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Part B: Critical Personal Reflection

102083 Diversity, social justice and learning


Kiara Rose Calarco 18041907

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Why is it important to implement social justice perspectives in your teaching
practice? 

In most published literature on social justice issues, it is assumed that, the basis of 

teaching is further developing students learning and their understanding of life 

opportunities through referring to the inequities of school and society (Michelli, 

2005).  A controversial feature of teaching practices is the high demand for 

programs highlighting these social justice issues in curriculum. Ensuring that the 

implementation of these social justice perspectives are made is vital for teachers 

and their practices in the classroom. Students who have social justice perspectives 

implemented into their classroom content, can understand concepts and ideas better

than those who aren’t exposed to it. Students learn best when teacher’s practices 

focus on their students learning rather than exposing them to political ideologies 

and critics on the social justice issues (Cochran­Smith, Shakman, Jong, Terrell, 

Barnatt, & McQuillan, 2009). 

A study on students where social justice perspectives were implemented into the 

classroom showed that teachers focused on having a critical perspective based 

around student’s cultural resources and this was achieved through targeting all 

students equally (Cochran­Smith, et al., 2009). This further emphasized that having

a social justice based teaching practice shows vital purpose for teaching students in 

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a democratic community. The teacher is a role model in for their students which 

further leads to bigger efforts for social change in the classroom. Teachers should 

aim their practices around both educating and encouraging students with further 

commitment in democratic concepts and eliminating current inequalities in schools 

and society and this is achieved through providing educational opportunities for all 

students. 

As a future teacher, I believe that it is vital obtain and implement all necessary 

social justice practices into my classroom to further enhance my own knowledge as

well as applying it to lessons and content. Students need to be aware of these 

perspectives to show better cultural understanding and become more 

knowledgeable around these areas. 

What pedagogical theories would influence and enhance learning and teaching
and/or the student experience? 

Key critical pedagogy theories are important in influencing and further developing

learning, teaching and student experiences in the classroom. I believe that to

support students in the classroom, there needs to be a teacher understanding of their

student’s location and knowledge within the educational theories.

Critical pedagogy symbolises ideas of how one teachers what is being taught to

students and how one learns (Giroux, 1997). This critical pedagogy provides a way

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of thinking about the relationship between teaching in the classroom and the social

and measureable relative of the community and society as a whole. This theory

enhances learning and teaching as well as student experiences as it discovers how

schooling can be changed in ways that concentrate on the progression of a moral

plan for education as social alteration (McLaren, 2003). It encourages critical

thinking in the classroom as well as endorsing better practises that contain the

potential to change repressive institutions and social associations (Breunig, 2005).

This theory will aid in the development of learning and teaching as it gives students

a classroom experience full of knowledge and understanding.

Critical race theory is a framework based theory used to analyse the reality of

colour sociocultural and politically that further depicts the occurrence of social

structures of race (Wallace & Brand, 2012). This theory was also used to classify

whether it was evident that the influence of students’ racial identities had an impact

on teachers practices and views in the classroom. These beliefs and views are

challenged by a teacher’s critical awareness of social limitations amongst their

students which is seen to be a vital source of practice for teaching and learning.

Sociocultural awareness is an important teacher quality to enhance student

experiences as it manages practices and learning strategies in the changing

dynamics of a classroom presented by the teacher (Delgado, & Stefancic, 2004).

Being knowledgeable of racial inequalities is vital in the progression of

sociocultural awareness as it provides the basis for culturally responsive practices

by teachers in their classrooms and aids in student learning and improved

experiences.

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How does/will your teaching practice address issues of equity and diversity? 

The inequality in educational outcomes and opportunities amongst students of 

color, low­income, or English as a second language, is not due to a result in an 

unjust education system, but from an entire network of injustices from 

disadvantaged students and their limited access to opportunities in life and in 

school (Anyon, 2005). 

As a future teacher in the area of Personal Development, Health and Physical 

Education, I believe that it is important to address the issues of equity and diversity

through the framework of ideology in both theory and practical lessons. Using

ideology in the classroom means that, as a teacher, I must evaluate how my own

personal views on values and society, are then facilitated through common

knowledge expectations that are utilise to structure the environment of the

classroom (Tamas, 2004). This means that, as a future teacher, I intend on

questioning and assessing my way of thinking, as well as teaching practices. This is

to ensure they are suitable to my students and whether or not student learning and

teaching is delayed through assessing the typical cultural views and assumptions

(Mensah, 2013). Ideologies that teachers possess are important practices as they

have an impacting effect on how the classroom interacts and learns.

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Being culturally aware of diversity in the classroom is vital in insuring all students

are included and equal. Another approach as a teacher that can be taken on-board is

being a critically reflective teacher. This entails being aware of how to alter social

constructs and teaching practices to be more valuable in the classroom to assist

diverse students (Mensah, 2013). Being able to challenge those social and political

views in the classroom will help me as a teacher to address diverse students and to

ensure there is equity. I believe that through possessing these traits, I can create a

classroom where student’s wellbeing is met.

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Referencing

Anyon, J. (2005). Radical possibilities: Public policy, urban education, and a new

social movement. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Breunig, M. (2005). Turning Experiential Education and Critical Pedagogy Theory

into Praxis. Journal Of Experiential Education, 28(2), 106-122.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/105382590502800205

Cochran-Smith, M., Shakman, K., Jong, C., Terrell, D., Barnatt, J., & McQuillan, P.

(2009). Good and just teaching: The case for social justice in teacher education.

American Journal of Education, 115(3), 347-378.

Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2004). Critical race theory: An introduction. New

York: New York University Press

Giroux, H. (1997). Pedagogy and the politics of hope: Theory, culture, and

schooling. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Korthagen, F. (2010). Situated learning theory and the pedagogy of teacher

education: Towards an integrative view of teacher behavior and teacher learning.

Teaching And Teacher Education, 26(1), 98-106.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2009.05.001

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Mclaren, P. (2003). life in schools: an introduction to critical pedagogy in the

school foundations of social education (4th ed., pp. 106-122). Boston: Allyn and

Bacon.

Mensah, F. (2013). Theoretically and Practically Speaking, What is Needed in

Diversity and Equity in Science Teaching and Learning?. Theory Into Practice,

52(1), 66-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2013.743781

Michelli, N. (2005). The Politics of Teacher Education: Lessons from New York

City. Journal Of Teacher Education, 56(3), 235-241.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022487105275844

Tamas, P. (2004). The critical pedagogy reader. International Journal Of


Educational Development, 24(2), 224-225.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2003.11.004

Wallace, T., & Brand, B. (2012). Using critical race theory to analyze science

teachers culturally responsive practices. Cultural Studies Of Science Education,

7(2), 341-374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11422-012-9380-8