Teaching for social justice

Teaching for social justice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Teaching for Social Justice" is the name of a controversial educational philosophy that is currently popular within teaching-credential programs. Proponents claim that the "Teaching for Social Justice" movement promotes educational and socio-economic equity for all learners in all educational settings, while critics frequently cite the lack of solid evidence to support these laudatory claims and see "Teaching for Social Justice" as a highly politicized teacher-education fad of dubious value.[1][2]



[edit] About

Herbert Kohl argues that teachers may often teach against their conscience, do a sloppy job of teaching, limit their methodology, and focus too much on being a good teacher without being a good citizen. Overcoming these prospects is the crux of what he and many other educators call "teaching for social justice".[3]

Other popular educators who have explored the practice of teaching for social justice include John Dewey, who may have been the first advocate for teaching for social justice[citation needed] when he developed the first theories about technical education and student engagement in the classroom in Democracy and Education.

Following him were George Counts, who focused on a democratically-inclusive, socialistic educational model, while Charles Beard and Myles Horton both provided more individualistic lenses which emphasized teaching for social justice. A variety of social and political theories and backgrounds inform the practice of teaching for social justice. Starting as early as the work of W. E. B. Du Bois in the early 1900s, social activists and educators have called for the realignment of educative practices towards a conscious, deliberative practice of engaging society in fostering justice for all.

After the publication of Pedagogy of the Oppressed in 1971, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire became closely associated with teaching for social justice. Freire expounded the belief that teaching is a political act that is never neutral. Over the course of dozens of books, Freire proposed that educators focus on creating equity and changing systems of oppression within public schools and society.[4]

Recently teaching for social justice has been built on ethnographic and discourse research on the complex work of educators, including works by bell hooks, who pioneered a culturally-relevant, critical classroom theory strongly informing teaching for social justice. Ira Shor, Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, Joe L. Kincheloe, and Stanley Aronowitz have each built upon the contributions of Freire to develop uniquely American critical examinations of culture and society. Michael Apple is remarkable for his democracy-focused project which reinforces the tenets of teaching for social justice. Jonathan Kozol, Alfie Kohn, Susan Searls Giroux, Khen Lampert and Lisa Delpit are among the growing body of modern educational theorists who have also contributed greatly to this practice.

Attention to social justice issues incorporates a broad range of sociological dimensions in teaching, and education more generally, including attention to fairness and equity with regard to gender, race, class, disability, sexual orientation, etc.[citation needed]

A number of subject specific fields of practice and enquiry in education, including science education and mathematics education have sub-communities of teachers and scholars working on social justice issues. For example the 2007 special issue no. 20 of Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal is devoted to social justice issues in mathematics education.[citation needed]

[edit] Issues

There are several main issues in teaching for social justice.

[edit] Peer relationships

Peer relationships among learners are largely determinant of the outcomes of schools.[5][6] Methods including cooperative group work[7][8], and diverse group interactions.[9]

[edit] Teacher relationships

The relationships teachers have with students also affect teaching for social justice. In this sense, parent/teacher relationships are central[10], as are access to information and resources for all students[10], understanding the role of youth/adult partnerships in the classroom[11], and teachers actually learning about students.[12] It is also important for students to understand equity issues in their classrooms.[13]

[edit] Classrooms

The number of specific classroom issues that affect teaching for social justice are almost countless.[14] Understanding the effects of teachers on student learning is vital[10], and a teacher cannot teach under the assumption that “equal means the same.” Students come from numerous cultures, languages, lifestyles and values and a monocultural framework will not suit all student needs.[10]

Additionally, teachers need to be critically conscious[15] and offer students well-planned units and lessons that develop knowledge of a wide range of groups.[16]Curriculum building on acknowledgment rather than neglect the experiences of students.[10] Educators can also match students’ cultures to the curriculum and instructional practices[17]

[edit] Relevant organizations

Many universities and colleges have programs focused on teaching for social justice, including the University of Regina, The Evergreen State College, State University of New York at Oswego, Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington. A number of nonprofit organizations also support the practice in schools, including Mosaic, the Institute for Community Leadership and the Freechild Project.

