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date: 30 June 2022

Community-Engaged Teacher Preparationfree

Community-Engaged Teacher Preparationfree

  • Eva Zygmunt, Eva ZygmuntBall State University
  • Kristin Cipollone, Kristin CipolloneBall State University
  • Patricia ClarkPatricia ClarkBall State University
  •  and Susan TancockSusan TancockBall State University


Community-engaged teacher preparation is an innovative paradigm through which to prepare socially just, equity-focused teachers with the capacity to enact pedagogies that are culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining. Operationalized through candidates’ situated learning in historically marginalized communities, this approach emphasizes the concerted cultivation of collaborative relationships among universities, communities, and schools; the elevation of funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth; and an in-depth analysis of social inequality and positionality, and the intersections between the two, as essential knowledge for future teachers. As a means through which to address the persistent achievement gap between racially, socioeconomically, and linguistically nondominant and dominant students, community-engaged teacher preparation is a prototype through which to advance educational equity.


  • Education, Cultures, and Ethnicities
  • Educational Purposes and Ideals


The definition of community-engaged teacher preparation described in this article was developed by a collective community of practice, including a team of scholars, school personnel, and community members, over a decade of experimentation (Zygmunt & Clark, 2016). Since 2009, this collective community has been collaboratively envisioning a new tomorrow for minoritized students in American schools—one that will privilege the wisdom and expertise of their communities and elevate their often-silenced funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005). Although the model has been developed in a particular context, the issues relative to the population that was under study are relevant to minoritized communities globally (Cherubini, Hodson, Manley-Casimir, & Muir, 2010; Deshkal Society, 2010; Kanu, 2007; Moyle, 2005); thus the definition described here is applicable to any educational endeavor in which children can benefit from teachers who are equipped with the contextual cognizance necessary to render their teaching culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining.

What Is Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation?

There have been many calls to situate teacher education within community contexts; however, the field has lacked a clear understanding of what community-engaged teacher preparation is that distinguishes it from other community-positioned models. This article articulates a precise definition of community-engaged teacher preparation and a detailed description of all it entails.

As a pedagogy that holds significant promise to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of historically marginalized students, the field of education has advocated for teaching that is culturally relevant (Ladson-Billings, 1995), responsive (Gay, 2002), and sustaining (Paris, 2012; Paris & Alim, 2017). Two problems stand in the way of realizing this pedagogy in practice, however: first, the research on how to do it is relatively sparse (Sleeter, 2012); and second, preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and teacher educators are overwhelmingly white and middle class and often lack a critical social justice orientation. A community-engaged approach to teacher preparation offers a way to address this gap between theory and practice.

Community-engaged teacher preparation entails situating teacher education in the cultural contexts in which children grow and learn—physically embedding teacher candidates within communities and affording opportunities for context-specific, situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Differentiated from community-based initiatives, which simply occupy a space away from campus, a community-engaged approach works toward authentically integrating educator preparation programs into historically marginalized communities. The elevating and honoring of funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) is a decisive element of candidates’ experience, education, and preparation to be critically conscious, socially just, and equity-focused community teachers (Murrell, 2001). With a growing research base to support the benefits of this approach (Lee, Showalter, & Eckrich, 2013; Lees, 2016; Zeichner, 2010; Zygmunt & Clark, 2016), community-engaged teacher preparation is emerging as an innovative paradigm in the preparation of teachers with the will and skill to advance educational equity.

Community-engaged teacher preparation is predicated on the concerted cultivation of collaborative relationships among universities, communities, and schools. Grounded in the equalization of power structures that traditionally privilege the expertise of the university and the knowledge of the school over the wisdom of the community, this approach positions community members as experts and colleagues in the preparation of future teachers. It honors significant relationship building between candidates and community members; ensures that candidates have opportunities for critical service learning (Mitchell, 2008) alongside neighborhood residents based on community-identified need; engages candidates in intentional experiences through which they can develop a critical consciousness; and provides them with opportunities through which to operationalize their learning in the development and implementation of experiences for children that are culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining.

