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Abstract

This article examines how a group of elementary and secondary preservice teachers engaged in understanding “culture” and culturally responsive teaching while enrolled in an early program course. We analyze how culturally-related experiences, emotions, and perspectives contribute to the overall understanding of cultural competency training in teacher education. Preservice teachers varied in their use of individual- and structural-orientations, in isolation and in combination, as they developed and progressed as socially just teachers. These findings reveal that despite attempts to develop and shift toward asset-based perspectives, far more culturally embedded coursework and practicum experiences are necessary. This paper includes a reflection on the effectiveness of posing meaningful, reflective questions for preservice teachers as they experienced the concept of “culture” based on their own funds of knowledge.

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