[edit] Criticism

Sudbury model of democratic education schools maintain that values, social justice included, must be learned through experience[18][19][20][21] as Aristotle said: "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."[22] They adduce that for this purpose schools must encourage ethical behavior and personal responsibility. In order to achieve these goals schools must allow students the three great freedoms—freedom of choice, freedom of action and freedom to bear the results of action—that constitute personal responsibility.[23]

In addition, critics have pointed out that the political and ideological priorities of the Teaching for Social Justice movement have little or nothing to do with the actual problems that struggling students face.[24]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Russo, P. (1994) What does it mean to teach for social justice? SUNY Oswego. Retrieved 5/20/07.
  2. ^ Sol Stern "Pedagogy of the Oppressor" City Journal, Spring 2009
  3. ^ Kohl, H. Teaching for Social Justice. Rethinking Schools. Volume 15, No. 2 - Winter 2000/01. Retrieved 5/20/07.
  4. ^ Freire, P. (1971) Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
  5. ^ Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
  6. ^ Boykin, A.W., Tyler, K.m., & Miller, O. (2005). In search of cultural themes and their expressions in the dynamics of classroom life. Urban Education, 40(5), 521-547.
  7. ^ Cohen, E.G. 1994. Designing groupwork. New York: Teachers College Press.
  8. ^ Costantino, M. (1999). Reading and Second Language Learners. Olympia, WA: The Evergreen Center for Education Improvement.
  9. ^ Johnson, A. (2001). Privilege, power and difference. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  10. ^ a b c d e Nieto, S.
  11. ^ Lewis,A.(2004) Race in the school yard. Rutgers University Press.
  12. ^ Nieto, Sonia (2004). Affirming Diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education. 4th ed. Pearson Education, Inc.
  13. ^ Lewis,A.
  14. ^ Ayers, W., Hunt, J.A., and Quinn, T. (1998)Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader. New Press.
  15. ^ The Evergreen State College Student Teaching Assessment Rubric. Retrieved February 27, 2007
  16. ^ Vaughn,S., Bos, C.S., & Schumm, J.S.(2007) Teaching Students, who are exceptional diverse, and at risk, in the general education classroom. Pearson Education.
  17. ^ Vaughn,S., Bos, C.S., & Schumm, J.S.(2007) Teaching Students, who are exceptional diverse, and at risk, in the general education classroom. Pearson Education.
  18. ^ Greenberg, D. (1992), Education in America - A View from Sudbury Valley, "'Ethics' is a Course Taught By Life Experience." Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  19. ^ Greenberg, D. (1987), The Sudbury Valley School Experience, "Teaching Justice Through Experience." Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  20. ^ Greenberg, D. (1992), Education in America - A View from Sudbury Valley, "Democracy Must be Experienced to be Learned." Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  21. ^ Greenberg, D. (1987) Chapter 35, "With Liberty and Justice for All," Free at Last — The Sudbury Valley School. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  22. ^ Bynum, W.F. and Porter, R. (eds) (2005) Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations. Oxford University Press. 21:9.
  23. ^ Greenberg, D. (1987) The Sudbury Valley School Experience "Back to Basics." Retrieved October 27, 2008. 10/27/08.
  24. ^ Sol Stern "Pedagogy of the Oppressor," City Journal, Spring 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009.

[edit] Bibliography

  • Bigelow, B., & Peterson, B. (Eds.). (1998). Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools Ltd.
  • Bigelow, B., Christensen, L., Karp, S., Miner, B., & Peterson, B. (Eds.). (1994). Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice. (Vol. 1). Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools Ltd.
  • Garry, P., (2006) Cultural whiplash: The Unforeseen Consequences of America's Crusade against Racial Discrimmination. Nashville: Cumberland House.
  • Grant, C.A., & Sleeter, C.E. (2006). Turning on Learning: Five Approaches for Multicultural Teaching Plans for Race, Class, Gender, and Disability (4th ed.). Indianapolis: Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley.
  • Haberman, M. (1995). STAR Teachers of Children in Poverty. Indianapolis: Kappa Delta Pi.
  • Ladson-Billings, G. (1997). The Dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lampert, k. (2003). Compassionate Education: Erolegomena for Radical Schooling MD USA, Romman&Littlefield.

Faith (for Content):