Exploring past school experiences to shape the practice of anti-oppressive pedagogy
This research explores the use of memories of past school experiences to help identify unnamed and unchallenged incidents of oppression that occurred in elementary and high school. What are the implications for educators when past school experiences indicate that racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and other harmful practices took place, but went unexamined and unclaimed as such? Three inter-related reflective analyses are used to investigate the experiences of teacher candidates, the thesis author, and practicing teachers to fully explore this query. The first section examines teacher candidates’ reactions to anti-oppressive education. Negative reactions by students are most often defined by scholars as resistance. This section reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of this definition. The memories students shared about their past schooling suggest looking beyond the current scope of theories that define negativity as resistance. The second section includes a retrospective analysis of the author’s past school experiences where oppressive practices went unidentified and unchallenged as such. In the third section, Narrative Inquiry is used to gather stories from practicing teachers whose memories also indicate unnamed examples of oppression. Participants’ identify school memories that helped shape their current teaching practices and enhanced their commitment to addressing racism, classism, sexism and other issues in schools today.
anti-sexist, memory work, teacher candidates, teacher education, anti-racist, homophobic, resistance
Master of Education (M.Ed.)