Social Justice, Professional Experience and Schooling: A Reflection

By Loshini Naidoo.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper, it is intended to show that the teaching unit: Social Justice Issues in Secondary Education at the University of Western Sydney, Australia did provide the analytical skills, discourses and processes of thought that allow engagement not only in the school setting but also in the wider society. The evaluation is based on an examination of the responses from twelve students who volunteered to be part of a research study based on the course work and course materials presented in this teaching unit. The evaluation also included an examination of the school (formal and non-formal) professional experience component of this secondary program. The feedback from student responses to the question on the definition of social justice education and from the semi-structured interviews suggests that the social justice teaching unit aroused reflective, experiential responses that might move students to make a serious effort to understand what social justice actually means and what might it demand. The social justice teaching unit not only gave the students insights into the continual struggle within the educational institutions, but it also enabled them to function as catalysts for change because they had to implement strategic concepts that would not replicate functioning dominations and that would challenge unjust knowledge systems. The teaching unit was a highly motivating tool in that by understanding what causes the unfair and unjust distribution of knowledge and realising what is preventing the opportunity for access to education, the pre-service teachers were empowered to give increased opportunity for others to have the same access to education. This perception of effectiveness alone can maintain a continual development and interest in social justice learning and teaching. Consequently, students showed that they understood how teaching was connected to the broader social forces operating in Australian society.

Keywords: Social Justice, Education, Critical Thinking, Transformative Practices

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp.19-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.006KB).

Dr. Loshini Naidoo

Lecturer, Social Justice Issues in Secondary Education, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Awarded Seed Grant to investigate the effects of social justice education on student's understanding of social justice. Member of the UWS Conference Convening Committee for Postgraduate Students. Member of the AARE Conference Convening Committee( UWS).Co- editor of Special Issue - Journal (Transnational Curriculum Inquiry) and Special Issue (Australian Educational Researcher 2007. Awarded UWS grant for Sino-Australia Research Project. The key research question to be investigated by this project is: How do educators in China and Australia engage with, and respond to the practices of globalisation manifested in particular changes in education? Or more specifically, how do they position their life trajectory, or that of their colleagues, students, or family, advantageously in the new global ordering of things? The aims of this research project are, therefore is to find out what educators in China and Australia: 1.are doing to mediate and mitigate local experiences of globalisation so as to better position themselves and/or others in the changing local/global order. 2.identify as the dilemmas they experience in positioning their life trajectory (or that of others) advantageously in the new global order? 3.regard as desirable (and undesirable) features of (a) the new global order and (b) ways of engaging with, and responding to the everyday practices of globalisation? 4.see as realistic possibilities, given identifiable constraints, for mediating and mitigating globalisation so as to better position themselves and/or others in the changing global order?

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