Weely Reflections

Debate #4 Reflection – Does Educators Have a Responsibility to Use Technology and Social Media to Promote Social Justice?

I was originally on the disagree side of this topic. After the debate and reading about articles, I kind of switched to the agreed side: Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice under the condition that educators will do it appropriately and have actions back up.

Neutrality Education

Kari, Jessica and Jenny mention that education is not neutral either, such as curriculum design. It makes to think about the foundational question of education, “what is education for?” As Henry Giroux mentioned, education always plays a central role and transforms the world into a fairer, more caring and democratic place, education is key. If that is the role of education, it is impossible for education to be neutral. Education is teaching what kind of future you want for young people. Neutrality, in the context of education, seems appealing on the surface (Kamara, 2021). For example, when one teaches about a historical event such as the invention of the electric lightbulb, students will just simply memorize the date. It is neutral because political commentary does not take priority. However, when one teaches about the history of residential schools in Canada and asks students to answer, “What is the legacy of the residential schools on our indigenous peoples?” it is not neutral. Similar to math or grammar, it is neutral, but in terms of certain things discussed in slavery or race in America, it can never be neutral. Thus, it is important to admit education is not neutral, and make education a valuable resource for giving students a voice. 

Social Justice in Classroom

I was really inspired the example from Angela’s podcast about “send them back.” If one of your students experiences that, will they feel safe coming to you to talk about it? How to let your students know that you are the safe person to discuss certain issues? To talk about social justice in the classroom. Like the agreed side mention, many students will directly impact by racism or discrimination. If you express your opinion about anti-racism and anti-discrimination in the classroom, students from marginlized group would have the courage to discuss with you about their experience becaume they know you are on the same side with them!

First of all, teachers could let students express their opinion about certain social issues to practice critical thinking skills. Sometimes, students struggle with not knowing exactly where they stand on issues and not having the language to articulate their thoughts on these matters (German, 2020). Often, students don’t have spaces in which they can really dig into what they are thinking, process what they are hearing, and ask questions to better understand what is going on, the first thing that teachers could do is to create a place where students can do all that (German, 2020). Second, after students have a chance to critical thinking about social issues and express their opinions in the classroom, teachers could express their opinions too to let their students know where do you stand. Sometimes, teachers need self-development to work to unpack their own biases (German, 2020). Listening to what students say about an issue is also a self-examining process to check if teachers have any bias. What if teachers have different opinions than their students? Like the disagreed side mentioned, “be silent if teachers against the majority they face public. It is better to say nothing at all and keep your voices close to you”. Lastly, teachers could use different materials and resources to educate students about a certain issue, for example, the picture showed the Anti-Racism Awareness Pathway education program from the University of Victoria. Using different online materials to design a specific educational program to increase students’ awareness of certain issues. Moreover, teachers could also bring students into the community and have the knowledge and resources to support the community to do the same. Therefore, it also aligns with what the disagreed side argued that do not just being slacktivism without any efforts towards what you are supporting! 

Anti-racism Education Program - University of Victoria
Image from https://www.uvic.ca/equity/education/anti-racism/index.php

Social Justice on Social Media

After teachers have done these efforts with their students in the classroom or in the community, teachers could post on social media about what they support, probably with the pictures from the classroom and/or community. Therefore, the post that teachers showed on social media is accountable and professional. I agree with what Dalton and Brooke argued to avoid slacktivism. It is okay to be a social activist, but avoid posting something without actions to back them up. The action could be from your classroom, like how did you educate your students regarding the issue, and the action could be from the community, how did you help the community to be a better place. No matter where the action comes from, it is essential that teachers have some actions to back up what they support, not just simply post a statement with hashtags on Facebook or Twitter.

