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ERIC Number: ED525134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 233
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-8645-9
We All Make a Difference: Social Justice Education through Service-Learning and Critical Literacy
Henderson, Michelle Allison
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
The purpose of this research was to study the development, implementation, assessment, and revision of an integrated social justice curriculum with the goal of providing an understanding of the elements which supported and hindered social justice education from the perspective of an elementary school teacher. The research procedures used in this study involved ethnographical methods of data collection through classroom observation of a teacher and her first, second, and third grade students, as well as interviews and document analysis. During this case study a social justice curriculum was developed which included service-learning and critical literacy lessons for the primary grades. For the service-learning lessons, the students created decorations, bowls, and a compact disk of songs to contribute to an annual benefit for the local food bank. For the critical literacy lessons, students learned about local hunger issues through direct instruction and student-led research. Based on what they learned, they wrote songs, poems, letters, and reports. This research resulted in an analysis of the elements of the social justice curriculum and the factors that supported and hindered social justice education for a primary teacher. The main elements of the social justice curriculum developed during this study were democratic educational practices, thematic integration, community connections, service-learning, and critical literacy. The factors which facilitated social justice education in this study were administrative support, developmentally appropriate practice, teacher priorities, and resources in the form of grant money and volunteers. The factors which hindered social justice education in this study were the teacher's lack of time, autonomy, and efficacy due to the constraints of high-stakes testing under No Child Left Behind. Implications of the study are examined and include the importance of exemplary teaching, the opportunity costs of high stakes testing, and the need for civic engagement. The concluding discussion argues for inclusion of social justice education in the primary grades to prepare students for effective participation in a democratic society. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A