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.