The Need for a New Approach

Although it is widely recognized that the quality of teachers is one of the most influential school-level factors contributing to student learning, the mechanisms through which to prepare teachers to realize the promise and potential of every child have neither been specifically articulated nor effectively operationalized. As student populations become increasingly diverse, the teaching force remains principally white, female, middle class, and monolingual. This is not disqualifying in and of itself, but the fact that privilege and positionality remain invisible to those who are a part of the dominant groups in society (Wildman, 2014) increases the likelihood that educators will remain unaware of, or underestimate, the significant role the social identities of race, class, and language, among others, play in education. Awash in social messages that affirm their own values and experiences, white, monolingual educators often view students and families of linguistic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds different from their own through a deficit lens. Many schools, both urban and rural, remain racially and economically segregated; and many of those responsible for teaching students neither live in the communities where they teach nor possess knowledge of students’ lived experience outside school. This lack of contextual cognizance has the potential to further reinforce teachers’ deficit perspectives of communities, compromising their expectations for students’ success. Data on suspensions, placement in special education, and teacher expectations bear witness to the effects of deficit perspectives (Skiba et al., 2011).

It is also well established that a persistent achievement gap exists between racially, socioeconomically, and linguistically nondominant and dominant students. Research has demonstrated that teachers’ expectations of student ability are frequently tied to the class and race positions a student occupies (Anyon, 1980; Gershenson, Holt, & Papageorge, 2016; Rist, 1970) and that expectations often become self-fulfilling prophesies with regard to achievement (McKown & Weinstein, 2008). These examples provide clear evidence of an insufficient system of educator preparation (Haberman, 2002). To remedy a structure that is distinctly deficient, decidedly discriminatory, and perpetually propagative of social inequity, a new approach is imperative. Community-engaged teacher preparation has thus emerged as a promising model.

Core Components of Community-Engaged Teacher Preparation

Lessons learned over the last 10 years have made it possible to distill key components of community-engaged teacher preparation that can be shared among similar efforts, regardless of the locales in which they are situated. Although context will dictate the various manifestations of these precepts, this article argues that absent their presence, efforts will fall short of realizing the ultimate goal of culturally responsive, relevant, and sustaining education for children.

Concerted Cultivation of Collaborative Relationships

Community-engaged teacher preparation is wholly dependent on the intentional cultivation of collaborative relationships between members of the university, the community, and youth-serving educational programs in order to establish a united vision to achieve the promise and potential of every child. Such concerted cultivation requires a redistribution of traditional power structures that often privilege the erudition of the university and schools over the wisdom and expertise of communities. The resultant relationships afford opportunities for collaborative dialogue, mutually agreed action steps, and the reciprocal reward of tangible outcomes that advance student success.

Establishing a United Vision

A community-engaged approach to educator preparation is predicated on university, school, and community constituencies developing sustained relationships in which partnership goals inform a collective agenda and create a framework of supportive and sustaining structures for children. It should be understood that establishing these relationships takes time and patience and requires the consistent representation of individuals from all the parties so that strengths are identified, trust is established, and accountability measures are articulated and monitored. Moreover, it is through these conversations that a commitment to educational success for all children can be consecrated and an allegiance to a united vision sustained.

Traditional programs of teacher preparation typically establish the mechanics of candidates’ participation in schools and communities without the input of the teachers working in the schools and, most often, without attention to community concerns. A model of authentic community-engaged teacher preparation removes silos, instead weaving a fabric of connection between the universities that prepare teachers, the schools that teach children, and the communities that inform how children make meaning of the world. This connection, surrounding a united vision for children’s success, redefines educator preparation as a more purposeful and powerful force in developing community teachers (Murrell, 2001) who are equipped to make teaching and learning a more socially just and equitable endeavor for all teachers and children.

As authentic and reciprocal relationships are forged, a true community of practice emerges, wherein mutually agreed upon strategies are developed to achieve a united vision. Drawing on the specific strengths possessed by the members of the community of practice, these strategies represent the requisite tools needed to realize the vision and the means of accomplishing it, through principles of mutuality, reciprocity, and genuine regard for authentic collaboration.

