Social Justice and Cellphones???

Social Justice issues within teaching

I think teachers are required to be responsive in their teachings and in turn they should be aware of social issues. Teachers have a choice to be on social media and have a choice to make that account public so others can follow and learn from them. When a teacher makes the decision to be open to the world they should be aware of social issues and respond when appropriate. Responding does not mean that they have to make millions of posts and long stories stating how they are/ their students are impacted by what is happening in the world but rather they can share others’ information and emphasize voices that are often silenced. The article Social Media Activism Can Work, but We Don’t Need to Shame People Into Itdoes a great job at explaining that social media activism can be great but it can’t be a “substitute for more impactful actions such as voting or offline protests”. As we discussed, social media can make social justice issues look trendy for a certain time period but it is important to continue reflecting and educating yourself/others even after it is no longer “cool”. 

The question is “do teachers have to be neutral”. As teachers we are taught to remove all bias from teaching but should the same go for our public social media pages. The goal when sharing this information is never to alienate someone but would a student feel comfortable sharing their thoughts knowing that their teacher did not agree with them?

Schools are not neutral in social issues, this is clear by the issues happening with the new Alberta curriculum, so do teachers have to  be neutral also?

It is clear that responsive teaching is important and by bringing social justice into the classroom it can be helpful in expanding students’ thinking and making students feel heard. A quote from the article Creating Classrooms for Social Justiceis “Teach your students about making positive change in the world by connecting with them, discussing real-world problems and multiple perspectives, creating classroom community, and including authentic assessment”. As teachers it is important that we do abide by the Saskatchewan curriculum but to also educate students within the broad areas of learning (building lifelong learners, building a sense of self and community, building engaged citizens).As described within the article The Importance of Social Justice in the Classroom and Curriculum Design, social justice should be introduced within young grades (age appropriately) and should be a part of the curriculum as students have access to so much information and do not have the skills to work through it. 

Cell Phones in the classroom

Cell phones in school are touchy subjects and will create different answers when talking to different schools or neighborhoods. As we discussed, cell phones are privileges and not all students are able to afford to bring a smart phone to school. There is a divide that forms when allowing cell phones in the classrooms of young students and creates a stance of privilege. 

According to thiswebsite the pros and cons of cellphones at school include

Many of the positive areas of technology in the classroom can be replicated using school devices. The downfall of using school devices are the transition from home to school, but as more schools are transitioning to google or Office 365 platforms students can access their work using almost any device. 

For schools that are K-6 Away for the daypolicies can be very beneficial and can be beneficial up to grade 8 but as we discussed in the debate having transition periods with strict rules could be beneficial before hitting high school. 

With the phone debate there are two viewpoints for looking at it, through the viewpoint of academics or behaviour. Included within the article CELL PHONES IN THE CLASSROOM: LEARNING TOOL OR DISTRACTION, many of the negative downfalls of cell phones have to do with the issues of distraction and cyber bullying but the cell phone itself does not have a direct negative impact on a student’s learning but rather the distraction of the cell phone is the issue. The positives of cell phones have an impact on how students learn and share their learning and should not have an impact on students’ behaviour. If cell phones are not a behavioural problem then they are a good academic resource but if they become an issue, then it is not aiding with students learning and it causes  a power struggle. 

As we have discussed in class it is really important to teach digital safety and citizenship. When teaching digital etiquette comes the task of teaching balance of using technology, by slowly introducing cell phones into the classroom it can help students discover the balance of learning off and online. 

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