Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity: What is Social Justice Education?

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Today’s Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity was inspired by:

Social Emotional Learning in High School: How Three Urban High Schools Engage, Educate, and Empower Youth

By MarYam G. Hamedani and Linda Darling-Hammond

Standford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education

Key Statement: These schools approach educating the whole child by incorporating Social Emotional Learning and Social Justice Education. This approach results in a more equitable educational experience for historically underserved student populations by providing a “culturally relevant, asset-based, and identity-safe education” (p.2).

What is Social Justice Education?

Social Justice Education (SJE) makes community injustices explicit and relevant to the identities represented throughout the school community. This educational approach develops critical thinking schools and encourages social change (p. 2).

Each school featured in this study paired Social Emotional Learning Competencies with Social Justice Education Competencies (see below). Social emotional skills development was incorporated into Advisory. Teachers integrated SEL and SJE into course content and assessments (p. 9). The most effective implementation of SEL and SJE at the high school level uses adolescent cognitive development as a resource for curricular planning (p. 10).

Top Five

These are the Social Justice Education Competencies that align with SEL Competencies (p. 5)

  1. Interdependence: seeing oneself as part of community; having a sense of shared fate and common destiny with others; recognizing how collective experiences shape individual lives.
  2. Social Responsibility: understanding how one’s actions impact others; treating others with respect; acting with ethical standards; maintaining relationships and connections.
  3. Perspective-Taking: taking the perspective of and empathizing with others; coordinating others’ points of view with one’s own; recognizing factors that shape multiple perspectives.
  4. Multicultural Literacy: recognizing and appreciating group similarities and differences; having a critical understanding of how identities and significant social categories of difference matter in everyday life and across social contexts; understanding experience through multicultural and equity-focused lenses; having an awareness of systems of privilege, power, and oppression.
  5. Community Engagement: actively contributing to the well-being of one’s community; understanding democratic principles and values, citizenship, and civic participation; having leadership, voice, and efficacy to be a change agent and organize for social action.

Do Now - Safe Classrooms co-create, repeatedly state, and display classroom interpersonal, group, and school norms.


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