Why Teach Social Justice and Multiculturalism?<br />Based on articles by Sleeterand Gutstein<br />By: Julianna Krawiecki<br />
What is the purpose of teaching around the issues of Social Justice?<br />Liberation from oppression <br />But what does that mean?<br />In “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Freireputs forth a pedagogy in which the individual learns to cultivate his own growth through situations from his daily life that provide useful learning experiences. This is not a pedagogy for the oppressed; it is rather a pedagogy of the oppressed. The subject should build his reality from the circumstances that give rise to the daily events of his life. The texts that the individual creates permit him to reflect upon and analyze the world in which he lives - not in an effort to adapt himself to this world, but rather as part of an effort to reform it and to make it conform to his historical demands.<br />Freire's proposed method implies two distinct and sequential moments: the first involves becoming conscious of the reality that the individual lives as an oppressed being subject to the decisions that the oppressors impose; the second refers to the initiative of the oppressed to fight and emancipate themselves from the oppressors. Freire does not believe that the lived situation consists only of a simple awareness of reality. Instead, he believes that the individual has a historical need to fight against the status that dwells within him. The efforts of the oppressed become focused and concrete through the type of learning that school really should give them, instead of encouraging them to adapt to their reality, as the oppressors themselves do.<br />Social Justice should be taught in schools as an educational practice to analyze and affect society<br />“Liberatory pedagogy needs to do 3 things: produce students who can achieve academically, produce students who can demonstrate cultural competence, and develop students who can both understand and critique the existing social order.”<br />“The essence of a liberatory education project is the cultivation of a consciousness and the development of children’s identities, as well as academic proficiencies”<br />
Social Justice Pedagogical Goals<br />Reading the world with [music]<br />Writing the world with [music]<br />Developing positive cultural and social identities<br />Students will come to take action over time. Along the way, they change the way they define themselves in relation to the world and their actions on it. <br />A grounded understanding of people as the motive force of history puts one in the position of understanding the potential, including one’s own, to contribute meaningfully to social change.<br />Student learn to read and write the condition of one’s life<br />
Reading the world with music means:<br />“to use music to understand relations of power, resource inequities, and disparate opportunities between different social groups and to understand explicit discrimination based on race, class, gender, language, and other differences. Futher, it means to dissect and deconstruct media and other forms of representaion. It means to use music to examine these various phenomena both in one’s immediate life and in the broader social world and to identify relationships and make connections between them”<br />
What is the purpose of a Multicultural curriculum?<br />Multicultural education as a social movement- refocus our energies and provide the grounding and direction for future work in multicultural education.<br />It is for everyone, everywhere.<br />“Multicultural education ought to be about empowering the children of oppressed groups, their parents, their communities, and their grassroots advocacy organizations”. <br />
“Empowerment” in Education<br />“Empowerment” has come commonly to mean individual advancement. For Sleeter, this word, “power”, explains that in educationit isheld only by certain people.<br />Power holders in education are mainly the education establishment: administration, classroom teachers, university professionals, and community constituents who support school policies and practices that multicultural advocates wish to change.<br />As educators who are part of a system we are trying to change, we have vested interest in protecting our own position and the processes that worked for us. It positions us differently from the students and parents for whom we ADVOCATE.<br />Educators can collaborate with oppressed communities but cannot tell them what they need<br />I think that one of my many goals of education, and music education, is to “empower” our students through the curriculum and with knowledge and engagements. To “empower” students is to put the confidence in their hands, help them learn how to control their life and take part in the greater society.<br />I do not think it matter what type of school you are in or what the population of the school, all schools and all subjects should teach around issues of social justice and multiculturalism. These are skills and and teachings for empowerment in society. That is, ways of teaching about the world and communicating and engaging in practices that will empower students to take a stand,use their voice in society, and question and condtions of their world. <br />How can be put the “power” in the hands of our students?<br />
“Power”<br />Sleeter writes: “White groups of educators look to ourselves as if we were the constituent base of multicultural education, which missed the entire point of power-redistribution.”<br />In our communities, we need to view children of oppressed groups, their parents, their communities, and their grassroots advocacy organizations as the natural constituency of multicultural education.<br />
Music, Social Justice, and Multiculturalism<br />Music is inherently multicultural<br />Multicultural education literature should be used as a tool for collaboration and to inform thinking and knowledge of possibilities, NOT for how to design a curriculum or teach multiculturalism through music.<br />Educators can collaborate with oppressed communities but cannot tell them what they need. Before making assumptions about what “kind” of multicultural education or how to go about the curriculum design, one must research the needs of the population of the school as a whole and find ways to incorporate multiculturalistic teachings and teachings about the issues of social justice.<br />
The role of the Educator<br />You are an advocate for the children in your classroom. You also provide the opportunities for your students to put these teachings into practice.<br />Example in Sleeter p.246- teacher and students advocated for a state law requiring curricula in Nebraska to be multicultural and the state legislature passed the law. <br />Children and youth that learn the democratic process effectively to advance ideals of social justice can become adults who are able to actualize the ideals of justice and equality through political process.<br />Students and teachers need to work together to create a classroom environment in which teachers can actualize the above practices and in which both students and teacher can raise questions, challenges, differences, and problems while conducting political analyzes of society”(Gustein, p.33)<br />
Music= The perfect medium to explore issues of Social Justice, Oppression, and Multiculturalism <br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2IQrozKCkA<br />“Kenya Melodies” <br />
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