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Close encounters: truth, experience and interpretation in multicultural teacher education

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This paper examines the contradictory effects of teaching multicultural education in two American white women's university classrooms. The authors use discourse analysis to understand the confusing results of teaching about difference. In this analysis, course readings and a field trip to an urban school are examined in regard to the instructors' intentions and students' responses. The authors understand the puzzling results of their teaching by examining the positivist dimensions of their pedagogy, including the belief in rational approaches to overcoming racism, sexism and other systems of oppression, the belief in the possibility of replacing 'bad ideas' with 'good' ones, and the perpetuation of knowledge grounded in a binary system of meaning-making and language use. The authors conclude with ideas for a postpositivist approach to knowledge, experience and action, that emphasizes the production of interpretations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-07-01

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