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Drawing Bodies and Mapping Pedagogical Spaces: Multimodal Counternarratives of Elementary Teacher Candidates of Color in Urban Field Sites

Abstract

Informed by the embodied perspective on humanizing pedagogy, this study examines how one Afro-Puerto Rican and one African American teacher candidate explored humanizing pedagogical possibilities during their urban fieldwork through multimodal counternarratives. By telling counter-stories through drawing bodies and mapping pedagogical spaces, participants used their embodied knowledge and experience as reference points to identify, question, and resist the inscription of body discourses—steeped in hegemonic power, structural racism, and educational inequities—onto their bodies. In particular, multimodal counter-storytelling opened up a visceral yet empowering space for participants to consider the challenges and possibilities of embodying humanizing pedagogies in the classroom. This study calls for programmatic attention to providing opportunities for teacher candidates of Color to rehearse and embody humanizing pedagogical possibilities, and for various stakeholders to collectively engage in counter-storytelling to resist oppressive body discourses surrounding urban schooling communities.

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Notes

  1. I adopt the term intersectionally minoritized instead of a minority or non-White because issues of race and racism intersect with other social constructs such as gender, sexuality, class, and languages (e.g., Maddamsetti, 2021; Maddamsetti et al., 2018; Souto-Manning & Martell, 2019).

  2. In this paper, people of Color refer to African American, Black, Asian American, Pacific Islanders, bi/multiracial, Latinx, and Native American. I capitalize on the term Color to center socio-historical, cultural, and political marginalization and racialization. In this vein, I lowercase the “w” in white and whiteness to dissociate my writing from white supremacy (e.g., Johnson, 2018; Kohli, 2014).

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Acknowledgements

I am deeply grateful to teacher candidates of Color for participating in this study and sharing their stories with me.

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Correspondence to Jihea Maddamsetti.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 2.

Table 2 Data sources

Appendix 2: Sample interview questions

  1. A.

    Demographic questions:

    1. 1.

      How would you describe your social identity positions (e.g., race, class, gender, sexuality, languages, or immigration status)?

    2. 2.

      Where did you grow up? How would you describe your PK-12 educational experiences (e.g., urban/suburban; Title 1/public/private schools)?

    3. 3.

      Can I ask how old you are?

    4. 4.

      Can you describe your observations, experiences, or people from the past that may have shaped your motivation to become a teacher?

    5. 5.

      How did you end up being in a teacher preparation program in a public minority institution?

  1. B.

    Descriptions of field learning experiences:

    1. 1.

      How did you engage in your field learning experiences (e.g., on-site coursework’s readings and discussion, collaborative projects, observations, and teaching practices)?

    2. 2.

      Can you describe specific events, people, interactions, or observations from the field placement in student teaching that may have shaped your emotional experiences and your pathway to learning to teach?

    3. 3.

      How did you interact with your peers, students, mentor teachers, school leader(s), and other teachers at the field placement?

    4. 4.

      What did you like best about the interactions with various actors during the practicum?

    5. 5.

      What were some challenges of interacting with various stakeholders?

    6. 6.

      Where would you say you gained your greatest professional contentment or gratification during the practicum?

    7. 7.

      How did you feel about the level of support you received during the practicum?

  1. C.

    Questions related to multimodal drawings and accompanied (counter-)narratives:

    1. 1.

      Can you describe your drawings? (e.g., in terms of the organization of different body parts; physical, emotional, and behavioral representations of bodies; and choices of colors)

    2. 2.

      How, if at all, did the multimodal forms of representation of yourself as a future teacher help you express your feelings, thoughts, and bodily experiences about your pedagogical stance and practice?

    3. 3.

      In what ways did the multimodal forms of (counter-)storytelling prepare you to become a teacher in support of minoritized students of Color in urban settings?

Appendix 3

Table 3.

Table 3 Sample coding scheme

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Maddamsetti, J. Drawing Bodies and Mapping Pedagogical Spaces: Multimodal Counternarratives of Elementary Teacher Candidates of Color in Urban Field Sites. Urban Rev (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-022-00638-1

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Keywords

  • Teacher candidates of Color
  • Urban fieldwork
  • Embodied perspectives on a humanizing pedagogy
  • Multimodal counter-storytelling
  • Urban teacher education