Presenter Information

Christina L. McElwee

Abstract

Social justice issues are systemic problems of inequity that must be dealt with in a systemic way if they are to be resolved; it is my belief that resolution will come through the development of young children via trained preservice teachers, equipped to teach about empathy and inequity while celebrating diversity. If children, ages preschool to fourth grade, become aware of injustices surrounding social justice conflicts, the likelihood of social change occurring increases because of children’s exposure to issues of injustice. Preservice teachers and their future students must cultivate outlooks celebrating diversity and nurturing empathy, self-awareness, critical thinking, and creative problem solving to grapple with these issues. Findings include similarities in the learning pathways of both preservice teachers and their students as they develop their own worldview and an engagement with social justice issues, and the ease with which social justice topics and conversations can be infused into PreK-4 curriculum.

School

School of Education

Advisor

Denise Galluci

Submission Type

Paper

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Apr 6th, 12:00 AM Apr 6th, 12:00 AM

Systemic Solutions to Systemic Problems of Injustice: Exploring Empathy and Self-Awareness in Preservice Teacher Training and the Preschool to Fourth Grade Classroom

Social justice issues are systemic problems of inequity that must be dealt with in a systemic way if they are to be resolved; it is my belief that resolution will come through the development of young children via trained preservice teachers, equipped to teach about empathy and inequity while celebrating diversity. If children, ages preschool to fourth grade, become aware of injustices surrounding social justice conflicts, the likelihood of social change occurring increases because of children’s exposure to issues of injustice. Preservice teachers and their future students must cultivate outlooks celebrating diversity and nurturing empathy, self-awareness, critical thinking, and creative problem solving to grapple with these issues. Findings include similarities in the learning pathways of both preservice teachers and their students as they develop their own worldview and an engagement with social justice issues, and the ease with which social justice topics and conversations can be infused into PreK-4 curriculum.