Meaningful Intersections of Social Justice and Contemporary Cultural Competencies in a New Zealand Master’s level Initial Teacher Education Programme

Abstract

In New Zealand, it is illegal to discriminate based on a person’s gender, race, ability or sexual orientation; however, this is not always the experience of student teachers. To promote, support and facilitate student teachers learning to be effective classroom practitioners, this paper’s initial teacher education programme was designed to support student teachers in developing critical reflexivity of their own developing self-as-teacher role identity. Specifically, this paper presents three life stories of how master’s level student teachers were supported by the intersections of social justice and New Zealand’s unique biculturalism. Student teachers challenged an educational community’s,  a school’s or a teacher’s normative attitudes, values, and beliefs regarding gender, race, ability and sexual orientation of these student teachers. These life stories highlight the importance of the educational setting’s impact on the social construction of identity of not only the students in the school setting but also the wider school community.