Learning Culturally Relevant Practices: Facing Developmental Roadblocks

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This article was downloaded by: [North Dakota State University]On: 17 December 2014, At: 16:59Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UKMulticultural PerspectivesPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hmcp20Learning Culturally Relevant Practices: FacingDevelopmental RoadblocksColette Gosselin a & Emily Meixner aa The College of New JerseyPublished online: 07 Feb 2013.To cite this article: Colette Gosselin & Emily Meixner (2013) Learning Culturally Relevant Practices: Facing DevelopmentalRoadblocks, Multicultural Perspectives, 15:1, 31-38, DOI: 10.1080/15210960.2013.754292To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15210960.2013.754292PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hmcp20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/15210960.2013.754292http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15210960.2013.754292http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsMulticultural Perspectives, 15(1), 3138Copyright C 2013 by the National Association for Multicultural EducationISSN: 1521-0960 print / 1532-7892DOI: 10.1080/15210960.2013.754292PART IIILearning Culturally Relevant Practices: Facing DevelopmentalRoadblocksColette Gosselin and Emily MeixnerThe College of New JerseyAs multicultural educators who have participated in thedevelopment of a secondary education program thatstrives to prepare 21st century teachers, we are concernedwith our teacher candidates ability to understand thecultural contexts of the classrooms in which they willteach. Because they arrive at our small, Northeastern,public, liberal arts college from relatively homogeneousand mono-cultural (White, middle-class) school contextsand are among the highest performing students intheir respective high schools, our students typically lackawareness of how contextual differences result in inequityin school and familial resources, available curricula andmaterials, academic expectations, and parentteacherrelationships.With these considerations in mind, when our col-leges undergraduate secondary education program wasredesigned in 2004, the restructuring was organizedaround an interdisciplinary educational foundations ap-proach that examined the cultural dynamics of schooling(Conchas, 2006; Delpit & Dowdy, 2008; Lopez, 2002;Valenzuela, 1999). The new design of the program would,as recommended by Linda Darling-Hammond, providetight coherence and integration among courses andbetween course work and clinical work in schools asCorrespondence should be sent to Colette Gosselin, The College ofNew Jersey, Department of Educational Administration and SecondaryEducation, 2000 Pennington Rd., Ewing, NJ 08628-0718. E-mail:Gosselin@tcnj.edu or to Emily Meixner, The College of New Jersey,Department of English, 2000 Pennington Rd., Ewing, NJ 08628-0718.E-mail: Meixner@tcnj.eduwell as extensive and intensely supervised clinical workintegrated with course work using pedagogies that linktheory and practice (2006, p. 300). In its construction,the program would focus our students attention on: The dynamic relationship between teachers andstudents in various cultural contexts; The ways diverse contexts impact student achievement; The role of context on human learning and identitydevelopment; and The interconnect among local, state, and nationalgovernment initiatives that impact teaching andlearningBy focusing our students attention on these concerns,we anticipated that they would be able to acknowledgethat cultural differences exist and matter, reconsider theirbeliefs about the causal relationship between effort andachievement, and engage in culturally responsive teachingin their field placements; in particular, we believed thatwe would see evidence of these skills in their juniorpracticum experience (Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 1994,2001).What we discovered after designing two case stud-ies that examine whether or not our students coulddo these things at this point in the program, was thattheir ability to simultaneously internalize and enacttheir changing beliefs was programmatically ambitiousand developmentally premature; our students could notimmediately integrate their changing beliefs about cultureand context while also learning lesson design, methodsMulticultural Perspectives31Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 of instruction, and classroom management techniques.Therefore, as they began teaching, our students resortedto familiar deficit models of culture and context to explaintheirand their studentsperformance.Frustrated, we raised questions regarding programdesign and developmentally appropriate practices anddecided to investigate the literature on college studentdevelopment where we discovered a wealth of researchthat identified developmental concerns that we had notconsidered yet needed to know; we learned we wereoperating on a set of assumptions about college studentdevelopment and how this development would interfacewith the design of the program.In this article we seek to bring together the literature oncollege student development with best practice researchon multicultural teacher education. In doing so, weassert the need for teacher educators to cultivate a moresophisticated understanding of