What happens when youth and teachers work together to address social injustices through reading, writing, and art-making?
The Addressing Injustices project explores that question.
Increasing literacy achievement for adolescents is one of the core priorities of the Ontario Ministry of Education. We understand that literacy education not only involves teaching reading and writing, but should also engage students in broader social issues. We believe that when students are invited to collaborate with and work alongside teachers, community members, teacher educators, and researchers, they become motivated engage in the world around them in creative and critical ways.
Funded by The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Addressing Injustices is a five-year research project that involves innovative collaboration between youth and educators in designing literacy curriculum that is social justice-oriented.
Addressing Injustices aims to:
1. engage the principles of critical practitioner research and youth participatory action research;
2. draw equally on knowledge from students, teachers, community members, and researchers who collaborate to develop a critical literacy curriculum that is social justice oriented; and
3. effect change in and beyond schools.
The goals of Addressing Injustices are to expand and improve student literacy engagement, and to increase opportunities for students and teachers to understand curriculum as a vehicle for change. During the course of this project, Addressing Injustices will involve 80-100 teacher candidates from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE, University of Toronto, Canada), and 150 students from an intermediate Toronto public school, Delta Alternative Senior School, in co-creating curriculum to accompany five young adult novels that explore issues of identity, culture, and power.
“If I don’t do risky work in my teaching, I’m not interested in teaching.” — Sarah Evis, research partner and teacher at Delta Alternative Senior School
“We see risk as fundamentally intertwined with our pedagogical approach. When we take up challenging subjects, and do so without predetermined goals in mind, there is always the possibility of classrooms falling apart in some way. That sense of risk is what signals the value of the work, and that we trust the people in the room.” — Ben Gallagher, research team member and PhD candidate at OISE, University of Toronto
illustration credit - benjamin lee hicks