“I Used to Think, But Now I Know”: Interrupting Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Equity


  • Melissa Wells University of Mary Washington




poetic inquiry, arts based educational research, preservice teachers, culturally responsive pedagogy, cultural consciousness, foundations of education, equity, educator preparation program, SoTL


Teacher educators face ongoing challenges of preparing future teachers—mostly White women—to meet the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Through poetic inquiry, this article synthesizes findings of a research study in the author’s Foundations of Education course in Spring 2021. After completing various readings, assignments, and activities aligned with culturally responsive pedagogy throughout the course, undergraduate preservice teachers’ (PSTs) pre- and post-assessment scores on the Learning for Justice Common Beliefs Survey were compared. Notable changes in PSTs’ responses to the first two common beliefs were evident. In addition, PSTs contributed one line to a class poem using the framework “I used to think, but now I know” and explained what learning events during the semester caused changes in thinking. The class poem revealed changes in beliefs about racial and cultural diversity, curriculum and instruction, educational systems, and teacher self-efficacy. Learning events students identified as significant included course readings, in-class discussions, media, and specific course topics and activities.