Towards a pedagogy of discomfort?: Teaching and teacher education in the context of cultural and linguistic diversity

Bonita Marie Cabiles


This article explores initial thinking about a pedagogy of discomfort for teaching in the context of cultural and linguistic diversity. To foster inclusive and socially just cultures of participation, contemporary classrooms need to attend to the subtle ways that taken-for-granted teaching practices marginalise diverse cultural and linguistic knowledge. I draw from three critical episodes of teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) classroom contexts to examine how educators’ feelings of discomforts shape their responses to students’ histories, cultural experiences and linguistic knowledge. Engaging with Bourdieu’s notion of habitus, I illuminate how these emotions are historically and socially shaped. In bringing habitus into conversation with a pedagogy of discomfort, I further reveal how the affective, specifically feelings of discomfort, can contribute to a transformative habitus. Such understandings about affect and teaching practice suggest the need to consider a pedagogy of discomfort for teaching in CALD contexts. To do so, entails acknowledging the challenges and ethical considerations involved in mobilising such a pedagogy in classroom teaching and teacher education.


cultural and linguistic diversity, pedagogy of discomfort, teachers’ dispositions, habitus

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