Thursday, February 02, 2006

Social Justice Article

I have been reading other people's blogs and I think too many of us are living in an idylic world where nothing bad happens to children and we never have to deal with the issues brought up by the article. However, sadly, as many of us who have done practicums at inner city schools such as Ron Brent or Carney Hill, or work with troubled youth know, bad things sometimes do happen to children. As teachers it is our responsibility to be prepared for this and to give voice to these children to discuss such things. Talking about it is how some children deal with these issues and we cannot dismiss them because they make us feel uncomfortable.

One more uplifting aspect I really liked about the article was its emphasis on how reading and literature can work to bring about positive social change. All throughout history the power of the written word as been illustrated in sayings such as "knowledge is power" or "the pen is mightier than the sword". Slaves and many peasants were forbidden from reading to keep them down because those in authority realized the power of reading and its ability to change the status quo.

If you believe the goal of schooling is to help children become responsible and contributing members of society then it is imperative that they learn about the meaning social justice. The article really gets across the message that social justice starts in your own community. Involving children in community-based projects such as visiting a retirement home, cleaning the school yard or playground, planting trees, or programs like Meals on Wheels are ways that we as teachers can show children that they can make a difference in their community and in their world.

2 Comments:

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Nicely said, Curtis. Social responsibility is a key outcome of the curriculum, but with the current emphasis on testing and accountability, it can be forgotten by some. However, its clear to me from your post, and the post of some others, that this is a deeply meaningful topic to you, and so unlikely to be forgotten!

Cathy

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Narinder said...

Curtis,
I like your analysis of this article! I actually have been in experiences in one of my practicums where young children were talking about bad things that were going on in the neighborhood (i.e: murders) and I couldn't just ignore it. It was during morning calendar time and they did want to know why people hurt each other. Honestly, I was scared at first to answer but then who am I to make the world appear to be something it isn't? We discussed it and it led nicely into the personal planning lesson we had planned for that day. So, again, we must take advantage of these teachable moments because when the learning is meaningful to the students, that is what is most important.

 

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