Critical Connections: Teachers Writing for Social Justice
Smith, Sherry Ramrattan
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This qualitative research study explores how teachers who write social justicefocused curriculum support resources conceptualize curriculum and social justice. Curriculum used in schools reflects underlying assumptions and choices about what knowledge is valuable. Class-based, cultural, racial, and religious stereotypes are reinforced in schooling contexts. Are the resources teachers create, select, and use to promote social justice reproducing and reinforcing forms of oppression? Why do teachers pursue social justice through curriculum writing? What are their hopes for this work? Exploring how Teachers' beliefs and values influence cy.rriculum writing engages the teachers writing and using curriculum support resources in critical reflective thought about their experiences and efforts to promote social justice. Individual and focus group interviews were conducted with four teacher-curriculum writers from Ontario schools. In theorizing my experiences as a teacher-curriculum writer, I reversed roles and participated in individual interviews. I employed a critical feminist lens to analyze the qualitati ve data. The participants' identities influenced how they understand social justice and write curriculum. Their understandings of injustices, either personal or gathered through students, family members, or oth.e. r teachers, influenced their curriculum writing . The teacher-curriculum writers in the study believed all teachers need critical understandings of curriculum and social justice. The participants made a case for representation from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups on curriculum writing teams. In an optimistic conclusion, the possibility of a considerate curriculum is proposed as a way to engage the public in working with teachers for social justice.