instead of within one course, research considered these gains to be especially promising (Akiba, 2011; Kumar & Hamer, 2013; Ukpokodu, 2004). Only two of the 20 studies (Brand & Glasson, 2004; Lee & Hemer-Patnode, 2010) that looked at clinical experiences from a race-as-difference conceptualization reported an overall lack of transformative learning.
Transformation, from this conceptualization, involves candidates seeing how schools and classrooms are structured in ways that perpetuate privilegeprivileges that many candidates may themselves have and may be reluctant to acknowledgeand to also act on that knowledge. The 20 articles (11 on teacher preparation and 10 on principal preparation) conceptualizing race-as-power yield more mixed findings than those examining race-as-difference. Several of the articles report positive findings related to transformation, with both candidates of color and white candidates generally transforming their awareness, understanding, ability, orientation, and/or commitments to addressing issues of power (e.g., Allen et al., 2017; Boske, 2012; Guerra et al., 2013; Sperandio & LaPier, 2009).
However, this transformative learning from a race-as-power perspective did not emerge uniformly within and across all studies (e.g., Boske, 2015; Brown, 2006; Farnsworth, 2010; Hernandez & Marshall, 2009, 2017; Hyland, 2010; Kemp-Graham, 2015; Rivera Maulucci, 2013; Weisman & Hansen, 2008). For example, the research examining emotions from a race-as-power standpoint suggests that emotions served as self-reflective catalysts for some participants, while creating an awareness barrier for others (Boske, 2015; Brown, 2006; Hernandez & Marshall, 2009, 2017; Martinez, 2015; Rivera Maulucci, 2013). White participants in one study showed positive changes in mindset, but overall were unwilling to move past discomfort and resistance (Martinez, 2015). Likewise, Farnsworth (2010) reports that although candidates increased their level of reflection on their own identity, they were not able to apply how understanding their own identify informed social justice teaching or leadership. Also reporting mixed results, Hyland (2010) found that white candidates expressed increased understandings of racial justice and power whereas candidates of color and some white candidates expressed a lack of empathy and understanding around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. In contrast, two distinct studies with majority participants of color showed that transformative learning and awareness occurred through self-reflection on candidates identities and roles (Boske, 2015; Brown, 2006).
For the majority of the articles that conceptualize race-as-racism (19 from teacher preparation and 8 from principal preparation), candidates racialized backgrounds are central to how data were analyzed and how findings were presented. Overall, those focusing on white candidates found that whiteness and a lack of critical self-reflection decreased the likelihood of transformative learning (Amos, 2010; Boske, 2010; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Galman et al., 2010; Groff & Peters, 2012; Hill-Jackson, 2007; Hines, 2016; Kohli, 2009; Marx, 2004; Matias et al., 2014; Peters et al., 2016; Picower, 2009; Seidl & Friend, 2002). Four of these studies further note that candidates whiteness prevented transformative learning because candidates often retreated into silence, reinforced white supremacy, demonstrated a lack of critical consciousness, and/or denied their own racist beliefs and practices (Case & Hemmings, 2005; Galman et al., 2010, Hill-Jackson, 2007; Marx, 2004). In contrast, studies that focused on the experiences of candidates of color from a race-as-racism vantage report the deleterious effects of (re)confronting the permanence of racism in schools and society (Amos, 2010; Boske, 2010; Kohli, 2009).
Although several studies that considered clinical experiences in terms of race-as-racism found that candidates developed an awareness of white privilege and the salience of race (Bloom et al., 2015; Gooden et al., 2018; Hines, 2014; Jacobs et al., 2013; Picower, 2013; Seidl & Friend, 2002), others with purposeful samples of white candidates (Groff & Peters, 2012; Peters et al., 2016) found the opposite. For candidates of color, clinical experiences reinforced the permanence of racism (Kohli, 2009), whereas white candidates put up emotional barriers that prevented learning (Marx, 2004).
