Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Master class engages alumni and local teachers in building social justice curricula

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The SOE recently partnered with education nonprofit Creative Change to offer a two-day master class for educators. Participating teachers learned about curricula that guide students to solve authentic problems while simultaneously meeting content standards. The session was attended by K-12 teachers across disciplines and led by Creative Change founder Susan Santone. Santone explains that the master class was designed to help teachers understand sustainability and social justice in order to incorporate these topics into their teaching. Social justice curricula and teaching practices are of great interest to many education students and practicing teachers. The SOE is committed to offering opportunities for teachers to pursue diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity in their classrooms.

During the class, teachers explored their ideal version of the future for their school, community, and society, considering the ways in which they could help to make their vision a reality. “No matter what their discipline was, teachers were able to connect these new curricular concepts to their community. They also saw that these concepts didn’t abandon the state standards, but actually elevated them,” said Santone.

The project-based methods that were presented are aimed at teaching students about societal interconnectivity and supporting the growth of healthy communities, democratic societies, and social justice. Santone explains that these methods also broaden opportunities for marginalized students. “This work disrupts the hidden curriculum and helps all students gain their own knowledge and skills in order to be the authors of their own story, as well as gather new insights about themselves and the world. This truly inspires teachers. They see that they can affect their students’ lives while still following the core. Equity, for their students, is about getting equal access to the tools that equip them to become effective citizens who can unleash their talents and capabilities. As educators, we can do big things. It’s all about the kind of citizens we create and the kind of world we want to create together.”

Santone teaches part-time in the School of Education in addition to serving as the founder and executive director of Creative Change, which helps schools reorient instruction around sustainability and social justice.

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