Cultivating Social Justice Teachers
How Teacher Educators Have Helped Students Overcome Cognitive Bottlenecks and Learn Critical Social Justice Concepts

Foreword by David O. Stovall
Paper: 978 1 57922 888 0 / $32.50
Published: November 2012  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 887 3 / $95.00
Published: November 2012  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 889 7 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: January 2013  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 890 3 / $25.99
Published: January 2013  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
256 pp., 6" x 9"
tables & cartoons
Frustrated by the challenge of opening teacher education students to a genuine understanding of the social justice concepts vital for creating an equitable learning environment?

Do your students ever resist accepting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer people experience bias or oppression, or that their experiences even belong in a conversation about “diversity,” “multiculturalism,” or “social justice?”

Recognizing these are common experiences for teacher educators, the contributors to this book present their struggles and achievements in developing approaches that have successfully guided students to complex understandings of such threshold concepts as White privilege, homophobia, and heteronormativity, overcoming the “bottlenecks” that impede progress toward bigger learning goals and understandings.

The authors initiate a conversation – one largely absent in the social justice education literature and the discourse – about the common content- and pedagogy-related challenges that social justice educators face in their work, particularly for those doing this work in relative or literal isolation, where collegial understanding cannot be found down the hall or around the corner. In doing so they hope not only to help individual teachers in their practice, but also strengthen social justice teacher education more systemically.

Each contributor identifies a learning bottleneck related to one or two specific threshold concepts that they have struggled to help their students learn. Each chapter is a narrative about individual efforts toward sometimes profound pedagogical adjustment, about ambiguity and cognitive dissonance and resistance, about trial and error, and about how these educators found ways to facilitate foundational social justice learning among a diversity of education students. Although this is not intended to be a “how-to” manual, or to provide five easy steps to enable straight students to “get” heteronormativity, each chapter does describe practical strategies that teachers might adapt as part of their own practice.

Table of Contents:
David Stovall

1. Introduction
Paul C. Gorski, Nana Osei-Kofi, Kristien Zenkov, and Jeff Sapp

2. The Art of Teaching Intersectionality
Nana Osei-Kofi

3. Overcoming Nomos
Stephanie Jones and James F. Woglom

4. Learning to Tell a Pedagogical Story About Heteronormativity
Mollie V. Blackburn

5. Overcoming Deficit Thinking Through Interpretive Discussion
Curt Dudley-Marling

6. Teaching Against Essentialism and the “Culture of Poverty”
Paul C. Gorski

7. Disrupting Denial and White Privilege in Teacher Education
Darren E. Lund and Paul R. Carr

8. Teaching About Christian Privilege in the Teacher Education Classroom
Warren J. Blumenfeld

9. From Literacy to "Literacies": Using Photography to Help Teachers See What Youth Can Do
Kristien Zenkov, Athene Bell, Marriam Ewaida, Megan Fell, and James Harmon

10. Teaching and Learning About Immigration as a Humanitarian Issue: The Sociopolitical Context Bottleneck
Edward M. Olivos

11. “You’re Going to Hell!”: When Critical Multicultural Queer Affirmation Meets Christian Homophobia
Jeff Sapp

12. Beyond Open-Mindedness: How “Overlaying” Can Help Foster Impactful Discussions of Meritocracy in Teacher Education
Jody Cohen and Alice Lesnick



Sample Chapter

Reviews & Endorsements:
“Packed with honest stories that document the missteps, mistakes, and rethinking of courses that focus on issues of social justice, Cultivating Social Justice Teachers offers all of us – professors, teachers, researchers, and students – strategies for teaching and learning how to face the inevitable bumps and obstacles that get in the way of full inclusion and understanding of multiple perspectives. Engaging in brave and frank discussions, the editors and authors of this text are a model of what is needed if we are to change how teachers are prepared to teach in our diverse classrooms.”
- Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, School of Education , University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"Cultivating Social Justice Teachers emphasizes the profound connection between how we, as teachers, see ourselves and how we see our students, and recognizes that educators are de facto agents of Social Justice, positioned to either perpetuate or interrupt systems of oppression. This book points out how collaboration, connection, and communication are fundamental tools and practices in the work of preparing teachers to be Social Justice educators, planting seeds that, hopefully, will translate into the reflective practices that bridge our knowing of systemic oppression to guiding our own students in recognizing the social structures they have inherited. Most importantly, this book inspires hope that beyond acknowledging the roots of our current reality, teachers and students can change the course of injustice."
- Jennifer Chavez-Miller, Middle School Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator , Mountain Mahogany Community School, Albuquerque, New Mexico