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Approaches to Social Justice

 

Source: Toronto District School Board. Equitable and Inclusive Schools. Toronto District School Board, 2010.  Copyright 2010 by Toronto District School Board. Copied with permission.

How to use this tool:

This tool provides key questions and strategies that activists can use when working with allies and adversaries of varying levels of support and opposition.

Social Justice as Charity

  • Initiating a charity drive in reaction to a particular event or crisis.
  • Little or no discussion of issues or underlying systemic issues contributing to the need for charity.

Role of Student:

  • Passive medium through which fundraising or collection happens.
  • Little or no understanding of who is being supported, why, or the context of the issue being addressed.

Role of Teacher:

  • Initiator and organizer of fundraising or collecting.

School’s Relationship to the Community:

  • Not engaged.
  • Only connected through the donation or fundraising

Learning About Social Justice

  • Adding a variety of content, concepts, themes, and perspectives to the curriculum without changing its basic structure.
  • Adding justice-based issues to the curriculum (e.g. reading newspaper reports on world events, acknowledging commemorative days).

Role of Student:

  • Passive recipient of information about others.

Role of Teacher:

  • Provider of all information; structures materials, resources, time allocation

School’s Relationship to the Community:

  • Some acquaintance with school communities and organizations as sources of information

Learning For Social Justice

  • Challenging and changing the structure of the curriculum to help students to view concepts, issues, events, and themes from multiple perspectives
  • Engaging in deliberation about real-life local and global issues, and fostering critique of existing power structures

Role of Student:

  • Active learner
  • Engages literacy and numeracy as tools for societal critique

Role of Teacher:

  • Embeds knowledge of issues and critique in functional literacy and numeracy
  • Facilitator of learning opportunities for students to explore multiple perspectives and the critique of existing power structures

School’s Relationship to the Community:

  • Some acquaintance with school communities as sources of information
  • Growing partnership

Learning As Social Justice

  • Allowing students to make decisions on important social issues and take actions to help address them
  • Basing action on knowledge of issues and a recognition of the role of power and privilege in perpetuating injustice
  • Includes goal of raising awareness and addressing causes of injustices, with overt attempts to redress them

Role of Student:

  • Active learner, as ally with others
  • Engages literacy and numeracy as tools for critique and agency

Role of Teacher:

  • Embeds knowledge of issues and agency in functional literacy and numeracy
  • Facilitator of learning opportunities for students to explore multiple perspectives and critique existing power structures
  • Fosters activism in order to address injustices locally and globally

School’s Relationship to the Community:

  • Engaged partnership – community is brought in, and students engage in the community.

 

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