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Showing posts from January, 2015

Becoming a Social Justice Teacher

I've been writing this blog for just over a year and a half now and am rather humbled that it gets a decent number of hits (any thing over 10 hits is decent right?). Though recently, in a conversation with some folks in my local community who have read my blog, it has got me wondering if I'm really giving a clear perspective of who I am as a teacher and what it is that I'm trying to achieve within my profession and in my classroom.

Often times, we want to tell people about our triumphs and successes. It's really easy and fun to write a blog about a lesson plan that really engaged students or about the process of achieving a professional goal within the profession. However, we need to remember that as important as it is to share our successes with our colleagues, we also need to be vocal about those times when our lesson plans didn't work, when our "classroom management" was a complete failure, and when we felt like giving up.

In my short 6 years of teachi…

Hip Hop and Social Justice in the Classroom

It doesn't matter how important the information you want your students to learn is if it's not taught in an engaging and informative way that gives students ownership over their learning. When I was first starting out as a teacher I made a point to teach students about all the social justice issues that I never had the chance to learn about when I was in high school. However, due to my naivety, students did not take to learning about social justice with the excitement I had imagined when we read articles and watched important documentaries. As important as those topics were, my students were still being lulled to sleep by a disengaging pedagogy that I was implementing. I needed to go back to the drawing board.

One day, as I sat at my desk trying to figure out how to engage students in learning about social justice I took a walk through the cafeteria at my school. As I walked through, I noticed that the majority of my students were completely immersed in hip hop culture. Everyt…

Social Studies and Storytelling

I like to think that each discipline that is taught within classrooms around the world have their own unique methods and flavour that can draw students into their beauty. For me, I fell in love with social studies many years ago. I have always been fascinated with how human beings interact with each other and how we organize ourselves into societies. As a youngster, I loved learning about the local history where I was from. I wanted to know who came before me and how did their decisions impact the world I live in now. As I grew older I became more fascinated in human behaviour and how we interact in various systems that perpetuate the oppression of some human beings and privilege for others.

As a social studies teacher, I want to share my love of history, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, geography and many more disciplines with my students. But most of all, I think social studies is best taught when you can teach it from a storytelling perspective. When you can l…