Development Education, Poverty and Social Justice

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"Write a personal response to issues and approaches raised in the Citizen Teacher seminars drawing on your own reflections, experiences and readings"

For the purpose of this task, I have chosen to reflect on Seminar 2-Development Education, poverty and global justice. I chose to concentrate on this aspect of the course, because of a personal interest in the area. This interest has arisen from lack of prior knowledge, and a desire to find out more, having briefly covered the topic in the seminar. Through activities and critical reflection, this seminar allowed me to actively engage with scenarios, highlighting the level of injustice and diversity in our socially and culturally varied world. In response to this seminar, I will be highlighting the importance of 'Good' Education for children, from a development and global justice viewpoint, as well as framing our education approaches in terms of Active Learning, critical thinking, and interdependence.

The significance of a global and justice perspective when educating children is clearly stated by Matthias Fiedler (2008), who states that 'good' education for the 21st century child, should enable them to critically connect with the world and society in a significant, and decisive way. Intercultural and development education enables the learner to value, celebrate and acknowledge the familiarity of diversity in all aspects of human life. It is a form of education, embedded in various curriculum practices, which encourages equality and human rights, challenges unfair discrimination, and promotes the principles upon which equality is built (NCCA, 2005). Fielder (2008) states that we, as educators, need to view knowledge as an involved and engaging process, where children are appropriately included in their own learning, highlighting the significance of Active learning. He argues that a product approach to education will inhibit the development of critical and independent thinking in young children, and does not represent education in its holistic form. As cited in various research findings, development education is seen to be essential, since many people are unaware of the ‘truth’ in relation to aspects of their lives and the wider world, including development and underdevelopment (NCCA, 2005). Through a critical education process, it is believed that learners will develop a critical consciousness – an awareness of the truth – that will, in turn, spur them to act for development. Development education is, in this understanding, a process of uncovering the truth for previously misled or partially informed people, and spurring them to act on the basis of that truth. It is believed that when development education’s learners uncover the truth about the immoralities of the current terms of trade, the World Bank, and globalisation, they will act against these forces of underdevelopment and, in doing so, act for development. In order to give perspective, or clarify the worth of development education, we need to understand how our cultures and actions are intertwined with those of the wider world. The importance of interdependence in development education is clearly stated by Fitzgerald (2005). He draws upon research in concluding that, the heart of 'interdependence' concerns learning how people, cultures, places, political systems, economies and environments are interconnected and bear influence on each-other. Interdependence is concerned with investigating our linked cultures; exploring the connections between people's lives, and evaluating the consequences the choices we make may have on others. In educating young people, we need to highlight our dependence on others, and theirs on us, in order to set a context for development education and global justice. There is no shortage of formal definitions and discussions as to what development education is...
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