HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!! Who needs to go out when you can do homework? (Haha, kidding, sort of…) Anyways, here’s another connections post because… why not?
When I was reading Shor’s article, I was so unbelievably bored! I don’t know why but I was. But then I was thinking, maybe because he covers so many topics at once that I wasn’t really into the text. And maybe because many of the things that he covered was related to the other articles that we read.
On page 20, Shor said that “many withdraw from intellectual work because they are told so much and asked to think and do so little. Rote drills drain their enthusiasm for intellectual life, as do short-answer exams and standardized tests”. This reminded me of that activity we did with Dr. Bogad when we had that “pop quiz”… It was the week we had Jeannie Oake’s article. When you go to school and do that, you’re not really learning anything… You’re memorizing things just to pass but you’re not learning any helpful information. On the next page, another quote backed up Oake’s theory even more. It said, “Large numbers of students are refusing to perform at high levels, demoralizing the teachers who work with them. At times, performance strikes become organized resistance to authority, with leadership and articulate demands. But most often the students’ refusal to perform appears as low motivation, low test scores and achievement, and a “discipline problem”. […] The low performance of students is routinely misjudged as low achievement”. This reminded me of the whole tracking process and how some students had been put in the higher classes while others were put in the lower ones. It kind of shows how kids refuse to do tracking in schools. Then, when Dr. Bogad was explaining to us how ashamed she was that we all just took this “stupid test” and didn’t refuse to take it even though they were just basic questions, this quote came into play: “From the start, I wanted students to be active and thoughtful. A participatory class begins with participation. A critical and empowering class begins by examining its subject matter from the students' point of view and by helping students see themselves acknowledgeable people. I wanted them to take, from day one, a critical attitude toward their knowledge, their writing habits, and their education. The foundation of the syllabus would be their words, understandings, self-respect, and desire to learn more. I hoped they would recognize that they were already writers who knew some important things about writing, even before the teacher told them anything” (37). It showed me that we aren’t dumb, we’re all very smart even though we may not see it right away. We should never look at ourselves as anything less.
Then, my little buddy Kohn came into play with the ideal classroom. “The typical classroom is framed by the competition, marked by struggle between students (and often between teacher and students), and riddled by indicators of comparative achievement and worth. Star charts on the wall announce who has been successful at learning multiplication tables, only children with “neat” handwriting have their papers posted for display” (23-24) reminded me of Kohn because it reminded me of the “bad signs” of a classroom. It even mentioned two of them from the chart itself, with only the “good” projects being shown to others and the star chart. It’s a shame that this is considered a typical classroom. Especially since we’ve learned all of the “good signs” a classroom should have, this once again shows you how negative of an affect it can have on your classroom.
When I came across the quote, “From a critical point of view, existing canons of knowledge and usage are not a common culture; they have ignored the multicultural themes, idioms, and achievements of nonelite groups, such as women, minorities, homosexuals, and working people. The empowering teacher who denies universal status to the dominant culture also denies emptiness in students. They are not deficits; they are complex, substantial human beings who arrive in class with diverse cultures; they have languages, interests, feelings, experiences, and perceptions” (32), I thought of August. It reminded me that you need to feel safe in your classrooms no matter who you are. You’re no different from someone just because you’re not straight, or because you’re not a man. You should always feel comfortable in your classroom and included. That’s what will make us all great teachers.
I then proceeded to find a connection in addition to August as well as Rodriguez and Collier. On pages 42 and 43, it said, “Auerbach and Wallerstein, who adapted Freire's use of pictured scenes from daily life, called "codes" or "codifications," to develop language skills, job competencies, and critical thinking in English as a Second Language classes: The goal of problem-posing dialogue is critical thinking and action, which starts from perceiving the social, historical, or cultural causes of problems in one's life... The first step in promoting action outside the classroom is to transform education inside the classroom. Our role as teachers is to create a safe environment in which students can express opinions and, most importantly, generate their own language materials for learning and peer-teaching” (42-43). Not only does this quote talk about ESL students, or students who speak English as a second language, but it talks about how it’s our job to create a safe environment for these students. It’s up to us to make them feel comfortable when they come to school every day.
OKAY, last connection: I promise! I thought of Kahne and Westheimer when I was reading this quote. It talks about how “very young children can learn what health care is by discussing health care at home, visiting the school nurse, and so forth. At this level, they can discuss justice as meaning everyone gets treated by the nurse or by someone at home when needed. In math, story problems can sensitize children to health care costs. Children can then examine which jobs in the community provide health insurance and which do not, and what kinds of people occupy which jobs. Older children can find out what provisions there are in the community for health care for poor people. Some of their own families may use such services” (46). Our major theme this week was charity versus change. Within this quote, it shows you all of these activities that you can do that are community service things and how to go beyond “charity work”. I also think that this quote is important because it shows you, as a future teacher, how you can make learning fun and educational at the same time.
All in all, after painful hours of reading this week’s article, it proved (yet again) to be useful information for us as teachers. It tied in everything we have learned this semester and was a great way to tie everything together. I’m very glad I was able to take this class and I’m kind of upset this is our last blog post… ANYWAYS, Happy Easter again everybody! XOXO
P.S. I found this article online that isn't completely wrong... It's "How to Be a Good Teacher" and it has 20 steps... Steps 2+4 remind me of Delpit, Step 3 reminds me of August, and other steps remind me of other articles... Do you guys see it too!? :D