Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice
3. Mediated Stories of Educational Mobility: Digital Stories in Teacher Education
It is the first night of class, and I am talking about the culminating assignment on the syllabus. I see arms begin to fold, and a sure and quiet wariness settles over the room. The course, Education and the American Dream, examines the distinctively American myth of unlimited opportunity through schooling, even as social class continues to shape life chances. I have just explained that they will each create and share a digital story about a moment in their own schooling in which social class shaped their dreams, their access to learning, and their sense of where they fit in the world.
It has taken some time to understand what I was seeing in such moments of critical teaching. For years, I had joined colleagues in lamenting teacher education students’ resistance to talking about privilege, inequality, and justice. But over the years, I began to hear in our shared laments how often we would casually invoke the shorthand of “White-middle-class” to describe our teacher education students, and how often we had speculated that they were resisting from positions of uncomplicated privilege. Yet, I could not help but notice that little actual evidence of class backgrounds (theirs, or ours) was ever apparent. But then, as I began teaching more about how social class shapes access to education, I began to notice that in many of my classes, the resistant, folded arms belonged to bodies that are the first in their families to go to college.
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