Discursive compartmentalization in a critical multicultural classroom

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3 Citations (Scopus)


What happens when critical discourses are introduced in the classroom? How do students make sense of these discourses in the light of their experiences as teachers? What is the role of the state and its ideologies in shaping the way critical discourses are apprehended in the classroom? This paper aims to map out the discursive (re)configurations of one particular classroom in Singapore where in-service teachers are introduced to critical multicultural discourses. Our data have shown that teachers compartmentalize two sets of discourses in order to make critical discourses more acceptable to them. On the one hand, they affirm and endorse critical multicultural discourses in the classroom; on the other hand, they go back to State-defined discourses which radically limit multiculturalism to official conceptualization and deployment of race-based pedagogy. A typical approach to investigating contending discourses is how one overpowers the other, or how they mesh together to form another distinct discourse, but de-centering these assumptions from our work and, instead, letting a unique discursive configuration to emerge from the teachers’ voices themselves have generated a rather interesting view of what these teachers do with such contending discourses – they compartmentalize them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Multicultural Discourses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural diversity
  • classroom discourse
  • multiculturalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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