THE SOCIAL ACTION AUTOBIOGRAPHY
This strategy helps all kids recognize the ways that they’ve acted for the good of others. "Begin by helping them recall a time when they helped someone or something, and changed a situation for the better…Even kindergarteners can do this reflective activity by drawing a picture or a series of pictures…For older students, ask them to think about a problem that involved other people, the community, the environment or animals, and what they did to help” (Schimdt, L., 20087, p. 221).
I thought this was a great strategy because it aligns with my history teaching philosophy. I want to teach history through a social justice approach, interdisciplinary, while also integrating the arts. This strategy stood out to be me because it integrates all of these. The Social Action Autobiography helps students see themselves as activists and can be easily adapted to all grade levels. It is an explicit example to help students understand social action. I appreciated this example because I personally understand concepts more thoroughly through examples. I feel that students might not understand ‘social action’ as a term if they were taught it just by the definition, so this is a great way to learn by showing them what it is.
This is a great space to write long text about your company and your services. You can use this space to go into a little more detail about your company. Talk about your team and what services you provide. Tell your visitors the story of how you came up with the idea for your business and what makes you different from your competitors.
FACILITATING CHANGE THROUGH ACTION RESEARCH
Throughout the semester we have seen many different teaching strategies that would benefit students thinking and learning. The strategy that stuck with me is facilitating change. The idea of challenging to students make change in the world can help their future. In her book, Social Studies, Literacy, and Social Justice in the Common Core Classroom written by Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, it states, “By facilitating change in the classroom, we empower our students to collaborate, organize, and take action and to reaffirm their role in shaping the world today.” (pg. 118) By making students talk about events that have happened and are still happening in the world they can come up with ideas on how to facilitate change. Having students do research and coming up with their own plan of action and having them go into the community to make their plan happen. This is encouraging and motivating for students. Lastly, for students to see their plan in action will empower them to continue making change in the world.
In teaching social justice, it is important for students to comprehend various aspects of what social justice is and why there is a need for it. When teaching students about diversity and equity, it is important to teach from a critical multiculturalist perspective. In Introduction: Critical Multiculturalism: Theory and Praxis, Stephen May and Christine Sleeter recommend this approach over multicultural education because this teaching strategy goes beyond “holiday celebrations and lessons on self-esteem” (May, Sleeter, 2010, p. 7). What this teaching strategy looks like is gaining an understanding of the culture, heritage, and history of the groups studied, this includes the groups’ triumphs and lows. Essentially, what this does is it allows students to gain a better comprehension of social justice, which will promote agents of change, as opposed to bystanders.
This strategy is a great way to build empathy with your students. Letter writing can consist of asking students to
write a letter from a different perspective of different individuals. For example, having students write a letter from the perspective of Muslim Americans from the time period of 9/11. It can also consist of asking students to write a letter to a congressional member/authority figure. Both forms of letter writing utilize a social justice approach to teaching students by having them gain perspective or by taking direct action.
(Argarwal-Rangnath, 2013, p. 125-127): This teaching strategy is used to represent a societal event that has or is occurring. A simulation can be done in many ways; however, one exemplary simulation was found in Argarwal-Rangnath's book:
Jen simulated unequal pay in her classroom by having her students draw pictures on paper. Each paper has a 1, 2, or 3 on it. When the students are done, papers with a 1 get 20 pretzels, papers with a 2 get 8 pretzels, and papers with a 3 get a crumb. However, each student worked equally hard. This gives the students a way to relate to the unfair treatment of labor workers in sweatshops.
Simulations are a great way to reenact an important concept. It allows for dialogue surrounding the issue and lets students find meaning and perspective in a certain topic.
LINKING THE PAST TO THE PRESENT
The importance for students to be taught about history in a social justice perspective, but that one of the key strategies to fully immerse students in this approach is to have them connect past events, to issues that are apparent in our current society, or in their personal lives (if it is applicable). One quote that synthesizes this concept well is, “in connecting the past and the present, we are working intentionally to help students see how our society has continuously worked to benefit some and hurt others.” Another quote in particular goes along with this same message in the chapter; “linking the past to the present creates a particular path for students to see themselves in history and their possibility as agents for change.” As an educator, instilling in students to be motivated to create any type of change in their community/society should be a main priority, and in my opinion, a teacher who fails to inspire their students is not a successful one.
A social justice strategy that I came across from my reflections that I feel will be very relevant to my future teachings of history is the passage from chapter four of our text book, Preparing to Teach Social Studies for Social Justice, "...it is of equal importance that they continually interrogate the racist, classist, and sexist assumptions likely present in their course." When I re-read this quote I thought of the text books that I would be using in the classroom. Depending on the schools resources, the books might be very out-of-date meaning there is going to be biases and prejudices weaved into the text. Although I will need to break through these boundaries in order to expose the facts, these obscure points of view are just another opportunity to incorporate social justice studies into the curriculum for it shows the history and the blatant imbalance of power in regards to who has a voice and who doesn't as well as who listens to these voices. Often times those who write history come from the "winning" side of events, but this concept goes beyond just wars, colonization, and various battles; typically the individuals writing in general are privileged ones. This fact needs to be heavily weighed when I assign readings or select textbooks. Who is writing can be just as important as what they are saying and I need to be make sure that I am always well aware of where my sources come from and what unconscious biases they portray.
TEACHERS AS FACILITATORS: EVERYONE IS A TEACHER, EVERYONE IS A STUDENT
A recurring theme that was prominent throughout my readings is the belief that students and teachers should share equal roles within the classroom setting. Everyone is a student, and everyone is a teacher. Agarwal-Rangnath (2016) explains, “…the need to create multiple spaces and opportunities for dialogue in their classroom: structured and unstructured, teacher-led and student-led. They felt it important to support students in the development of their own voice, and to learn how to listen with an open mind and heart to voices that were not their own”( p. 71). When this occurs an open dialogue is created, similar to what Paulo Freire believed would result from using critical pedagogy. Listening with an open mind and heart allows for an inclusive environment to form from the commonalities of individuals. We can learn a lot from each other, but we just need to listen.
CRITICAL LISTENING GUIDE
This article talks about the best ways to get students to engage in critical listening. It gives a step by step guide of different ways that the educator can be inclusive to all types of learners including English language learners. It uses different types of resources including audio and visual in order to meet the needs of each student. It then teaches you how to have the students critically analyze the text based upon how they understood it after hearing it and seeing it. This resource can be used as a social justice lesson because it gives students the option to express their opinions and does not limit them to a standard text book alone.
BY: Olivia Laven