Another suggestion I have for teachers to use social media is to set up high privacy. I work as an Employment Instructor, and after each workshop, clients always want to add me on Facebook as a friend. I respectfully remove their friend request because I don’t want to mix up my personal and professional life. Same as students, they may be curious and would like to find you on social media. It may not be appropriate for teachers to add their current students as a friend on social media. Besides not adding students as friends, another thing teachers could do is to check their Facebook privacy settings before they step foot in the classroom. Once students know teachers’ first names, they like to search for you to see what you post anything on social media and check your online profiles. If you post something that you don’t want the entire public to see, make sure you change its privacy.

Cover photos
Tips for protecting your privacy for teachers
Image from: https://www.webwise.ie/teachers/facebook-for-teachers/

In conclusion, teachers have the responsibility to address social inequality and use appropriate methods to create a safe space for students to gather information and express their opinions. Teachers should self-examine their own biases, and keep silent if their opinions are against others. If teachers stand on the same side as their students, teachers should speak out in the classroom about what they believe or support. Therefore, if students encounter an inequal experience, they would have the courage to speak it with you. Moreover, teachers should create educational programs to increase student’s awareness of social issues and combine them with out-of-classroom activities. Thus, teachers would have something accountable to put on their social media and avoid slacktivism. Finally, teachers could set up high privacy for their social media accounts.


  • Reid Quest

    Great response, Echo! This is definitely a tricky issue, but you provided excellent insight and you made me question some of the opinions I had on this issue prior to this debate. The skepticism I have when it comes to Twitter (the only social media I have), is that I do not feel comfortable sharing my views on social media. I use it as a news source, rather than a space to share my thoughts. However, I am thankful for the individuals who do share their opinions because it helps me shape my own views, whether I agree with them or not.

    Great post! Keep up the great work!

    • Echo

      Hi Reid,

      Thank you for reading my blog. Same to me, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my opinion on social media. Similarly, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my view about social justice in my workshops. Whenever my clients would like to talk about issues about social justice, like individual racism or systemic racism, I don’t feel comfortable continuing this conversation. I always switch the topic. I think it’s a personal preference to share comments on social justice or not.


  • Christina Puscus

    Hey Echo. Thanks for the thoughtful post. What stood out to me was the gentle reminders that we all have our own biases and ultimately still have our own learning to do. I had a couple experiences this year with racism in my classroom. Of course I wish it wouldn’t have happened in the first place, but in having conversations with these students, I realized that it is impossible for me to teach about social justice issues without direct input from those who have experienced injustice. You also give some great tips on how to use social media to promote social justice effectively and responsibly. Great job!

    • Echo

      Hi Christina,

      Thank you for reading my blog. I really like your blog on “Teaching for Social Justice – Am I Done Enough.” It invokes me to think I definitely have not done enough. I have many clients who attend my employment workshops and would like to talk about their experiences with individual racism or systemic racism. They see me as a safe person to talk about. Unfortunately, I didn’t give them a response. I listened, expressed I understood and switched the topic because I don’t want an employment workshop to change to a sociology workshop. That’s my bias I need to change! Thank you so much for your comment!


  • Kelly

    Echo, I really appreciated how you spoke out about our own biases and how that plays a role in our preconceived notions, ideas, beliefs, and perspectives. We all have our own experiences that have shaped who we are and how we feel about certain issues. If people are forcing us to show activism in ways we are not comfortable with, then is it really activism? We tell our students time and time again to use their own brains, and not follow along with the crowd to fit in, or to please someone else. So as educators, why are we so often told what we should or shouldn’t do, or how we should feel about a certain topic? Are we too following the crowd?

    • Echo

      Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for reading my blog. I really like what you have taught your students “use their own brains, and not follow along with the crowd to fit in, or to please someone else,” but I feel students didn’t mean to do this because we, as human, all have herd mentality: the tendency of the people in a group to think and behave in ways that conform with others in the group rather than as individuals (Merriam Webster, n.d.). People who have different opinions always become enemies to other people. How would you react when you see if one person against LGBTQ+ during the “Happy Pride Month?” Would you feel offended?


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