Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix

sj Miller and Linda Norris

Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix sj miller

What issues in English teacher education are sidestepped because they are too loaded to address? What aren’t we talking about when we discuss classroom management, censorship, standardized tests, media literacy, social justice issues, the standards, and technology? What really matters to novices entering the profession?


The authors in this book wrestle with the disparities between preservice English teacher instruction and secondary school space as the two collide, and describe the tools that preservice English teachers need to negotiate and navigate between theory and practice. This book answers these questions and offers groundbreaking insights about liberatory pedagogy for how teacher educators can mentor preservice teachers on touchy issues, providing them with tools to reach today’s students.

logo national counsel of teachers of english

​Winner, Richard A. Meade Award from NCTE, 2007

Table of Contents

Ernest Morrell

sj Miller

The Loaded Matrix: Theoretical and Practical Framework
sj Miller

The Loaded Matrix in Classroom and School Environments
sj Miller

Do We Need Rules in the Loaded Matrix? 
Linda Norris

How Film and Critical Media Studies (Re)shape the Loaded Matrix
Linda Norris

Can Technology (Re)load the Loaded Matrix? 
Linda Norris and sj Miller

Social Justice and Sociocultural Issues as Part of the Loaded Matrix
sj Miller

Applying the Standards to the Loaded Matrix
Linda Norris

Unloading the Loaded Matrix: (Re)charging Our Minds
sj Miller and​ Linda Norris


Miller and Norris look at the education of preservice teachers as a complex interaction in the realm of what they call ‘thirdspace,’ a site where the material, social, political, and personal dimensions of teaching collide. The authors describe the contemporary world of the teacher as a matrix, ‘loaded’ with a myriad of sociocultural issues that are very real for students, ranging from bullying and sexual harassment to racism. By theorizing and providing practical classroom suggestions for both the novice secondary school teacher and the teacher educator, Miller and Norris construct a convincing and fascinating argument that only when new teachers recognize and respect the matrix in which they operate can they effectively teach within it.

  • Janet Alsup, Associate Professor of English Education, Purdue University; Author of ‘Teacher Identity Discourses: Negotiating Personal and Professional Spaces’

This engaging preservice English method text is uniquely organized around realistically addressing challenging issues faced by all new teachers: classroom management and power, implementing critical literacy pedagogies in an era of testing and standards, technology integration, individual/special learning needs, race/class/gender differences, bullying and abuse, censorship, evaluation and assessment, school rules, second language learning, self-reflection and teacher self-efficacy, and schooling within an inequitable society. It then helps preservice teachers develop beliefs and strategies for best addressing these challenges, as well as providing them with lots of creative activities and resources for engaging students in inquiry-based learning.

  • Richard Beach, Professor of English Education, University of Minnesota; Author of ‘TeachingMediaLiteracy.com: A Web-Linked Guide to Resources and Activities’

‘Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix’ by sj Miller and Linda Norris is a creative tour de force that brings to light serious problems in preservice education and offers important approaches to redress those problems. This book clears a path for uniting mind and body as well as theory and practice…
  • Peter McLaren, Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, Author of ‘Rage and Hope: Interviews with Peter McLaren on War, Imperialism, and Critical Pedagogy’