Through the Looking Glass to Ourselves: Developing Self-Understanding in the Online Multicultural and Bilingual Teacher Education Classroom

Through the Looking Glass to Ourselves: Developing Self-Understanding in the Online Multicultural and Bilingual Teacher Education Classroom

Gwen Stowers (National University, USA), Kenneth Fasching-Varner (Louisiana State University, USA), Mark Brimhall-Vargas (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) and Christine Clark (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch083
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Abstract

This chapter describes the project of developing online multicultural and bilingual teacher educational curricula in a manner that encourages particular intellectual and behavioral learning outcomes for teacher education students. The pedagogical process by which these outcomes are achieved, facilitation of e-dialogue, acts as the project’s management approach. The goal of the project is the development of transformational respect for and among all learners (both teacher education students as well as their largely public school PK-12 students), and sustenance of faculty (both teacher education and PK-12) hope and possibility through progressive e-education; resultantly, systems of oppression in schools and the broader society can be dismantled.
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Conceptual Framework

This chapter draws from, and builds on, four conceptual points of entry. These points are cultural (inclusive of language) learning, dialogue and systemic oppression, honest and open self-examination and self-critique, and the public school-to-prison pipeline.

This chapter engages Krashen’s (1983 & 1996) ideas on language learning and expands these ideas in discussing learning about e-racism, e-classism, and the other e-isms that manifest in the online multicultural and bilingual educational learning environment. Accordingly, the chapter describes the processes by which knowledge beyond the students’ initial capabilities is cultivated, not only through connection to prior knowledge, but also within an e-learning context that lowers the students’ affective filters or resistance to learning usually brought on by anxiety or fear.

This chapter connects to Freire’s work (1993) on dialogue and systemic oppression in facilitating all students’ understanding that they have the ability and the right to interact in, and with, the world and, in so doing, can change it if they choose. Specifically, this chapter embraces Freire’s notion that educational resistance to systems of oppression helps both the teacher and learner achieve the liberatory goal of becoming more fully human.

This chapter is buoyed by Lorde’s (1984) commitment to confront her worst personal and political realities in order to become free to express her best personal and political realities, and to be open to the same from others. Lorde’s commitment was borne of her decision to overcome her silence about all of whom she was, in particular to ‘come out’ as lesbian. In deciding to speak out about her true, complex identity, Lorde was catapulted into action against myriad injustices in the world. In engaging online multicultural and bilingual teacher education students in confronting their and others’ worst so they can express their and experience others’ best, the hope is that they will, in turn, do the same with and for their PK-12 students.

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