“Dealing with Diversity and Difference”: A DisCrit analysis of teacher education curriculum at a Minority Serving Institution

Tara Eve Schwitzman


Preparing teachers for diverse K-12 populations generally focuses on educating white women at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) to teach students of color. This approach often focuses exclusively on race/ethnicity and essentializes teachers of color at PWIs as diversity experts. Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) graduate many teachers of color; yet, the continued focus on PWIs leaves unknown how these teachers experience diversity education. This paper explores how students at an MSI engage with the concept of dis/ability as a form of diversity. Informed by how dis/ability studies, critical race theory, and DisCrit intersect with curriculum studies, Schwitzmann examined her students’ written discussion board responses in a diversity course that she teaches at an MSI. She used multiple analytic tools to illuminate in their work the explicit mentioning of dis/ability, as well as affective encounters with equity and social justice outside the realm of discourse. She demonstrates how her students have varied understandings of difference even in a space that explicitly prioritizes social justice, equity, and diversity. Using DisCrit problematizes the assumption that experiences of being marginalized along one line of difference translate into an automatic understanding of diversity along another and highlights the affordances of centering dis/ability studies in diversity education.


Dis/Ability Curriculum Diversity

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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