Changing Students' Ideas of Social Justice Through Narrative Pedagogy

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Lamont Lyons


This study grew out of the researcher's desire to work for social justice. As a teacher educator, one of my highest objectives is to help preservice teachers gain a deeper understanding and commitment to principles and promises upon which the United States of America was founded. To work for social justice is also about seeing and removing injustices, providing an avenue of understanding and support for all people, and creating equity in society (Banks, 2001~ Freire, 1970 & 1998~ Nieto, 2004; Zeichner, 1992). The purpose of this study, then, was to examine how preservice teachers' understanding of social justice, with particular emphasis on the constructs of diversity, democracy, and equity, developed through a course I taught using narrative pedagogical methods. I sought to help preservice teachers to become cultural workers to create a social order in which every individual will have equitable opportunities regardless of cultural, ethnic and language, economic, religious, and political background (Freire, 1970, 1998). This research was designed to bring understanding of the current obstacles preservice teachers encounter as they shift from technicist teacher preparation to one that encourages them to be transformative public intellectuals (Giroux, 1985). As a researcher, I systematically analyzed, through traditional qualitative and narrative inquiry methodologies, students' expository writing and stories to document any change, from the beginning of the course to the end, in understanding how issues of diversity, democracy, and equity affect social justice and how they might affect their teaching practices. Because I was an active member of the classroom community, my stories were an integral part of this research and thus were shared and discussed throughout the semester. This research demonstrates a deepening of students' understanding of social justice and how their ideas about teaching were therefore influenced.

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