#1 Social Studies Education -Does it include social justice?

Q: “How do you imagine teaching social studies classes?

I know how I don’t want to teach Social Studies: the way I was taught in classroom. I did not hate Social Studies, but it was all about information available at times and students were to memorize all of the information and facts (of how it was written), dates, places, … etc. for quizzes and tests. We had a few field trips and some group works, but my worldview did not expand beyond textbooks and what had been shared in the classroom. Transmission of knowledge was the main goal. The attitude was like must have knowledge first in order to think.

I want to give students genuine opportunities to think and relate themselves to the world surround them and beyond the classroom. As well, I want to foster students’ curiosity and eagerness to learn. I want to create a student-centered, collaborative, experiential and multicultural learning classroom. Definitely I will follow Constructivist views of learning.

What ideas and practices are central to your developing philosophy? Why?

My philosophy is always evolving as I live and learn each and everyday. I know that my families and childhood experiences are central to what I believed and valued ( and still do in some cases). However, those my beliefs and values had been overturned, or perhaps it’s better said to be shed new light on so many time as I started my journey of becoming an educator. I did not realize how hard but fascinating to think critically until I was challenged by instructors and professors here at U of R. It could be uncomfortable at times when I dig deep down to analyze social justice issues; but in the end, I have discovered myself – my beliefs and values, and how I see the world. So the practice of critical thinking and reflection is central to develop my philosophy. (And here is one I did in spring 2014. My Teaching Philosophy)

How do you define social justice in education? How will your social studies classroom reflect these values/beliefs?

It was really tough to define social justice in education myself. So I will quote from the book Social Studies for Social Justice by Rahima C Wade.

“First, we can teach about social justice, exploring the legacy of injustice and justice in our nation’s history and in the world. Second, we can teach for social justice, giving our students the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to live empowered lives themselves and to worked for the basic human rights of all people. ” (p.8)

I thought I can connect this teaching practice into my own classroom, especially for Treaty education. We must know the legacy of injustice our First Nations and Metie people faced and still do. And we must learn multiple perspectives, how to respect all and coexist in harmonious ways.


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