During last week’s seminar, our prof listed the following questions on the screen in front of the classroom:
When you applied to the teacher education program at the U of R, did you know that you were applying to a renewed teacher education program, whose focus is social justice? Did this influence your decision to come here? What do you think it means to be oriented towards anti-oppressive education or what do you think it means to teach for social justice?
As a student from the French Education Bac program at the University of Regina, I thought that these questions applied differently to me, compared to my peers in the classroom. During the second year of the program, all the students get to study for a year at the Université de Laval in Quebec City, in order to be immersed into the French language. For a certain reason, I remained in Regina to complete my second year instead of accompanying my peers in Quebec and as a result, have to complete my education classes in English with the English Education program students from the institution. So in answer to the first question, no, I did not know I was going to be taking classes from a renewed education program that is focused on social justice. Am I glad I am taking these classes? Yes, very.
Attending my ECS200 and ECS210 classes, I have been given tools that have strengthened my desire to become an educator. Being in a classroom and studying social justice and oppression in society is a big eye opener of all the hidden and not so hidden things that happen all around us. I believe that social justice is something that should happen all around the world, and it does not, even in 2013. We still have a long way to go, but by slowly trying to raise awareness and trigger minds to open up to change, we will get there someday, it has to be a collective effort. Not everybody is aware of even the small injustices that happen in our daily lives, but I believe educators should be aware of social injustices and try to make their students aware of it as well. Education should also be anti-oppression oriented. We should not be scared of bringing controversial subjects in the classroom for people to make them feel uncomfortable. It is okay to be critical and look at the many possibilities and aspects of a specific situation or event. In no way should we ever feel like we need to “hide” things from our students, as we aim to be as open-minded and as critical as we can. Critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, social justice, anti-oppression are all terms that should be included in your teaching philosophy, well it is in my philosophy that is still under construction. What are the main elements of your teaching philosophy? On which aspects do you agree or disagree with me?