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					      The Imperative:
Social Justice and Equity in
 Middle Childhood Teacher

             A Symposium on
     Middle Level Teacher Preparation
              Destin, Florida
           February 9-10, 2007
Diane Ross, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor
Middle Level Teacher Education
Otterbein College
Where does the journey start?

   It starts with NMSA standards….
         Standard 1
Young Adolescent Development

Middle level teacher candidates
understand the major concepts,
principles, theories, and research related
to young adolescent development, and
they provide opportunities that support
student development and learning
One of the criteria for assessment of this
standard is as follows:

Candidates must respect and appreciate the
range of individual developmental differences of
all young adolescents. They must believe that
diversity among all young adolescents is an
asset. They must use this knowledge to
provide all young adolescents with learning
opportunities that are developmentally
responsive, socially just and equitable,
and academically rigorous.
NCATE/NMSA has left the
tasks of defining social justice
and equity
Social Justice and Equity
Rizvi (1998)-social justice is not a timeless or static
  concept but instead reflects the changing social and
  economic conditions in society
Rawls (1972) -every person is entitled to the most
  complete basic rights as anyone else
  if anyone has more than another, the person most in
  need should receive more
Nozick (1976) entitlement, requires just competition but
  not necessarily just outcomes
Marxist social-democratic theory
  importance of needs
  community is more than a collection of individuals
  members are responsible to the greater good
        Historical Implications
   Progressivism/ Reconstructivism.
Dewey, 1916, 1938   Kesson &
Counts, 1932        Henderson, 2000
Freire, 1970        Hamilton &
Apple, 1979         McWilliam, 2001
Goodlad, 1979
Kliebard, 1986
Ayers, 1998
                    Ladson Billings…
How do you understand preparing
middle childhood teachers to teach
for social justice and equity in your
middle childhood teacher education
Present conditions that interfere with social
justice and equity in teacher education
White teachers candidates
     88% whites in 1971- 90.7% in 1996
Black teacher candidates
     8.1% in 1971 to 7.3% in 1996
     3.6% in 1971 to 2.0% in 1996
Teacher Education Faculty
     87%-90% white
                        “Pitifully homogeneous”
       Pre-service educators
They do not believe racism is a problem
    (Moultry, 1988; Goodlad, 1990).
They enter the teaching profession for
 reasons other than changing society to
 make it more just and equitable
    (Ginsburg & Newman, 1985;
    Goodlad, 1990; National Center for
    Education Information data, 1996).
They do not believe Whiteness is
a culture and are unable to reflect
on their own status as privileged
White persons
  (Schwartz, 1996, Bradfield-Kreider, 2001; Carpenter,
They resist changing any beliefs they
have brought into teaching; and they
particularly resist beliefs imposed on
    (Bradfield-Kreider, 2001; Carpenter, 2000;
    Dewey, 1938; Goodlad, 1990; Ginsburg &
    Newman, 1985; Howard, 1999; Jipson, 1995;
    Titus, 2000; MacIntosh, 1989; Moultry, 1988;
    Simpson, 1992; Sobel & Taylor, 2001; Strike &
    Posner, 1992; Tatum, 1992; Pohan & Mathison,
White privilege
Understanding the personal
 implications of White privilege,
 especially in socially diverse,
 unjust, and inequitable
 environments is essential
    (Howard, 1999; Nieto, 1999; McIntosh, 1989;
    Levine, 1996).
Teacher educators have asked pre-
 service educators to reflect on their
 Whiteness, their attitudes towards
 racism, sexism, and other issues of
 injustice and inequity in order to
 overcome their biases and to be
 effective teachers in working with school
 children from diverse backgrounds
     (Posner, 1996; Schon, 1990).
Little, if any, research; however, has been
  published on teacher educators’
  reflections on their own dispositions
  related to social justice and equity.
Basic assumptions in middle
childhood teacher education…
Teacher educators must examine
their own beliefs about social
justice and equity in order to
model the disposition for teacher
In order to prepare socio-politically
conscious educators, teacher
educators must practice socio-
political consciousness in their own
My scholarly journey to
understand how to prepare
socially just and equitable middle
level educators…
Martha Holden Jennings Scholar- Understanding the
   Holocaust through Children’s Literature
Dissertation: Social Justice and Equity: A Middle
   Childhood Educator’s Journey
SAIL- Summer Academy for Integrated Learning
The EPU (European University Center for Peace
Center for Peace Research and Peace Education, Klagenfurt,
Inter-American Summit on Conflict Resolution
    Education (CRE). : Cleveland, USA.
This we believe with an urban focus: Social justice and
   equity in urban middle schools.- presentation and
   book proposal
Martha Holden Jennings Teaching
the Holocaust through Children’s
The International Youth Library
Largest library for international children's and youth
  literature in the world.
1949 Jella Lepman
Post World War II
New hope and values after the years of Nazi terror and
  the horrors of war
New understanding for other people and nations
Discourse about children's literature children
Collection of nearly 540,000 books, with 500,000
  volumes of children's and youth books in more than
  130 languages
What did I learn…?
Educating for social justice and equity is
 not about understanding the victim but
 much more about understanding the
Doctoral Dissertation
Research Question
     What are my own personal/professional
      understandings and dispositions related to young
     What were the issues and dilemmas that social
      justice and equity in the education of developed as
      I attempted to prepare middle childhood educators
      to teach for social justice and equity? How did I
      address the issues that arose.
   To know and understand the nature,
    meanings, and essence of a
    particular phenomenon.
      Autobiography

      Phenomenology

      Case Studies
What did I learn?