their preservice teachersdevelopment with respect to critical thinking, self-authorship, and social relationships. Just as preserviceteachers fall back into deficit models of culture andcontext when describing their students, so too do teachereducators unknowingly draw on deficit discourses as theyevaluate teacher candidates.Our discussion provides an overview of the stagesfrom three models of college student development thatbest inform our findings, highlights the data drawn fromour case studies, and maps our students reflections to thethree models. While acknowledging that our students willbe leaving our programs unfinished and that significantdevelopmental leaps may occur post-certification, we willconclude by considering ways in which teacher educationprograms can endeavor to make these leaps possible.Models of College Student DevelopmentWhile a robust literature exists on college studentdevelopment, the combined work of King and Kitchener(1994), Baxter-Magolda (1999) and Kegan (1994)provided the insight we needed to explain our findings.All three models describe college students as progressingthrough stages of development in which the skills ofone stage are incorporated or expanded in the next.Figure 1 suggests a model that illustrates the layering andinterconnectedness of the developmental roadblocks wehave observed in our students as they progressed throughour program.Beginning with the innermost component, criticalthinking, we sought to understand our students ability toevaluate ideas. King and Kitcheners (1994, p. 42) modelof reflective judgment describes seven epistemic stagesthat shape the ways college students critical thinkingdevelops as they move from accepting knowledge asgiven from authority figures to recognizing knowledgeFigure 1. Layers of development.as constructed, contextual, and evidence based. Wethen wondered about the connection between ourstudents ability to think critically, voice their beliefs,and ultimately choose their own positions. Baxter-Magoldas (1999) study on self-authorship explained tous how students turn their personal development intomore sophisticated logical interpretations, choices, andactions and eventually become self-authors. Her modelconsists of four developmental stages beginning withabsolute knowers who mimic the voice of authorities tocontextual knowers who have established identities thatcan withstand the angst of conflict, are resilient in the faceof conflict, and who are therefore open to the realities ofothers. Finally, we wanted to understand how our studentsthought of themselves in relationship to others. Kegans(1982, p. 73110; 1994, p. 2936) model of humandevelopment comprised of six distinct epistemologicalstages offered insight into how college students come tounderstand themselves and make decisions within socialrelationships.Since early stages of the King and Kitchener andKegan models occur prior to adolescence and moreadvanced levels of all three models evolve later inadulthood, those stages have been excluded from ourdiscussion. In the tables below we identify key facets ofeach developmental stage that we will later draw on toanalyze our case studies. While our model above bestcaptures the nested relationship of these three theories,for the sake of comparison, we choose to provide thedetails of the three models in table form.Findings: Sophomore Year Case StudyFollowing the first years implementation of theredesigned program, we conducted a focus groupinterview to learn how its emphasis on classroom culturalcontexts impacted our candidates ability to recognizethe politics of classrooms and act on this knowledge.The Official Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education32Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 Nine teacher candidates were invited to participate ina semi-structured, 2 hour interview that was video andaudio-taped and then transcribed.Throughout the interview, the candidates spokepowerfully about how the sophomore courses werereframing their thoughts about teaching. They referencedthe shift in their mindsets regarding their professionalidentities, emphasized their emerging awareness ofclassroom cultural contexts, and the inherent moralresponsibility that this awareness engenders. In theexcerpts below, the students describe their recognitionof the hidden agenda of school structures that supportthe status quo, their willingness to act on this awarenessby incorporating this knowledge into their pedagogy,and they articulate the new sense of responsibility theynow possess as future teachers. Feeling empowered, theyspeak of cultural agency. Their comments included:Dan: I think before we went in to the classroom, we almosthad like a utopian idea of school . . . And then you go in,and its almost like you see this like hidden agenda in thatthese schools set up these tracking policies almost not forthe students benefit but maybe even to keep the powerstructures in society running. . . .Denise: . . . [if what] schools are teaching right now Whiteis privileged, male is privileged . . . we are in the mostprivileged and most powerful positions because we arethe ones who are molding the minds of our future . . . sowhile maybe we may not be able to change the adminis-tration or to change the nation as it is now because it is amind set that is kind of self-perpetuating in that all theseinstitutions