What Does Social Justice Mean to You: Critical Essay

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Social justice is meant for everyone. The concept of just and fair relationships between individuals and society is important in our everyday lives, especially in education. Students should be receiving resources and being treated fairly so that they feel safe and secure to learn. Social justice can be seen differently by individuals. Some believe social justice is equality, while others believe it is equity. Before this course, I had not paid much attention to the difference between equality and equity. Equality aims to ensure fairness to everyone by allowing everyone to do the same things in order to succeed. Equity aims to understand what individuals need and allows everyone to get what they need in order to succeed. After having taken this course and engaging in classroom fieldwork, I strongly believe social justice, especially for students with disabilities in public education, is equity. Throughout the course, we were introduced to different disabilities. Each disability discussed was presented with ways that allowed the student with the disability to succeed in a public education alongside their typically developing peers. An example was how some students with a disability used Tobii, an eye-tracker and alternative communication device, that allowed them to communicate with their peers and participate in the classroom. Social justice is allowing students, who cannot communicate like their typically developing peers, to have the resources, such as Tobii, that they need in order to succeed.

An important form of social justice for students with disabilities in an inclusive setting is an IEP (individualized education plan). An IEP provides reasonable learning goals for the student and states the services that the school must provide for the child. Services may include therapeutic recreation, language services, physical therapy, assistive technology, such as a communication device, and many other services. An IEP also demonstrates social justice because it makes modifications to the programs for students with disabilities.

As a future educator, I want to ensure that all my students have the resources they need in order to succeed. As I continue with my field experience, I have already been exposed to ways in which social justice can be promoted in an inclusive classroom setting for students with disabilities. I am currently working with a student who is blind. I noticed that her handouts are translated into braille. This allows the student to have the materials and resources she needs in order to succeed in her class. I know that this is equity and not equality. If it were equality, she would be given the same handouts as her classmates, and it would not allow her to fully succeed because it would not be of any use to her. I also noticed that this student has the opportunity to have handouts and assignments read to her. The teacher does a good job of making sure that this student has social justice by giving her material that is hands-on. She will occasionally work in groups with her typically developing peers, however, while all her peers get the same material, her material will differ.

In order to promote social justice in my classroom I will make sure that all students’ needs are being met by implanting a strategic plan. It is my responsibility to ensure that my teaching is effective for all students and that all students have the materials, and resources they need to succeed. Social justice in a classroom is having high expectations for all students and, instead of lowering my expectations for students with disabilities, I should give them the materials and help they need in order to succeed. I will also seek help from others in order to educate myself and allow students to receive the best education possible.

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As a future educator, I believe it is important to promote collaboration and cooperation between myself, other teachers, related service providers, and parents/guardians in order to promote social injustice for students with disabilities. It is important to collaborate with other teachers to ensure that we are on the same page. I feel it will be best to collaborate with the student’s previous teacher at the beginning of the year to ensure that the student has a smooth and easy transition to a new classroom. I could talk to the previous teacher and learn about how the child learned best and what did not work out for the child. This will allow me to get to know the child and their needs. I can also talk to the teacher of the child the following year after me. I can give the teacher examples of what kind of material and services the student needs and how they learn best. By having teachers of the student communicate and work with each other we can ensure that the student has a smooth transition throughout their academic years and that they are receiving the best form of education. I can also collaborate with other teachers to learn and share about teaching strategies, assessment strategies, behavior management strategies, and advice on curriculum modifications. If I am aware of a strategy that works well with a student I can advise other teachers and hope it helps them. I can also seek strategies from other teachers that have worked with students with disabilities and hope that they will help me in my classroom. I can also collaborate with teachers for moral support.

Collaboration between myself and related service providers is also important. As a future educator, I need to be aware of all the resources I have in order to better help my teaching for all my students. Every person involved in the education of a child should be collaborating to help the child receive the best services and education. As a teacher, I could ask the school or the parents, if appropriate and acceptable, for the contact information of the service providers that the child may have. I can also reach out to other service providers, as well as update current service providers throughout the academic year in consideration of the child’s performance and goals.

I believe communication between parents/guardians of children with disabilities is important because parents are the ones who know the strengths of the child the most. I can collaborate with parents to understand the child’s strengths and limitations. I can have face-to-face meetings with the parents/ guardians to discuss how the child is performing in the classroom. I can also seek help and advice from parents/ guardians to better understand the child. In class we discussed IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which promotes collaboration between the school and families. IDEA allows families to have a voice in their child’s education. Teachers should also promote families to have a voice in their child’s education. As a future educator, it is my responsibility to collaborate with families to teach them and explain to them their child’s education plan, and what I and the school believe is best for them. I can also collaborate with parents to teach them and inform them in ways that they can advocate for their children with disabilities. I am aware that not many families are well educated in the disability of their child, as a future educator and member of society, it is my responsibility to educate families about the disability and how they can help their child.

As a future educator, I am aware that I will be introduced to students with disabilities in my classroom and that I must seek out collaboration with teachers, related service providers, and parents and guardians. Working as a team is essential to ensure the success of the child. Each individual involved in the child’s education has their own area of expertise. Collaborating together will allow everyone to better help the child and understand concepts through different perspectives. Communication is important to maintain between all individuals working with a child with disabilities to discuss the child’s progress, success, and limitations in order to ensure that the same high expectations are held for the child regardless of the setting. I will also make sure that all students are aware that they have social rights and the right to free appropriate public education. I have seen that there are some students in classrooms that have not been treated with social justice and are unaware that their rights are being violated because they have not been shown or taught better. Many students, especially students with disabilities, have experienced neglect. After having taken this course I understand that every student is different and in order to promote social justice in my classroom, I need to understand the student’s needs, strengths, and challenges to promote and advocate for their social justice.

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What Does Social Justice Mean to You: Critical Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/what-does-social-justice-mean-to-you-critical-essay/
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