Teacher Candidates and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

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Research on the importance of social justice for teacher candidates suggests that there is a high need for teacher candidates to develop personal and professional competencies regarding racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity. Using culturally sustaining pedagogy as a conceptual framework, this article presents findings from a qualitative inquiry into the ways that three teacher candidates developed and sustained their growing understandings of social justice and culturally relevant pedagogy. Data were collected through group interviews, researcher memos, and field notes. Findings show that teacher candidates developed critical lenses for reflection and analysis through their participation in a year-long inquiry group. Further, a critical incident is explored to evaluate the complexities of developing work on culturally relevant pedagogy with teacher candidates. This article concludes with recommendations for further inquiry and will be of interest to researchers and teacher educators alike.