Social justice and special education: teaching prosocial behaviour through literature
When we incorporate social justice in our practice, we act upon the power that we have as teachers to make positive change. It is not an ‘add-on’ but rather an integral part of a high-quality curriculum. With the policy of inclusion, special needs students are at potential risk of bullying, and despite the implementation of school-wide anti-bullying interventions dating as far back as the early 1980s, anti-social behaviour persists. In the absence of school-wide interventions, the teaching of social responsibility increasingly lies with the classroom teacher. The project outlined in chapter 3 is a unit of study based on social justice theory for an English Language Arts Focused Literary Studies 10. The unit plan in the Appendix begins with shorter texts and culminates in a literature circle unit, the aim of which is to use stories to help build empathy and create a more caring and inclusive learning environment. It asks students to consider the guiding question: How does reading about the experience of others deepen our understanding of their lives and enrich our own?