James K. Rigney: 0000-0002-4676-2305

Gage Jeter: 0000-0002-7908-3042




Unearthing the perspectives students bring with them in their college-level education coursework is especially important as education instructors are tasked with interrupting the unexamined proliferation of dominant ideologies among future educational professionals. The introduction to education course serves as an important site for this interrogation. One trend largely unexplored in the scholarly literature is the pedagogical use of controversy in introduction to education coursework. This study analyzes student discussion of the controversy of school gun violence within a redesigned introduction to education course. Data for this study come from student postings and final reflection papers in an online section of that course. Qualitative analysis of student thinking reveal three themes regarding U.S. school gun violence: gun violence as political intrusion into schools, gun policy as marginalizing and legitimizing presence, and gun use as professional boundary for teachers. These themes provide insight into the ways education students conceptualize teachers, professional educators, and the context of schooling. The student interactions and reflections in this study also suggest that scaffolded discussions of school gun violence present a poignant opportunity for education coursework to foster authentic student reflection on the policy, politics, and professions associated with American education.



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