Teaching Social Studies Through a Social Justice Lens

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by odhinson
Last updated 6 years ago

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Teaching Social Studies Through a Social Justice Lens

Teaching Social Studies Through a Social Jusice Lens

Marilyn Monroe was an actress and an icon of beauty during the 1950s. Even today, she is still recognized as one of the most substancial licensed brand names in the world. During her era, she redefined feminism and sexuality, and gave a new perspective of beauty to men and women alike. She was an incredibly intelligent and independent woman that changed the expectations for women everywhere.

Marilyn was a strong advocate for women and feminism. She overcame adversity throughout her life, and served as a hero for many women. Using Marilyn Monroe and her life as a discussion topic about feminism and equality is a great way to integrate social justice into a lesson on women and women's rights.

During the early years of Marilyn's life, her family struggled with mental illness, poverty, and homelessness. Her broken past and her strength throughout those years is one aspect of her life that could bring a lens of socio-economic status and equality into the classroom. It would provide students with a different perspective on their world, and help them understand the importance of overcoming adversity.

These same themes of social justice can be incorperated into lessons of all sorts. Here is one example of a standard that could be used in this particular context:2.C.1.2 Recognize the key historical figures and events that are associated with various cultural traditions.

Marilyn Monroe

Using it in the Classroom

Teaching with social justice is not easy. It is important to include discussions and details that make integration easier. Allowing the students time to discuss what social justice means within their own lives and the world around them is essential for understanding. It is also important to allow an open-minded and safe environment to exist among the students during these discussions. Here is one example of a lesson that is taught through a lens of social justice:

What is Social Justice?


Teaching students about social justice is about teaching them what equality means in society. Showing them that opportunites, privilege, and wealth should be equally distributed accross the social and economic statuses, races, and cultures. Looking at social justice in as a matter of equality makes more difficult topics easier for children to grasp because of their natural tendencies towards empathy.

When teaching a lesson in social studies, it is essential that every teacher knows how to do so with a lens of social justice. Educators shape the views of the world that their students will carry with them for the rest of their lives.


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