“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.” – The Dalai Lama
This debate was by far the most emotional one for me, considering what is happening in the world at the present moment. People are moved to act, to fight the injustices of our world. But, how that related back to the classroom is such a complex issue which was highlighted by both sides of the topic: Educators have a responsibility to use social media and technology to promote social justice. This topic was far different than any of the other six we had and I believe comes with more long term impacts.
Michala and Brad were quick to point out that there is tremendous risk when it comes to dealing with social justice in the classroom, and that adding technology increases that risk further. I was shocked to hear that when Brad did a recycling project within his classroom I was disheartened to hear that he received backlash from others. However, I recognize that regardless of the opinions of others those students underwent meaningful learning that cannot be taken away. I believe that it probably taught them a valuable lesson about the fact that when it comes to doing what it is right a person cannot be worried about what other people think.
I find this topic of social justice in the classroom completely foreign to me due to my own experience growing up in China where the idea of social justice is ultimately non-existent. In fact, the voices of people are repressed and any opinions put on social media would be immediately censored and taken down. The fact that it is even possible to create a forum to teach social justice within the classroom environment is phenomenal to me and I think that it will create much more critical thinkers and citizens who will challenge the actions of others in order to work for justice. However, it is important to note that children are very vulnerable and can be at risk of easily being swayed by the opinions of others. Educators need to remain neutral and allow students to create their own opinions. My hope is that educators can give their students a voice in order to be meaningful advocates in their own lives.