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Teaching Social Justice...

Well, like I said earlier, I'm trying out a Trading Trainers game at school with my senior Ethics class. It's a market strategy game, I guess, a group game, where you have a leader, a Peruvian market, a money-lender, some cost-of-living collectors and some Peruvian families. The families have to make shoes (cut out soles from a template and mark them with a brand - different brands will earn different prices at the market), and sell these at the 'market'. They get paid, but must buy more leather (paper) and scissors and stuff as they can afford it, as well as pay cost of living to the collector (or a member of the family 'dies of malnutrition'). Every five minutes is another week of their lives, and inflation rises every week, with the ring of a bell. The girls spent today preparing the game and are really looking forward to playing it! They left all excited about it!

The message they will hopefully learn is: how hard it is to get out of the poverty cycle, why the poor sometimes stay poor, no matter how hard they work. I hope that the girls learn this, so that as we study part of social justice that asks us to care for the poor, the needy, the marginalised, the girls will realise that that exists for a reason. These people are trapped and need our help and can't all 'save themselves' in some economies. So part of our commitment to justice includes that help for the poor.

In other news... well, teaching is fun. Hard work, but fun. All of my year 11s passed their assessment today, so that made me feel happy. We're starting a new topic on the Holy Spirit at work in the world. My year 10s are starting a campaign to get recycling going in the school, as part of our 'nurture nature' stewards of creation theme this term! I have three new pupils this term too, so there are new names to learn and routines to be explained. And one speaks no English! Nothing new to me, huh!

And the world keeps turning.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
vivh
Jul. 24th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
Your game sounds fun! I think it's great if you can have fun and learn really important lessons at the same time... And that is a really important lesson... people aren't poor because they are lazy or don't try, (some may be, but there are lazy rich people too) but the system often makes it so hard for people to change their circumstances.

I remember playing a similar game in my teens and it made a lasting impact on me!
natesmountain
Jul. 24th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
-I remember playing a similar game in my teens and it made a lasting impact on me!
Cool. I can only hope I make a slight dent in the comfortable circumstances many of the girls in this class live in. It's the 'advanced' class, so it tends to contain some of the more privileged, I guess, in what is a average-to-poor school.

And I do hope that most of them get into it - it's the best way to get something out of it, huh *g*
vivh
Jul. 24th, 2007 10:47 am (UTC)
I don't know that privilege has much to with how we see the world... I think my upbringing was reasonably privilged, (in world terms very much so) but I remember even as quite a small child feeling guilt that I had things easier than some of my friends and wishing I could change things, make them fairer somehow...

But yes, I hope your girls get into the game and understand the message, we only get out of anything what we put into it..*g*
natesmountain
Jul. 24th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC)
I dunno, the ones who have never suffered...

I had a good upbringing in some ways, and I was always aware of the poor, but then my father did a whole lot of charity work, so maybe I was just trained well!
moth2fic
Jul. 24th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
That sounds a really good game. We used games like that (invented some, too) to train teachers to incorporate equal ops stuff in their lesson plans, then used them again alongside them in their classrooms with the kids. Always grabbed the kids' attention and gave rise to interesting discussion. Good to hear you and your class are enjoying it!
natesmountain
Jul. 25th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
LJ seems to be playing up on me tonight. My comment got lost!

-We used games like that (invented some, too) to train teachers to incorporate equal ops stuff in their lesson plans, then used them again alongside them in their classrooms with the kids.
That does sound like a good idea. I'd like someone to come help me play this game! I feel quite nervous but the girls are confident!
moth2fic
Jul. 26th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
LJ swallowed some of my comments too. Apparently there was a power outage in Seattle.

Two adults is good for games like that - the other adult doesn't need to be someone who has played the game before. I'm not sure why it works better that way - maybe it makes it less of a 'normal' lesson.
greenpizzazz6
Jul. 24th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
That sounds like such an interesting game. It's fun to learn a lesson and have a good time with it at the same time.

The girls at your school seem very interested in the world. It seems like they notice a problem, and actually do something about it. It's impressive.
natesmountain
Jul. 25th, 2007 06:40 am (UTC)
-The girls at your school seem very interested in the world. It seems like they notice a problem, and actually do something about it. It's impressive.
I think it's very much a part of the Catholic Mercy (the nuns who founded the school and others like it) tradition of education. Christy goes to a Mercy school too. There are quite a few groups in the school who do good works, Young Vinnies, Amnesty International, Caritas... they all work for good in the community and the bigger world out there! I quite like being a part of that.
greenpizzazz6
Jul. 25th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
I quite like being a part of that
Yeah, that's a really good way for teenagers to be brought up. It's good that they are taught early how impoartant it is to help others in the world.
natesmountain
Jul. 26th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
-It's good that they are taught early how impoartant it is to help others in the world.
Absolutely. I think the whole idea of social justice means (among other things) including help for those who just can't help themselves for a variety of reasons. So it's good for the girls to get that message, that being selfish isn't rewarding in the long run and that it's part of our mission as humans to try to alleviate suffering somehow.

You're a helpful person. That's great. I'd hate to be living a life where I didn't get out there and help others.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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