Social Responsibility and Teacher Education: A Preliminary Study

Principal Investigator(s) /Chercheur principal (Chercheurs principaux):

Ann Chinnery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

Co-Investigator(s) /Co-chercheurs:


Funding /Subvention:

SFU/PRG SFU President’s Grants (Amount: $10,000)


2008 (Status/Statut: Ongoing-October, 23, 2008)

Contact Information/Personne contact:

Tel: 778-782-8123 E-Mail: Office: 15th floor, 265 SFU Surrey


Despite the current emphasis in many teacher education programs on teaching for social justice, the day-to-day experiences of many students’ especially marginalized groups of students- reveal that we still have a long way to go. Here in BC, two recent initiatives signal a deepening commitment to social responsibility in the education of children and youth: 1) the BC Ministry of Education’s designation of social responsibility as an essential learning area alongside reading, writing and numeracy, 2) the establishment of the international Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education (CPE). However, cultivating compassion and a sense of social responsibility in children requires more than the ability to implement recipe-like lesson plans and assessment protocols. The direction of this research in teacher education will focus on two related questions: 1) how can we best equip student teachers to meet the challenges of teaching for social responsibility in increasingly diverse classrooms? 2) How can we ensure that our own teacher
education classrooms are socially just learning communities?

Project Objectives/Objectifs du projet:

(1) To conduct a literature review and compile an annotated bibliography of recent scholarly and professional publications on teaching for social responsibility in teacher education. (2)To analyze the current BC Ministry of Education’s curriculum on social responsibility, focussing especially on gaps between what the literature says is needed to prepare and support teachers for social justice education.(3) To hold focus groups with administrators and teachers in the Surrey School District (SD36) who are currently

implementing the social responsibility curriculum in their own classrooms to work on remedying the gaps in existing pre and in service teacher education in this area.

Research Plan/Plan de recherche:

Conduct a literature review of recent scholarly books, journals, and professional publications on social responsibility in teacher education. Compile an annotated bibliography for use in future research projects, conference presentations and publications. Analyze the teaching aids and resources within the BC social responsibility curriculum for gaps between recommended teacher preparations for social justice education.Conduct two focus group sessions with 10 teachers andadministrators from SD36 to work on remedying the gaps, and to make recommendations for program development in pre-and in-service teacher education.


The hope is to enhance teacher’s ability to foster social responsibility in their students, where cohorts will vary dramatically in terms of cultural differences.