Shifting perspectives: preservice teacher preparation in family engagement

Stephanie C. Sanders-Smith, Tina M. Smith-Bonahue, Tanya Espinosa Cordoba, Olivia R. Soutullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is a case study of four students in an early childhood teacher preparation program at a large, state university that intentionally seeks to emphasize supporting children and families from diverse backgrounds and using culturally responsive pedagogy. The program includes a family engagement course in the first semester that is designed to facilitate students’ recognition of the perspectives of diverse families, as well as practica in schools serving children and families from a range of backgrounds. Our investigation revealed that not all of our participants were willing to completely let go of their preconceived understandings of family diversity and engagement, but those who did were very willing to try multiple ways of building mutually beneficial relationships with families. Our findings suggest that teacher educators must have an understanding of the cultural and family backgrounds of teacher preparation students so as to better support students in decentering and resisting normalizing their own family and school experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-237
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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