Social Justice in Subject Content

Q: What responsibility do you have to integrate social justice into teaching content.

A: As an educator, it is in my job description to ensure that all students feel that they matter and are not marginalized. By using social justice in classrooms and basing subject content off of the ideals it brings; it will encourage students to use their voice with uprising social issues and ideas they find engaging and want to take action in. By using cooperative learning practices and the independent lead research that students will do, the students will become more involved and willing to make a change in their community and succeed in the classroom.

My Responsibility as a Teacher

As an educator it is my responsibility in the day and age to stay up to date on things that are going on in society and in the world. When it comes to social justice and teaching I believe that I have to inform my students that not everyone has the same advantages and resources to be as successful. I saw a pretty cool but eye opening video the other day. It was a race for $100 but the guy holding the $100 gave rules for the race, he would say “Alright, take a step forward if your parents aren’t divorced.” He gave all kinds of examples like that and pretty soon you have a very unfair race and the whole crowd is spaced out and it just is very eye opening. I guess what I’m saying is sometimes you don’t think about the small things which are actually the big things in life and that’s what I will educate my students about. Just because you have it good doesn’t mean everyone else does.

What responsibility do you have to integrate social justice into your teaching content?

As a future teacher, I believe that it is huge responsibility that we should be happy to carry for our students. Our students need to learn  about the important of social justice in our society. Social justice is important for our students to  understands because of all the prejudice, racism, and injustices that the world has today. As we grow more as a society, these are becoming more visible in our everyday life. So in my classroom, I will teach my students that social justice is a very uneasy topic. In my classroom, I want to show my students that we  a co-learners. This is one of the biggest issues I see in classroom now a days. We are all are going to be learning till the day we die. In letting my students know that we are all learning, we are all also teaching each other. Each student is going to have different experiences that they are going to share. This will help the  students grow as learners and have them start to feel empowered. I think that one fact that I picked up that I want my students to know is that we are can learn from  each other experience to grow as better people. This will strengthen our values while also learning about the different diverse experiences and backgrounds that our peers have gone through and learned from. Being able to teach about different cultures will helps us learn about what makes us different.  Learning from their peer may make it more meaningful and easier to relate to. Social justice plays a huge role in multicultural education because you are more aware of others perception and culture. This will make it easy to understand them and treat everyone equally.

 

What responsibility do you have to integrate social justice into teaching content?

My responsibility, as a future teacher, is to allow all my students to understand their environments and interactions both in the classroom and out in society. As far as social justice, students must first be equipped with the knowledge needed in order to generate their own ideas and opinions of the events happening out in the world. I think in my classroom, this would look a lot like incorporating history and current events into my classroom discussions, lessons, and activities. This way, students will feel comfortable and safe sharing their individual ideas about social issues, which could possibly be the direct opposite of their peer sitting one seat over. As educators, it is incredibly important that we allow our students to create their own standpoints on societal issues and historical events. The best classrooms I have encountered are the ones where I am introduced to ideas that challenge my own beliefs and ideas. This is because I know that in the end I will come out with not only a stronger sense of myself, but of the people around me, what they stand for, and how we can work together peacefully. Social justice is the foundation for this type of end result, considering it is the basis needed for the world. Without social justice in our classrooms, the generations to come would not be able to as easily adjust to the ideas, beliefs, and opinions coming their way from around their environment, as they would if they had grown up being able to critically think from different perspectives and understand their own perspective on these things.

What responsibility do you have to integrate social justice into teaching content?

As a future teacher, it is very important and also my responsibility to integrate social justice in my teaching process.  In order for students to understand what social justice is, I, myself, need to model that for my students just like I would model how to use reading and problem solving strategies.  Social justice, to me, is the distribution of opportunity and privilege throughout a society.  In a perfect world, everyone should have equal opportunity to learn and to be successful in whatever they do.  If I do not model what equal opportunity is for my students in my classroom, it will be harder for them to understand the concepts and to fight for their human rights in the real world.  My responsibility is to show, and provide that to my students; a safe environment in which they are not held back for reasons having to do with their culture.  Things like gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, language, religion, and my own biases should not effect the opportunity my students have to succeed in my classroom and in the outside world.

My plan is to be an upper elementary teacher, and with that, it is important to make sure all students feel a sense of mattering.  I need to teach my students the basics of social justice and allow them to feel safe enough to where they can share their ideas, opinions, and experiences with the class without fear of rejection.  A good way to start this out is to do what my professor did in the current class I am taking.  She had us, first individually, write down three things we want from our classmates when having open discussion about culture and social justice topics. We then formed groups of about five to share what we all had and to challenge rules they felt as though they could not live by.  We then combined the expectations we all had in common and came together as a class to share what we came up with. If one person could not live by a rule, they spoke up and we had a conversation about it to find if we could keep in on our list, remove it from the list, or modify it.  This is something great that I would love to do in my own classroom.  This will give every student a sense of belonging and voice that matters to everyone; because it does.

There is nothing I would hate more than to have a student feel like they can’t speak up for what they believe in or even share their own experiences with the class.  It is my responsibility to make sure my students know the importance their perspective has on their own and that change is not possible without a voice.  The goal is to pull them to participate in class discussion, not to push them.  One thing I am still trying to learn is how to get everyone to participate.  I can do everything I can to prepare the students and make them feel calm and secure in their environment, but I need to figure out what I would do if there is still that one student who does not want to participate. One way could be to have them lead the discussion, have them come up with topics they want to talk about so they are more interested and likely to have had experiences that relate to said topics.  That is one idea, but I know it will not work for everyone so it is something I still need to work on.

As a future teacher, it is my responsibility to model social justice in my classroom, having the students be the center of their own learning, and realizing and expressing to myself and to my students that I, nor is anyone, perfect.  We all can learn from each other by sharing our opinions, ideas, and experiences, participate in active listening, and even giving responses and respectively challenging what others have to say if there is something one disagrees with.  This plan is rough, but I do know it is, again, my responsibility to integrate social justice in my teachings.