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First blog ever Inspiring elementary teacher. Favorite color is blue

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ira Shor "Education is Politics"

Shor suggests that teachers should teach against the myths and common standard of teaching. Encouraging teachers to invite students to examine subject matters in depth, not to just learn fact after fact.  Challenge the status quo; let them be able to connect academic learning to their personal life. Doing this encourages teaching in and beyond the classroom.
He believes that we need to get away from the habit of a teacher just spitting out knowledge to their students and change to a more dual approach with more student interaction.  I agree this approach works a lot better. In this FNED 346 class alone just being able to have an open discussion about the material has allowed me and my classmates to have a more personal and better understanding of the material.  We get to experience others view points on the subject and get to share real life examples. This helps a lot so unlike some classes were you sit there and wonder when I will ever use this, we already know and I personally pay more attention. Shor agrees and says "A critical and empowering class begins by examining its subject matter from the students' point of view and by helping students see themselves as knowledgeable people. I wanted them to take, from day one, a critical attitude towards their knowledge, their writing habits, and their education."  Students should be involved in their education, it not only helps them but the teachers find what does and doesn’t work.
However in most of my other classes the teacher just spits out information to you and you remember it for the exam but then soon forget.  I can remember things I did in this FNED 346 class and the lesson learnt from the beginning of the semester but I can barely remember that far back in any of my other classes. The whole “just memorize it approach” does not teach anyone anything but how to memorize for a test. Education should be more than that; memorization is not going to help you later in life in the real world.


Blog post on Shor

Interview with Shor

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Talking Point #9 Connections

Kliewer brings up a lot of good points in this article, some new and some very familiar. Some of the new ones were about people with disabilities and how people treat them. Just because someone needs a little help in certain areas or with certain things does not mean that they deserve to be treated any different than anyone else. I totally agree with this and tried not to treat the students with disabilities in my high school indifferently, but a lot of people did and it's truly sad. People that have disabilities did not choose to have them, they were born with them for the most part and the fact that people judge and make fun is not okay to me. In the article Kliewer talked about Mia a girl that has Down syndrome, not being able to take certain classes because of that and being stuck in special education classes. This amazed me; she has just as much right to take a journalism class as anyone else if she wants to. People need to stop judging people, especially those with disabilities; just because someone is disabled does not mean that they are stupid or incapable or having the same cognitive thoughts as anyone else.
Kliewer also touched upon a few other topics that we have previously discussed as well. When talking about the little boy Issac in Shayne's school reminded me about Promising Practices and the Afterzone. The Afterzone is a place for students to go after school and cook; they make all sorts of different foods and research the different cultures that they come from. So not only do they get to have fun cooking but they incorporate math, writing in journals, science, etc. In Shayne's school they have learning at heart but they are making it fun for the children as well with such things as "Where the Wild Things Are" play. I find this very important; learning should be made fun for the students even if it is in an unconditional way.
The article also relates to Finn as well when talking about students being separated based on abilities. Just because someone does not score well on a test does not mean they are dumber than someone who scored significantly higher. They both talked about how school should be more of a community where everyone works together. In Shayne's words "Don't think, that those special needs kids drain anything. That class would not be half what it is if anyone of those kids got segregated. We're all together in there."

