Social Justice Day 2012

January 30, 2012

On Wednesday, January 25, the Faculty hosted an evening panel discussion, entitled “Teaching Out! Teachers, Students and Allies Address Queer Issues in Education." Panel members included Jensen Caughlin (Elementary teacher in the Thames Valley District School Board [SB]), Frieda Meyer (Elementary teacher in the York District SB), Michelle Boyce (parent and trans community activist), Robert Kline (Secondary Teacher in the Waterloo District SB). Students Alex Tremlbay and Zaid Al-Atawneh also spoke as student allies involved in Banting’s Gay-Straight Alliance. The event was organized by Pam Malins and Alicia Lapointe, both second year Masters students in the Faculty of Education. Malins described the evening event as emotional, but one that also offered hope for social change through education, reflection, and action. “Teacher candidates who shared in the evening had the opportunity to reflect on their role as facilitators of inclusive classroom discussion, allies for LGBTQ students, and supporters of social justice and the call for action.”

To a full house in the Community Room in the afternoon on Thursday, January 26, Kaufman gave a lively reading and presentation based on his new book, The Guy’s Guide to Feminism (co-authored with Michael Kimmel). Kaufman's presentation was made possible by the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children and the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science.

On Friday, January 27, Michael Kaufman delivered to teacher candidates a more serious, heartfelt exploration of gender roles and gender bias. Following, Zubeda Vahed, from the Ministry of Education, gave an inspiring presentation on Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy. Both speakers shared personal stories and encouraged teacher candidates to view social justice an opportunity to for learning and as an idea of benefit to everyone. “I enjoyed Vahed’s lecture so much,” Aruba Mahmud, Med student remarked after the keynote lectures. “I have been working with the EIES documents in my research, but she really brought them to life.”

Later in the day students attended workshops in which they received instruction on issues related to diversity, inclusiveness, and equity in education. Many of the workshops also involved hands-on activities. In the workshop “Make Your Mark,” facilitated by Beatrix Bocazar, students designed bright, colourful community kites based on key words and messages associated with social justice. This artwork will be hung in the cafeteria near the end of the semester. An art exhibition and a social justice display in the library were also available for viewing throughout the day.