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Teaching and Justice

The Reinert Center’s 2018-2019 theme is Teaching and Justice. We will feature programming and resources that primarily address two ways of interpreting the theme: teaching about justice and teaching as justice. Throughout the academic year, we will share concrete, evidence-based strategies for creating socially just learning environments, and we’ll invite SLU colleagues to share their own approaches to incorporating justice into their courses.

For our purposes this year, we will approach “justice” in teaching as a matter of both content (what we teach) and practice (how we teach). Each month, we’ll highlight a different aspect of Teaching and Justice (see below). Threaded throughout will be attention to Ignatian pedagogy and online courses. By highlighting different ways to bring a justice lens to teaching, we hope SLU educators will find new ways to bring their commitments to justice into their teaching.

As the year unfolds, we’ll host events and share web-based resources on the topics below. When new material is available, it will be linked from this page, under the relevant subtopic. SLU faculty and graduate students who wish to write a theme-related post for our weekly blog, The Notebook, are encouraged to contact us.

[August] Who Our Students Are and Assumptions We Make

Some guiding questions for this month include: Who are our students? What assumptions do we make about them? How do these assumptions inform our courses and our teaching practices?

[September] Ability and Accessibility

Some guiding questions for this month include: Which abilities are we privileging in our course design and instruction choices? How accessible are our courses? How can we ensure a just course design for students who may experience cognitive or physical disabilities?

[October] Classroom Practices
Some guiding questions for this month include: How can we create just classrooms and learning experiences? How might our classroom practices contribute to the justice or injustice within our classrooms? In what ways does our teaching privilege certain learners or identities over others?
[November] Course Content and Curriculum

Some guiding questions for this month include: How do/might concepts of justice and injustice inform the focus of our courses? Where are there opportunities for content that centers themes of justice and injustice in our courses? What if we teach courses that don’t seem to readily lend themselves to concepts of justice and injustice?

[January] Technology
Some guiding questions for this month include: What is the relationship between technology and justice in teaching? In what ways can technology contribute to or undermine the commitment to a just learning environment? What kinds of justice-focused considerations need to be made when reflecting on the place of technology in teaching?
[February] Experiential Learning

Some guiding questions for this month include: How do we incorporate experiential learning opportunities that focus on -- and/or promote -- justice in our courses? What, if any, are the equity implications of requiring students to engage in experiential learning?

[March] Assessment

Some guiding questions for this month include: What would be a just approach to assessment? What kinds of assignments promote students’ understanding of justice? Are there unjust or inequitable approaches to assessment? In what ways do/might our assessments privilege certain kinds of students over others? In what ways might our assessments exclude certain identities?

[April] Mentoring
Some guiding questions for this month include: How can we bring a justice mindset to mentoring? How do we ensure equitable access to quality mentoring experiences for all students? Are some models for mentorship more just than others?