The application of social justice education in teaching and learning can develop students to possess a greater critical consciousness, a sense of awareness about inequality and the need for justice (Freire, 1970; Pitner and Sakamoto, 2005). A perspective of social justice can offer a citizenship angle in helping students to understand and analyse the current social issues both locally and in the global, such as ethnic justice, food justice and environmental justice.
Based on these premises, the author designed a teaching development project which aims at implementing social justice education curriculum and teaching materials for undergraduate curriculum, and using such curriculum materials to teach two undergraduate courses. The teaching methods include developing students’ critical consciousness (Pitner and Sakamoto, 2005) by clarifying several important social justice concepts and recognising injustice issues in the society, problem-solving learning activities, and experiential learning for a site visit to an ethnic minority community, which aims at enhancing students’ understandings and application of concepts in social justice. In particular, this project adopted problem-posing education (Freire, 1970), emphasising that teachers create an environment of hope, love and trust, encourage learners to act as critical co-investigators, and be involved in teacher-student dialogues.
The pre-and-post quantitative evaluation utilizes both Course Satisfaction Measures (Moely et al., 2002) and the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy of Wang et al. (2003) in measuring students’ understandings of and interest in social justice, ability to apply the concepts, and assessing their ethno-cultural empathetic attitude. The quantitative evaluation reveals that students can develop critical consciousness on injustice, and they develop positive attitudes of empathy towards ethnic minorities. The qualitative focus group interviews with the students found that they were impressed by the teaching and application of social justice concepts, having positive views of ethnic minorities, and that they were stimulated to reflect upon social issues through the dialogues with ethnic minorities during experiential learning. The student interviewees made suggestions for the teaching improvements, e.g., expanding lecture time to achieve greater depth, a broader context (e.g., collaboration with different learning stages), inviting practitioners (e.g., NGO staff) to share practical experience and organising experiential activities (e.g., site visits). That is largely consistent with the previous research and contributes to social justice education research on exploring classroom-based and experiential learning approaches (e.g. Adams 2016).
The remarkable impacts on student learning by combining lectures, experiential learning experience, and reflection suggest a possible need for a review of undergraduate foundational curriculum. Copyright © 2020 Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL) Early Career Researchers Conference.
Chong, E. K.-M. (2020, June). Enhancing student global learning through social justice education: Conceptual clarification, learning and teaching methods. Paper presented at the Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL) Early Career Researchers Conference 2020, University of Oulu, Finland. https://www.oulu.fi/edu/angel-conference2020
- Social justice education
- Social issues
- Undergraduate curriculum
- Hong Kong
- TDG project code: T0186
- Period: TDG 2016-2017
- Teaching Development Grant (TDG)
- Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Output