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A Social Justice Agenda in Teacher Education: Are We Ready or Not?. Jorge P. Osterling Center for Language and Culture College of Education and Human Development 1 November 2004. Shifting in Emphasis Social Advocacy that focuses on Social Justice.

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a social justice agenda in teacher education are we ready or not

A Social Justice Agenda in Teacher Education:Are We Ready or Not?

Jorge P. OsterlingCenter for Language and CultureCollege of Education and Human Development

1 November 2004

shifting in emphasis social advocacy that focuses on social justice
Shifting in EmphasisSocial Advocacy that focuses on Social Justice
  • By becoming outspoken in Social Justice advocacy, our credibility as professionals and researchers will be challenged.
  • To seek social justice means that we must take some risks.
  • In some cases, our teacher education and/or research job may be jeopardized.
  • Those who often uphold the status quo will label us as “biased” or “political”.
  • Prilleltensky, I., & Nelson, G. (1997). Community psychology: Reclaiming social justice. In D. Fox & I. Prilleltensky (Eds.), Critical psychology: An introduction (pp. 166-185). London: Sage. p. 183)
social action advocacy
Social Action & Advocacy
  • Goal: attainment of justice for exploited, dominated, and marginalized people and communities
  • Social action/ advocacy is not an end in itself.
  • Commitment to a social justice agenda requires fundamental changes to the way we currently think about, define, and carry out our work as educators.
  • Advocating social change is a highly political and controversial position in most professions.
  • Education as the process of freedom (Freire, 1990; hooks, 1994).
gmus challenge prepare teachers who
GMUs ChallengePrepare Teachers Who
  • Can provide:
    • Equal access to all students so that all 53+ million students will have a fair opportunity to succeed in school and in life.
  • Can work:
    • Within the context of the increasing diversity among students—inner-city, urban, suburban, rural;
    • Given the ongoing emphasis on accountability through testing.
    • Despite the pernicious disparities in achievement and resources;
  • Can help students learn about:
    • The promise of the American Dream.
    • The political forces (today and in the past) that seek to minimize and restrict that promise in the name of economic efficiency and social control.
social justice begins when the socially dormant conscience awakens
Social Justice BeginsWhen the Socially Dormant Conscience Awakens.
  • The path to social justice begins with gaining passion for the plight of non-privileged, underperforming students.
  • We need to ask ourselves:
    • Who tends to be privileged?
    • What does it mean to be privileged in this way?
    • Who tends to be marginalized?
    • What does it mean to be marginalized in this way?
    • Ways we tend to deny that privilege is occurring?
    • What happens in the classroom?
    • How can we take action in the classroom to interrupt these cycles of oppression?

Richard A. McCormick, S.J. (1999). The Social Responsibility of the Christian. Blueprint for Social Justice LII(11), 1.]

gmu faculty helping develop cultural capital pierre bourdieu francis fukuyama
GMU Faculty: Helping Develop Cultural Capital(Pierre Bourdieu, Francis Fukuyama}
  • Students with required cultural capital are privileged and have more sociocultural capital (power and privilege) compared to people from less-privileged groups.
  • Therefore educators need to:
    • Learn the alternative ways in which different groups develop their cultural capital resources to achieve and succeed in educational systems
    • Take action in the classroom to interrupt/ end the cycles of oppression by helping develop cultural capital resources.
    • [Bourdieu and Passeron (1977) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage.]
teaching for social justice
Teaching for Social Justice
  • Organize content around social issues, experiences, and perspectives (race, class, gender, disability, and difference).
  • Use students’ life experiences as starting point.
  • Involve students actively.
  • Build on students’ learning styles, adapt to students’ skill levels.
  • Promote cooperative learning.
a teacher with a social justice perspective
A Teacher with A Social Justice Perspective
  • Asks critical questions about how conventional schooling came to be and who benefits from the status quo:
    • Considers the values & politics that pervade education, as well as the technical matters of teaching and learning
    • Emphasizes issues of equity & social justice such as the effects of poverty, race, class, gender, disability, and difference.
  • Pays attention to inequalities & seeks alternatives.
cehd faculty our challenge
CEHD FacultyOur Challenge
  • Provide all students and staff members with:
    • Opportunities and supports (Vygotsky’s scaffolding) to acquire and develop cultural capital on the basis of their personal qualifications and reach their ZPD.
    • Programs, services, and activities that will build the communication, leadership skills, and cultural awareness that each of us needs to succeed in a multicultural society