Creating Relational Space to Support Explorations of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy with Prospective Teachers

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Susan Watts-Taffe


This article describes a Black woman faculty member’s self-study of her teaching practices with undergraduate preservice teachers at a predominantly White institution. Drawing on data gathered over a period of three years, and utilizing strategies of practitioner inquiry and narrative inquiry, this study focused on the author’s attempts to build relational capacity to support culturally relevant pedagogy within her class. The article describes the author’s approaches to self-study and highlights three instructional moments that shed light on how she supported herself and her students in (1) feeling seen and known and (2) sitting in relationship with challenging ideas without needing to judge, fix, or dispel them. These moments, referred to as types of space, emphasize mindfulness, time, curiosity, and empathy as openings for deeper engagement with culturally relevant teaching.

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Personal Narrative