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Lecture 20

Lecture 20 Children and Youth: Oppression in the Child Welfare System and Education Systems.docx

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McMaster University
Social Work
Sandra Preston

1 Social Work 1A06: Introduction to Social Work March 4 2013 Lecture 20: Children and Youth: Oppression in the Child Welfare System and Education Systems Notes: Presentation from OPIRG: - All about human rights and the environment – making the world a better place for everyone - 16 Different Working Groups o Like Fossil Free McMaster  Campaign to stop university from investing in the fossil fuel industry  Stop causing climate change and invest in solutions instead - Resource library where you can sign out dvds, books, periodicals etc. o MUSC 229 - o Links to the working groups and contact info for all of them Hamilton Freeschool - Critique of education o Quite often people learn things they don’t need to know, things they will never use, things they are not interested in - Offers courses based on your interests o To learn – not to get the credentials Lecture: Intersecting Oppressions: - Very complex! The models presented today do not cover complexity – just there to as an introduction - What happens when you suffer multiple forms of oppression o See chart on the slide  Oppression is about carving out a space of power/privilege by marginalizing others  Lots of ways to do that  Power = access to resources and decision making o Oppression: Ablism, Sexism, Ageism etc. o Each of the forms of oppression fundamentally change how the other forms of oppression operate  E.g. because of sexism, the way a man enacts racism is different from the way a woman enacts sexism  Don’t just stack one on top of the other – they fundamentally change one another 2  If you put sexism (yellow lens) on top of heterosexism (red lens) and you get orange lens, not red and yellow separately  Interact and change one another fundamentally Oppression and Children and Youth Services - There are several avenues for oppression to enter the child welfare and education systems– o Oppression acts thru structures – created by people  Employees  Can bring or challenge oppression  Organization  Set up of the organization can be oppressive  Policy  Created thru systems of oppression  Societal context - Education System o Children and youth spend a large portion of their day in school from the age of 6 to at least 18  Legally required from 6-18 in Ontario to be in school o May spend another 2-12 years in post-secondary education o Children and youth have very little say over what they will learn, how they will learn or where they will learn  Class discussion: What do you remember about elementary and secondary school?:  No disagreeing with the teacher  Some teachers demand respect but don’t give it  Spend a lot of time learning to line up in straight lines and respond properly to bells  Designated desks  Had to be in specific rooms at specific times  Most often caters to a specific style of learning  Overall: Controlling behaviour o Which rules are necessary and which rules are not necessary? Which rules are there to teach you just to follow rules? o Majority of teachers are white, middle-class, able bodied and identify as heterosexual (in the classroom at least)  They are also educated in particular ways – need an undergrad degree with good grades to get into teacher’s college  Need to be a particular kind of learner – you are more likely to teach in the way that you learn  So students are not always reflected in their teachers  Or their service workers 3 - Racism o Employees of the Children’s Aid Societies and our schools do not reflect the “racial” make-up of their communities or their clientele.  A disproportionate number of families from racialized groups become involved with the society and have children come into care. o The experience of racialized communities is not reflected in the curriculum.  Racialization of “problem” kids  Experienced racialization of some kids is not reflected in the curriculum o Schools vary in the diversity of their student population  Some schools have diverse community, some schools reflect the teachers (e.g. white, middle class) o This is compounded by issues for refugee and immigrant communities  Seen as coming from “problem” groups - Classism o As professionals, the vast majority of workers and teachers come from/are part of, the middle class  Therefore a lot of prejudice/criticism/discrimination from teachers/workers based on class  Have to note: there are workers/teachers that do not feel this way, but the oppression is threaded through the system regardless of these people  E.g. if you work/serve families in a neighbourhood that you are afraid of, how do you feel about the families that live there, that live near that school?  CAS – if you believe that being poor makes you an inadequate parent, you are going to change the way you practice  Middle class ideas about cleanliness and safe housing  Does a kid need a perfectly clean house to grow up safe? o Do you take a kid out of a home because there is laundry on the floor? o Issues surrounding poverty:  Poverty is the number one reason families become involved with the C.A.S. and it is also one of the main reasons children come in to care.  Children who are poor have to move often and change schools frequently Because their housing is unstable o Teachers tend to blame the child for not being up to date – don’t do a lot of extra work to help them  Teachers expect less from poor students and there is a lot of prejudice towards students involved with the CAS  Teachers treat kids that are dressed poorly differently and have lower expectations of them 4  Issues such as a housing, health and neglect can be directly related to poverty.  Other problems such as stress and mental health issues are indirectly related. - Sexism o As you get paid more money, you see more men  The majority of workers at the C.A.S. are women except at the higher managerial levels.  In schools men are mostly found in high schools and management.  Men who want to teach kindergarten are seen as suspect – why do you want to hang out with little kids all day? Suspicious of them because of their gender – sexism works both ways o Single mothers are the most represented group in the CAS. o All files are opened under the mother’s nam
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