Top Ten Strategies to Integrate Social Justice into the Classroom

Category: General Teaching Practices

  1. Include in the syllabus guidelines for respectful interaction among everyone and model that respect.
  2. In the first few sessions, take time to solicit from students what they perceive as justice or equity issues related to the subject of the course and invite them to identify which ones are the most urgent. Use this information to develop subsequent lessons and student assignments.
  3. Create community service components as requirements for the class, and ensure that reflection on experience is a critical part of the assignment.
  4. Compare and contrast notions of justice historically and geopolitically.
  5. Investigate and discuss those agencies or government offices that hold responsibility for ensuring justice is administered in business and society; examine and evaluate the effectiveness and limitations of their work. Focus on those entities that relate most directly to the concerns initially identified in class.
  6. Profile biographies of individuals who have exemplified social justice, trace the development of their concerns and efforts to advance justice, identify any obstacles they faced. Examine the implications of these lives for students today.
  7. Construct a visual representation or graphic organizer that identifies the shared beliefs about justice expressed by various cultures.
  8. Create profiles of local, state and nationally elected leaders and identify their positions on social justice and equity issues.
  9. Invite local leaders and advocates into class to address social justice from their perspective and experience, or attend a session of the local assembly or city council and conduct a content analysis of social concerns and the leadership's response to them.
  10. Acquaint yourself with current research on controversial issues in your field, and articulate how these relate to equity, democratic principles and social justice.

Additional Resources for Integrating Social Justice in the Classroom