Multicultural education; Social justice study and teaching; Teacher-student relationships; Teaching
This article examines the implications and effect of the Community Analysis (CA) Project assignment that we utilize in the Multicultural Education (MCE) course1 at New Mexico State University, located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The CA enables pre-service teachers to critically examine, through a social justice lens, the manifestations and intersectionalities of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, ability, and religion in PreK-12 students’ communities, which may be rejected and ignored, or embraced, serving to connect students’ lives to learning contexts and opportunities in their schools. The CA compels pre-service teachers to analyze systemic inequities and inequalities in communities which impact the everyday lives of students. They discover organic knowledge possessed by students and families to bridge students’ knowledge and the knowledge promoted within the school curriculum. Pre-service teachers also contemplate how their privileged or disadvantaged identity statuses intersect with their future students’ privileged or disadvantaged statuses, or impact how they read communities.