Culturally relevant pedagogy in multicultural teacher education: a paradoxical objective

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Culturally relevant pedagogy in multicultural teacher education: a paradoxical objective

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Widespread under-representation of teacher candidates of color in schools, set against the backdrop of a rapidly increasingly diverse student body, has resulted in a national effort to diversify the teaching force. Additionally, national accrediting agencies have charged teacher education programs (TEPs) with the responsibility of preparing all teachers to meet the needs of all students. However, much of the research on multicultural teacher education focuses on White pre-service teachers and their assumed cultural incompetency. One popular approach to addressing the cultural disparities in classrooms is developing teachers as culturally relevant pedagogues who are able to develop and maintain cultural competency, critical consciousness, and academic proficiency with traditionally marginalized populations. Empirical research explicating the preparedness of faculty to do such work is lacking. Moreover, the experiences of pre-service teacher candidates of color (TCCs) are under-explored. This study seeks to explore how one teacher education program worked to develop culturally relevant TCCs. It explicates how TCCs enacted resistance to specific pedagogy, curriculums and content, but also the ways they negotiated engagement in multicultural education courses. Additionally, the study illuminates effective pedagogies employed by a teacher educator to facilitate transformations of consciousness that led to empowerment. Broadly, this project responds to gaps in education research regarding the academic and sociocultural experiences of TCCs and the salience of culturally relevant pedagogy in higher education.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2014. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Bic Ngo, PhD Timothy Lensmire, PhD. 1 computer file (PDF). viii, 123 pages, appendices A-E.

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Smith, Chelda. (2014). Culturally relevant pedagogy in multicultural teacher education: a paradoxical objective. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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