are supporting each other, and supporting thestatus quo, but as teachers, we have the ability to moldhow our students are going to do that.Jenn: Its not just about teaching kids something that willhelp them in college. Its about shaping someones moral-ity almost. Its a lot more responsibility than I ever previ-ously thought when I was in high school.Later in the interview, the candidates began toreconsider their initial beliefs that the primary knowledgea teacher needs is content expertise as they beginto emphasize the need for pedagogical knowledge.This self-initiated reflection led us to believe that theywere ready for the next step: enacting their newfoundunderstandings. The excerpts below reveal this shift inLen and Dans thinking, explaining:Len: . . . we all [thought] we only need to knowcontent and thats not really true. We also need to knowpedagogy. We cant just teach content with no pedagogyto back it up. . . . It didnt occur that the two should gohand in hand, that you learn this and you learn this butyou should learn both. . . .Dan: . . . we almost had like a utopian idea of school in thesense that you walk in and we were good students so itslike everyone is going to do well. . . . But now we thinkeffective teaching requires a balance between content andpedagogical knowledge . . . but if we don t relate or if wedont know where the student is coming from, we cantreally access. . . . We dont know how to get across whatwe need, and then the content that they do learn is justgoing to go in one ear and out the other.These initial outcomes were affirming. As a result,we anticipated that during their junior year when theybegan to teach, the candidates would continue to buildon this emerging critical consciousness and use it as alens to interrogate the relationship between the politics ofteaching and their own instructional choices.Expectations: Junior Year Case StudyWe were aware that instructional support was necessaryfor our students to see this relationship. Consequently, thejunior year methods courses were designed to draw uponour students nascent cultural awareness, which extendedbeyond identification of surface level differences instudents race, class, and language backgrounds. Wehoped our students would question how these differencesinformed their pedagogical practice and realize theirquestions were not only rooted in their beliefs aboutthemselves, their students, and schools in general, butwere also manifest in the methodological choices thatthey would be required to make (Bartholome, 1994).While the students were introduced to a range ofpedagogical approaches in their methods courses, wealso made explicit the ways in which methodologicalchoices engage in political work by privileging particularvalues, academic content, learning processes, studentintelligences, and/or kinds of knowledge (Apple, 1993;Banks, 1993). As our students began to design andimplement their own lessons, they were expected toconsider their chosen methods pedagogical benefitsand drawbacks as well as their inherent inclusions andexclusions with respect to curriculum and assessment(Hinchey, 2004). We assumed that this process wouldsupport their developing critical consciousness. Whilewe recognized that not all of the students would identifythe connection between the politics of teaching andinstruction in the actual moment of teaching, we felt thatsome would. And we believed that others would be ableto see this relationship later, upon reflection.Findings: Junior Year Case StudyFollowing the completion of the junior year fieldexperience, we conducted 90-minute interviews withtwo groups of English students (10 students total)Multicultural Perspectives Vol. 15, No. 133Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 enrolled in both of our methods courses. We paired theseinterviews with final reflections our students composedin their general pedagogy course. In these interviews andreflections, what our students could identify, describe, anddo was different than we had anticipated. They could notrecognize their deployment of cultural deficit discoursewhen they referenced urban schools and families, discussschool context beyond generalized categories, or grapplewith the inequity they did recognize and suggest a planof action. In short, they had not applied their sophomorecourse learning to their field practica.Cultural Deficit DiscourseAs our candidates spoke about their students abilitiesand family expectations at their field sites, it becameevident that they had constructed their understanding indichotomous terms: either students had skills or they didnot. For example, Tracy and Evan voiced how deeply thisperception shaped their attitudes, stating:Tracy: . . . because I was in a good district I felt thatthe high expectations I felt for my students were justified.They were all capable of performing well on quizzes. . .Evan: My students were fairly wealthy and had some ofthe best education in the state: therefore my standardswere high. . .For Tracy and Evan social class and expectations areinextricably linked. More troubling was the prominenceof this same view as our students spoke about thedifference between suburban and urban settings as theybegan to share concerns about their preparedness toteach in urban schools. While some of their concernsmay be legitimatethe kinds of available resourcesand