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Justice Not Charity

Secondary

Description

The resource is intended to have students

  • learn and think critically about the issues of poverty and homelessness, including inequality, in a local and provincial context.
  • to look at long-term, concrete ways to work toward more equitable distribution and the elimination of poverty

The unit consists of four lesson plans

  1. Overview of poverty issues
  2. Solutions to poverty and homelessness
  3. Group activity: Collective action
  4. Conclusions; possible extensions

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The lessons help students develop a number of skills.

  • critical thinking
  • alternative thinking
  • distinguishing between short and long term effects

Strengths

Social inequality is a critical issue and an exploration of the relative merits of charity and justice in responding to that challenge is a good starting point in trying to determine how we are to respond. The resource introduces the issue with a number of activities that serve to  illustrate the debate in terms of the impact our choices have on people in our communities.

Weaknesses

The resource clearly favors justice over charity in responding to social inequalities and this is a view that has a right to be heard. What the resource does not do and what the teacher may have to do is to  have students consider the challenges associated with the favored response.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource has relevance for those units of study dealing with the larger issues of human rights, government and civic responsibility, economic policy and building sustainable communities.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Poverty, Wealth and Power
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Humanity
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Identity: Canada’s Changing Identity : Creating a Preferred Future
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 1201: Justice
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Economics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Economics 2203:Economic Issues
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Civic Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship in Canada
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship 9: Financial Citizenship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Economics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Economics :Economic Issues
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Civic Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Civics and Citizenship (Open): Civic Awareness
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Economics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Individual and the Economy (Univ./College Prep.): Economic Challenges and Responses
        • The Individual and the Economy (Univ./College Prep.): Interrelationships Among Economic Citizens
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Pre.) Equity, Social Justice, and Change
        • Equity, Diversity, and Social Justice (Workplace Prep.) Promoting Equity and Social Justice
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) Addressing Equity and Social Justice Issues
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Roots of Society: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10: Economic Decision Making
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 20: World Issues -Human Rights
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems

Themes Addressed

  • Economics (1)

    • Poverty Reduction
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

The resource is designed to have students explore the relative merits of charity and justice in our response to poverty. The sponsors of the resource, the B.C. Poverty Reduction Coalition, clearly favor an approach based on justice and the resource reflects this perspective. Teachers must therefore exercise responsibility in ensuring that both perspectives receive a fair critique and that any solution recognizes the complexity of the issue and the difficulties that may be associated with the proposed solutions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The lessons help students recognize the link between poverty and other social issues such as education, health, crime and social acceptance. A supplementary resource would be needed to investigate these links and others in greater depth than is the case here.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

The resource is somewhat introductory in introducing the relative merits of poverty and justice and additional resources/study are necessary to further explore the complexity of the issue and to investigate why the preferred solution has not been adopted more widely.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Lesson 3 identifies a number of actions that may be taken collectively to address the problems of poverty and the concluding lesson outlines certain actions that students may take to raise awareness in their school and community. 

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Student consideration of the issue of poverty raises questions about the meaning of charity, fairness, justice, and equity.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The lessons raise student empathy for the poor but reject sympathy and charity as long term solutions in favor of structural and policy changes.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

The unit focuses on the human condition and is intended to raise awareness of the plight of the poor and to argue for action based on justice rather than charity.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The unit is concerned with the issue of poverty in British Columbia and the illustrations offered and solutions proposed are largely local or provincial. While this represents a beginning in raising student awareness of the issue, teachers should consider extending the lesson with an examination of global poverty.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The lessons make students aware of the current situation with respect to poverty and it argues for a future where poverty reduction is based on justice rather than charity.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory

The unit does argue for a particular answer to the challenges of poverty -justice rather than charity- and this answer deserves a hearing. The teacher is therefore left with the responsibility of having students recognize the difficulties attached to this preferred solution in order that they understand why it has not received the wide acceptance required.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

The causes and consequences of poverty touch upon a variety of disciplines. What are the social factors that combine to make and keep people poor? What are the economic consequences for society when a significant element of the population is poor? What can government do to address the causes of poverty? What is the citizen's responsibility in the fight against poverty? 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

The unit presents students with two questions for their consideration. How is wealth and income distributed in British Columbia and Canada and how can we ensure a more equitable distribution of that wealth? A series of lessons present students with some elementary data and situations designed to engage students in a consideration of  these questions. 

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The lessons include a variety of activities, including student visual representation of data, dilemma discussions, simulations, and video presentations.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

The lessons are organized around student activities that are designed to engage them in a way that makes them active rather than passive learners and which will help them better internalize what they are learning.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Activities include pairing and sharing, small group investigations and presentations, and collective action.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

The focus on student activities will yield significant opportunity for teachers to gauge student understanding and perspective of the causes and consequences of poverty. No summative evaluation is included.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

A number of the student activities rely upon small group presentations and accordingly allow students to engage and learn from each other.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Students are presented with a number of individual dilemmas that help them weight the merits of justice over charity.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

Each of the lessons is tightly constructed with defined outcomes but may take the student investigation and discussion in unanticipated directions.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.