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Diversity, Globalization, and Teacher Education: Defining Social Justice for New Times and New Contexts Sonia Nieto Diversity and Globalization Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Diversity, Globalization, and Teacher Education: Defining Social Justice for New Times and New Contexts Sonia Nieto Diversity and Globalization Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Diversity, Globalization, and Teacher Education: Defining Social Justice for New Times and New Contexts Sonia Nieto Diversity and Globalization Conference University of Helsinki, Finland April 2008

2 Questions to address How does our current sociopolitical context - including issues of globalization, immigration, and diversity - influence teacher education and the work we do with future and practicing teachers? What difference can multicultural education make? What do teachers need to know in terms of skills, competencies, values, beliefs, practices, and strategies in order to negotiate the current context?

3 The Sociopolitical Context diversity globalization immigration Education exploitationracism

4 “Globalization is everywhere…” (David Gillborn, 2008) Economic and social policies National security Social and cultural identity Political policies

5 immigration Approximately 192,000,000 people live outside their place of birth This represents about 3% of the world’s population Annual growth is about 3% and growing 75% of the increase occurred in just 17 countries

6 Racism and Exclusion “Sometimes it is so thick it is visible, other times it is less apparent, but always, day in and day out, we are breathing it in. None of us would introduce ourselves as ‘smog-breathers’ (and most of us don’t want to be described as prejudiced), but if we live in a smoggy place, how can we avoid breathing the air? Beverly Daniel Tatum like “smog in the air”:

7 Slavery, genocide Laws, traditions “Everyday racism” Levels of Racism VirulentSofter “postmodern racism” (Flecha et al, 2006) “Everyday racism” (Essed, 1991)

8 Manifestations of racism Individual/ personal Institutional Denial –Colorblindness –Colormute (Pollock, 2004) –“No problem here” (Gaine, 1987)

9 Globalization and Education “…English education policy plays an active role in supporting and affirming… racist inequities and structures of oppression…” Gillborn (2005) “ represents a new synthesis of the technocratic/industrial model of education” (Luke, 2004)

10 “Finland is allergic to immigration” (Castells, 2005) Immigrants make up 2% of entire Finnish population of 5.2 million About 122,000 foreign-born who speak more than 60 languages

11 several levels of the sociopolitical context Collective… Institutional… Ideological… Personal…

12 Education in a Sociopolitical Context Laws, regulations, policies, practices, traditions Ideologies, assumptions, and expectations Structural barriers and biases based on these laws, policies, ideologies, and assumptions

13 Manifestations at the societal level Who is intelligent? Whose language is “standard”? Whose lifestyle is “normal”? Who decides? Who benefits? Who loses?

14 Manifestations of the sociopolitical context at the school and classroom levels Who decides? benefits? Who loses? How do school policies and practices benefit some students over others (curriculum, pedagogy, hiring practices, extracurricular activities…

15 Manifestations of at the individual level Relationships with students: –Who are favored? –Which students receive “additive” (Cummins, 1996) education and which ones receive “subtractive education” (Valenzuela, 1999)? What is the basis for sorting and other pedagogical decisions?

16 Lack of resources in home and school Unfair bureaucratic policies and practices Poverty Poor infrastructure Racism and personal and institutional biases structuralstructural i n e q u a li t y

17 Critical multicultural education: some assumptions Identity, difference, power, and privilege are all connected Multicultural education is inclusive of many differences Teachers are not the villains

18 multicultural education Anti-racist and anti- bias Basic Important for all students Pervasive A process Education for social justice Critical pedagogy

19 Anti-racist and anti-bias Not simply celebratory Does not “automatically” take care of racism and other biases Confronts racism and other biases through content and pedagogy –Welcomes “dangerous discourses” –Encourages students to take action

20 Basic Education As basic as reading, writing, arithmetic, bilingualism and computer literacy Part of the core curriculum A more representative and more truthful canon Preparation for living in an increasingly diverse world

21 important for everyone Not just for immigrant students or others thought to be “disadvantaged” All students are “disadvantaged” and miseducated, but in different ways

22 Pervasive Not a specific subject matter, unit, class, or teacher Not just learning the national language Not just ethnic tidbits, holidays, festivals, or fairs A philosophy, a lifestyle, a way of thinking about the world

23 Social justice in education Draws on students’ resources, talents, and strengths, and “funds of knowledge” (González & Moll, 2005) Creates a learning environment that promotes critical thinking and agency for social change