experiences/knowledge students might bring toclassroomstheir stated worries largely focused onstudent ability and parent expectations. Here, Sarahspeaks about how she anticipates this difference willaffect her teaching, stating:(in) a poor district, Im not saying the parents dont haveall these expectations, but its going to be more of a strug-gle because a lot of times the kids are not as prepared tobe where they are or they do not have the support.Furthering the talk of anticipated deficiency and theimpact this will have on their teaching in urban settings,she poses a hypothetical instructional dilemma as if thisdilemma was not encountered by her current cooperatingteacher. Sarah states:What if you go into an urban school and half your studentsare where they need to be, whereas in (her school site)you see all the kids are beyond where they need to be andthey have the skill set for the grades theyre in, when yougo into a district where half or seventy-five percent of thekids arent where they need to be but the others are wherethey need to be and need the challenge. . . .As we listened to our students assume what urbanstudents cannot do, what became evident was theirespousal of cultural deficit theory while privileging andvaluing resources of the dominant culture (Nieto, 2004,p. 256). Yet, the core theme of their sophomore levelcourses was the recognition of cultural differences andhow this frames development, knowledge, and familyexpectations. As sophomores, these candidates hadbeen able to identify and articulate how deficit theoriesblame students failure to achieve on cultural difference.And while our students did not explicitly deploy theterm cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1977), implicit intheir statements was the belief that urban students aredeficient in the knowledge, skills, and home environmentsnecessary to be successful in school. More troubling thanthe presence of this discourse was our students failure torecognize it as they listened to each other.School ContextAs we attempted to redirect the conversation toother aspects of the political context of schools, ourstudents commented anecdotally on social class; theyemphasized the wealth of the community citing privatemusic and coaching lessons, mind blowing vacations,and the plentiful funding through tax dollars thatcould furnish the schools with an abundance oftechnologically advanced resources and staff it withtalented, committed, and intelligent teachers. However,when probed more deeply about school inequities, ourcandidates responded by describing the difficulties theyfaced in their placements. In her final reflection, Justinementioned several negative encounters she and her partnerhad had with practicing teachers at the middle schoolas they tried to make copies of curricular materials fortheir students. There is definitely a political hierarchy inschools, she wrote:We ended up seeing just how irrationally rude teacherscan be and the administration, too. . . . It seemed that theteachers believed that since we were not teachers, weshould not have access to all the resources that establishedteachers had. I know this isnt really politics, but in a wayit mirrors the structure of politics.Although Justine recognized that there were other waysof talking about the politics of schools, the inequity thatshe highlighted was her own.Tracy reacted similarly, citing the inordinate amountof power she felt affluent parents had over her cooperatingThe Official Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education34Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 teachers (and, therefore, her) instructional choices. Thecooperating teacher is thinking that whatever might gowrong in the classroom will come back to them, shesaid. Theyre going to get the blame for it so theyre justtrying to avoid that, they dont want angry parents comingin. . . . When youre in a rich district, she concluded,you have to deal with all of these outside forces, all theseexpectations. Most the other students agreed, and aswe analyzed the narratives our students had constructedabout their experiences at their field sites, it became clearthat their engagement with the political context of theirindividual school sites had not extended into a criticalexamination of their students experiences.Also problematic in these comments were ourstudents characterization of parents and parenting. Intheir sophomore courses, the candidates learned thatsome cultures frame schooling and education as distinctentities such that academic achievement, attendance, anddiscipline are defined as the business of teachers andschools while parenting or educacion (Valdes, 1996)are the business of parents. Therefore, we thoughtour students would question school expectations ofparental involvement instead their experiences reifiedtheir former attitudes about family responsibility andthe kinds of behaviors in which good parents wouldengage. Juliannes comments illustrate how stronglyshe still adheres to her beliefs that good parents areinvolved in their schooling in very specific ways:. . . guardians need to be aware of what is going on inthe classroom. They need to make sure that the home-work and studying are completed. . . . They need to dis-cuss what the student is learning so they can be aware oftheir development, and recognize their personal strengthsand