Articles that conceptualize race-as-racism also consistently found that emotions are a block to learning. Silence, tears, and emotional disengagement, a result of fear, anger, and/or defensiveness, were common occurrences (Amos, 2010; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Diem & Carpenter, 2013; Galman et al., 2010; Hill-Jackson, 2007; Hyland, 2010; Matias, 2014; Picower, 2009). Even with reported gains in knowledge, many candidates deficit thinking, color-neutral approaches, and denial of white privilege persisted (Amos, 2010; Case & Hemmings, 2005; Groff & Peters, 2012; Hill-Jackson, 2007; Hines, 2016; Marx, 2004; Matias et al., 2014; Peters et al., 2016; Picower, 2009). Only two articles did not identify emotions as a barrier within this conceptualization (Durham-Barnes, 2015; Picower, 2013).
DIFFERING ROLES, DIFFERING CONCEPTUALIZATIONS?
Almost half of the studies from teacher preparation conceptualized race-as-difference, whereas half from principal preparation conceptualized race-as-racism, a key difference between the two bodies of literature in this review (see Appendix A). This is critical to note because if teachers and principals work together, but think about race in different ways, it may be difficult to create the school culture and climate needed for racial justice. This is a significant finding for institutions of higher education, because it is teacher and principal preparation faculty whose perspectives are paramount in determining preparation curricula.
On the one hand, teachers and principals will do different things in their professional practice, which may be an explanation for this difference in conceptualization. Teachers, for example, focus specifically on the students in their class, and much of the literature looks at how preparation programs can support candidates in seeing each student as a racialized, cultured individual. In contrast, principals focus on the school at large, looking at patterns between and among classes and organizing whole-school professional development and strategic planningand much of the literature looks at how their programs prepare them through practices such as equity audits and data analysis skills to lead these tasks. Both principals and teachers have different spheres of influence, different responsibilities, and different expectations in schools.
On the other hand, both teachers and principals need to understand how their biases influence their practice and how racism and white supremacy influence students individual and collective experiences, and they need a shared sense of urgency and understanding of the problems in order to create schools that can advance racial equity. That will look different in different school contexts, and it will look different from different stakeholder perspectives, but without a shared understanding, it seems unlikely that progress will be made.
It is possible that the differences in this review are a result of many factors, not limited to what is actually occurring in preparation. For example, scholars might use race-as-difference conceptualizations because it is easier to show success; for scholars studying their own institutions or programs, it may be too risky to be critical. Those who do venture into the race-as-racism space, faculty of color especially, often pay a heavy price in terms of backlash, poor student evaluations, tenure challenges, and other reprisals (Amos, 2010; Gutiérrez y Muhs et al., 2012; Museus et al., 2015; Turner et al., 1999; Yancy, 2018a, 2018b). The need to publish is great during the untenured years particularly, and the political climate of the institution may drive the risks individuals are willing to take in rendering their work more neutral.
At the same time, race-as-racism suggests that the conceptualization of race-as-difference is the result of the dominant presence of whiteness in a predominantly middle-class professoriate (White & Murray, 2016) that challenges facultys ability to address racial inequity in effective ways. Some scholars attribute this to the racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and epistemological backgrounds of faculty (Chou, 2010; Galman et al., 2010; Goodwin & Chen, 2016; Rios et al., 2007). As a result, topics of race, and especially racism and racial inequity, appear to remain on the sidelines of facultys inquiry into their own practice. Many of the courses and programs that were studied did not seem designed to have their teacher [or leader] candidateswho are predominantly Whitefeel the burden of race in a way that is self-reflective and conducive to change (Matias & Grosland, 2016, p. 154). Instead, most focused on unearthing candidates incoming understandings of cultural differences considering the demographic imperative resulting in the mismatch between the increasingly diverse student body and homogenous teaching force (Yang & Montgomery, 2011, p. 1). There is also evidence that higher education faculty themselves display little understanding or knowledge of issues of race (Goodwin & Chen, 2016; Goodwin et al., 2014; Merryfield, 2000). As a result, talking about race undoubtedly involves uncomfortable conversations (Matias & Grosland, 2016, p. 152). Unsurprisingly then, those who teach preservice candidates may feel more comfortable approaching race-as-difference as a broad and more benign concept.
