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Helen Asokan

Diversity, Social Justice and Learning

Assignment 2, Part B- Personal Reflection

The educational standards and outcomes have had a significant change as diversity begins to

deepen in our society. As a teacher, incorporating social justice within my practice is about

recognising diversity and structuring in, equity. Reacting to diversity in an equitable manner

has become an increasingly fundamental practice for teachers today. Throughout the unit, I

have learned the importance of the implementation of social justice in my teaching practice.

Addressing equity and diversity were the top priority within the pedagogical theories that I

have learnt so far. The question remains, however, as to how I will incorporate these aspects

in my future teaching practice to enhance a positive teaching and learning environment.

In today’s society, we, as teachers are met with one of the biggest challenges; the question of

how schools can be made successful and equitable for all learners in such diverse classrooms

has been raised several times (Kaur, 2012). We are faced with the challenge of managing the

classes by implementing social justice perspectives within our teaching practice. Within these

situations, there are financial discrepancies among the communities, persistent social

shortcomings among the Aboriginal community and constant fanaticism towards religious

practices (Ferfolja, Jones- Diaz & Ullman, 2015). These realities are reflected back on me,

where I will have a class with students from all backgrounds and who are continuously

looked down upon. I have learnt that I have a certain responsibility to uphold equality, not

only within my classroom but also be a role model at my school. On top of all this, the

syllabus and curriculum must be taught as well. Incorporating curriculum and good

pedagogical practice to accommodate the many learning abilities of students is highly vital to

promote a quality learning environment, thus enhancing learning within my classroom.

Helen Asokan

As a pre-service teacher, I found it difficult to connect the theories I have learned and apply it

in my practice, albeit, I have not started my professional practice yet. Within the unit, I have

learnt that the sociological theories actually have a powerful impact on the way that we think

about certain situations. The incorporation of these theories has the potential to change the

perspectives of the teacher for the benefit of their practice. One of the main theorists that I

think will greatly influence my practice is Pierre Bourdieu. His theory incorporates three

main concepts; Capital which relates to human forms; Habitus encompassing everyday

practices and Field which looks at relationships and social and cultural situations. Bourdieu’s

main concern was focused on the inequality with the educational discourses and therefore

allowed educators to comprehend their position to promote and encourage equitable

prospects for teaching and learning (Ferfolja et al., 2015). Even though there are many power

relationships that coincide in the concept of field, he argues that the one who creates the field

will hold the complete authority of that field. I realise that what I create and incorporate in

my classroom will impact my practice as a good teacher. I should consider my classroom as

the field where I will hold the power to promote a positive teaching and learning

environment. I ultimately hold the position to make decisions regarding my practice as a

teacher in order to make decisions that uphold the importance of incorporating social justice

incongruities in my classroom.

Another theory that I believe will enhance my teaching is the Critical Race Theory. In

education, the notion of race and racism are avoided. Critical Race Theory has the

perspective to outline and reveal the problems within the educational institution (Shay, 2015).

The Critical Race Theory is particularly important in Australian schooling where there are

constant disadvantages for the Aboriginal students. As I will be teaching in Australia, I

Helen Asokan
should be aware of the issues faced by the Indigenous students. Equality, in education, means

that all students receive the same opportunity for their success at school and or life (Lynch

and Baker, 2005). Just because a group of students belong to a race, it shouldn’t mean that

they are excluded from certain class activities. How I integrate the syllabus and also make

sure the activities cater for all types students will determine my purpose and drive as a future


My teaching practice will address the issue of equity and diversity by providing students with

all the necessary resources to learn to their full potential. I should be able to create a learning

environment that promotes critical thinking and high expectations from the students. This

will allow for interaction among the students where many perceptions are shared, thus

slowing students to comprehend each other and their personalities. This creates a more

inclusive teaching and learning environment, which is what I hope to achieve in my future

teaching practice. The notion of critical pedagogy challenges the power relationship between

the teacher and student, it is more so about bringing an equitable world for the minorities of

the community. Teachers who question the norm around contentious issues are often

scrutinised by parents and even colleagues as they take risks in trying to bring about a more

unbiased community within the classroom (Ferfolja et al., 2015).

Making that connection between theory and practice will allow me to create responsive

pedagogical practices. When I started the unit, I realised that I had a lack of awareness of

such diversity and social justice issues. Throughout the unit and the assessments that I have

since completed, I have learnt the value of recognition and respect. Simply put, when I

recognise my students as human beings instead of trying to segregate them into a race, a

cultural group, gender or religion, I will be able to smile and say, “Good Morning Class”.
Helen Asokan

Kaur, B. (2012). Equity and Social Justice in teaching and teacher education, Teaching and

Teacher Education, 28(1), pp. 485-492. Doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2012.01.012.

Ferfolja, T., Jones- Diaz, C., Ullman, J. (2015) Understanding sociological theory for

educational practices. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

Lynch, K. & Baker, J. (2005). Equality in Education: An Equality of Condition Perspective,

Theory and Research in Education, 3(2), pp 131-164.

Shay, M. (2015). The perceptions that shape us: strengthening Indigenous young people’s

cultural identity in flexi school settings. In Ferfolja, T., Jones- Diaz, C., Ullman, J. (Ed.),

Understanding sociological theory for educational practices (pp 93-105). Melbourne,

Australia: Cambridge University Press.