11/07/2011 01:27 PM
BATON ROUGE – The LSU College of Education Curriculum Theory Project, or CTP, Brown
Bag Lecture Series hosted “Wow! We are Really White,” presented by Kenny Fasching-Varner
on Tuesday, September 20, in 225 Peabody Hall.
The presentation stemmed from the research of Fasching-Varner, which examines white
racial identity as expressed in the narratives of pre-service teachers. Fasching-Varner’s
research illustrated that there is often a disconnect in identity between teachers
and their students and focused on understanding teachers’ own racial identities as
an important step toward reconciling identity differences.
His study also revealed that research participants displayed repeated instantiations
of abstract liberalism, an engagement with ideas that reflect liberal ideals to explain
race while simultaneously engaging in discourse that conflicts with these liberal
views, revealing a more conservative orientation to race.
Participants in Fasching-Varner’s study used a variety of techniques to establish
non-racist, non-judgmental, open and expansive standpoints. Conversations with the
same subjects, however, revealed conflicts to their articulated ideologically open
Research suggested that while white pre-service teachers may not intentionally, or
even consciously, view students of color differently from the way they view white
students, the participants revealed subconscious ideas about race that warrant a deeper
understanding of how differences across the identity spectrum can be addressed by
teacher educators in the preparation of pre-service teachers.
Through his research, Fasching-Varner aims to discover pathways to reconcile the disconnect
in identities between teachers and students, helping pre-service teachers build symmetrical
relationships with students.
“If we are to meet the challenges of 21st century education, particularly in urban
settings, conversations about race and racial identity are pivotal, particularly given
that 85-92 percent of teachers are white and students do not mirror this same demographic,”
Fasching-Varner conducted this research in the northeast United States and is eager
to work with pre-service and in-service teachers in south Louisiana. He joined the
LSU College of Education faculty in August 2011 as an assistant professor in the Department
of Educational Theory, Policy and Practice and recently has been elected to the LSU
Faculty Senate executive committee.
For more information on the LSU Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice,
For more information about the LSU Curriculum Theory Project, visit http://educ-calvin2.lsu.edu/~lsuctp/.
Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011