We acknowledge any and all of these reasons are possible, and even with this, we continue to suggest a need for teacher and principal preparation faculty to have shared understandings of race, because their candidates will continue to work together in schools engaging in these challenging conversations. The lack of shared understandings within and across both preparation literatures highlights the lack of coherence between the two stakeholder groups whose work is most likely to impact the daily experiences of K12 students. The discrepancies in definitions and conceptualizations suggest the need for these two disciplines to combine forces.
These three conceptualizations of race showcase different facets of the work designed to advance racial equity. These conceptualizations draw attention to dissimilar, and sometimes overlapping, facets of race, demonstrating how both pedagogy and systemic-level commitment to action are needed to advance antiracist K12 preparation and practice. Yet, the different and overlapping conceptualizations of race patently underscore the complexity and challenge of directly addressing racism and racist practices that have not only been part of the very founding of the United States, but also continue to be the invisible yet indelible nucleus of schooling as a social institution. We chose to focus our literature review on race precisely because it is the root of oppression and inequity in the United States; all conversations about perpetuating or dismantling systemic inequity must confront racism and race. Race is one of the most difficult facets of diversity or cultural difference to address, because of what we have seen in the literaturethe associated emotionality (guilt, fear, resistance, shame), the reluctance to share in the burden of race (Matias & Grosland, 2016, p. 153), the normalization of whiteness as the standard or starting point, and the relegation of race as merely one of multiple identity markers. Race-as-difference, especially, may be a starting point, but if we stay here, teacher and principal educators ignore the salience and impact of race in K12 institutions that developed from racist ideologies and undergird K12 systems.
There is the one area of agreement in every study: across the literature in both teacher and principal preparation, we find an overwhelming sense of optimism within discussion and implication sections despite a mixed set of findings overall. Even when negative findings are presented, researchers conclude that transformative learning is possible within current preparation systems. All discussion and implication sections offer suggestions about ways to improve current systems, including attention to specific practices such as racial autobiographies with critical self-reflection, attention to program-wide approaches, and attention to faculty preparation to engage in this type of work. Kohlis (2009) examination of the reflections of female candidates of color exemplifies this pattern of negative findings with optimistic conclusions. Kohli finds that racial hierarchies were perpetuated within their own social justice teacher preparation program (p. 248). Despite these findings, the researcher suggests that with prompts that encouraged personal reflection, the women in this study shared, healed and gained multicultural perspectives (p. 259). Beyond this positive effect on these participants, Kohli concludes that teacher preparation can be effective by acknowledging changing demographics and having students write critical race reflections (p. 249).
Likewise, Hines (2016) also reports negative findings about white principal candidates transformative learning. Even as candidates acknowledge that white privilege exists, Hines finds that white fragility was embedded in preservice principals responses...the triggers of individualism, meritocracy, and innocence were also embedded in the responses (p. 139). Despite white candidates inability to apply concepts of white privilege to their clinical experiences, Hines concludes that candidates should engage in conscious reflections on race so they develop a sociocultural consciousness (p. 143). In so doing, the white, pre-service principals of this study could use this skill set to engage teachers in authentic discussions about race and privilege then resolve some of the race-based inequalities built into schools and classrooms (p. 144). In other words, more attention to white fragility and white privilege in coursework could lead to the desired antiracist outcomes, despite evidence from their own studies that preparation programs provided safe spaces for white fragility and white privilege.
This overwhelming sense of optimism prevails across studies, methodologies, epistemologies, and disciplines, with researchers believing in preparation as a site of transformative learning. With one more class, a different set of readings, more reflective prompts, or critical self-reflection criteria, these studies suggest candidates can develop the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed to teach and lead for racial equity. Across the multiple understandings of race within and across the teacher and principal preparation literature, the shared possibility offers a foundation for conversation and collaboration.
It is unsurprising many of the reviewed studies conclude with optimism. First, given that most preparation programs across the United States are silent about race and racism (Milner et al., 2013; Sleeter, 2017; Tillman, 2004; Young & Laible, 2000), those that are not silent demonstrate a level of advocacy that can be seen as an act of social justice. Second, well-intentioned teacher and principal educators who take this step towards justice enact their commitment to change as germane to their engagement in this difficult work. Still, this review offers some broader insights framed by sociopolitical and historical realities that may be helpful to preparation programs.
