City Neighbors High School students at Baltimore Education Rally 2012

City Neighbors High School students in Annapolis at Baltimore Education Rally 2012

Reads Drugstore Student Led Demonstration

Reads Drugstore Student Led Demonstration

Progressive Education Value #6 – Social justice

#6.  Social justice: A sense of community and responsibility for others isn’t confined to the classroom; indeed, students are helped to locate themselves in widening circles of care that extend beyond self, beyond friends, beyond their own ethnic group, and beyond their own country. Opportunities are offered not only to learn about, but also to put into action, a commitment todiversity and to improving the lives of others.

The countdown to the Summit continues with progressive value #6,  taken from  the writings of our keynote speaker, Alfie KohnProgressive Education, Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find (published in INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, Spring 2008).  What does this mean to you?

A sense of community and responsibility.  To me, this is the primary work of progressive education.  The very best kindergarten classrooms work on this all day every day while conducting centers or workshop time, while playing out on the playground, even while walking to the gym.  This sense of community and responsibility takes years of development and growth, and does not show up on standardized tests.  Teaching community and responsibility (like most intellectual and moral growth) requires active participation.  Lawrence Kohlberg, noted psychologist,  specialized in research on moral education and reasoning.  Kohlberg is best known for his theory of stages of moral development,   Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the individual’s lifetime.

Growth through the stages of moral development depend on real experiences and engagement.  Thus the value of  students taking on issues that matter, and working on authentic work that requires students working together, and allows students to recognize their own ability to make an impact –  is essential to the development of social justice.  How does community building happen in your classrooms?  Please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to register for the 3rd Annual Progressive Education Summit .  The Summit gives us the opportunity to delve into our practices, to study together all those essential questions, and to share our work.  Hope to see you there!

Blue Water Baltimore Community Service

Blue Water Baltimore Community Service