For our learning experience, our group was assigned to read pages 74-93 in “The New Teacher Book.” This section talked about what is taught and what might not be taught in a school’s curriculum. Throughout the chapter, we were exposed to the lack of discussion in one particular classroom about major issues and events in our country’s history including slavery and racism. Our learning circle chose to put an emphasis on social justice and how it can be brought into a classroom by a teacher. We believe that being a social justice teacher is important in all students’ learning. Even if the topics of slavery and racism are not in the curriculum or in the required textbook, teachers should take the time to implement those topics into the students learning, especially if the students are interested. They are awful but important occurrences that happened in our country’s history and students need to learn about them. All students deserve to know the full truth about our history, not just the good parts.
The design of our learning experience included a google slides presentation that we shared with the class. We knew that getting the class engaged was our first priority, so we shared with the class four questions and a couple of meaningful quotes. Our classmates were given sticky notes to write down their answers to our questions and then we had them discuss with the entire class. For the quotes, we had our classmates discuss what they thought about the quotes in small groups. This was a great way for them to get the most out of the material we were teaching and kept them engaged throughout the entire presentation.
Each of us in the learning circle chose a specific section to focus on and present to the class. My part was The Presidents and the People They Enslaved. This part of the book was directly correlated to our overall topic, social injustice in school’s curriculum. As mentioned in the book, the 5th grade students were upset at the fact their textbooks did not give any information on some of the presidents being slave owners. The teacher saw how this made them feel and could tell they were intrigued to learn about it. The teacher allowed them to complete their own research on the topic. I believe this is a great thing to do as a teacher. He understood that this was a controversial yet important topic in our country’s history that sparked interest in the students. He felt it was necessary for his students to learn the full truth behind the presidents, so he found time and made sure to become a social justice leader. As future teachers, this is something we can look at and potentially apply to ourselves and how we teach our students.
The New Teacher Book talked about how there are multiple ways for a teacher and students to become more educated on a topic, in this case the topic was social justice. If the curriculum in the school and given textbooks are ignoring important parts about our history, teachers and students have the ability to learn what they wish through historical societies, museums, libraries, and the internet which has plenty of databases and free online resources. All of these resources are extremely beneficial to one’s learning and we saw in the book that the fifth-grade students used external resources to their advantage and became more knowledgeable about the topic they were hoping to learn about.
below is a link to my group’s presentation: