A Teacher’s Dilemma in Creating a Democratic and Socially Just Classroom

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Su Jung Um

Abstract

This qualitative case study aims to understand teaching experiences of a recent graduate of a social justice-oriented program in the U.S. A female elementary school teacher, Lauren (pseudonym), a white Jewish woman in her mid-twenties, is involved in this study. It examines what dilemma(s) the teacher reports and how she copes with them. In-depth interviews and document collections are used as the means of data construction. Thematic and dialogic/performance analysis methods were utilized for data analysis. The analysis of the teacher’s case demonstrates that the competing discourses circulating in the school produced significantly different ideas of what a “good” teacher is and does; the differences constituted through the discourses created contradictions affecting the teacher’s lived experiences. It also shows that the teacher dealt with the dilemma by re-interpreting the discourses that they found limiting. This study confirms and, yet, extends the exiting body of research as it sheds lights on how the teachers’ experiences were shaped by and, simultaneously, re-framed the discourses surrounding her. Future directions for research and practice are discussed.

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UM, Su Jung. A Teacher’s Dilemma in Creating a Democratic and Socially Just Classroom. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 5, p. 429-435, july 2019. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <https://iejee.com/index.php/IEJEE/article/view/812>. Date accessed: 17 july 2019.
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