While I always saw and acknowledged injustice in the world, not until I became a classroom teacher did I begin to truly see and feel the inequalities of our society firsthand. Although I was equipped with tools that every teacher coming out of a teacher education program has in his/her tool belt, they seemed useless in the public school classroom in which I was teaching. I felt I needed more than lesson plans, a grade book, and chalk. I needed to change my pedagogy, my relationship to students, and my curriculum. I also knew that just teaching to the test or out of the textbook was not enough to change the system for future generations. My coursework at the School for International Training challenged me to not only understand why the inequalities in our classrooms or training spaces exist, but what I could do as an educator and trainer to eliminate them.

The process of examining my practice through a Social Justice and Intercultural Communication framework, as well as through a training lens, allowed me to see areas of growth as well as areas in need of more exploration. In this Course Linked Capstone, entitled, Social Justice and the Public School Classroom: How experiential education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and state standards work together in theory and practice, I detail my transition from a “classroom teacher with good intentions” to a “teacher/trainer for social justice.” My focus is on a seventh grade World History classroom in Oakland, California where my students graciously went on the journey right alongside me. What I discovered is that culturally appropriate teaching and learning can be an effective framework to use in planning and implementing lessons. When implemented with the frameworks and models of experiential education, social justice, and intercultural communication I can become a teacher/trainer for social justice ready to affect real change in my classroom, not only for student achievement, but for social change as well.


Education | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change