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Teacher education programs seek to foster dispositions that welcome student differences in race, culture, language and ability. However, pre-service teachers’ dispositions are difficult to transform because they tend to be aligned with the field of schooling where differences are punished or excluded. This study examines an activity for transforming pre-service teachers’ communicative habitus that was inspired by Bourdieu’s theory that habitus or dispositions are unconsciously embodied and therefore require a bodily counter-training for change. The activity instructed 17 pre-service Special Education teachers to communicate an experience through sound alone rather than words in order to challenge teachers’ deeply embodied communicative norms and open them up to the possibilities of non-normative communication. Follow up discussions, written reflections and videotaped think-alouds provided opportunities for explicit pedagogy and reflection. In this article, we discuss findings and implications from a recent implementation of this activity.


Originally published in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. If you cite this paper in your article, please contact the authors for the original article's pagination.

Gene Fellner & Helen Kwah (2018) Transforming the embodied dispositions of pre-service special education teachers, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 31:6, 520-534, DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2017.1422291



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