Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan


Reflecting the shift in population in the United States, classrooms are becoming increasingly more diverse. However, more than 85% of teachers are white and middle class. Can teachers who have been born to the dominant group adequately teach students who are oppressed daily by that same group? What pre-service training should be provided?

An integrated model of teacher development was created that pairs individual identity dilemmas posited by Miller and Fellows with associated societal critiques. This method helps to deepen the students’ understanding of how their own personal development is related to how it related to larger constructions of meaning. First students learn to identify privilege in their own lives while examining how the privilege of the dominant group has been maintained through a complex network of institutional racism that denied those privileges to people of color. Next the students work to define their individual ethnicity and rearticulate a positive, anti-racist white identity while deconstructing historical whiteness and its role in meaning generation. Students then address the guilt that often plagues white individuals as they learn about the pervasiveness of racism and their collusion in it. At the same time students learn how to monitor their behavior for conscious and subconscious racist actions as well as how to correct such behaviors through meta-cognition. Finally students process the lifestyle changes that come with a lifelong commitment to ending racism, being an effective ally, and working to change racist practices in their classrooms and educational institutions.

Though this inquiry is not an exhaustive analysis of the needs of teacher training programs, it provides a new framework from which curriculum can be developed that will create more aware and accepting teachers.


Race and Ethnicity | Teacher Education and Professional Development