ERIC Number: EJ914955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Reference Count: 32
Building Hope, Giving Affirmation: Learning Communities That Address Social Justice Issues Bring Equity to the Classroom
Hirsh, Stephanie; Hord, Shirley M.
Journal of Staff Development, v31 n4 p10-12, 14, 16-17 Aug 2010
A school that ensures that all students--regardless of race, creed, color, socioeconomic status, gender, or disabilities--have access to and receive the highest-quality education has achieved a key measure of social justice. Since the most significant factor in whether students learn well is quality teaching, and teaching is enhanced through continuous professional development, the link between social justice and professional learning is undeniable. Teachers cannot promote social justice if they do not have the knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes necessary to ensure success for all students. Principals cannot lead a school committed to social justice if they do not believe in social justice and promote a vision for advancing it in a high-performing school, with the knowledge of how to prioritize resources and support the needs of faculty. The community of professional learners is a self-organizing entity, characterized by democratic participation of all members, teachers, and administrators. This participation promotes sharing power, authority, and decision making, one of the research-based components of the professional learning community. This is not the typical positional leader's behavior, but it is foundational to the professional learning community and to a community committed to social justice. In terms of achieving social justice, sharing power, authority, and decision making allows for all voices to be expressed--and counted--creating a place to initiate equity. The authors believe that the culture created by a community of professional learners can nurture social justice and directly contribute to social justice for students and staff of the school. A school organized to support schoolwide as well as team-based professional learning offers a powerful setting for social justice to grow, develop, and impact the school's citizens.
Descriptors: Social Justice, Educational Quality, Educational Change, Participative Decision Making, Organizational Culture, Discourse Communities, Learning Processes, Change Strategies, Organizational Change, Context Effect, Organizational Climate, Educational Improvement, Faculty Development, Equal Education
Learning Forward. 504 South Locust Street, Oxford, OH 45056. Tel: 513-523-6029; Fax: 513-523-0638; e-mail: NSDCoffice@nsdc.org; Web site: http://www.learningforward.org/news/jsd/index.cfm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A