Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 5) in: Designing Culturally Competent Programming for PK-20 Classrooms, ed. Katherine Sprott, Clementine Msengi, & Johnny R. O'Connor Jr. (IGI Global, 2021)

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3652-0.ch005


Copyright © 2021 IGI Global. Used by permission.


In this chapter, the authors outline the ongoing dialogues, thought processes, and pedagogical moves we make as two seasoned colleagues of color attempting to enhance the cultural competence of students through a critical multicultural education course offered at a public university-based teacher education program. We document how we address many enduring moral, ethical, and epistemological questions through our practice that are unique to educators of color working at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). We frame our work within the literature on diversity and social justice pedagogy and link our own work to the broader well-documented challenges faced by many educators of color at PWIs. We tackle the thorny concept of cultural competence, offering our professional understanding of an admittedly contested topic. We draw on spirituality to ground the "heart and soul work" (Palmer, 1983) we undertake that enhances our own critical consciousness as it is continually nurtured in dialogic relation to our students.