Equalizing Power

Universities, schools, and communities all possess independent and unique cultures, systems of organization, and structures of power, and traditionally, these are not all held in equal regard. Schools typically enjoy power over children and families in terms of both the content they deliver and the pedagogy through which they communicate that content. Similarly, the academy, as a community of scholars, traditionally postures itself as the keeper of knowledge and generator of new truths. The knowledge of community, inopportunely, is left out—commonly dismissed as irrelevant in the equation of educational success for children.

Authentic community-engaged teacher preparation, in contrast, embraces as a principal precept the strengths inherent in each of the three contexts. This paradigm emphasizes the unique contribution to children’s success that can be realized when the rich cultural capital of communities is privileged alongside the knowledge base of schools and the expertise and resources available from the university. When all three strands of the triad are equally elevated, outcomes can be exponentially achieved. The equalization of power in a program of community-engaged teacher preparation requires resolute humility on the part of both schools and the university. Community-engaged teacher preparation refutes the self-importance of traditionally recognized sources of wisdom, dismantling institutional barriers and personal pieties and forging a new structure through which previously un- or underrecognized sources of expertise can be heard, recognized, and valued.

Positioning Community Members as Colleagues

Collegial relationships between school personnel and teacher-education faculty are not uncommon and are, by most standards, considered essential in ensuring a productive clinical practice experience for preservice teacher candidates. Professional Development Schools foster this collegiality by encouraging collaborations between schools and university faculty in which partnership goals are articulated, research is conducted, and professional development needs are established and accommodated. Teacher-residency models further advance the professional connection between schools and universities, melding theory and practice in year-long experiences that take place entirely in the schools, under the guidance of university faculty and mentor teachers. Partnerships between schools and universities have become increasingly well established in the evolution of teacher preparation; however, regard for the community’s role in this equation has essentially been absent. Community-engaged teacher preparation seeks to remedy this omission by positioning members of the community as colleagues, inviting inherent funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth into the fabric of educator preparation.

Configurations of collegiality in the community can be vast and varied, but most importantly, they are grounded in reciprocal, caring relationships forged around a united vision for children’s success. Pairing candidates with mentor families in the neighborhoods where they practice teach can give them valuable insights into children’s lived experience and opportunities to authentically participate in the community, which might otherwise be unavailable. Leaders of community-based organizations can provide important contexts for neighborhood resources that support children and families. Community elders are a source of cultural and historical wealth. Neighborhood spiritual leaders often provide important connections in the community and may well provide examples of pedagogical approaches that are more culturally congruent with children’s lived experience.

Privileging Funds of Knowledge and Community Cultural Wealth

Through the relationships they develop, the united vision they construct, and the power they share, members of universities, schools, and communities come to know one another authentically, developing trust in and respect for the wealth of knowledge, resources, and experience that define their collective work. As noted, the knowledge and capital of universities and schools have traditionally been recognized and elevated, whereas historically marginalized communities have typically been perceived in terms of their deficits instead of valued for the resilience, resistance, and resolve that has informed their struggle for survival, despite sometimes overwhelming obstacles.

A community’s funds of knowledge refers to the skills and knowledge developed over time that enable individuals and families to function in their local culture (Moll et al., 1992). Knowledge of and appreciation for these funds of knowledge position educators with the capacity to connect the content they are responsible for teaching to children’s lived experience, rendering learning more authentic, relevant, and engaging. Funds of knowledge are discovered and uncovered only by spending time and developing relationships in particular spaces. Such cognizance does not happen accidentally. Provided there is the intention for respectful exploration and community connection, funds of knowledge emerge as tangible linkages that give meaning to teachers’ teaching and students’ learning. Absent knowledge of and appreciation for such funds, educators miss a valuable opportunity to truly know students in the context of their communities.

The components of community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) represent the tenacity and determination with which the obstacles of systemic racism and classism have been effectively navigated. Unlike the financial assets that traditionally characterize wealth, these tenets define the capital through which individuals have endeavored to persevere in spite of oppression. The means through which communities preserve faith and keep dreams alive, the ways in which individuals navigate spaces of patent persecution, the strategies through which linguistic traditions are maintained, and the mechanisms through which communities strive for equal rights and collective freedom represent traditions of wealth. As educators come to know and understand communities for the inherent wealth they possess, they can build intentional linkages between the content and pedagogy that inform students’ experience in school. A steadfast mindset that all communities possess funds of knowledge and cultural wealth, and that it is the responsibility of educators to cultivate the relationships in which such wealth is shared and honored as an essential ingredient of children’s education, forms the basis of community-engaged teacher preparation.