We recommend locating this within a longer timeframe and trajectory and bringing this context to the consciously knowing surface, racial injustice as de jure versus de facto (Rothstein, 2014).
Several implications for the preparation of principals and teachers emerge from this review. First, preparation programs must educate teachers and principals about race-as-racism. This includes racism as government policy, and its deliberate and devastating design to advance whites and stifle people of color, particularly African Americans. Residential segregation is one clear example: Too quickly forgetting twentieth century history, weve persuaded ourselves that the residential isolation of low-income black children is only de facto, the accident of economic circumstance, personal preference, and private discrimination (Rothstein, 2014, p. 1). But far from being accidental, or a matter of social evolution over time, residential isolation has result[ed] from racially-motivated public policy (Rothstein, 2014, p. 2), which has been so systematic and forceful that its effects endure to the present time (Rothstein, 2017, pp. xiv, viii). Furthermore, these federal- and state-sanctioned policies have manufactured and maintained the income gap between whites and non-whites and ensured the resegregation and educational isolation of Black and Brown children (Browne-Marshall, 2019; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2018; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2016), which has translated into lower quality schools, opportunity gaps, and negative life outcomes (Carter & Darling-Hammond, 2016; Johnson & Nazaryan, 2019). In addition, the intersection of race and other sociocultural factors has resulted in double segregation for children of color who are also, for instance, poor (Noguera, 2019) and therefore doubly jeopardized. By understanding, for example, the racially explicit government policies to segregate our metropolitan areas (Rothstein, 2017, p. xiv), the systemic nature of racism can be understood as deeply historical, firmly embedded, explicitly contrived, and self-perpetuating. In essence, the examination of racism needs to begin at the beginning, to study the chain of events over time in order to challenge the colorblind public consensus that prevails in American today has blinded us to the realities of race in our society and facilitated the emergence of a new caste system (Alexander, 2012, pp. 1112).
This brings us to our second recommendation, that the comprehensive examination of racism in America should enable teacher and principal candidates to come to understand racial segregation as the primary vehicle for racialized social control in the United States (Alexander, 2012, p. 11). Our review reveals most white candidates enter preparation programs with few experiences with, or little knowledge of, people different from themselves. Many preparation programs try to address this by exposing their students to different racial and cultural groups through clinical experiences, engaging them in reflecting on their identities, interrogating their beliefs and biases, and analyzing racism as systemic and institutional. However, our review also indicated these activities were framed narrowly through the lens of students individual histories such that students were not guided to situate themselves within systems of oppression that have resulted in their own racial isolation and consequently their lack of racialized experiences.
Third, it is imperative that teacher and principal preparation faculties work together across courses and experiences. In our review, we see that both teacher and principal preparation faculty seem to share similar goals and activities to engage candidates in a process of (re)examining their cultural scripts (Faltis & Valdés, 2016). We also acknowledge the legitimacy of this emphasis given the numerous mentor scholars (e.g., Feiman-Nemser, 2012; Gay, 2018) who call for preparation programs to address beliefs, and the robust body of literature discussed earlier that illuminates the connection between educators beliefs and their perceptions of and actions towards minoritized students. However, our review reveals that the narrative surrounding programs focus on candidates investigating popular problematic narratives (Faltis & Valdés, 2016, p. 570) about racialized learners was repeated across many studies, particularly the narrative of transformation. We are struck by the positive transformative power assigned by preparation faculty to brief and isolated experiences. Not only were experiences usually contained within individual courses, but we also find that programs were siloed and separate. Consequently, research narratives typically were about single courses or programs that did not appear to progress to action; they remained at levels of exploration or reflection with each story of learning about race being presumably reset anew at the beginning of each offering of a course or cohort experience.
Our conclusion is supported by other researchers who indicate candidate preparation for racial justice remains at the level of reflection and recommendation and falls short of actual practice (Cochran-Smith et al., 2016; Mills & Ballantyne, 2014; Sleeter, 2017). Clearly, if the preparation of teacher and principal candidates for racial justice does not progress beyond initial exploration, research on the impact of this preparation is similarly overstated. Teaching about race is complex, controversial, challenging, and benefits from collective, creative, and courageous thinking in continuous practice. We must advance the course narrative beyond the baseline knowledge and understandings prospective [candidates] bring with them (Jimenez & Rose, 2010, p. 404); this can only happen if faculty work together to develop a curriculum continuum that progresses in depth and substance, and there is more collaboration among teacher (principal) education researchers and scholars to link program-level studies (Faltis & Valdés, 2016, p. 580).
