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Abstract

A university professor observes the use of a Native American stereotype by a cooperating teacher in an elementary art classroom while supervising a preservice teacher. She identifies ways that the teacher’s words potentially harmed her students and reflects on her own role. This “teachable moment” is described, and characteristics of institutionalized racism and white dominance are examined as a foundation for racist insensitivities in the classroom. The professor calls for preservice teachers to be prepared in their teacher education programs to be culturally responsive. She draws on a study of preservice teachers mentoring minority children to demonstrate how change can begin with restructuring teacher education pedagogy to embrace multiculturalism (Adams, Bondy, & Kuhel, (2005). Implications include practices that help educators identify assumptions about race and socio-cultural difference and overcome learned stereotypes.

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