Recognizing the importance of asset-based pedagogies that distinguish the strengths of communities and elevate the values and funds of knowledge communities possess is vital, but it is important to do so critically. Pedagogical practices may, in the name of cultural responsiveness, reinforce rather than challenge hegemonic beliefs and discourses present within the community (Paris & Alim, 2017). A primary purpose of community-engaged teacher preparation is to advance social justice and equity; thus there is an obligation to not affirm racist, classist, sexist, heterosexist, or xenophobic sentiments should they prevail in the community. Although navigating such dynamics is never easy, trusting relationships allow a space for engaging in these difficult conversations.

Addressing Issues of Social Justice: Developing Community Teachers

Integral to a philosophy of community-engaged teacher preparation is the belief that much of the knowledge required to improve schools and outcomes for children lies outside the expert sources on which educators typically rely. Community-engaged teacher preparation is therefore predicated on developing community teachers (Murrell, 2001) who will work to understand the cultural knowledge traditions of the children, families, and community being served, and then use these traditions to make meaningful connections for and with those children and families. This work is achieved through the development and nurturing of authentic and caring relationships in which candidates and members of the community work alongside one another to further community priorities, practicing both advocacy and activism, and building the resilience necessary to advance social justice and equity. The outcome of these efforts is operationalized in a more culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining education for children.

Although it is clear that candidates who do not represent the students they teach need to acquire contextual cognizance, it would be incorrect to assume that candidates of color do not require similar preparation to acquire the requisite asset-orientation to put culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining pedagogies into practice (Gibson & Bridges, 2016). Recognizing the common divide between those who elect to become teachers and those they will eventually teach, some communities have initiated “grow your own” programs (Skinner, Garreton, & Schultz, 2011); these begin with individuals who already possess contextual cognizance and then add to this the skills, knowledge, and dispositions toward advancing social equity they will need to become teachers who are culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining.

Developing and Enacting Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogies

Community-engaged teacher preparation privileges both content and pedagogy to which children can connect based on their lived experience. This paradigm affirms the cultures from which students come as a strength on which to build, not a deficit needing remediation to ensure that students will conform to societal norms. Supporting this approach, the literature on culturally responsive, relevant, and sustaining teaching has shown increased academic outcomes for children (see Krasnoff, 2016). Educational experiences that are culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining not only connect content to children’s experience, they also further their academic success by holding them to high academic standards and encouraging them to develop a critical consciousness about the world. Students challenge traditional narratives about marginalized populations and the single stories (Adiche, 2009) that glorify voices of power at the expense of those who have been traditionally alienated from positions of privilege. Students who are engaged in culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies emerge as more critical consumers of information and are more empowered to envision a new tomorrow that includes the richness of truth that has been constructed by a diversity of cultures throughout time.

Teaching for Equity and Social Justice

Community-engaged teacher preparation is intentionally grounded in the development of community teachers who understand systems of power and privilege and are compelled to work collaboratively toward a socially just society to rectify conditions that disadvantage populations of children. A community teacher aspires to contribute to and participate in a collective will to make educational equity a reality. This activist approach recognizes the social, cultural, historical, and political forces that must be addressed, and the commitment required—both in and out of the classroom—to work collaboratively and creatively to move the needle in the direction of social justice. In other words, it is imperative that community teachers practice what they teach (Picower, 2011).

This transpires only through a concerted conviction, cultivated through caring relationships that inform one’s perception of the world and position as an agent of change. A program of community-engaged teacher preparation positions candidates at the start of this journey. Through caring relationships with faculty, peers, teachers, and administrators in local schools and with members of the community, candidates co-conceptualize and legitimately participate in critical service learning (Mitchell, 2008) based on community-identified need—these are prominent occasions to practice how to act on convictions and advance a social and moral agenda that recognizes the promise, potential, and inherent worth of all individuals.

