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The Limits of Empathy: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Secondary Teachers' Online Conversations About Diversity

Tue, April 9, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Floor: 700 Level, Room 709


This study investigates how teachers’ professional and linguistic ideologies are amenable or resistant to critical teacher education content. We used Critical Discourse Analysis to explore teacher discourses during a semester-long, master’s course on bilingual/multicultural education. Findings indicate that discourses which centered teachers’ personal experiences had higher rates of concurrent minimization and essentialization of the experiences of minoritized students, implying that discourses of empathy may have actually been counterproductive to critical engagement with course content. We draw on these findings to develop insights for the critical teacher education field regarding how dialogic experiences can be structured to help teachers understand and confront their professional and linguistic ideologies in order to improve the educational experiences of culturally and linguistically marginalized students.