Constructing an Image of a White Teacher
by Alice McIntyre - 1997
This article explores how a small group of white middle?and upper–middle–class female student teachers constructed an image of what it means to be a “white? teacher. Through the use of qualitative participatory action research methods, the participants in this study critically reflected on their understandings of multicultural education and their positions as white student teachers involved in a teacher education program. The participants were invited to be researchers about their daily lives, to pose problems that arose from the complexities of their own racial identities, and to develop realistic solutions for dealing with racism in their classrooms. Through initial one-to- one interviews, and during eight two-hour group sessions, the participants were provided with opportunities to view themselves as “white? an experience that was relatively new to them. It also provided them with a challenging and highly provocative way to view their roles as white teachers. The data presented in this article suggest that by white educators?questioning and confronting their white identities and challenging the meaning of being “white? teachers, they can more effectively pursue teaching practices that significantly alter the way white students are educated about themselves and about multicultural education.
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