Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

William R. Muth


Students of color, of poverty, with disabilities continue to slide into the school to prison pipeline (STPP.) Very often, an antecedent step is harsh exclusionary discipline that removes them from the classroom. Teachers, who play a major role in the decision whether to keep students in or eject them from the classroom and the school, are among multiple forces driving students toward or away from the STPP. A salient feature of the issue is that nearly 80% of teachers are white and their most vulnerable students are not. Rooted in critical race and care theories, and buttressed by self determination theory, aspects of grounded theory methodology were used in this critical inquiry to explore how young, white preservice teachers with some experience leading students view themselves as raced individuals, the communities of which they will be a part, and the relationships they will form with their students. Participants’ descriptions of and reactions to multiple student-teacher interactions fell along a continuum from careless through carefree, conscious, and controlling to contentious. At the careless and contentious ends of the continuum, participants offered allowances for some seemingly negative behaviors. Insight might be gained by reflecting on the alacrity or hesitation with which allowances are offered, or whether they are offered at all.

Suggestions for practice include constructivist, collaborative, critical teacher education and professional development that offers teachers time and space to reflect on whether and how quickly they offer allowances to colleagues for interactions in the careless and contentious ranges of the continuum.


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