Preservice Teachers of Color and the Intersections of Teacher Identity, Race, and Place

  • Tambra O. JacksonEmail author


In this chapter I focus on the experiences of preservice teachers of Color, particularly those who attend predominantly White institutions (PWIs) and the ways in which their developing identities as teachers are influenced by the intersections of their racial/ethnic identities and the context (place) of the environment of their teacher education programs. I explore the intersections of race and place by first discussing how preservice teachers of Color describe their decisions to become teachers. Particular attention is given to understanding the ways in which preservice teachers of Color view their initial reasons for entry into the profession and commitments to teaching as a way of understanding their early or beginning teacher identity. Next, I look at their experiences in teacher education programs at PWIs. I specifically focus on the context of PWIs because much of the literature on teacher preparation occurs in these contexts. I end the chapter with a discussion on how race and place impact the teacher identity development of preservice teachers of Color, particularly in regards to developing socially just and critically conscious perspectives.


Preservice teachers of color Race Teacher identity Critical race theory 


  1. Ahmad, F. Z., & Boser, U. (2014). America’s leaky pipeline for teachers of color: Getting more teachers of color into the classroom. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
  2. Amos, Y. T. (2010). “They don’t want to get it!” Interaction between minority and white pre-service teachers in a multicultural education class. Multicultural Education, 17(4), 31–37.Google Scholar
  3. Barret, A. M. (2008). Capturing the différance: Primary school teacher identity in Tanzania. International Journal of Educational Development, 28, 496–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beauboeuf-Lafontant, T. (1999). A movement against and beyond boundaries: Politically relevant teaching among African American teachers. Teachers College Record, 100(4), 702–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boser, U. (2011). Teacher diversity matters: A state-by-state analysis of teachers of color. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
  6. Britzman, D. (1991). Practice makes practice. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, K. D. (2014). Teaching in color: A critical race theory in education analysis of the literature on preservice teachers of color and teacher education in the US. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 17(3), 326–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buras, K. L. (2016). The mass termination of black veteran teachers in New Orleans: Cultural politics, the education market, and its consequences. The Educational Forum, 80(2), 154–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chong, S., & Low, E. (2009). Why I want to teach and how I feel about teaching - formation of teacher identity from pre-service to the beginning teacher phase. Education Research Policy and Practice, 8, 59–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cochran-Smith, M., & Zeichner, K. M. (2005). Teachers’ characteristics: Research on the demographic profile. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education (pp. 111–156). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  11. Dilworth, M. E., & Coleman, M. J. (2014). Time for change: Diversity in teaching revisited. Washington, DC: National Education Association.Google Scholar
  12. Dixson, A. D. (2003). “Let’s do this!”: Black women teachers’ politics and pedagogy. Urban Education, 38(2), 217–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Douglas, D. M. (2005). Jim Crow moves North: The battle over northern school segregation, 1865–1954. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Feistritzer, C. E. (2011). Profile of teachers in the US 2011. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Information.Google Scholar
  15. Foster, M. (1997). Black teachers on teaching. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  16. Frankenberg, E. (2009). The segregation of American teachers. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17(1). Retrieved August 11, 2017 from CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  18. Gomez, M. L., Rodriguez, T. L., & Agosto, V. (2008). Life histories of Latino/a teacher candidates. Teachers College Record, 110(8), 1639–1676.Google Scholar
  19. Jackson, T. O. (2015). Perspectives and insights of preservice teachers of color on developing culturally responsive pedagogy at predominantly white institutions. Action in Teacher Education, 37(3), 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jackson, T. O., Ballard, A., Drewery, M., Membres, B., Morgan, L., & Nicholson, F. (2017). “Black like me”: Female preservice teachers of Color on learning to teach for social justice with a Black female professor. In A. Farinde, A. Allen-Handy, & C. Lewis (Eds.), Black female teachers: Diversifying the United States’ teacher workforce (pp. 93–113). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Group Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jackson, T. O., & Bryan, M. L. (2015). Black women professors’ evolving teacher identities: Reconciling past, present, and future. In S. Hancock, A. Allen, & C. Lewis (Eds.), Autoethnography as a lighthouse: Illuminating race, research, and the politics of schooling (pp. 141–159). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, T. O., & Kohli, R. (2016). Guest editors’ introduction: The state of teachers of color. Equity & Excellence in Education, 49(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mason, A. M. (2016). Taking time, breaking codes: Moments in white teacher candidates’ exploration of racism and teacher identity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(8), 1045–1058.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Melnick, S., & Zeichner, K. M. (1997). Enhancing the capacity of teacher education institutions to address diversity issues. In J. E. King, E. R. Hollins, & W. C. Hayman (Eds.), Preparing teachers for cultural diversity. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  26. Miller, P. C., & Endo, H. (2005). Journey to becoming a teacher: The experiences of students of color. Multicultural Education, 13(1), 2–9.Google Scholar
  27. Miller, S. J. (2006). Foregrounding preservice teacher identity in teacher education. Teacher Education and Practice, 19(2), 164–185.Google Scholar
  28. Orfield, G., Ee, J., Frankenberg, E., & Siegel-Hawley, G. (2016). Brown at 62: School segregation by race, poverty, and state. Los Angeles: Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.Google Scholar
  29. Rodriguez, T. L., & Cho, H. (2011). Eliciting critical literacy narratives of bi/multilingual candidates across U.S. teacher education contexts. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 496–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sisson, J. H. (2016). The significance of critical incidents and voice to identity and agency. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 22(6), 670–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sleeter, C. E. (2001). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse schools: Research and the overwhelming presence of whiteness. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 94–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sleeter, C. E. (2012). Confronting the marginalization of culturally responsive pedagogy. Urban Education, 47(3), 562–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Søreide, G. E. (2007). The public face of teacher identity- narrative construction of teacher identity in public policy documents. Journal of Education Policy, 22, 129–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Szecsi, T., & Spillman, C. (2012). Unheard voices of minority teacher candidates in a teacher education program. Multicultural Education, 19(2), 24–29.Google Scholar
  35. The Southern Education Foundation. (2010). A new diverse majority: Students of color in the South’s public schools. Atlanta, GA: Author.Google Scholar
  36. U.S. Department of Education. (2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service. Retrieved from
  37. Villegas, A. M., & Irvine, J. J. (2010). Diversifying the teaching force: An examination of major arguments. The Urban Review, 42, 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Williams, E., Graham, A., McCary-Henderson, S., & Floyd, L. (2009). “From where I stand:” African American teacher candidates on their decision to teach. The Educational Forum, 73(4), 348–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zeichner, K. M., Grant, C., Gay, G., Gillette, M., Valli, L., & Villegas, A. M. (2006). A research informed vision of good practice in multicultural teacher education: Design principles. Theory into Practice, 37(2), 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher EducationIndiana University –Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations