Redesigning a Science Teacher Preparation Program for Equity: Using Critical Whiteness Pedagogy to Educate Secondary Science Preservice Teachers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
McCausland, J., & McDonald, S. (2023). Redesigning a science teacher preparation program for equity: Using critical Whiteness pedagogy to educate secondary science preservice teachers. Innovations in Science Teacher Education 8(4). Retrieved from
by Jonathan McCausland, New Mexico Highlands University; & Scott McDonald, Pennsylvania State University


In this article, we describe the redesign of a secondary science teacher preparation program. The goal of the redesign was to help preservice teachers in the program become more justice-oriented science teachers. We describe the impetus for the redesign and how we went about redesigning the program through an iterative process of conjecture mapping (Sandoval, 2014), and we highlight important elements of the program. Ultimately, we argue that teacher preparation programs can draw upon practice-based teacher education and critical whiteness pedagogy to assist preservice teachers in becoming justice-oriented science teachers. By blending practice-based teacher education and critical whiteness pedagogy, preservice science teachers can practice being justice oriented, helping them become novice critical whiteness ambitious science teachers.

Innovations Journal articles, beyond each issue's featured article, are included with ASTE membership. If your membership is current please login at the upper right.

Become a member or renew your membership


Bang, M., Warren, B., Rosebery, A. S., & Medin, D. (2013). Unsettling expectations in science education. Human Development, 55(5–6), 302–318.

Barone, T. E. (1992). Beyond theory and method: A case of critical storytelling. Theory Into Practice, 31(2), 142–146.

Bullock, E. C. (2017). Only STEM can save us? Examining race, place, and STEM education as property. Educational Studies, 53(6), 628–641.

Chadderton, C. (2012). Problematising the role of the White researcher in social justice research. Ethnography and Education, 7(3), 363–380.

Daniels, J. R., & Varghese, M. (2020). Troubling practice: Exploring the relationship between Whiteness and practice-based teacher education in considering a raciolinguicized teacher subjectivity. Educational Researcher, 49(1), 56–63.

Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An overview. Historical Social Research, 36(4), 273–290.

Ellison, R. (1953/1995). Shadow and act. Vintage International.

Foste, Z. (2020). Remaining vigilant: Reflexive considerations for White researchers studying Whiteness. Whiteness and Education, 5(2), 131–146.

Gay, G. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). Teachers College Press.

Grossman, P., Compton, C., Igra, D., Ronfeldt, M., Shahan, E., & Williamson, P. W. (2009). Teaching practice: A cross-professional perspective. Teachers College Record, 111(9), 2055–2100.

Haverly, C., Calabrese Barton, A., Schwarz, C. V., & Braaten, M. (2020). “Making space”: How novice teachers create opportunities for equitable sense-making in elementary science. Journal of Teacher Education, 71(1), 63–79.

Johnson, L. L. (2017). The racial hauntings of one Black male professor and the disturbance of the self(ves): Self-actualization and racial storytelling as pedagogical practices. Journal of Literacy Research, 49(4), 476–502.

Kavanagh, S. S., & Danielson, K. A. (2020). Practicing justice, justifying practice: Toward critical practice teacher education. American Educational Research Journal, 57(1), 69–105.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465–491.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). “Yes, but how do we do it?” Practicing culturally relevant pedagogy. In J. Landsman & C. W. Lewis (Eds.), White teachers, diverse classrooms: A guide to building inclusive schools, promoting high expectations, and eliminating racism (pp. 29–41). Stylus Publishing.

Le, P. T., & Matias, C. E. (2019). Towards a truer multicultural science education: How Whiteness impacts science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14(1), 15–31.

Lee, S. (2012). Knowing myself to know others: Preparing preservice teachers for diversity through multicultural autobiography. Multicultural Education, 20(1), 38–41.

Lensmire, T. J. (2017). White folks: Race and identity in rural America. Routledge.

Lensmire, T. J., McManimon, S. K., Tierney, J. D., Lee-Nichols, M. E., Casey, Z. A., Lensmire, A., & Davis, B. M. (2013). McIntosh as synecdoche: How teacher education’s focus on White privilege undermines antiracism. Harvard Educational Review, 83(3), 410–431.

Levine-Rasky, C. (2000). Framing Whiteness: Working through the tensions in introducing Whiteness to educators. Race Ethnicity and Education, 3(3), 271–292.

Luehmann, A. L. (2007). Identity development as a lens to science teacher preparation. Science Education, 91(5), 822–839.

Madkins, T. C., & Nazar, C. R. (2022). Theoretical perspectives for developing antiracist teaching dispositions and practices in preservice teacher education. Science Education, 106(5), 1118–1134.

