Bridging Social Justice-Oriented Theories to Practice in Teacher Education Utilizing Ethical Reasoning in Action and Case-Based Teaching

Bridging Social Justice-Oriented Theories to Practice in Teacher Education Utilizing Ethical Reasoning in Action and Case-Based Teaching

Kara Maura Kavanagh
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5098-4.ch009
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Abstract

Teachers rarely have preparation to analyze and disrupt the social (in)justice ethical dilemmas that arise in their classrooms. Scans of newspaper headlines reveal teachers making unethical decisions. Yet, teacher education programs rarely include opportunities for students to systematical analyze social justice-oriented cases that illuminate the inequities rooted in our sociocultural context of teaching and learning. This chapter overviews the process for social justice-oriented case-based teaching with an ethical reasoning framework to bridge the theory-to-practice gap in social justice teacher preparation.
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Introduction

Social justice-oriented teaching involves a sustained critical reflection on self, theory, pedagogy, and purpose as the field evolves and teaching contexts change. It is with this commitment to an iterative process of unlearning, learning, and critical reflection that I write this chapter. It first overviews my journey learning to becoming a novice social justice-oriented educator influenced and inspired by teachers and scholars of color in the school where I taught and the graduate school I subsequently attended. I then illuminate my journey in the college classroom teaching social justice-oriented courses where I spent years trying unsuccessfully to bridge social justice theories to social justice education for P-16 classrooms. Next, I reveal how this personal and professional journey and constant search for how to bridge theory and practice, lead me to see how a new book coupled with a pedagogical framework from different disciplines would come together to create the theory to practice bridge in social justice teacher education I was missing. The rest of the chapter explains why we need to teach ethical reasoning in teacher education, what this framework and process involve, why it is high impact instruction, and how it bridges the theory to practice divide in social justice teaching preparation.

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