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Social justice conference promotes teachers as agents of change

By making a difference in their students and their classrooms, teachers can make a difference in the world. That was the theme of the sixth annual Social Justice in Education Conference, held Friday, February 1, in the Education Building.

In addition to presentations on topics as diverse as Aboriginal history, intercultural communication, civil liberties and addressing disabilities, the daylong event included a volunteer fair and exhibit of student projects promoting pluralism.

Acting dean Karen Roland said she was pleased by the response to an innovation this year: the keynote address took the form of a performance of Interrogation, a stage play by Windsor artist Chris Rabideau which tells the story of a teenaged victim of an anti-LGBT hate crime.

“The students are really talking about it as they come out,” she said. “I think it is really having an effect.”

Teacher candidates Brenna Edgar and Pauline Pich prepared a poster presentation on their project “Fostering Empathy in the Classroom” for their course, Issues in Education. Making sure that students can appreciate another point of view has the potential to change society, said Edgar.

“Taking an empathic approach can address a lot of the other issues we see raised here—whether it’s bullying, racism, or other forms of discrimination,” she said.

students show poster presentation

Teacher candidates Pauline Pich and Brenna Edgar present their project Friday during the diversity exhibition sponsored by the Education Society.

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