Social Justice 12: Negotiating Issues in and for a Democratic Society
The University of British Columbia – Okanagan
I present the findings of a study with course developers, principals, teachers, and community members in British Columbia (BC), Canada, regarding their views of the course Social Justice 12. Introduced in 2008, the senior, elective course involves students in exploring a number of contemporary issues in society and aims to develop citizens who actively work to address social injustices. The course includes some potentially controversial content, such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) materials, which has been actively opposed by some community members. This negative reaction has had some damaging effects on teachers who teach the course. After describing the course and the study’s research methodology, the findings are presented. These findings include a review of the relations between course implementation and school contexts and a discussion of the complexity of issues-based instruction in relation to varied ideological positionings between teachers, principals, and community members. I conclude with recommendations that aim to strengthen education in and for a democracy.