March 2017
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Amy Yun-Ping Chen, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

de Oliveira, L. C. (Ed.). (2013). Teacher education for social justice: Perspectives and lessons learned. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. 162 pp.

In the 2013 edited volume, Teacher Education for Social Justice: Perspectives and Lessons Learned, de Oliveira builds on Cochran-Smith’s (2010) theory of teacher preparation, which emphasizes how preservice teachers learn to teach social justice through “subject matter, pedagogy, culture, language, the sociocultural contexts of schooling, and the purpose of education” (p. 459). This book is organized into four thematic sections: 1) the diversification of the teaching force, 2) the inclusion of social justice in the preparation curriculum, 3) the university-school partnership as a context for social justice education, and 4) the promotion of educational outcomes.

The book’s contributors underscore the value of integrating social justice concepts into teacher preparation. It frames the challenges regarding the advocacy for equity in schools and communities. Multiple perspectives on different social justice practices not only enrich dialogues related to culturally and linguistically diverse students, but also reveal potential frameworks for designing effective coursework in teacher education.

Despite the breadth of topics presented, coverage seems a bit uneven. First, despite the inclusion of concrete theoretical frameworks in Chapter 4, critical inquiry into diversity, power, and privilege is insufficient. Such inquiry composes a necessary foundation for challenging systemic inequity and for embodying socially just teacher education. A critical analysis of educational systems, teachers’ dispositions, and sociocultural inequality is indispensable. Second, arguments about recruitment, selection, and retention of teacher educators and teacher candidates could move beyond superficial concerns for diversity in preparation programs and schools to include detailed descriptions regarding the process of hiring and selecting candidates. Finally, the use of a hypothetical course as an example in Chapter 10 is puzzling. It may lead readers to question whether there is any evidence of successful social justice curricula in classrooms.

Although the authors do not answer many of the questions that they call into being, the volume is a solid contribution to the ongoing debate of reframing teacher education. The book closes by emphasizing the impact of testing policies on culturally and linguistically diverse students from the perspectives of teachers, administrators, and advocators. It also pinpoints what happens when accountability through testing loses sight of multiculturalism and social justice concerns.


Cochran-Smith, M. (2010). Toward a theory of teacher education for social justice. In M. Fullan, A. Hargreaves, D. Hopkins, & A. Lieberman (Eds.), The international handbook of educational change (pp. 445–467). New York, NY: Springer.

Amy Yun-Ping Chen received her PhD in curriculum and instruction from Saint Louis University, Missouri. Her research emphasizes the study of multicultural and social justice teacher education.

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