23 SES 13 E JS, Unpacking The Many Meanings Of Justice In Education: Analyzing justice from multiple perspectives
Joint Symposium NW 07, NW23, NW 27
This paper use classroom teaching and learning as a departure for discussing ways of conceptualizing justice in education. In education, features of justice - distribution of resources, empowerment and social responsibility - are often analyzed at the macro level. Equally important, however, is the way justice is enacted at the micro level throughout actual classroom teaching and learning. In this paper are we are especially interested in analyzing student engagement and access to content (Hackman 2005) as two aspects of justice in classrooms. Drawing on video recorded lessons from Finnish and Norwegian secondary mathematics classrooms (n=64) we discuss how student engagement and access to content - as two aspects of classroom justice - provide i) different lenses to justice, ii) point to specific patterns and iii) identify cultural differences concerning how justice is enacted in these classrooms. For analyzing the two aspects of justice, we used a validated observation instrument, the Protocol for Language Art Teachers Observation (PLATO), developed by Grossman (2010). Here, student engagement is operationalized into the element Classroom Discourse (CD) capturing both opportunities for student to talk and uptake of student voices in the classroom discourse. Access to content is operationalized into the two elements Intellectual challenge (IC) and Representation of Content (ROC). Our analyses suggest that while the Norwegian classrooms score medium high on the element Classroom Discourse, scores are low on both Intellectual Challenge and Representation of Content. Finnish classrooms on the other hand point to medium to high score on Representation of Content (and partly Intellectual Challenge), while low on Classroom Discourse. These differences might capture distinct patterns in the observed classrooms suggesting for example that discursive practices and student utterances (e.g. engagement) are emphasized as critical ingredients for justice in education in the Norwegian classrooms but less so in the Helsinki classrooms. On the other hand, access to content mastery (ROC and IC) were highly emphasized in the Helsinki classrooms and with much lower scores in the Oslo classrooms. Whether this represent different values and approaches with respect to justice in Finnish versus Norwegian classrooms requires further analyses. The point we will make here, with several empirical examples, is that justice at the classroom level conveys rather different operationalization, and depending on which operationalization you privilege rather different conclusion can be drawn. Thus continuously discussing how we define and operationalize justice is critical for our findings and credibility.
Hackman, H.W. (2005). Five Essential Components for Social Justice Education. Equity & Excellence in Education, Vol 38, pp103–109. Grossman P. (2010). Protocol for Language Art Teacher Observations (PLATO), Stanford University. Version 5.0. Palo Alto: Stanford, https://cset.stanford.edu/research/plato.
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