Our Responsibility

What do you perceive your responsibility as an educator to be to standing up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice?

As educators, we have a tremendous responsibility to stand up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. We, as teachers, deal with students who are all unique and different from one another. Race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, these are just a few things that differ from student to student. We need to be able to be positive role models for our students, and stand up to items such as exclusion, prejudices, and injustices. Being exemplary role models for the students, will show them how to stand up to items such as the ones listed above. Also, exposing students and educating them about these aspects of society, will help them begin to notice them, and be aware of the different situations where they see these things in their lives. I feel my main responsibility is to teach all students how to stand up against, exclusion, prejudice and injustice.

One point made by author Alison E.C. Struthers is  “A further reform that would be likely to stimulate this mainstreaming of HRE within state policy is the second suggestion made above: improving training on human rights and HRE within national teacher education programmes.” (Struthers, 2016, 30). I think this is something that is lacking in professional development within the schools. As someone who was hired this past year, I unfortunately had no training when it came to Human Rights Education. I think giving teachers the tools to be successful when it came to teaching students to notice, and stand up against exclusion, prejudice and injustice, we would be more successful in eliminating the times it is seen within our schools.

One aspect talked about in the Poplin and Rivera article was the importance of closing the gap in schools. I think they offered a great idea on page 35 when they said “Partnering with schools that are closing the achievement gaps so that candidates are placed with effective teachers in effective schools. Hiring those teachers to help instruct our candidates.” (Poplin, 2005,35). We need to use these teachers who have successfully integrated these resources into the classroom. We need to continue to make the changes necessary to make the educators across the country successful when standing up against exclusion, prejudice and injustice, and what better tool than teachers who have successfully taught how to do this. It is so important to continue to learn about these topics, and show students the progress being made. Also, continuing to learn about these topics only help better the materials you teach the students.  “While the findings indicate that I am “walking my talk” when teaching action research, it is necessary to continue investigating how teachers and candidates become change agents and the role that an AE approach plays in such a process since there remains a paucity of literature exploring pedagogy in action research courses.” (Storms, 2013). When it comes to teaching about standing up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice, we need to set examples for our students. By making sure we are equipped with the necessary tools and materials to be successful, will only make them successful when implementing the tools we teach into their lives. #577

Poplin, M., & Rivera, J. (2005). Merging Social Justice and Accountability: Educating Qualified and Effective Teachers. Theory Into Practice, 44(1), 27-37 doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4401_5

Storms, S. B. (2013). Preparing Teachers for Social Justice Advocacy. Multicultural Education, 20(2), 33-39.

Struthers, A. C. (2016). Human Rights: A Topic Too Controversial for Mainstream Education?. Human Rights Law Review, 16(1), 131-162. doi:10.1093/hrlr/ngv040

6 thoughts on “Our Responsibility”

  1. I really enjoyed ready your post. I agree with your point that teachers are the best role models to our students, but even more so their peers. One thing that I didn’t realize until I read your post is how much of a resource it is to have exemplary students in our classrooms. It’s one thing for a student to watch their teacher model something (since we do it all day anyway), but to see one of their classmates making choices to be more inclusive of others, and to be accepting of everyone, I feel can really make a difference in how they think of their own actions.

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  2. I agree that Human Rights Education for teachers is limited and sometimes nonexistent. This makes it difficult for teachers to educate students on topics that they may not fully understand. One of my few experiences with HRE was in my fifth grade student teaching placement. Throughout an ELA unit, students were investigating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, lessons focused on the history and decoding of this document. I feel that a connection to societal systems today was lacking in class discussions. If I were to teach a similar lesson again, I would feel more confident in my ability to broach topics such as exclusion, prejudice, and injustice.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading your post! I agree with your argument that schools are lacking in professional development opportunities for educators. In particular, schools are lacking in providing teachers with professional development workshops pertaining to HRE and issues of exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. Teachers need these opportunities so that they are better equipped to teach students HOW to notice issues of exclusion, prejudice, and injustice, as well as teaching students why this is important if there is to be any positive change in society. Last year, there was one student in my school district who was making the transition from female to male. For Superintendent’s Conference Day, all of the teachers and teaching assistants were required to attend a professional development workshop called “Supporting All Students: Understanding LGBTQ. I thought the speaker for this workshop was incredible and it equipped all of us with the essential training to understand and support the needs of our LGBTQ student population. I believe that regardless of what your belief is on certain issues, it’s important for teachers to educate themselves so they don’t develop a stagnant mindset that comes out in microagressions when teaching certain populations of students. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hi! You make some really good points in this post. I completely agree that we need to be positive role models for our students, and HRE would help us on that path. It is extremely unfortunate that many teachers are not educated about human rights (I was lucky—my Comp II class focused on human rights in science fiction). It would help teachers deal with so many situations in and out of the classroom. Luckily, we can still educate ourselves (this class, for example) and teach our students about human rights, so that they can speak out and pass it on.

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  5. Like you stated, being a role model and teaching students about social justice is crucial. An article I found contains many ways to engage students in current social justice issues and ways that we can set an example for them. Something simple we can do in the beginning of the year is “establish a clear set of positive classroom policies that value inclusiveness and tolerance.” (J, 2016). We can be encouraging tolerance without realizing it but we need to continue and focus on the importance of it. You should check out this article as well for more examples of how to encourage students and teach them about social justice.

    J. (2016, July 11). 8 Engaging Ways Teachers Can Expose Students to Social Justice. Retrieved from https://www.livetiles.nyc/8-engaging-ways-teachers-can-expose-students-social-justice

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  6. I agree that we need to “use these teachers who have successfully integrated these resources into the classroom.” The best way to connect with other educators is through the use of a blog. I would suggest a technology much like the one we are on now, WordPress, or any other online blog that could provide exposure to what is currently working in schools. Social media gains attention on a much larger scale, as teachers can use hashtags to tag their posts expand the group of people that their content is exposed to. You could do a search for commonly used resources and have hundreds of responses within seconds!

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