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Engaging the Critical in English Education

Approaches from the Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education


Edited By Briana Asmus and Charles H. Gonzalez

The chapters in this collection explore the implementation of social justice pedagogies with preservice teachers by members of the Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education; a group of teacher educators from across the country whose primary goal is to prepare teachers to use socially just models to reach all groups of students and to create a more equitable educational system. In this collection, each member/author presents a critical model of social justice teaching by considering the ways in which gender, race, class, and other intersections function in the classroom. Individually, authors enact critical models by interrogating inequitable systems of oppression in their own professional and pedagogical environments. Collectively, the chapters ask what thoughtful, participatory social justice pedagogy looks like in multidimensional pedagogical spaces. At all levels, this collection explores the rewards and challenges of social justice pedagogy within and outside of preservice teacher preparation programs influenced by a constantly shifting political landscape. Ultimately, this collection seeks to discover how ideas of social justice are conceptualized and understood by English educators and K-12 teachers.

As a possible approach to this question, the chapters in this collection support ELATE-SJ’s paradigm for advocacy. This paradigm includes three areas of enaction: research, scholarship, and action. Within these areas, members of the commission (authors) seek to better understand how preservice ELA teachers see themselves and others, to develop flexible teaching models grounded in social justice pedagogy (SJP), and to delineate opportunities for transformation, growth, and change in and through our profession.

Briana Asmus is an assistant professor of Education and ESL/Bilingual Program Director at Aquinas College. Prior to academia, she was a literacy consultant in migrant education, and taught English/ESL in South Korea, Japan, China, and the United States.

Charles H. Gonzalez, PhD., an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction, has worked with diverse populations of pre-service teachers, public school students, and out-of-school youths for nearly two decades. His duties in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Austin Peay State University include teaching pedagogy and education courses. He has published research on multimodality, teacher education, and implementing digital video into ELA classrooms. His current work centers on discovering ways to encourage and support teachers to be culturally relevant and uncovering ways to develop new culturally sustaining pedagogies. He has been part of over twenty educational conference presentations.