Learning together with literacy are processes that move hand in hand and their purpose is to enhance the transformation, empowerment and creation of change in the society. Scholarship as a learning tool that is vital in imparting basic ideas that are necessary for any individual in the learning process in order to considerate on others (Comber, 2014). Therefore, any individual considered literate should exploit the opportunity to learn and appreciate personal differences that exist among different societies thus learning how to transform the society into an oasis of justice. The concept of literacy has been theoretically perceived over the past and it has impacted on the lives of people on various levels like socially, economically and even politically however it has been reevaluated and changed to serve the interest of the society over time (Comber, 2014).
Emphasis should therefore be put on critical literacy in order to instill and empower all the learners with the capability to evaluate the existing injustices in their surrounding world. This should enable them to work on the social injustices for the betterment of the society to embrace positive change for the upcoming generations (Comber, 2014). Studies have shed light to the fact that literacy is critical and necessary to instill an attitude of change in both the soul and the mind of an individual. This is the reason as to why every society is expected to have an essential level of literacy which its benefit can be speculated to the whole country in the long end. Existing studies on social justice have it that change can only be embraced by recognizing and acknowledging the injustices that exist in our minds. The act of individuals identifying crimes within themselves motivates and empowers the focus on making a difference through helping those who are powerless in the society which in the end results into a free and transparent society (Comber, 2014). Therefore, teaching through a social justice perspective should commence at an early age to enable young children to create their values and shape their actions at an old age. Even though literacy is at times taken for granted, it helps people identifying injustices in the society and motivate them to work towards making the society just.
Generally, social justice and literacy are two empowering and transformative processes which not only result into social change at an individual level but also the entire society. Literacy can be regarded as the basic act to read and write whereas social justice is better defined as the equality in sharing of wealth, benefits and even opportunities. Literacy has significantly contributed to social justice as a tool for understanding individuality together with the teaching and learning of basic skills of writing and reading. However, the idea of social justice and literacy is applicable to various social frameworks which include health and education (Gorski & Swalwell, 2015). Even though studies have shown that the lives of individuals who acquire literacy are likely to be longer the fact that is that the lives of literate individuals are likely to be deeper because literacy enhances the development of empathy and more compassion, joy and love in the society. This helps with the growth of empathy, politeness, sanctity together with political responsibility which is also vital for taking part in the social economy (Gorski & Swalwell, 2015).
Additionally, there are contemporary approaches that try to explain the vital relationship between literacy and social justice. For instance the social-cultural approach indicates the significance of a literate individual and acknowledging the value of culture and teaching within a given context therefore drawing comprehension between the individual and learning. Based on this approach, literacy can be regarded to be based on persistent positive relations, a mutual understanding of literacy goals hence connecting and making meaning with social justice. Therefore, literacy and social justice is best expressed in the light of all students having the necessary skills to evaluate, communicate, argue out and solve problems in a manner that create meaning. This implies that learners have similar access to life-changing skills to contribute to literacy teaching.
The concept of relation between literacy and social justice has resulted into the commitment of various early childhood literacy teachers to social justice because it is at the core of their work even though the diverse ways in which the concept of social justice has been used has ended up into threat situations which makes it even debatable on what early childhood social justice should look like. Children from a very tender age take in information regarding power and privilege with regards to the sexual orientation, their class, ethnic backgrounds and even the language which they preserve in their talk (Hyland, 2010).
Despite the fact that families withhold a vital responsibility in nurturing the social values of children, learning practices reinforce robust and repeated social messages in regards to what is meant to be of value or not. The penalties of the social messages conveyed in the classrooms during learning processes are vital not only for the learners but even for the society at large that is striving for social equality and justice for everyone. Therefore, it is important to note and emphasize on the fact that in early childhood literacy programs it is vital for teachers to address social injustice as well as establish equity-based academics because children come up with ideas about fairness and individual feeling of identity with the rest of the society at this early age (Hyland, 2010).
Even though literacy is regarded to be to be a natural process to several people, for an individual to be considered literate in serious context, they must have undergone some process of exposure at some point in their lives therefore; the aspect of literacy is not readily available to several people in the society in a homogenous nature. On the other hand, social justice just like literacy is a complex idea that cannot be given an easy approach as a single and articulate area. Just like language-related activities which literacy is involved with, the areas covered by the concept of social justice are interlinked and operate independently despite being related and perceived as one system. This implies that the idea of social justice as a methodology to comprehending the condition of people in society does not just perceive the solutions to social injustices but rather focuses on the expressions of the social injustices. This comprehensive and developing framework has enhanced the application of social justice to various situations.
Conversely, oftentimes some of the methodologies deployed by researchers may not be branded to promoting social justice as to such various literacy programs that have been embraced in the past have supported concerns that fall in the same rate with social justice. In respect to this, separating literacy from the concept of social justice has become difficult at levels of higher education because of the existing history of the relationship between early childhood literacy and social justice. Therefore, in outlining early literacy instructions within a model of social justice, it is evident that schools cannot bear the responsibility of curing all the social injustices but rather the outcomes of early childhood literacy are as well influenced by societal factors (Agarwal-Rangnath, 2015). However, literacy is one of the factors that is considered alterable and within the control of the school system which implies that schools can impact change on the literacy trajectories of disadvantaged children except at an early age in the school careerIn a literate and independent society, one of the outcomes of education is the achievement of literacy which is regarded to have a captivating effect on academic and life-course results. Therefore, the attainment of robust literacy skills is central factor to educational justice and is as well an essential determinant in the defense against the segregation of social justice (Agarwal-Rangnath, 2015). The fact that literacy is alterable and within the control of the school system implies that schools can best recompense social equity and benefit the society by doing what they are uniquely equipped to do which is the most important and implies teaching children literacy skills. Otherwise the ultimate opposite is likely to experienced which is poor literacy skills and can be regarded as reflective of past inequity and similarly predictive of future social inequality. This is proof that poor literacy skills are a restriction to democracy and social justice therefore affirming the fact that literacy is not only a matter of academic excellence but all about social justice (Reid, 2015).
Summarily, it is clearly indispensible that teachers assist learners throughout their childhood processes of acquiring literacy to ensure that they perceive that the different race, gender, cultural or even sexual alignments can be expressed in diverse ways and the fact that these diverse ways are different in supremacy. Therefore, teachers should address the imbalances by the practices of culturally relevant learning and in that way nurturing social justice in the childhood learners. By empowering the demands of children by through learning activities that are culturally relevant, the teachers are likely to engage all the children in exploring the concept of equality and synthesizing about their role in embracing social justice for the good of others. Therefore, with this notion and fortitude to expose injustice, early childhood educators can establish a more equitable social place by teaching children to advocate for social justice.
Agarwal-Rangnath, R. (2015). Social studies, literacy, and social justice in the Common Core classroom: A guide for teachers. Teachers College Press.
Comber, B. (2014). Critical Literacy and Social Justice. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy,58(5), 362-367. doi: 10.1002/jaal.370
Gorski, P. C., & Swalwell, K. (2015). Equity literacy for all. Educational Leadership, 72(6), 34-40.
Hyland, Nora. (2010). Social Justice in Early Childhood Classrooms: What the Research Tells Us. Young Children. 65.
Reid, L. (2015). Social Studies, Literacy, and Social Justice in the Common Core Classroom: A Guide for Teachers. Language Arts, 92(4), 281.
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