weaknesses so they can offer assistance. Most of all,students need to be encouraged and supported. . . . Thefirst line of defense to enable students in this way is theirfamily. . . . My students who had strong familial involve-ment were often more positive and successful within theclassrooms than those that did not.Not only does Julianne espouse the kind of parentbehavior associated with a White, educated middleclass, she, like Sarah, insists that parents who fail to servein this capacity are largely responsible for their childspoor performance in schools. Like her peers, Juliannedoes not recognize how her comments privilege somecultural values over others.Inability to Move Toward ActionThis lack of recognition about their own appropriationof deficit language ultimately made it difficult for manyof our candidates to move beyond identifying generalinequities to taking specific action. Instead of imaginingthat what they believed about their students socio-culturalcontext and aptitudes might be incorrect or envisioningmethodological choices that might better integrate andimprove upon their students knowledge and ways ofknowing, they were stuck. They saw differences, but oftenfelt as though they could not do anything about them.For example, Marcia acknowledged the vast difference inresources she saw in an ESL and junior writing electivebut did not suggest interventions, nor did she critiqueschool policies or the teaching practices, which maintainthese inequities. Instead, she was merely bothered bywhat she saw.Entering the semester, we anticipated that most ofour students would sound more like Alicia, who didunderstand her own culpability in the maintenance ofinequitable schooling experiences and, describing herexperience working with ESL students, said:I became frustrated with myself when they struggled tocommunicate because I could tell they really understood,they just could not find the right words to explain whatthey were thinking in English . . . they were so eager tolearn, yet they were not being given the knowledge theywere searching for.And, by the end of the semester, we had hoped thatthis recognition would lead, as it did with Alicia, to herimagining what she could do to undo the low expectationsshe regularly encountered from her cooperating teacher.She stated:No one deserves to be called not that bright even if itsjust to another teacher or a JFE student. Every studentdeserves the right to do their best. If teachers are notchallenging each and every student and providing themwith all the tools necessary to succeed, then we can notturn around and say it is their fault or they are just notmotivated or smart enough . . . if we want to see changeit needs to start with teachers.Case Study Analysis: Sophomore YearAs we analyzed our sophomore interviews, werealized that while Dan, Denise, and Jenn seemed tohave internalized course content, their questioning oftheir own schooling experiences was actually moreabout knowledge acquisition than critical reflectionand/or ideological transformation. The candidates weinterviewed felt strongly that this professional programwould prepare them for teaching and were inclined tosee the content they encountered in their courses aspotentially useful. Eager to demonstrate their mastery ofcourse content, they were willing to defer to the authorityand experience of their professors and the texts theyMulticultural Perspectives Vol. 15, No. 135Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 Table 1. Sophomores Developmental StagesKing and Kitchner Critical Thinking Baxer-Magolda Self-Authorship Kegan Social RelationshipsStage 3: Pre-reflective Stage 1: Absolute knowers Stage 2: ImperialKnowledge is authority driven with someacceptance of uncertainty. Facts and personalbeliefs are equally valid. Systemic factorsand inter-personal dynamics are pushed intothe background.No true voice of the student is present asknowledge is authority driven. Students maywork hard to listen to and reproduce theauthoritys voice.Social relationships are constructed in dichoto-mous, competing terms. Self-developmentrests on the capacity to identify the conse-quences of actions in terms of how one willbe viewed.Absolute resolutions to real problems must bememorized.Focus is on the acquisition or mastery ofinformation.Begins to consider how actions affect others,but decision-making is largely governed byself-interest.Beliefs are not evidence based. Unconvinc-ing evidence is regarded as opinion notknowledge.Discrepancies or inconsistencies are describedas variations rather than true differences inknowledge.Resolution to problems are cast as a choicebetween meeting ones own needs or meetingthe needs of others.were reading. Because of this, we suspect that while ourstudents may have been rethinking their prior knowledge,they were also memorizing and reiterating course ideasin order to prove themselves good students (Table 1:Pre-reflective, Absolute Knowers).As our students began to adopt the discourse ofthe course, they also created unexamined and overlysimplistic educative binaries: Schools were either good orbad, students were either privileged or disenfranchised,and teachers were either effective or ineffective (Table 1:Imperial). And, they became frustrated when clear-cut solutions were not immediately offered or visible.Although our students were open to new ideas and