Crucial Elements of Social Justice Education
The following is a summary and recording of an article entitled ‘Five Essential Elements of Social Justice Education’, it was written in 2005 by Heather Hackman, and a full link to the article can be found here.
This article examines the role of social justice education in the classroom and the way in which social justice thinking, and critical thinking, can both be fostered in the classroom. Hackman provides a list of five vital social justice practices to be included in every classroom. These are:
Content mastery: Which involves giving students the knowledge to address prominent social ideas, and engage in a discourse about these ideas.
Tools for critical thinking: Giving students the ability to think critically about content and ideas
Tools for social action: Enabling students to make a difference and not fall into the ‘I can’t do anything about it’ attitude.
Tools for personal reflection: Reflecting on one’s own culture, prejudice, practice, and learning is one of the most valuable things students and teachers can do for social justice.
Multicultural group dynamics: Having a knowledge of the classroom’s cultural dynamic. This way learning can be differentiated.
These five elements combine to give students a critical and reflective approach to the world around them, ensuring they become active and informed citizens capable of initiating social change.
The importance of social justice and change in the classroom cannot be understated. Students need to be able to analyse society to be active participants within it. At the same time, classrooms can be guilty of oppression and exclusion. Systems within the classroom can oppress students of certain genders, cultures, and socio-economic status. Therefore, challenging these systems of oppression is an act of social justice education which enables the inclusion of all peoples within the classroom environment.