White Disadvantage: The Effects of Racial Isolation on White Pre-Service Teachers
This paper examines the preconceived attitudes toward culture and racial diversity that pre-service teacher education students at a primarily white southern research institution bring with them to class and how those preconceptions impact their teaching and ability to integrate into a school environment that is culturally different from their own. Using qualitative research methods, the authors collected and analyzed written reflections from students throughout twelve sections of an educational foundations course. The authors found evidence that pre-service teachers experienced a disadvantage in understanding the culture and behavior of African-American school children. We call this white disadvantage. On the basis of these findings, the authors make recommendations to increase the students exposure to diverse environments (in which they are not the majority), so that they can, in good faith, meet the state standards on teaching quality.
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