Social Justice

What is it?

Social justice is justice exercised within a society, particularly as it is applied to and among the various social classes of a society.


Budgeting By The Numbers

What Does Social Justice Mean to YOU?
Social Justice

Top 10 Strategies to Integrate Social Justice into the Classroom

  1. Include in the syllabus guidelines for respectful interaction among everyone and model that respect.
  2. In the first few sessions, take time to solicit from students what they perceive as justice or equity issues related to the subject of the course and invite them to identify which ones are the most urgent. Use this information to develop subsequent lessons and student assignments.
  3. Create community service components as requirements for the class, and ensure that reflection on experience is a critical part of the assignment.
  4. Compare and contrast notions of justice historically and geopolitically.
  5. Investigate and discuss those agencies or government offices that hold responsibility for ensuring justice is administered in business and society; examine and evaluate the effectiveness and limitations of their work. Focus on those entities that relate most directly to the concerns initially identified in class.
  6. Profile biographies of individuals who have exemplified social justice, trace the development of their concerns and efforts to advance justice, identify any obstacles they faced. Examine the implications of these lives for students today.
  7. Construct a visual representation or graphic organizer that identifies the shared beliefs about justice expressed by various cultures.
  8. Create profiles of local, state and nationally elected leaders and identify their positions on social justice and equity issues.
  9. Invite local leaders and advocates into class to address social justice from their perspective and experience, or attend a session of the local assembly or city council and conduct a content analysis of social concerns and the leadership's response to them.
  10. Acquaint yourself with current research on controversial issues in your field, and articulate how these relate to equity, democratic principles and social justice.

Classroom Activities for Teaching Social Justice

Face to Face

Place students in pairs. Have students observe and interview each other. Students should list five things that are different and five things they share between them. The students should then consider if the differences they wrote about were physical. Ask them what they had in common. What things are most people born with? What things can people change? What things cannot be changed?

Picture Drawings

Have students draw a number of pictures based on prompts provided. Ask the students to draw a doctor, nurse, teacher, scientist, basketball player and a volleyball player. Collect the drawings and tally up how many men and women were represented in each drawing. Provide the information to the children. Ask them why they think that more men were drawn in one scenario than another? Why were women drawn in another? Can both men and women do the things they were asked to draw?

Lemon Peel

Provide a lemon to each student. Have the students observe the lemon for identifying marks and "get to know" their lemon. After a few minutes, collect all the lemons and place them in a basket. Then have the students find their lemon. Most students will not have any issue finding their lemon out of the basket. Peel the lemons while the students are not in class. Place the peeled lemons back in the basket. Ask the students to find their lemon again. This demonstrates that everyone is the same on the inside, no matter how different they may look on the outside.

This is Our House

Read the book "This is Our House" by Michael Rosen. In this book, the main character, George, does not allow girls, twins, short people or children into his home. When he goes away for a while, everyone jumps in his house and states that no red-haired people are allowed. George has red hair and his feelings are hurt. At the end, everyone allows George into the house. Discuss with the students whether they have ever been treated poorly because of the way they look. Have the children draw a picture of George and all his new friends together.

Social Justice Books