Marx, S., & Pennington, J. (2003). Pedagogies of critical race theory: Experimentations with White preservice teachers? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 16(1), 91–110.

Matias, C. E., & Mackey, J. (2016). Breakin’ down Whiteness in antiracist teaching: Introducing critical Whiteness pedagogy. Urban Review, 48(1), 32–50.

McCausland, J. D. (2022). Learning “real” science: Storying Whiteness in university science labs. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 19(2), 115–138.

McDonald, S., Bateman, K., & McCausland, J. (2020). Practice-embedded methods courses for preservice teachers. In D. Stroupe, K. Hammerness, & S. McDonald (Eds.), Preparing science teachers through practice-based teacher education (pp. 171–186). Harvard Education Press.

McIntosh, P. (2008). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In P. S. Rothenberg (Ed.), White privilege: Essential readings on the other side of racism (3rd ed., pp. 123–127). Worth.

McIntyre, A. (1997). Making meaning of Whiteness: Exploring racial identity with White teachers. State University of New York Press.

Menakem, R. (2017). My grandmother’s hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. Central Recovery Press.

Mensah, F. M., & Jackson, I. (2018). Whiteness as property in science teacher education. Teachers College Record, 120(1), Article 010307.

Miller, E., Manz, E., Russ, R., Stroupe, D., & Berland, L. (2018). Addressing the epistemic elephant in the room: Epistemic agency and the Next Generation Science Standards. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(7), 1053–1075.

Miller, E. T., & Tanner, S. J. (2019). “There can be no racial improvisation in White supremacy”: What we can learn when anti-racist pedagogy fails. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 16(1), 72–96.

Philip, T. M. (2019). Principled improvisation to support novice teacher learning. Teacher College Record, 121(6), Article 060307.

Philip, T. M., Souto-Manning, M., Anderson, L., Horn, I., Carter Andrews, D. J., Stillman, J., & Varghese, M. (2019). Making justice peripheral by constructing practice as “core”: How the increasing prominence of core practices challenges teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 70(3), 251–264.

Ruiz, M. (with Mills, J.). (1997). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. Amber-Allen Publishing.

Sammel, A. (2009). Turning the focus from ‘other’ to science education: Exploring the invisibility of Whiteness. Cultural Studies in Science Education, 4(3), 649–656.

Sandoval, W. (2014). Conjecture mapping: An approach to systematic educational design research. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(1), 18–36.

Staples, J. M. (2016). The revelations of Asher: Toward supreme love in self (This is an endarkened, feminist, new literacies event). Peter Lang.

Stroupe, D., Gotwals, A., Christensen, J., & Wray, K. A. (2022). Becoming ambitious: How a practice-based methods course and “macroteaching” shaped beginning teachers’ critical pedagogical discourses. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 33(6), 683–702.

Stroupe, D., Hammerness, K., & McDonald, S. (2020). Practice-based science teacher education. In D. Stroupe, K. Hammerness, & S. McDonald (Eds.), Preparing science teachers through practice-based teacher education (pp. 1–12). Harvard Education Press.

Tanner, S. J. (2018). Whiteness, pedagogy, and youth in America: Critical Whiteness studies in the classroom. Routledge.

Tanner, S. J., & McCloskey, A. (2023). Improv theater and Whiteness in education: A systematic literature review. Review of Educational Research, 93(1), 3–36.

Thandeka. (1999). Learning to be White: Money, race, and God in America. Continuum.

Thompson, J., Hagenah, S., Kang, H., Stroupe, D., Braaten, M., Colley, C., & Windschitl, M. (2016). Rigor and responsiveness in classroom activity. Teachers College Record, 118(5), Article 050303.

Thompson, J., Mawyer, K., Johnson, H., Scipio, D., & Luehmann, A. (2020). Culturally and linguistically sustaining approaches to ambitious science teaching pedagogies. In D. Stroupe, K. Hammerness, & S. McDonald (Eds.), Preparing science teachers through practice-based teacher education (pp. 45–61). Harvard Education Press.

Thompson, J., Mawyer, K., Johnson, H., Scipio, D., & Luehmann, A. (2021). C2AST (critical and cultural approaches to ambitious science teaching). The Science Teacher, 89(1), 58–64.

Windschitl, M., Thompson, J., & Braaten, M. (2018). Ambitious science teaching. Harvard Education Press.

Windschitl, M., Thompson, J., Braaten, M., & Stroupe, D. (2012). Proposing a core set of instructional practices and tools for teachers of science. Science Education, 96(5), 878–903.