Becoming a middle childhood
 teacher educator who believes
 in social justice and equity is
 not about teaching others about
 this, but about becoming this
              Project SAIL
    Summer Academy for Integrated
Teachers and Students Learning Together

  Columbus City Schools and Otterbein College
Strategy One: Provide professional development
  based upon proven practices in middle level
  education and culturally relevant pedagogy for
  teachers at Medina, Indianola, and Crestview
  Middle Schools
Strategy Two: Expose urban middle school
  students to evidence-based teaching strategies
  that improve attitudes toward learning and
  enhance academic achievement
Strategy Three: Develop urban field experiences for
  pre-service teachers consistent with proven
  practices in middle level education to increase
  their urban employment
What have I learned?
Social justice and equity is not
only about integrating curriculum,
but about integrating
communities and voices. Social
justice and equity comes when all
feel that their voices are
European University Center for
Peace Studies (EPU)
   Social Justice and Equity in
      Education Overview
How does one’s worldview affect the paradigms of
How do state or federal mandates affect education
  and society?
How does the issue of intolerance, injustice, racism
  and inequity affect schools and society?
How do schools promote or dissuade the
  perpetuation of violence and war in society?
How does one prepare “teachers” to respond to the
  injustices and inequities in education and
Dominque- Uganda (child soldier at 9, research on equity with
                    girl child education)
  Naghmeh- Iran (research on women and leadership roles)
 Soe- Myanmar (research on education and equity in Burma)
  Farai – Zimbabwe (research on peace education in African
What did I learn?
I have a desire to understand the lack of consistent
   quality education available to children in the world
I have a desire to understand global issues of social
   justice and equity in education in the future
My knowledge was so small in the big picture of the
   world, I gained a much larger perspective on the
   meanings of social justice and equity
The United States and its perspectives was such a
   small sliver of the knowledge necessary to
   understand the concepts of peace, justice, and equity
   in education
Narrowness of knowledge evident in the American
   perspective, was not shared by everyone
This led to concerns of imperialism, dominance, and
   entitled privilege by Americans.
          Klagenfurt, Austria
Center for Peace Research and Peace
Center for Peace Research and
Peace Education
The key issues facing our society today,
 such as securing and maintaining
 peace, living together in multicultural
 societies, global education for a “world
 society” and non-violent approaches to
 conflicts, demand thorough scientific
 research and the most current up-to-
 date academic teaching.
What did I learn?
Europe is aware of the implications of
 world violence and conflict in their lives
 because of geographic proximity and
 cultural values of community
USA has an allusion that even in the 21st
 century with our geographic isolation
 and capitalistic attitudes, we can
 become apathetic to world violence and
Where am I going……
     Inter-American Summit on Conflict Resolution
    March 14-17, 2007, Metropolitan Campus Cleveland Ohio

                                          This first-ever Summit
                                          Develop a hemispheric
                                             infrastructure throughout the
                                          Advance the work in the fields of
                                             conflict resolution education and
                                             peace education.
                                          Policymakers and educators
                                             representing regions across the
                                             United States and select
                                             member countries of the OAS
                                             representing North, Central,
                                             South America and the
                                          Exchange program best practices,
                                             evaluation methodology
                                          Creation of policy implementation
http://www.tri-                              structures   Consideration of obstacles to
Camp Kilimanjaro
        See man-made and natural
           wonders of the area,
        Experience how hard the
           women work
        Get to know the people -
           maybe even work with one
           of the children.
        Villagers want to hear about
           you, your customs, and
           your country of origin
        99% of the people who come
           to Africa stay in fancy
           hotels, take sterile safaris,
           never venturing into the
           towns or villages where
           they could meet and
           associate with the people.

This We Believe with an Urban

    National Middle School
    Association support of a
    collaborative book project
This We Believe with an Urban Focus

 Student than half of all
      8,390 grandparents
       single women with
      are primaryoverall
    10children age 5 and
        % of the
  16.85%of Franklin
                  for their
      caregivers Franklin
      under live in poverty
    County residents
  populationTenets living
     23.4% ofin
           14 those
    (100,000) lack health
 Society are livingchildren
     in poverty are below
    insurance coverage
  the poverty guideline
  This We Believe with an Urban
Co-authors in the book include middle childhood teachers and
   teacher candidates that I have worked with for years as well as
   middle childhood teachers, teacher educators, and school
   administrators who heard about this book and have committed
   to spending the next six months in dialogue with each other
Co-authors were asked to be reflective and engage in a
   professional dialogue and personal growth.
Online forum. With this online discussion board, I chose one tenet
   from This We Believe to post each month. I asked each person
   to agree to post once a week and to respond to someone once a
   week as well looking for clarifications and posing challenging
Telling your story is essential but not sufficient
The goal is to take people beyond their stories
These co-authors agreed also to be confronted with some of their
   own myths and misconceptions so as to be forced to consider
   new possibilities and new perceptions of their problems and
   their situations.
What have I learned…so far..
Being collaborative is hard work
My attempt to be self-reflective and
 vulnerable so as to encourage others to
 do the same is not always as effective
 as I was hoping and can still be
 misconstrued as Diane being all about
Future Implications for Middle
Childhood Teacher Education
 The only way that we can ensure that our
 pre-service educators have any
 possibility of acquiring these dispositions
 of social justice and equity is for us to spend
 our lives, as middle childhood teacher
 educators, acquiring those dispositions in
 ourselves. In the process of holding
 accountable others, we must first hold
 accountable ourselves.
What are the implications of this
in higher education?
What are the implications for this
in teacher education?
What are the implications for this
in middle childhood teacher