Collision or Collusion: effects of teacher ethnicity in the teaching of whiteness

Heather Smith, Vini Lander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Educational inequities persist in England today. Initial teacher educators are therefore charged with facilitating student teachers’ understanding of the issues pertaining to such inequities so they may work to disrupt them. Two lecturers at opposite ends of England, both with overwhelmingly White student cohorts, have approached this undertaking through the teaching of critical whiteness studies. This article exposes and explains the very different reactions of White student teachers to this approach given that one of the lecturers is Black and the other White. Explanations are viewed through a sociological framework which seeks to deconstruct normalized practices; in tandem with understandings of how whiteness operates to reinforce such normalization in order that inequitable power relations are reified. This revealed that student reactions were underpinned by racialised assumptions of teacher ability and motives, leading to collusion in whiteness for the White teacher and, for the Black teacher, a collision between her teaching and student perceptions of her role and values. Keywords: whiteness; teacher education; teacher ethnicity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-351
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Collision or Collusion: effects of teacher ethnicity in the teaching of whiteness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this