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All students deserve to be treated equally and fairly regardless of colour or race.

This

reflection will focus on the importance of implementing social justice perspectives into

teaching and how it can influence the way a class can be conducted. The reflection will also

focus on the pedagogical theories Critical Pedagogy and the Critical Race Theory and how it

can influence my teaching experience. Through this research I will also explain how I can

address the issues of equity and diversity experienced in the teaching profession.

It is important to implement social justice perspectives into my teaching practice as it will

allow me to focus on how to make the classroom a safe place to learn. I believe that all

students should be treated equally, how you treat a student should not be based on their socio-

economic status, or their colour or their cultural background. It is crucial to acknowledge how

certain groups of students, have accumulated negative pressure from the schooling system as

they have been targeted due to their race/ethnicity. The article “Inclusive Leadership and

Social Justice for Schools” by James Ryan highlights that studies show that students that

come from a non-Anglo/European heritage or White have decreasing grades, leading them to

leave their education.

Knowing how and when to implement content that is inclusive to them within my teaching

practices, creates an environment that betters their learning. Not integrating content that

addresses certain demographics of students can “perpetuate a cycle of oppression” (Frattura

& Capper 2007). Creating school structures that discourses students’ needs develops a “sense

of belonging” (Frattura & Capper 2007) thus increasing their participation within the

classroom. This can easily be seen through my key learning area Personal Development and

Physical Education (PDHPE), where practical lessons can be very judgemental. For example;

categorising students by their gender to decide what sport they can play is a social injustice in

itself. A great stress has been placed on gender equality, gender equality means that all access

to resources regardless of gender, should be equal.


With regard to the Critical Pedagogy Theory, it is important to implement this theory into my

teaching practice as it focuses on the engagement of students in class not just to do their work

and answer questions but in turn, ask questions. It focuses on social justice in a school setting

to ensure students are receiving the best possible education and schooling experience. Its aim

is to focus on constructing a classroom setting without the use of judgement on students and

focuses on teaching all the students fairly (Darder, Baltodano, & Torres 2003).

The Critical Race theory focuses on the struggle between what is right and what is wrong.

The power of the “white” culture is dominant in today’s society as it has been over the years

as well. The use of this theory would be beneficial as I will be able to explain to my students

that we are all equal and deserve equal access in the classroom. I will also use this theory to

help the students understand that the law is subsequently in charge of these assumptions that

“white” people are superior to the rest. As it focuses on the removal of racial oppression, the

critical race theory would be of great importance in the classroom as it will allow me to

understand my students better and they will be able to trust me in the classroom.

My teaching practice will address the issue of equity and diversity as it has a magnificent

emphasis on the human body but more importantly on health. During practical lessons

students may feel uncomfortable in certain situations. For example, if the students were

playing a “male” sport such as rugby, the girls may feel intimidated and may not want to

participate. As the teacher I will alter the game by adding that the students have the option to

either “tackle” the opposing student or “tag” them. In saying so, male students may also feel

as they are obliged to perform in this activity, so the option is open to them as well, thus

illustrating the use of both equity and diversity through this practice. This can also be

expressed by the female students who would rather tackle then tag which also gives them the

option providing diversity and equity.


Understanding the diverse range of students within my classroom and their own social justice

issues puts me as a teacher at an advantage when approaching certain strategies that will

create an inclusive environment for them to participate. Social justice issues mentioned such

as ‘white’ culture may play a factor in the lack of participation of students from this group, in

certain sports such as basketball which can be culturally and socially deemed as a ‘black’

dominated sport. As a teacher, taking a twist on certain games to include all cultures in every

game, I may also in cooperate some theory to give students a better understanding and

background knowledge that sport cannot be barricaded by social perspective, to only be

played or participate by one culture.

Through this reflection, it has become evident that in order to become a great teacher you

must first understand social justice perspectives and the need for pedagogical theories. It is

crucial to understand the necessary methods and approaches to these pedagogical theories and

social justice issues within the class. Knowing the issues that students are facing outside of

the class could potentially influence the way they behave within a class, thus the way content

and how it is being taught holds great importance. Recognising the influence of strategies that

approach equity and diversity within a classroom holds great significance in developing a

healthy environment for students.


References
Darder, A., Baltodano, M., & Torres, R. D. (Eds.). (2003). The critical pedagogy reader.
Psychology Press.
Frattura, E. M., & Capper, C. A. (2007). Leading for social justice: Transforming schools for
all learners. Corwin Press.
Ryan, J. (2010). Promoting social justice in schools: Principals’ political
strategies. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 13(4), 357-376.