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Is it “just” planning? Exploring the integration of social justice education in an elementary language arts methods course thematic unit

Is it “just” planning? Exploring the integration of social justice education in an elementary... The purpose of this paper is to examine undergraduate elementary education teacher candidates’ abilities to successfully integrate social justice teaching into their interdisciplinary ELA and social studies thematic units. The projects were analyzed to determine the extent to which, if any, social justice education has been addressed.Design/methodology/approachThis study used purposive sampling of two sections of an elementary writing methods course. Students were grouped into Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to design an integrated thematic English Language Arts (ELA), Social Studies and Social Justice unit. At the conclusion of their project, components of their units were analyzed using the Social Justice Continuum of Teacher Development.FindingsOverall, the results indicate that candidates were likely to plan for inclusive practices in their instructional units. There was significant attention across units to inclusive materials and content, but there was very little attention to critical or transformative practices in planning. This likely indicates candidates’ awareness about the need for diverse content but tells us little about their ability to critically analyze the power structures themselves that contribute to the need for inclusive practices.Originality/valueBefore classroom teachers can be expected to engage in critical conversations in their own classrooms, the experiences they have within their preparation programs need to be considered. These findings indicate more explicit work must be done to support candidates in their ability to critically analyze hegemonic power structures and to engage their students in learning experiences that move beyond using diverse resources into teaching advocacy strategies to students. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Multicultural Education Emerald Publishing

Is it “just” planning? Exploring the integration of social justice education in an elementary language arts methods course thematic unit

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2053-535X
DOI
10.1108/jme-07-2020-0071
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine undergraduate elementary education teacher candidates’ abilities to successfully integrate social justice teaching into their interdisciplinary ELA and social studies thematic units. The projects were analyzed to determine the extent to which, if any, social justice education has been addressed.Design/methodology/approachThis study used purposive sampling of two sections of an elementary writing methods course. Students were grouped into Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to design an integrated thematic English Language Arts (ELA), Social Studies and Social Justice unit. At the conclusion of their project, components of their units were analyzed using the Social Justice Continuum of Teacher Development.FindingsOverall, the results indicate that candidates were likely to plan for inclusive practices in their instructional units. There was significant attention across units to inclusive materials and content, but there was very little attention to critical or transformative practices in planning. This likely indicates candidates’ awareness about the need for diverse content but tells us little about their ability to critically analyze the power structures themselves that contribute to the need for inclusive practices.Originality/valueBefore classroom teachers can be expected to engage in critical conversations in their own classrooms, the experiences they have within their preparation programs need to be considered. These findings indicate more explicit work must be done to support candidates in their ability to critically analyze hegemonic power structures and to engage their students in learning experiences that move beyond using diverse resources into teaching advocacy strategies to students.

Journal

Journal for Multicultural EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 4, 2021

Keywords: Teacher preparation; Democratic classrooms; Elementary methods courses; Social justice continuum of teacher development; Social justice education; Thematic units

References