There is urgency for teacher educators to instruct preservice teachers in the tenants of social justice education. This urgency is based upon the American demographic landscape and the responsibility of educators to teach for social justice. Preservice teachers report feeling inadequately prepared to educate for social justice when entering the classroom setting (citations from below). Feelings of incompetence in social justice teaching expressed among preservice teachers coupled with minimal examination in the literature of the effects of teacher education practices that aid in the readiness to teach for social justice provided the foundation for this study. This study examined experiential methodologies that can prepare preservice teachers to teach for social justice, particularly within a social studies context. The study focused on two research questions: (a) How do preservice elementary teachers in a social studies methods course conceptualize teaching for social justice within an experiential framework? (b) In what ways did preservice teachers operationalize teaching for social justice in the practicum classroom? Also examined was how the development of community in a social studies methodology course fostered the understanding of teaching for social justice. The findings highlight how preservice teachers were able to conceptualize building communities with experiential methods to teach for social justice and how doing so created an effective learning community. Although the preservice teachers valued the implementation of experiential methods to foster the teaching of social justice, difficulties were expressed in their incorporation of experiential methods in the practicum environment due to a lack of confidence, teaching competence, or collegial support.


case study, qualitative, teacher education, community



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