Thursday, November 17, 2011


check out http://www.mypasa.org/  for afterschool help oportunities

Promising Practices

Upon going to Promising Practices, I was not too happy; it was way too early in the morning and I am definitely not a morning person. Luckily they provided me with coffee once there so that helped.  I could not get over how many people were there, I did not think it was going to be more than a few other people besides our class. It was kind of intimidating knowing that I was going to be with this many strangers all day but luckily I was able to find Courtney and at least had someone I knew with me! We soon found Kate and all sat down waiting for it to start. Once they gave us our little spiel we all went to different Workshops and I was on my own again.
I attended Workshop A: Education Beyond Classroom Walls.  Despite the fact that I was still half asleep I found this workshop very interesting and it brought up a lot of good points.  They first started talking about Informal Education; how education does not only take place in a classroom. It can take place in a museum, during non-school hours, anywhere you let it pretty much. People from Providence After School Alliance or PASA explain a little about what they do to help. One of the main concepts I got from them is that informal education expands the concept of teaching.  I agree with this concept, in PASA they take students and bring them to places like the Bay and have them test the water. Teaching a child how to do this in a classroom is fine and they might understand it, but there is no better way to learn something than actually being able to do it yourself and see the outcome.  While on the boat the children were using math to figure out the equations needed to test the water and incorporating science all while having fun as well.
I think it is important to help students learn not just in the classroom with the standard textbooks but also to learn in real life situations, because when it comes down to it knowing and reciting facts from books is all fine and dandy but actually being able to do something first hand and see how it can be used is a more rewarding experience.  Looking back on this, this workshop relates to the articles we just read this week by Finn and Oakes. The common standard run classroom or separation of students by tracking does not always work, often the students in the middle become invisible and the lower are taught to behave not prepared for college/life after graduation. PASA works with these students and gives them something that helps them get the support they need and teaches them better than the classroom does in a way.
Afterwards people from Afterzone talked to us about their after school cooking classes they have for students. I thought this to be cool because I used to always want to help my mom and grandma bake when I was little and would think that many students would enjoy this. They incorporate Math with the measuring and such, reading and writing with the background on the different cultures of the food they are making and their journals, as well as Science mixing different elements together and getting an outcome.  I found that I never looked at cooking to be so educational and find that it is a great opportunity for children to learn hands on but once again also enjoy themselves while doing it.
After the workshops we had the expo and were given the chance to walk around and talk to each other and other groups that had tables and posters as well as people to describe what they were all about. They had many interesting ones and I hope once I do not have such a hectic schedule with work and school that I may get involved in one of them or even something similar.
Once the expo was over we moved on to Teen Empowerment. I thought that they had a nice presentation and presented a good opportunity.  A few main points I got from them were that feeling powerless leads to misbehavior, which I think is totally true many kids or even adults act up in some way because they want the attention or need the power in their hands.  Another thing they said that I found true but not stressed enough was that youth has ability to make meaningful changes.  Yet one needs resources to change. This right here I think is exactly Finn, acknowledging a problem is great but if you don’t have the resources to change anything, nothing will get accomplished.  You need people that want the change bad enough and are able to get some kind of resources and help that will make change a possible outcome.
After this presentation we had lunch and got a chance to have a panel of people share their personal stories with us and interact with us.
I think there is also a little hidden Delpit throughout the day. At least for the places I was in I got a sense of if you know the rules and codes of power you can make a change. In my workshops it was about the students learning yes but also the teachers understanding how society works and how they can better it for their students.  All in all I got a lot of information about how we can change what goes on in the classroom or in education in general, BUT change takes time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quotes from "Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route"

 Preface Pg3. "The status quo is the status quo because people who have the
power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It
takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the
people who will benefit from the change. But the working class
does not get powerful literacy, and powerful literacy is necessary
for the struggle. How can the cycle be broken?"
This is essential to making changes; those that are going to be affected by the change need to be willing to fight for it or else it will not work. Like Finn said earlier in the article, when the rich get empowering education nothing happens, it’s when the working class or lower do that they have a chance to challenge the status quo and make a difference.

Pg 12 "According to Anyon these children were developing a relationship
to the economy, authority, and work that is appropriate preparation
for wage labor-labor that is mechanical and routine. Their capacity
for creativity and planning was ignored or denied. Their response was
very much like that of adults in their community to work that is
mechanical and routine and that denies their capacity for creativity
and planning. They engaged in relentless "slowdowns," subtle sabotage,
and other modes of indirect resistance similar to that carried out
by disgruntled workers in factories, sales floors, and offices."
This supports that there is a serious problem. The whole idea of getting a good education is so that you don’t get stuck working in places like that and doing things you don’t enjoy. Keeping things like this is as if you are purposely holding these kids back and forcing them to go into the field that they most likely are trying to avoid.

pg 189"The least we can do is face facts. Our schools liberate and
empower children of the gentry and domesticate the children
of the working class, and to a large extent the middle
class as well. You may want to argue that that's all right, or at
least it's all that's possible-fine. But let's stop denying it."

This sums up what Finn believes the issue at hand  is and the first step is that we have to realize that this is a problem and it needs to be fixed.