Tag Archives: social justice

The Real Challenge of the Teaching Journey

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Our time in the classroom can be transformative in profound ways. For some, this issue becomes more than dealing with content and students in an ethical way. It expands into a broader realm, that of social justice, as described by Sonia Nieto:

Teachers enter the profession for any number of reasons, but neither fame nor money nor the promise of lavish working conditions is at the top of that list. Instead . . . for many of them, social justice figures prominently among the motivating factors underlying their choice to teach. The urge to live a life of service that entails a commitment to the ideals of democracy, fair play, and equality is strong among many of those who begin teaching. (2003, 91)

Nieto continues, though, to remind us that “teachers are not miracle workers. Nor are they social workers or missionaries.” Instead, “teachers need to understand their roles as involving more than simply attending to the minds of students; it also entails nurturing their hearts and souls . . . to do this without taking on the world of injustice is tricky business . . . an equilibrium that is difficult at best” (105).

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PLC Series: November Round Up

Welcome to the November Round Up for the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we shared content and conversations to open critical discussions about sensitive topics to hopefully bend our world toward social justice.​ Scroll through to see what you might have missed this month or simply want to read again!

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PLC Series: Justice for All?

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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“If we cannot always achieve justice in the classroom or school, perhaps we can at least make our students aware of, and give them practice in, its multifaceted nature and challenges so they can more honestly grapple with it now and in the future as citizens of an inspiring, exasperating, capitalistic, democratic republic.”                                                                                                                               —Greg Jouriles

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How do we break down the abstract facets of justice so students can learn, question, and explore dilemmas? In this Heinemann Digital Library article by social sciences educator Greg Jouriles, we learn about a beneficial framework that is both civic and pedagogical, presenting opportunities to help students develop skills of citizenship. 

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PLC Series: It All Begins With Acquaintance

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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What is the narrative of your classroom? 


Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Sara Ahmed, co-authors of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry (2015) talk about the cycle of building community among classmates that starts with acquaintance, moves toward friendliness, and leads to supportive classroom behavior.

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PLC Series: Delicate Moments

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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“Initially, the good intentions of “the well-meaning white person” permeated my teaching (Wolf, 1995). But it was not until I entered a classroom as an educational researcher that I was forced to reassess my own political and educational impulses.” – Amy Bauman                                                                                        

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With the best intentions of helping students build a sense of self in a complex world, long-time educator Amy Bauman, discovered that she had fallen into her own “fable” of being a part of a solution. In her vulnerable and reflective Heinemann Digital Library article, available for download below, she tells her story of awakened parenting moments, failed attempts at conversations with kids, and the transformation in her thinking from her work with eighth graders in the South.

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PLC Series: Listening as a Teaching Move

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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“As educators, we are on the front lines the morning after a tragedy shakes the world. It ripples into our classrooms from homes, the hallways, and handheld devices."     -Sara Ahmed                                                                                         

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Far too often, educators walk through school doors with not only the weight of recent tragedy but the pressure of decision making regarding class conversations around the event. What do we say? How should we say it? What will the kids say?

Perhaps, suggests Sara Ahmed, we enter with a different plan. Listening.

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