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The R a i n b o w Connection: Writing and Social Justice

The R a i n b o w Connection: Writing and Social Justice

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The R a i n b o w Connection: Writing and Social Justice

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  1. The Rainbow Connection: Writing and Social Justice Stephanie Werkema SNWP Summer 2012 University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  2. Purpose and Research Methods This study’s purpose is to capture a composite of a school day in the life of LGBTQ teens and their allies at a large public high school in the Southwest. Research methods used: • Passive participation observations at two Friday night Boy’s Varsity Basketball games • Written field notes • Photography • Focus group interviews • Video recordings

  3. Focus Group Interview GSA Profile: • 15 students • Three Upper-Classmen, twelve Freshmen • A Lesbian couple, two bi-curious males, a bi-sexual female, a heterosexual couple, a heterosexual female • Other students did not divulge their sexual orientation

  4. Three domains were identified 1. Harassment/bullying of LGBTQ students from peers and persons in authority positions 2. Coping mechanisms LGBTQ students have developed for dealing with harassment 3. Lack of a supportive and inclusive curriculum that encourages a safer and more accepting classroom and social experience

  5. The Rainbow Connection: Writing and Social Justice Stephanie Werkema SNWP Summer 2012 University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  6. What is the role of the school?

  7. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within . . . A little community, saturating him with the instruments of effective self direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely, and harmonious. -John Dewey Dewey, J. (1959). Dewey on education. Selections, ed. M.S. Dworkin. New York: Teachers College Press.

  8. What is writing for social justice?

  9. To support more socially engaged and critical writing, teachers need to reframe the ways they direct their students’ attention to the outside world-times when someone is treated unfairly, when someone abuses power, when the writer realizes that others live differently, times when the writer feels anger, pity, compassion, sympathy, when s/he has an idea tomake the world a better place. -Randy and Katherine Bomer Bomer, K., and Bomer, R. (2001). For a better world: reading and writing for social action. Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann. Pg 113.

  10. We want students to view their writing as more than exercises for learning to write, as more than obedience to instruction, but rather as a unique form of social action.-Randy Bomer Bomer, Randy, Writing to Think Critically: The Seeds of Social Action. Voices from the Middle 6.4 (May 1999): 2-8.

  11. Paulo Freire: Brazilian educator and and theorist of critical pedagogy. Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968)Henry Giroux: Founding theorist of critical pedagogy. On Critical Pedagogy. (2011)Education and the Crisis of Public Values. (2012) Progressive/Critical Theorists

  12. Writing for social justice involves first identifying those issues and problems that call for action. To read and write critically, one needs to pay attention to concepts that, although they are present in everyday life, usually go unexamined in most communities. These details, although socially constructed, are taken as natural.

  13. Unpack your backpack Diversity Adapted from: Nicole Sieben and LaraineWallowitz. (2009). Watch what you teach. A first-year teacher refuses to play it safe. English Journal 98.4, 44-49

  14. We value diversity in America We value sexual diversity in America We provide options for sexual diversity in America

  15. Target: a person who is the target of injustice Ally: people who stand up for someone when they face injustice Perpetrator: person who commits the act of injustice Bystander: person who observes the act of injustice, but who does nothing to intervene

  16. 72.4% of LGBTQ students hear homophobic language, such as faggot or dyke90.2% hear the word gay used in a negative way frequently at school. 40.1% reported physical harassment 12.5% reported physical assault because of their gender expression. GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey.

  17. “What happened was, there was this big senior guy, and, and, on this particular day he was in a suit, and the one thing that intimidates me is a big tall guy in a suit. And he just walked up to me and he just started playing 20 questions and I was like “Dude, have you ever seen a gay guy before that was not in a Hollywood movie?” He was like, “No.” I was just like “Dude, you have a lot to learn. Just shut up, o.k.” Instead, he punched me in the gut. I was winded for like probably a good minute. And, I was just, down, trying to get my breath. I was like, OK, note to self, do not be sarcastic with big guy in suit.” (GSA Student)

  18. Interior Monologue: the act of considering how a person might experience a situation develops a habit of mind Adapted from: Bigelow, B. and Christensen, L. (2007). Promoting social imagination through interior monologues. Rethinking our classrooms: Teaching for equity and social justice. Vol. 1. Au, W. (Ed). Milwaulkee, WI. Rethinking Schools

  19. Role Play allows students to connect with and critique their positions while practicing behaviors to combat injustice.

  20. Thank you!