24 Social justice in education Challenges, confronts, and disrupts misconceptions, untruths, and stereotypes Provides all students with the resources necessary to become fully human and to learn to their full potential (both material and emotional)

25 Education for Social Justice Asks “profoundly multicultural questions”: Who has access to high level knowledge? Is the program for immigrant/refugee children in the basement? Prepares students for their future as citizens in a multicultural and democratic society Is democracy at its best: messy, complicated, and sometimes full of conflict

26 A Process Goes beyond curriculum and materials, textbooks and units Is dynamic, ongoing, ever-changing Requires learning about students’ identities, histories, and communities Involves intangibles: Relationships Communication

27 Critical Pedagogy Knowledge is always political (Freire, 1970) Every educational decision reflects a political perspective Not about “political correctness” but about multiple perspectives Teaches students to question, explore, critique, ask “why?” and “why not?”

28 Access Equity Multicultural EDUCATION =

29 a solid general education background a deep knowledge of their subject matter familiarity with numerous pedagogical approaches strong communication skills effective organizational skills What the research says is needed to prepare “highly qualified teachers”

30 What’s missing? Values Beliefs Sensibilities Political awareness and commitment

31 BUILDING ON TEACHERS’ VALUES AND CONCERNS A sense of mission Solidarity with, and empathy for, students The courage to question mainstream knowledge and conventional wisdom Improvisation A passion for social justice

32 A Sense of Mission: Mary Cowhey Teaching is a way to live in the world. I just can’t see myself living in this world if I am not doing something positive. Size and effectiveness do not matter too much to me, if I nurture one plant or a large garden, if I help one person well, if I reach 20 children and their families in a year, or thousands, what is important is that I do it and do it well, that I do it with heart… I teach because I agree with Gandhi: “If we are to achieve real peace, we shall have to begin with the children.”

33 Solidarity with, and empathy for, students caring mentoring advocacy admiration high expectations

34 I teach because I see extraordinary possibilities in students. One teacher was José, a student with a speech impediment and hearing impairment. He helped me to understand that the words “I can’t” have no place in the classroom. Melinda Pellerin-Duck

35 The courage to challenge mainstream knowledge and conventional wisdom “Critical education has to integrate the students and the teachers into a mutual creation and re-creation of knowledge” Ira Shor (1987)

36 The Courage to Challenge mainstream knowledge and conventional wisdom I want my students to realize that science is not the objective pursuit of knowledge that it is professed to be. I want them to understand that data may support a hypothesis that is not valid to begin with. I want them to know that correlation does not imply causality. I want them to know there are hidden variables that may affect an experiment. I want them to know about researcher bias. I want them to know all this so that when they read in the newspaper that “minority SAT scores are down,” they know that these data must be due to social, economic, and political inequities in our society. They are not due to genetic inferiority. Jennifer Welborn

37 Improvisation Ayla Gavins: Teaching is like being on a moving train, because “on any given day, teachers make hundreds, even thousands of decisions to keep a balance of fairness and equity.” …”a way of thinking and behaving… creativity within structure” (Theresa Jenoure)

38 Social Justice and Power Ambrizeth Lima: Teaching is always about power. That is why it must also be about social justice. Is it morally right for me, as a teacher, to witness injustice toward students and remain quiet?

39 social Justice in the curriculum Patty Bode: “my skin color art lesson tells me so much about my students, but more important, it tells my students why I teach: to create a classroom that is deliberately anti-racist, where respectful dialogue, critical thinking, and lots of messy art making are required.”

40 SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ADVOCACY Bill Dunn: So why do I teach? I teach because someone has to tell my students that they are not the ones who are dumb. They need to know that only the blissfully ignorant and profoundly evil make up tests to prove that they and people like them are smart…

41 Provide the time and resources for teachers to be exposed these ideas Promote teacher research Set aside time for learning and reflection Provide resources that are meaningful and useful

42 Create opportunities for teachers to work collaboratively The What Keeps Teachers Going? Inquiry Group

43 Support teachers in their efforts to take Risks and make change Nina Tepper “Everything that affects our students is our responsibility. Standing up for what I believe has always been a part of my being. This meant that I would have to muster up the courage to continue to take risks for the benefit of my students.”

44 It is fundamental for us to know that without certain qualities or virtues, such as a generous loving heart, respect for others, tolerance, humility, a joyful disposition, love of life, openness to what is new, a disposition to welcome change, perseverance in the struggle, a refusal of determinism, a spirit of hope, and openness to justice, progressive pedagogical practice is not possible. It it something that the merely scientific, technical mind cannot accomplish. Paulo Freire ( )


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