Did you know that today, 20 February is the U.N. World Day of Social Justice?
Social justice is the view that everyone deserves to enjoy the same economic, political and social rights, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender or other characteristics. Learning about Social Justice in the classroom is crucial to prepare you to become responsible global citizens in the 21st century.
Try out some of these great activities for different grade levels to help you think about human rights and our responsibility to take care of each other.
Do you think we all enjoy Social Justice in Samoa? Write and tell us why or why not.
Years 3+: Give a banana to each student and ask them to “get to know” their bananas. Have them look for any identifying marks, shape, brightness of the banana, etc. Then, take the bananas, put them in a basket and have the students find their banana.
Students should not have trouble with this. The next day, peel the bananas and have the students attempt to find their bananas again in the basket. This will teach them that although we look different on the outside, we are the same on the inside.
Years 3+: Place students in pairs and have them observe and interview each other. Have students list their differences as well as similarities. See if these attributes are external or internal, and discuss this with the class. Students should leave the activity realizing that it’s important to respect and celebrate human differences.
Draw a picture
Years 2+: Gender stereotyping is common in the workplace and in society. Have students draw pictures that represent different professions, such as construction worker or teacher. Collect the drawings and add up how many men or women were represented in each drawing. Use the data to discuss how gender roles and societal expectations impact individuals’ employment opportunities.
Years 1+: In this activity, students will be learn to encourage others. Have kids offer “put-ups” rather “put-downs” about classmates. This way, students will recognize the value of kindness and affirming what is good about each individual.
That’s not fair!
Years 3+: This activity demonstrates the impact of educational disparities. Give one half of the classroom nice construction paper and well-working scissors and the other half notebook paper and pairs of old scissors. Ask students to create paper dolls. Then, switch the resources and display the artwork. Students will see how low-quality resources and high-quality resources can affect student achievement.
The Assertion Jar
Years 5+: Have students write and then place their assertions in a jar and pull one out each day to use as a daily activity eg:
‘The sky is blue’,
‘You never get cold in Samoa’,
‘Older people know everything’
‘All Samoans are good at rugby’
Students can practice refutation skills and learn how it is common to disagree with others, but it must be done in a respectful, civil way.
Can girls be plumbers?
Years 2+: Teach about gender stereotypes, roles and career choices. Provide photos of both men and women and a list of different jobs. Have kids use the photographs to create a display with the photos on one side and the corresponding jobs on the other. See what the students match up, and then discuss.