Throughout this course, we explored how diversity plays a role in education from different perspectives. From a policy standpoint, we examined how governing bodies worked to foster diversity in public schools. Through policies like Title IX, schools strived to become more equitable and accessible for people from different backgrounds.
While the powers that be have set policies to improve conditions, we learned how societal changes needed to occur before the impact was felt. When the cultures of schools remain the same, the policy changes do not work. When public entities are motivated to promote diversity in their institutions and participants recognize the benefits of diversity, genuine change occurs.
We also learned how cultural background and identity contingencies affect people’s education. Challenges like stereotype threat can hinder student performance before they even enter the classroom. Most importantly, we learned ways to recognize the challenges of oppression and privilege to better meet the needs of all students.
There were many aspects about EDUC 577 that have impacted the way I teach. Recognizing how cultural background affects a students perception of school has helped me better differentiate my lesson plans to meet the needs of my students. Recognizing my own identity contingencies has helped me acknowledge that my experience in society may be very different than that of my students and coworkers. Identifying how privilege and oppression play a role in the school system has changed the way I view my classroom. I look forward to applying the principles we learned throughout this semester in my everyday life to ensure that my students get the education they all deserve.
- Do you have any new insights after the class experience concerning social justice?
Yes, definitely! After reading the Johnson text and everyone’s blog posts and lesson plans, my views on diversity have heightened. I was aware of prejudice before I started this class, of course, but all of the readings and assignments helped me learn how to address this in my classroom. I now understand a lot more about what I can to help students become social justice advocates, which I really appreciate. Additionally, I learned quite a bit about specific groups of targeted people and how we can help them.
- Do you have any new concerns about social justice?
I am concerned about our current administration, and the regression we have faced during these last few years. I am even more concerned about the students whose parents teach them false and hateful information about people who are different from them. Fortunately, though, I am hopeful because I see so many educators in our class and the other classes I am in who are so determined to end prejudice and achieve social justice for everyone. I am also hopeful because when I am working in schools, I see hundreds of students who inspire me and make me feel proud of their generation. I think they can change our world if they can just avoid the negative influence of others, which is tough at that age.
- What is your philosophy of integrating social justice in the classroom?
I feel that all students deserve to have a voice and someone to listen to them. I have always felt strongly about this, because there are some teachers who think that school is just a place for them to talk about their content while students take notes. I hope to encourage students to speak up for what they believe in, as long as it is in a respectful manner. This paves the way for social justice, because students can share their opinions and stories and change the minds of others. I also hope to teach students to use their voices outside the classroom, to speak up at home, and participate in events that promote social justice. If in my classroom, each student feels welcomed, safe, and comfortable speaking up (not necessarily by talking, but also in writing and on the internet), I will feel successful as a teacher.