The final implication of this review is connected to the third, but focuses directly on preparation faculty, most of whom are white (Cross, 2005; Haddix, 2016; Ladson-Billings, 2005; Sleeter, 2017). Similar to their preservice students, their experience with or understanding of people racially and culturally different from themselves is limited because they, too, have been raised within a schooling system founded on racism and legally designed to advantage white people. The consequence of the cultural homogeneity of the teacher education faculty (Ladson-Billings, 2005, p. 230) is that the curricular content of teacher education programs tends to reflect White sensibilities (Sleeter, 2017, p. 158) and that race is grossly under-theorized in teacher education (Milner et al., 2013, p. 339). Similar patterns hold for principal preparation. Thus, although the language of the programs includes social justice and multiculturalism and diversity the ideology, values and practices are assuredly reinscribing white privilege, power, and racism (Cross, 2005, p. 266).
There is growing literature on the need for those who educate educators to receive preparation for this role (Cochran-Smith et al., 2020; Goodwin et al., 2014; Selke et al., 2020; White et al., 2020), as well as evidence that preparation faculty lack readiness for their responsibility to prepare candidates for racially just practice (Cross, 2005; Goodwin & Chen, 2016; Goodwin & Darity, 2019; Goodwin et al., 2014; Milner et al., 2013; Sleeter, 2017). It seems that preparation faculty themselves are developing their own racialized identities alongside their students. Moreover, the different conceptualizations of race held by preparation faculty highlight the lack of consensus among faculty of what it means to do racial justice teaching, and that the same activity undergirded by different levels of understanding leads to different outcomes. We see that most faculty steer clear of critical whiteness and racism but focus instead on how White teacher educators (they) and students can explore others as cultural exotics, the racial other, or the object of study for their academic or professional benefit (Cross, 2005, p, 265). And, despite much rhetoric about the shortage of candidates of color and efforts to recruit them in larger numbers, the isolation and invisibility of candidates of color in preparation remains a concern because very little of their experiences and prior knowledge are currently built upon within teacher training...the focus and design of teacher training is for White teacher candidates (Kohli & Pizzaro, 2016, p. 73; cf. Brown, 2014; Haddix, 2016). This means that white preparation faculty seem mostly to be speaking to students who look like them, using soft approaches to multiculturalism (Cross, 2005, p. 266), while side-stepping hard discussions of race, racism, white supremacy, structural inequality, and power. Essentially, faculty in preparation programs are preparing candidates for classrooms they themselves may not have experienced (Chou, 2010; Haddix, 2016; Ladson-Billings, 2005). Ultimately, preparation faculty cannot teach what they do not know and cannot consciously see.
Both fields need to come together to address these persistent problems in addressing race in educator preparation. Racism is a powerful force, and minoritized students continue to be harmed, underserved and miseducated by K12 schools. Teachers and principals are the individuals who have direct contact with students and shape their everyday schooling experiences. Preparation programs cannot solve the problems of racial inequity embedded within U.S. society. However, given our own overwhelming optimism in the face of complexity and these mixed findings, programs can be a place of potential where future teachers and principals can begin the journey to develop beliefs and practices that advance racial equity.
Some scholars who write from a multicultural education perspective note a range of enactments of multiculturalism. Grant and Sleeter (2008), for example, identified five approaches for addressing human diversity, ranging from teaching the exceptional and culturally different to social reconstructionist. When we categorized studies, we drew on these understandings of multiculturalism and looked to see how the scholars operationalized the term. When the focus was more on understanding different cultures, we coded it as race-as-difference. When the focus was on power and social change, we coded it as race-as-power.
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Characteristics of Literature Reviewed
TP = Teacher preparation; PP = Principal preparation
COR = Conceptualization of race; D = Difference; P = Power; R = Racism