thepersonal uncertainty that often resulted, they did notexperience a significant paradigmatic shift in their abilityto examine school experiences more critically. Instead,they began to perform teacher by asserting the authorityof their professors or the authors they read, acceptingtheir ideas largely without question or the expectation ofconcrete evidence, and vocalizing simplified versions oftheir solutions as the right way to fix the problemof schools.At this point in the program, our students sense ofselves as teachers in the program is inextricably linkedwith their ability to assert some kind of truth about school(Table 1: Pre-reflective). What is most significant in ourstudents responses is not only what they say they believe,but how they believe it and why. At this point their effortsto develop an identity as a teacher stems largely fromtheir buy-in to the program, their willingness to espouseothers beliefs about schools as their own, and their needto be viewed in positive light by their professors (Table 1:Absolute Knowers).Case Study Analysis: Junior YearInitially we assumed that our juniors had developedbeyond the dispositions outlined in Table 1 and woulddemonstrate evidence of the competencies containedin Table 2; we assumed they would become reflective,contextual knowers with sufficient autonomy to makepedagogical decisions both considerate of and inde-pendent from the various institutional pressures theyencountered. We discovered that while our students weredeveloping reflective skills and beginning to assert theirown voice as teachers (Table 3: Quasi Reflective, Tran-sitional Knowers), very few were able to fully separatetheir teacher identities from those of their cooperatingteachers. This is why many of the frustrations voiced byour students were concerns they believed their co-opsalso shared.More significant was our recognition that even thoughour students were moving into the dispositions describedTable 2. Target Developmental StagesKing and Kitchner Critical Thinking Baxer-Magolda Self-authorship Kegan Social RelationshipsStage 5: Reflective Stage 4: Contextual knowers Stage 4: InstitutionalKnowledge is contextual, therefore subject toevidence. Multiple truths are considered inrendering judgments.Students establish an identity with boundariesthat permits openness to others whilemaintaining a sense of separateness.Capacity to hold multiple sides of realitysimultaneously emerges. Sense of autonomyand self in contexts is disentangled butindividual searches for a group identity.Source and quality of evidence is weighed toconstruct an interpretation. Beliefs becomecontext specific.Students integrate knowledge from experts andprocess evidence with their own experienceand that of others to formulate their ownopinion.Capacity to co-feel emerges as ones emotionallife is now internally controlled and is lessthreatened by external situational change.The Official Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education36Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 Table 3. Juniors Developmental StagesKing and Kitchner Critical Thinking Baxer-Magolda Self-Authorship Kegan Social RelationshipsStage 4: Quasi reflective Stage 2 and 3: Transitional knowers andindependent knowersStage 3: InterpersonalKnowledge is understood as an abstract anduncertain endeavor involving the process ofreasoning through evidence.Students begin to perceive themselves asco-constructors of knowledge and come torecognize authorities as no longer the onlysource of knowledge. This shift frees themto pursue their own thinking.A balanced self-coherence that can withstandangst in social relationship has not fullyformed.Evidence is regarded as idiosyncratic. Their focus shifts from acquisition of knowl-edge to the process of learning. They beginto think for themselves and assert theirown voice as they gain distance from theauthoritys voice. They attempt to listen totheir peers but struggle to hear them clearlywhile maintaining their own perspectives.Construction of conflicts is understood asstemming from shared realities betweenconnected persons.Evidence that supports beliefs is likely to bechosen.Discrepancies and variations are acceptedas equally valid but the students begin toembrace opportunities to explore and furtherdevelop their understandings.Resolution of conflicts will seesaw betweenthe two sides of the shared reality as onlyone context can be considered at a givenmoment. Ability to withstand angst in socialrelationships has not fully formed.in Table 3, in terms of their social relationships theycontinued to be guided almost entirely by self-interest(Table 1). The clearest evidence of this was their deploy-ment of cultural deficit discourse. The dichotomies theyconstructed sophomore year continued to be present andthey worried about how inequities would impact their suc-cess as teachers. Throughout the interview, as the studentspresented the evidence they had gleaned about students,schools, and teachers, they constructed school problemsin competing termsthem versus the studentsacompetition of which they seemed totally unaware.This rendering of their practicum experience wasalso true in terms of their understanding of the politicaldynamics of schools. We expected our candidateswould eagerly engage in a critical examination of theirstudents affluence, seeing in their students materialopportunities