What does it mean to incorporate social justice principles into my teaching?
MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY | 5 October 2020
PRESENTING BIOLOGY THROUGH A SOCIAL JUSTICE LENS IN A STORM (i.e. pandemic)
It certainly has been a challenging and rocky academic year in which I have gained many new skills including learning about new technologies and approaches to facilitate online learning. Having delivered my first lecture in person before the move to online teaching, I saw first-hand the impact that providing a social justice context can have in the classroom. Specifically, by outlining the social inequalities associated with core elements of cellular biotechnology, the students were more engaged with the topics discussed in lectures. While the emergency pivot (in response to the pandemic -THE STORM) to online teaching utilised a large proportion of my time, I nonetheless observed the inherent value there is in using a social justice lens to enhance the learning experience of my students. It was clearly evident that students were more engaged when presented with topics through a social justice lens.
THE CALM AFETR THE STORM
Over the summer (AKA the calm after the storm) I have been working with a very talented research assistant (Maeve Mulpeter) who has a Science Education background to further develop resources for teaching cellular biotechnology through a social justice lens. I also had the pleasure of having an in-depth discussion with Prof. Katayoun Chamany who is a leading academic in the teaching of Biology through a social justice framework. The openly accessible resources developed by Prof. Chamany gave us a great steer in developing tailored resources for this course.
Having developed a number of exciting resources for engagement and assessment in next year’s cellular biotechnology course, I am sure it will be plain sailing even if the pandemic is still here. I am really looking forward to implementing the new approaches and assessments.