Often times teachers experience difficulties trying to find a middle ground between effectively teaching content of the teacher’s interests and adequately covering the material as required in the curriculum. For me, it is in my interests as a professional educator to foster critical, autonomous thinking within students. Therefore, I try to intergrate issues of global and social justice within the curriculum. Through this, students begin to think of learned content in relation to global issues, thus being able to digest raw facts and abstract opinions to formulate their own, autonomous understanding of the world.
The following activity demonstrates how I plan to provide an enjoyable, engaging learning experience while sufficiently covering professional competencies:The lesson activity will address the issue of international workers’ rights. To become acquainted with this social issue, students will first participate in an interactive activity. This introductory mini-lesson will be conducted in an inductive style, where students will receive the opportunity to engage in specific activities conducive to fostering an understanding of workers’ rights. To get students started, I will ask students the question: “where did you get your shirt from?” After students respond to the question by naming store and brand names, I will then ask the follow-up question: “where is your shirt from?” By asking broad questions as such, I will provide an environment for students to engage in discussions among themselves, allowing students to critically think about the questions collectively. Effectively, I am providing an all-inclusive environment where children do not feel intimidated to voice opinions and engage. Furthermore, by bringing an abstract idea into a familiar environment, students realize that this social issue holds explicit implications to their realities, thus opening a critical perspective on the world. To put the activity into play, I will have students to check the tags of the shirts they are wearing to class. From this, students will note from which countries are the students’ shirts manufactured in and will tally up the number of countries from most to least frequent. The result will be a list of countries tallied up and listed on the board for students to choose to briefly research on. This ends the introductory activity and will seamlessly transition students into the main body of the lesson, from a concrete situation to an abstract idea. Once every student is assigned a particular country, students will then be taken to the library to research upon the area’s working conditions along with the economic, environmental, and social factors constructing a particular society or enterprise. With this research, students will have attained a basic platform towards understanding workers’ rights in the global scheme. With this accomplished, students will then engage in the final component of the lesson plan – developing a creative medium informative of workers’ rights through the perspective of a worker in a developing country. Capable students will write this assignment in the form of a journal entry in the perspective of a labourer, while students with special needs will be allowed to create a comic with focus on the textual component of the comic. Throughout the research portions of these lessons, the teacher would stand independent from the process, only assisting or providing feedback to students when needed. Of course, during sessions of debate or discussion, the teacher would facilitate the lesson by asking questions to prompt discussions. At the end of this project, students’ final journal entries/comics would naturally reflect subject-specific competencies “Reading” and “Production”, along with cross-curricular competencies 3 and 4 – “Exercising critical judgement” and “Using Creativity”.
It is my personal pedagogy that reinforces an explicit addressal of social justice throughout my teaching practices. In an era where student attention is becoming increasingly rare, providing an engaging learning experience while covering sufficient content can be difficult. Through this lesson plan, I am providing a means for eduactors to creatively interact with students while still delivering solid instructional content as required per curriculum.