WORKSHOP: Using Experiential Learning to Teach Toward Social Justice Awareness in the 21st Century (40 mins)
The role of experiential learning is central to social justice pedagogy (Adam, 2016). However, not all experiences are educational; some have the opposite effect. According to Dewey (1997), “Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience” (p. 25). The challenges of social justice education through experiential learning are designing effective experiential activities and developing students’ efficacy and capacity to take action as change agents because individuals engage in critical action when they perceive that they have the capacity to affect social and political change, whether individually or collaboratively (Watts, Diemer, & Voight, 2011). This process starts with individuals’ participation, but they need to continue the examination, action, and reflection processes (Kolb, 1984; Montero, 2009). Therefore, an instructor’s responsibility is to design quality experiential learning.
Previous studies have affirmed the importance of promoting learning environments that value experience and actively integrate it with evolving knowledge through service learning (Everett, 1998; Mayhew & Engberg, 2011; Tinkler, Hannah, Tinkler, & Miller, 2015). This can be challenging for students who have limited time outside of class to interact with their communities as part of the social justice and human rights learning process.
Therefore, this session will take a closer look at this gap in practice regarding students with competing demands. In this session, the presenters will share the following strategies, approaches, and resources: 1) We will share the results of our recent study, in which we examined how experiential learning activities help to move students toward greater awareness of social justice and human rights issues and what types of experiential learning activities play larger roles in evolving students’ awareness of social justice and human rights issues as future change agents. 2) We will provide the participants with tools and strategies for designing experiential learning to equip students with the critical analysis skills they need to develop awareness, knowledge, and processes with which to examine the effects of inequality and oppression on the individual, institutional, and societal levels and to help students cultivate skills and tools to interrupt those inequalities and oppressions.
In order for the participants to learn the strategies, approaches, and resources described above, the participants will share their own challenges and goals, and will have an opportunity to brainstorm effective experiential learning designs. This session will also address effective experiential learning in online classes, and the strategies, approaches, and resources explored would be broadly applicable.