Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

A student’s sense of justice

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Children have a powerful drive for justice and fairness.

It’s a little strange, that they do.  From the moment they enter the world, their lives are controlled by adults, huge and powerful and making decisions using logic that children don’t understand.  The children are powerless, and the adults sometimes act capriciously and arbitrarily.

So why do they so ardently expect that they should be treated fairly?

And yet, somehow, they do.

As we read Tangerine, by Edward Bloor, aloud in class, two big plot points happened.  A likeable character died, struck down by a random act of nature.  And the main character was cut from the soccer team, even though he played soccer well and hadn’t broken any rules.

My students were surprised by the character death.  There were a few gasps, in the classroom, when we read that part aloud.  But they didn’t have much to say about it.

But they were outraged when Paul was cut from the soccer team.  It wasn’t fair, they told me, and every hand went up, voices interrupting each other to earnestly explain that this just wasn’t right.

Many of my students haven’t even experienced life as fair – many of them live in poverty, some of them have parents whose parenting style can only be described as unpredictable, and yet nearly all of them seem to have this fundamental sense of fairness that is outraged when justice is violated.

Could it be innate?  Could their brains just know what justice is, and tell them that the world should be just?

If that’s the case, then there might be hope for my species after all.


Written by Contented Reader

January 22, 2016 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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