Opportunities to intentionally and critically reflect on one’s cultural lens, personal biases, assumptions, values, and beliefs and, at the same time, to examine societal oppression and the mechanisms that maintain and perpetuate injustice are essential elements of community-engaged teacher preparation. Additional recognition of and reflection on one’s positionality and its consequences are crucial. But this cannot be accomplished in isolation; careful mediation of these reflections by faculty can further engage candidates in the complex processes of negotiating cognitive disequilibrium, deconstructing prior schema, and rebuilding a new lens through which to approach teaching and learning. Pedagogies such as dialogue journaling, courageous conversation (Singleton & Linton, 2006), mind mapping, and digital storytelling, when used in combination, can facilitate opportunities to reflect. Engaging candidates’ multiple languages in the expression of their emerging schema has been shown to be a productive means of encouraging the metacognitive growth critical to becoming a community teacher (Zygmunt & Clark, 2016).

Community teachers understand that their students should be equipped and empowered to effectively participate in the work of social justice. Understanding that young people have a nuanced understanding of what is “fair,” community teachers engage in pedagogies that develop their students’ critical stance, encouraging their action to remedy injustice and supporting their emerging agency. It is through these experiences that students discover their personal power in addressing societal injustices, and their capacity for courageous engagement in work that advances equity. For an example of this in practice, view “We Spoke the Right Things,” an article that appeared in Teaching Tolerance magazine, which documents a first grade class’ social justice work, under the guidance of a skilled preservice teacher.

Elevating Principles of Critical Care

It is widely accepted that caring relationships play a significant role in culturally responsive teaching and learning (Noddings, 2003), and that care can be a powerful force in disrupting the way schooling has been traditionally done in and to historically marginalized communities (Rivera-McCutchen, 2012; Valenzuela, 2005). Yet despite being a critical component of successful teaching, caring and its politics frequently remain unexamined in teacher education (Pennington, Brock, & Ndura, 2012). Although the construct of care can often be linked to a paternalistic, savior, or missionary mentality of purporting to fix communities that are perceived as broken (Gay, 2010), authentic caring (Rolón-Dow, 2005) is operationalized through a concerted examination of power, social location, culture, and access to resources to minimize inequity and maximize the extent to which relationships are reciprocal and justice oriented. Authentic care is thus the lens through which the construct of community-engaged teacher preparation is conceived and the light that guides the interactions and relationships on which the model is optimally enacted.

In a model of community-engaged teacher preparation, the imperative of authentic caring pervades multiple configurations of relations that are integral to candidate success. The care that faculty extends to candidates is of tremendous import as they work to navigate the complexities of learning in a new cultural landscape, deconstructing prior schema, and developing a new lens through which to view the world. Caring relationships between members of a candidate cohort are similarly essential, as coparticipants support one another in persisting through processes of disequilibrium that require patience and perseverance. Of additional significance is the care teachers and administrators in schools extend as the candidates work to build confidence and competence in the skills, knowledge, and dispositions required to effectively teach.

Finally, the authentic care, reciprocally extended between candidates, faculty, and members of the community, is the foundation on which the success of any model of community-engaged teacher preparation is built. It is through these relationships that candidates learn the funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth, which they can then privilege, and to which they can connect the content they are responsible for teaching. It is through these relationships that candidates construct an asset-orientation that contributes to high expectations for children’s success. Moreover, it is through their own learning in this context of authentic care that candidates come to internalize how authentically caring for their current and future students will establish a climate of classroom community that will both support and sustain them and their students and families in culturally responsive and sustaining teaching and learning.

Given systems of culture and power, it would be indefensible to neglect the politics of care, and how, historically, the required caring for other people’s children by women of color was at the expense of themselves and their families. Programs of community-engaged teacher preparation require critical consciousness regarding the dynamics of such care and its social and historical relationship to the abuse of power and privilege. It is imperative to be intentional and steadfast in redefining this dynamic, transforming spaces to elevate and privilege funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992) and community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005), in lieu of “using” such strengths for personal or professional gain. The construction of such “hybrid spaces” (Zeichner, 2010) requires the renegotiation and sharing of traditional power structures to ensure a new and more committed cadre of future teachers, an enhanced educational setting for children, and a stronger community, having mutually benefited from true school-community-university collaboration.

