Preparing to teach : learning from an exploration of teachers' experiences of teaching in classrooms of difference
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This qualitative study explores practicing teachers' experiences of teaching in classrooms of diversity, that is, classrooms where students represent a variety of differences including race, culture, ethnicity, and class. More specifically, this study investigates the types of curricular and pedagogical practices teachers employ in their classrooms. This study attempts to make a contribution to the scholarship of critical pedagogy by drawing upon the works of critical pedagogues to make sense of participants' descriptions oftheir curricular and pedagogical practices. Four participants were involved in this study. Participants were elementary teachers in classrooms of difference in Ontario who contributed the primary sources of data by engaging in 2 individual interviews. Additional sources of data included a focus group meeting that 2 ofthe participants were able to attend, school board curriculum resource documents assisting teachers in teaching critically, as well as a research journal which the researcher kept throughout the study. The scholarship of critical pedagogy (Ellsworth, 1992; Giroux, 1993; McLaren, 1989) informs the analysis of participants' descriptions of their teaching experiences. Many of the participants did not engage in a practice of critical pedagogy. This study explores some of the challenges and possibilities of using critical pedagogy to create spaces in classrooms where teachers can build connections between the curriculum mandated by the government and the multiple identities and experiences that students bring into the classroom. This study concludes with a discussion on what teachers need to know to be able to begin creating equitable and educational experiences in classrooms of difference.