As students explore issues like the Trayvon Martin case or witness racism in their own lives, they need to be able to bring up these issues in class discussions.
They also need to be able to recognize ways racism masquerades as normal treatment and question this treatment.
To determine if texts are privileging certain narratives, teachers need to analyze whether they recount an event — the Civil War, for example — from multiple points of view or favor the dominant culture.
Students need to be able to recognize real-world problems and critically engage with these issues.
Racism in the United States has been the focus in several high-profile incidents of violence against people of color.
Once students are able to recognize and discuss social injustice, teachers can help them act upon the issues they see.
Teachers can use service learning projects to connect their classroom to the surrounding community.
Educators also may need to call upon colleagues or community members from specific backgrounds in order to better understand their cultures.
Once teachers are able to foster a learning environment that enables thoughtful discussions with a variety of opinions and perspectives, they can facilitate conversations about real-world issues that affect students’ everyday lives.Productive conversations can be created by teaching students to share their ideas and respond to the ideas of others in a way that allows for disagreement but still values the student’s perspective.Teachers can model questions and answers that illustrate ways to thoughtful conversation rather than making students feel bad or devalued by their classmates.Historically, classrooms have been the stage for social change, providing a venue to promote and accelerate new ideas.In addition to academic instruction, one of a classroom teacher’s most important roles is to help students develop the critical thinking, collaboration, and self-reflection skills necessary to foster a better society.Social justice doesn’t manifest in a singular fashion, nor is it achieved through a specific means of instruction.