Participating in Critical Service Learning and Community Mobilization

Beyond the relational aspect of community-engaged teacher preparation is an intentional focus on engagement in the practice of community mobilization alongside members of the neighborhood. This engagement underscores the construct of reciprocity, lest the university “take” from communities without any mutually beneficial exchange. In forging positive and sustaining relationships over time, there is typically no shortage of opportunities for candidates to work alongside community members to advance neighborhood priorities and mobilization agendas. Contrasted with the more typical “doing for” service-learning practices common in universities and other institutions, the notion of “doing with” in collaboratively constructed ways to accomplish neighborhood priorities provides an opportunity not only to contribute but also to critically examine structures of power and privilege, how they manifest, and how they can begin to be dismantled through collaboration across university, school, and community contexts.

Opportunities to engage candidates in resource development alongside community members can awaken opportunities for examining social and economic inequity. Similarly, projects to document neighborhood oral history and preserve a record of the resistance and resolve of people over time can be an excellent way to advance candidates’ understanding of community assets and the strength and resilience of individuals and communities. Importantly, candidates can work alongside community members, soliciting their experience and expertise in developing a more culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy in schools. In this fashion, members of the community function as teacher-educators, and the capacity to effectively prepare educators is enriched and deepened by the diverse experiences and perspectives that inform this collective work. As an example of how local expertise was privileged in a program of educator preparation, the “Books Like Me” project at Ball State University engaged community members in the intentional selection of a canon of culturally responsive literature for neighborhood children.

Developing Resiliency

Research shows that among the many struggles teachers face, the lack of preparation in an ethic of community engagement and appreciation for funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth can lead to burnout, which translates to patterns of attrition—a phenomenon exponentially more prevalent in urban schools (Shen, 2010). Community-engaged teacher preparation addresses this dilemma by enculturating candidates in the protective factors that will increase their capacity to be resilient in their tenacity to create a more culturally responsive and sustaining educational experience for children, despite the academic systems that may belie their efforts. These protective factors include caring relationships with a cadre of allies with whom they can continue to connect, and who will work to sustain them in their advocacy and activism. Additionally, community-engaged teacher preparation models an ethic of faith, the notion that individuals can overcome obstacles when they ally around a united vision and creatively cultivate strategies in service of that vision. Furthermore, candidates in a community-engaged model of teacher preparation are well-versed in problem-solving, having worked alongside members of historically marginalized communities who continue in a struggle for survival. Their experience in both witnessing and participating in this struggle will contribute to their capacity to persevere in the face of adversity.

As future teachers develop their own resilience, they become more equipped to foster this resolve in their future students. Through experiencing authentic caring, they are better able to authentically care. Through participating alongside community members in efforts to address inequity, they are better able to engage their students in this collective struggle, thereby increasing the belongingness that is foundational to the development of resilience. Finally, having been encouraged to discover, uncover, and reflect on social injustices and inequity, candidates who have participated in community-engaged teacher preparation are more prepared to engage their future students in developing a critical consciousness through which to navigate the world.


The tenets of community-engaged teacher preparation do not lend themselves only to predetermined spaces; they can be operationalized globally in neighborhoods and communities whose knowledge traditions have historically been marginalized. These spaces can be found in the urban core of cities, in isolated rural communities, among the world’s indigenous populations, and in remote villages around the globe. The concerted cultivation of relationships that lead to the honoring and privileging of wisdom and expertise in the training of socially just, equity-focused teachers is at the heart of the work in these spaces and the measure of success by which efforts can be evaluated.

Although community engagement in teacher preparation is specific to educational contexts, its tenets have broad applicability to programs of preparation in innumerable disciplines. Contextual cognizance of community culture(s) would seem to be invaluable in, for example, the fields of healthcare, social work, criminal justice, and urban planning, to name only a few. Regardless of the discipline, how local wisdom and expertise is honored, privileged, and utilized in the development of collaborative strategies with which to address complex societal issues of inequity is at the core of this work. As the paradigm gains traction and momentum in the field of educator preparation, its benefits for other disciplines will, hopefully, be noted, and its community-engaged ethic embraced.

