- Do you have any new insights after the class experience concerning social justice?
In general, this class was incredibly eye-opening. I think one of the most interesting and effective assignments was our cultural autobiographies in which we analyzed our own identities through various realms including gender, age, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and religion. I had never really sat down and analyzed different aspects of my identity, and specifically how my identity shapes my behaviors and attitudes in society. I think it’s important for students to be aware of not only their own identities, but also the identities and cultures of their peers. Furthermore, it’s also important for teachers to model empathy and teach students to see through different perspectives. By implementing lessons and activities centered around culture and identity, students will be more apt to seeing through a more empathetic lens.
- Do you have any new concerns about social justice?
I am an elementary educator, so my primary concerns would be how parents respond to my teaching practices or approaches to certain social justice topics. Many elementary parents may deem topics too sensitive or too inappropriate for their children to learn at such a young age. I want to be able to educate my students on certain injustices in the world, as well as ideas of identity and how that plays into how students view themselves and others in society. However, I also want to maintain a positive relationship with parents. I intend to find a balance between both, but many topics have ‘gray’ areas.
- What is your philosophy of integrating social justice in the classroom?
After taking this course, it is clear that integrating social justice into the classroom is imperative in order to have a respectful and safe classroom community. I believe that the most effective way to best equip students with the skills to be more empathetic and appreciate differences among others is for teachers to explicitly model that behavior. Teachers must actively seek opportunities for provide students with real-world, authentic experiences related to social justice.