Social Justice Approaches to Teaching about the Law

How can teachers facilitate learning about the law in a way that supports social justice efforts? How can we equip students with honest information about the legal system so that they can choose the path that is best for them when they encounter problems and inequities in society and in their own lives? These are central questions of the Re-Envisioning Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) project and of this workshop.

Legal education can impact students and their communities in many ways—not all of them positive. This workshop will explore the liberatory possibilities as well as the often-overlooked risks of teaching about the law. It will offer wise practices for educators who want to make sure their teaching centres learners, creates space for their knowledge and life experiences and offers a holistic, honest view of the law.

Participants will have opportunities to share their own insights and wise practices for teaching about the law, adding to those offered by West Coast LEAF. They will also work in small groups to identify classroom practices, lesson ideas, and learning activities to apply the wise practices.

  • This workshop is relevant to teaching the following big ideas from the BC social studies curriculum, among others:
  • Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies (Grade 9);
  • Historical and contemporary injustices challenge the narrative and identity of Canada as an inclusive, multicultural society (Grade 10);
  • The development of political institutions is influenced by economic, social, ideological, and geographic factors (Grade 10);
  • A society’s laws and legal framework affect many aspects of people’s daily lives (Explorations in Social Studies 11 and Law Studies 12);
  • Indigenous peoples are reclaiming mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being despite the continuing effects of colonialism (Explorations in Social Studies 11 and Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12); and
  • Social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems (Explorations in Social Studies 11 and Social Justice 12).

Target Audience

Social studies teachers, primary at the middle school and secondary levels


12:20 PM - 1:20 PM

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  • Alana Prochuk

    Alana Prochuk (she/her and they/them) manages education programs for West Coast LEAF, a non-profit organization that uses legal strategies to advance human rights and gender justice. For more than 20 years, West Coast LEAF has offered youth-led workshops in BC schools on legal topics including employment standards, equality rights, and sexual consent, among others. Alana is co-author of the newly released report Re-Envisioning Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI), which explores critical, feminist, decolonizing, and trauma-informed strategies for teaching about the law. Before joining West Coast LEAF, Alana worked at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre, where they led a campus anti-violence initiative in partnership with Vancouver Community College, and at Seniors First BC, where they developed a peer-led elder abuse education program. Alana is also a BC-certified teacher with a specialization in secondary English and EAL (English as an Additional Language).