Community-engaged teacher preparation is a movement with the capacity to significantly influence future teachers, schools, families, communities, and, most notably, children. As acceptance of this model by the organizations and institutions that develop professional standards for the accreditation of programs of educator preparation grows, its impact on the field has the potential to be substantial. As the field evolves and emerges, it must be responsive to the needs of an increasingly diverse population of children and families. The purposeful alignment of teacher preparation within the context of children’s lived experience holds the joyful promise of a more equitable education for all children.

Further Reading

  • Bell, M. (2014). We spoke the right things. Teaching Tolerance, 48, 56–58.
  • Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 465–491.
  • Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & González, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory Into Practice, 31, 132–141.
  • Paris, D., & Alim, S. (Eds.). (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Valenzuela, A. (2005). Subtractive schooling, caring relations, and social capital in the schooling of U.S.-Mexican youth. In L. Weis & M. Fine (Eds.), Beyond silenced voices: Class, race, and gender in United States schools (revised ed., pp. 47–61). Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Villegas, A., & Lucas, T. (2002). Educating culturally responsive teachers: A coherent approach. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Yosso, T. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 8, 69–91.
  • Zeichner, K., Bowman, M., Guillen, L., & Napolitan, K. (2016). Engaging and working in solidarity with local communities in preparing the teachers of their children. Journal of Teacher Education, 67, 277–290.
  • Zygmunt, E., & Clark, P. (2016). Transforming teacher education for social justice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


  • Adiche, C. (2009). The danger of a single story. Ted Talk [Video file].
  • Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education, 162(1), 67–92.
  • Anyon, J. (2014). Radical possibilities: Public policy, urban education, and a new social movement. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Cherubini, L., Hodson, J., Manley-Casimir, J., & Muir, C. (2010). “Closing the gap” at the peril of widening the void: Implications of the Ontario Ministry of Education policy for Aboriginal education. Canadian Journal of Education, 33, 329–355.
  • Deshkal Society. (2010). Inclusive classroom, social inclusion/exclusion, and diversity: Perspectives, policies and practice. Delhi, India: Author.
  • Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 106–116.
  • Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Gershenson, S., Holt, S., & Papageorge, N. (2016). Who believes in me? The effect of student- teacher demographic match on teacher expectations. Economics of Education Review, 52, 209–224.
  • Gibson, S., & Bridges, T. (2016, April). Black messiah: Deconstructing the presumption of shared experience with black teacher candidates. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.
  • Haberman, M. (2002, April). Can teacher education close the achievement gap? Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
  • Kanu, Y. (2007). Increasing school success among Aboriginal students: Culturally responsive curriculum or macrostructural variables affecting schooling? Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 1(1), 21–41.
  • Krasnoff, B. (2016). Culturally responsive teaching: A guide to evidence-based practices for teaching all students equitably. Portland, OR: Equity Assistance Center at Education Northwest.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 465–491.
  • Lave, L., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lee, R., Showalter, B., Eckrich, L. (2013). Beyond the ivory tower: The role of contextually based course redesign in a community-embedded urban teacher preparation model. In J. Noel (Ed.), Moving teacher education into urban schools and communities (pp. 56–72). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Lees, A. (2016). Roles of urban indigenous community members in collaborative field-based teacher preparation. Journal of Teacher Education, 67, 363–378.
  • McKown, C., & Weinstein, R. S. (2008). Teacher expectations, classroom context, and the achievement gap. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 235–261.
  • Mitchell, T. D. (2008). Traditional vs. critical service learning: Engaging the literature to differentiate two models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14(2), 50–65.
  • Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & González, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31, 132–141.
  • Moyle, D. (2005). Quality educators produce quality outcomes: Some thoughts on what this means in the context of teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia’s public education system. Primary and Middle Years Education, 3(2), 11–14.
  • Murrell, P. (2001). The community teacher: A new framework for effective urban teaching. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Noddings, N. (2003). Caring: A feminine approach to ethics and moral education. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41, 93–97.
  • Paris, D., & Alim, S. (Eds.). (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
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