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In this unit I have learnt many concepts in relation to diverse groups, inequalities and social

injustice issues. Social justice within the education system allows all individuals despite their

life chances to receive equal opportunities in relation to education. I have learnt that there

are many stereotypes and stigma’s that teachers need to be aware of surrounding social

justice issues. These power imbalances can contribute and further lead to inequalities

amongst students from diverse backgrounds being ‘othered’. As an aspiring teacher it is

therefore essential to implement social justice perspectives within my classroom through

pedagogical practices. Teachers can be faced with challenging social situations throughout

their teaching career. Due to these challenges, it is then the teachers’ role to become active

student advocates, who are aware of the social hierarchies presented within schools and

further inside a classroom. The hierarchies that are apparent are dependent on race,

ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality in which students can be marginalised, discriminated

against and bullied as a result (Mcdonald & Zeichner, 2009).

As a teacher I personally think it is crucial to be mindful that these prejudices can occur and

will occur at some stage within the classroom and children can be treated differently and/or

unfairly by their peers or from their teachers based upon their circumstances. Further, it is

the teachers’ responsibility to provide students with knowledge in relation to compassion

and empathy in aim to promote positive perspectives and prevent discrimination from

occurring. In an educational setting, teachers are viewed as potential role models and

student mentors through their ongoing support and guidance. Teachers can leave an impact

on students’ lives inspiring them to reach their full potential. Contrastingly teachers can

cause the opposite effect, therefore need to reflect upon their own biases, deterring away

Mia Katar 17432825 Diversity, Social Justice and Teaching Personal Reflection
from making assumptions, judgements and forming opinions based on students’ life

situations (Tindell, Young, O'Rear, & Morris, 2017).

It is crucial for a teacher to meet the diverse needs of all students and cater to all types of

learners. The teacher’s role is to eliminate social binaries and minimise the reproduction of

these barriers. I strongly believe that by teachers creating a positive learning environment it

directly contributes to a students’ wellbeing through their sense of inclusion,

connectedness, belonging and sense of identity. When children feel safe, secure and

supported within their environment it is reflected through their behaviour and academic

performance. Contrastingly if the environment is unsupportive the students’ academic

performance and behaviour will replicate the negative atmosphere.

As an aspiring PDHPE teacher, Dagkas (2016) suggests that sport and physical education can

encourage social equality within the class room. PDHPE can address many broad issues in

relation to disparities surrounding racism, socioeconomic status, mental health, gender and

sexuality, identity, disability, discrimination and inclusion. It is important for me as a teacher

when approaching these sensitive topics to be aware that there is a no one size fits all

approach and each individual is unique with different life experiences and backgrounds.

Students will bring different types of capital and diverse identities into the classroom. Due

to student diverseness within the classroom, Dudziak & Profitt (2012) literature suggests

that implementing group work through pedagogy can be an effective strategy in promoting

social justice through interactions. Group work allows students to connect with each other,

listen to an array of viewpoints and perspective and become familiar with their peer’s

similarities and differences, normalising collaboration. Students enter the classroom with

already built knowledge e.g. cultural knowledge. Implementing cultural competent practices

Mia Katar 17432825 Diversity, Social Justice and Teaching Personal Reflection
and multicultural collaborations in the classroom allows students existing knowledge to be

respected and heard by all and the knowledge to further flourish and grow. A teacher

should recognise unequal opportunities presented within a school’s structure. Such

structures include distribution of resources, standardised testing and ability grouping. These

structures will privilege certain groups while disregarding others. Culturally competent

pedagogy and cultural responsive teaching is crucial in narrowing this gap. Through effective

pedagogy social justice education can be achieved by learning about students’ family

histories and acquiring cultural knowledge e.g. becoming familiar with cultures norms,

parental expectations and demonstrating an openness for understanding (Weinstein,

Curran, & Tomlinson-Clarke, 2003).

Moreover, the use of curriculum is vital for my teaching practices to address issues of equity

and diversity. The curriculum is committed to cater for diverse students by all “Australian

schools promoting equity and excellence” (ACARA, 2016). To ensure equity and excellence is

being established I will utilise the curriculum taking into account the diverse needs of

students. I will further acknowledge that these needs are dynamic and can change over

time. Current implemented policies and programs will need to undergo modifications while

my personal teaching strategies will need to be adjusted for best fit. It will be essential for

me to ensure students are engaged and interested in the learning content. Some students

may need additional support which the curriculum recognises and can be further altered by

myself in a flexible manner for my students to achieve optimal educational outcomes. A

strategy could include basing content around students interests and making content

relatable for a better understanding. Other students may need Gifted and Talented learning

which can be catered for by accelerated and differentiated programs.

Mia Katar 17432825 Diversity, Social Justice and Teaching Personal Reflection
Additionally, to cater for diverse ethnic groups with English as a second language, ESL

programs will need to be integrated within my classroom to give all students an equal

opportunity to learn to their full potential. Strategies for ESL students could include

becoming more culturally aware of language barriers and finding ways to accommodate for

these students through visual representations such as videos and personalised worksheets

displaying the relevant content through photos and images. These strategies work towards

creating equal opportunities for all students to learn.

As a PE teacher there will be many topics relating to the diverse needs of the population. In

the curriculum such topics are identified and discussed. Topics such as Gender and sexuality,

race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status will be addressed and extended upon. It will be

my duty to ensure that all opinions and viewpoints are heard and respected whether they

are agreeable or disagreeable by the majority. Through implementation of social justice

education, it can challenge oppressive social and economic structures within the classroom

creating an open environment free from judgement and prejudices. I will not tolerate

discrimination and bullying and extensive authoritative action will be taken if required.

In conclusion, bringing student inequalities to a conscious level when teaching,

implementing culturally competent teaching practices through pedagogy and modifying

curriculum will therefore allow teachers to start closing the educational gap contributing to

students’ marginalisation within an educational setting.

Mia Katar 17432825 Diversity, Social Justice and Teaching Personal Reflection
Reference List

ACARA - Student Diversity. (2016). Retrieved from

https://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/student-diversity

Dagkas, S. (2016). Problematizing Social Justice in Health Pedagogy and Youth Sport:

Intersectionality of Race, Ethnicity, and Class. Research Quarterly for Exercise and

Sport, 87(3), 221-229. doi:10.1080/02701367.2016.1198672

Dudziak, S., & Profitt, N. J. (2012). Group Work and Social Justice: Designing Pedagogy for

Social Change. Social Work With Groups, 35(3), 235-252.

doi:10.1080/01609513.2011.624370

McDonald, M., & Zeichner, K. M. (2009). 39 Social Justice Teacher Education.

Tindell, S., Young, L., & Morris, P. (2016). NACTA Journal. Social workers' perspectives on

social justice in social work education: When mainstreaming social justice masks

structural inequalities, 60(2), 158-166.

Weinstein, C., Curran, M., & Tomlinson-Clarke, S. (2003). Culturally Responsive Classroom

Management: Awareness Into Action. Theory Into Practice, 42(4), 269-276.

doi:10.1353/tip.2003.0053

Mia Katar 17432825 Diversity, Social Justice and Teaching Personal Reflection