Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D'Amico


This study seeks to determine if a critical element of pre-service teachers' racial socialization lies within an analysis of racial isolation experiences, a lack of understanding White privilege, and how much accurate, historical instruction about racism in America they received from their middle school and high school teachers. The mixed methods action research sought answers to the following two research questions: How do life experiences shape White pre-service teachers' understanding of race? When White pre-service teachers engage in race-based self-examination activities, do they experience a shift in their perceptions and beliefs about race? This critical case study examines White pre-service teachers' "lived experiences" with race and ethnicity and the impact of an approach to influence their beliefs and perceptions. Action steps moving forward center around changes to social studies curricula, application of critical race theory (CRT) to education, and creating a safe environment to discuss sensitive racial and multicultural issues in the classroom. Given the positioning of racial socialization, racism, and Whiteness within this study, a theoretical framework grounded in race theories supports the explanation of pre-service teachers' comprehension of how life experiences influence their understanding of race and their willingness to discuss race.