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Social Reconstructionism in the Classroom

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Social Reconstructionism in the Classroom

Priscilla Wall

Liberty University

        As an American History teacher, “I didn’t have my hand up” or “I don’t know” is the most common response I receive when I call on a student or ask a question. Other times, they say, “C’mon, just tell us what you want us to know,” or “Why do we have to learn this stuff?”  When I become a teacher I do not want my students to rely on adults, teachers, or the internet to give them all of the answers. Some students are under the impression that they will be handed the answers, pass the tests, and then forget all of the information they were taught.  I want my students to become critical thinkers.  Having a philosophical belief in Social Reconstructionism, I want my students to remember the life changing moments in history, think critically on how they have paved our society today, and what they can do as citizens to contribute to society.  

        There have been countless events that have paved the way our society works today, one of which occurred on August 18, 1920.  This moment in history was the day the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution granted women the right to vote.  Sadly, throughout most of history, women did not have as many legal rights or job opportunities as the men.  People looked at women as “the weaker sex” or the stereotypical “housewife.” There are so many career opportunities for women; and women should not be expected to get married if they do not want to.  I am privileged to be able to live in America during such a time as this; with the next presidential election coming up, I can now vote with my own conscience.  Women of America have a voice, whereas other countries are still stuck on viewing the woman as lesser.  As a teacher, I want the girls in my class to know that they are just as capable of achievement as men are. I also want to instill in the boys in my class a desire to always show proper respect to women.  God created men and women as equals, and I do not want to see any of my students looking down upon the other gender.  As a Christian woman, I am proud of how God not only uses men to spread the gospel, but women as well.  As a teacher I would love to see my students blossom into the next generation that makes a positive difference for men and women in our society.  

        There are several methods I plan to use to school my students in gender equality.  Firstly, these include lessons on women’s rights such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the National Women's Trade Union League, and women’s right to vote.  Secondly, I will show them either a movie or a documentary that perfectly describes this difficult time for women of America.  I will instruct them to conduct a research paper about how sexism started and their opinion of how America has brought an end to sexism.  I would like them to get into small groups, exchange papers, and have discussions with their peers about their opinions. Also, as they converse with one another, I want them to work together and come up with ideas on how they could have ended sexism if they lived during those times.  This will challenge my students to defend their own opinions and have open minds towards those who hold different views.  



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