the hidden curriculum described previouslyin their assigned readings sophomore year. Instead, theyexpressed frustration not with the effects of materialinequity on schools, but rather the inequitable powerrelationships between themselves and other teachers andadministrators. Of concern to them were community andparental pressures, as well as school hierarchies withrespect to teaching materials, workspace, and supplies.Despite their appropriation of deficit language anddifficulty identifying the educational impact of socialclass, a few candidates did demonstrate a more complexawareness of existing inequities within their individualclassrooms: Marcia described the differences in availableresources and support materials for her ESL and main-streamed students, and Alicia critiqued her cooperatingteachers low expectations of her lower tracked students.Yet, neither could suggest pedagogical interventions norframe the inequities they identified in terms of schoolpolicies. Instead, both interpreted these practices asstemming from the attributes of individual teachers.Although Marcia and Alicia were unable to act orsituate the inequities they observed within normalizedschool practices, both exhibited dispositions that indicatethey have begun to step outside themselves and identifywith their students (Transitioning towards Table 3). Thisis especially evident when Alicia identifies the sharedfrustration when she and her ESL students were unableto effectively communicate with each other. Rather thanblaming them for their slow progress, she expressedempathy and acknowledged their struggle to learn.ConclusionDespite our efforts to design a program in whichour students unpack school inequity, we now recognizethat our expectations were ambitious because candidatesare growing from absolute to transitional knowers. In athree year undergraduate program, their beliefs cannotbe simply interrupted, their self-authorship completelyevolved, and their capacity to negotiate among competingneeds fully developed; they will require additionaltime and experiences to build the knowledge base andconfidence necessary to unpack the complexity of schooldilemmas and make informed decisions that result ininstructional choices that meet all their students needs.While we remain committed to our ideals, we nowrecognize that we must proactively support our studentsgrowth from absolute knowers who construct binaryrelationships to transitional knowers who constructrealities between connected individuals. Our candidatesability to understand contextual differences is contingentMulticultural Perspectives Vol. 15, No. 137Downloaded by [North Dakota State University] at 16:59 17 December 2014 upon their recognition that they and their students may notshare similar views on the purpose of schooling, curricularcontent, learning processes, and parentteacherschoolresponsibilities and relationships. They also need tounderstand that while each of these may impact academicachievement, the relationship between student successand community and/or school values cannot be framed interms of hierarchies or binaries. Ideas we are consideringto support our students growth from one developmentstage to the next include:1. Creating more opportunities for candidates tobecome aware of competing discourses on cultureand schooling, achievement, and best practice.2. Providing examples that illustrate how differentdiscourses might frame the same situation.3. Developing classroom activities or assignmentsthat ask candidates to identify how viewpointsthey express in class reflect a variety of theoreticalperspectives on schooling.4. Generating solutions to field-based classroomsituations that require candidates to draw onmultiple perspectives and evidence.5. Having candidates identify the best course ofaction and practice articulating how their decisionespouses theoretical and ideological perspectives.These instructional modifications will support ourstudents ability to examine, gather, and evaluate evidencebefore arriving at conclusions and determining a courseof action. As they practice and exchange evidenced-based analyses that challenge their assumptions andintegrate new knowledge, they are more apt to reconsidertheir beliefs. Opportunities to express their emergingunderstandings will help them foster more confidentteacher identities that can withstand the tension andconflict of divergent explanations. A more evolvedsense of self author-as-teacher will engender a greatercapacity for openness to the realities of their studentslives, learning needs, and interests, while simultaneouslyacknowledging the curricular, instructional, and districtdemands they shoulder as teachers. Recasting thesecompeting needs not as binaries that must be resolvedone way or another, but as situational dilemmas thatintegrate contextual differences, will in turn support theircontinuing growth as novice teachers.ReferencesApple, M. W. (1993). Official Knowledge. New York, NY: Routledge.Banks, J. (1993). The canon debate, knowledge construction, andmulticultural education. Educational Researcher, 22, 414.Bartholome, L. (1994). Beyond the methods fetish: Towards ahumanizing pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 64, 13194.Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.Baxter-Magolda, M. B. (1999). 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