Friday, April 26, 2013

Shor "Education in Politics" Reflection/Quote

             For Shor’s “Education in Politics” I am choosing to do a quote analysis to start off my reflection. Shor says that: “A participatory classroom offers chances to hear the largely silent voices of students from which teachers learn how to integrate subject matter into their existing knowledge. Students routinely hold back their voices as a means of resisting traditional classrooms where authority is unilateral and where they lack an inspiring life of the mind which speaks to their dreams and needs.” I believe this quote gets Shor’s point across in a much briefer way. I can attest to this method being a preferred way of learning for students because I myself am a student and have observed that students participate far more in this type of lesson structure rather than a mainstream lecture in which students scribble notes. I observed this first hand in Dr. Bogad’s classroom and personally because I usually do not talk often in classroom yet in FNED I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut because I actually want express my opinion and get feedback from the teacher as well as my classmates. As a history secondary education major I am constantly just sitting in classrooms typing endless amounts of notes from a professors lecture, so it’s a nice change of pace when we have classroom discussions that stimulate my need to reason thoughts out and carefully choose how I want to convey what I have to say.  In essence I am saying that as a student and future teacher, I prefer the idea of a participatory classroom because it forces students to think and reason. It makes them want to learn and understand and I believe that should be the students attitude in every single classroom. 

Below is a link to a rather lengthy but relevant video on participatory classrooms.

Kliewer, "Citizenship in School" Reflection

              For Kliewer’s “Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome” I have decided to comment on it in a reflection. Prior to my grandmother’s retirement, she was employed by the city of Boston as an assistant teacher in a special education classroom. Due to my mother’s poor health my grandmother primarily raised me and had no choice but to bring me to work with her when I was a child. I remember it as if it was yesterday and it causes me to question Kliewer’s idea of inclusion in “regular” classrooms. My reasoning is based off of the behavior I observed as a child. The children in the classroom were in diapers, violent, and some were even in wheelchairs. I am struggling with the idea of children with severe down syndrome/disabilities like those I shared above being integrated into a “regular” classroom. However there are children with Down syndrome that is not as severe who I can see being integrated into regular classrooms.  An example of this is a child in my kindergarten class who is extremely smart however due to his down syndrome he cannot be left alone. I was working with him today on blending and sentence reading and he flew through it faster than most of the other children in the class. So in a sense I am torn, I believe children like Caiden should be allowed in regular classrooms. However on the other hand I remember how unstable my grandmother’s classroom was due to the children’s behavior and special needs and I cannot fathom them being in a regular classroom. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Literacy with an Attitude

         For the text “Literacy with an Attitude” I wanted to focus on two quotes that I believe summarize the main point that Finn is trying to convey.

“If teachers who are transforming intellectuals are successful, the real-school model is established because the students want what the teacher has and teachers are prepared to teach it. The bastardized progressivism that separates students on the basis of scholastic achievement tests (which correlate highly with socioeconomic status) and "attitude" (which also correlates highly with socioeconomic status) and differentiates the curriculum and method of teaching (as we saw in Anyon and elsewhere) gives way to education for liberation across the board. Phony democracy and easy work in working-class schools give way to real democracy and hard work.”

Finn makes a good point straight off with this quotation. It is critical to create an environment in schools similar to the “real-school model”, which is when the students desire what the teacher has and the teachers are ready to teach it. What is it that Finn means when he says “it”? The “it” is knowledge. These students understand how valuable possession knowledge is. They recognize that knowledge can be traded for good grades, better educational opportunities after high school, and better jobs when they enter the real world. He also comments on how ineffective our current educational separation policies are inhibiting progress and ultimately is flawed. The techniques currently employed are too intertwined with the student’s socioeconomic status and, in a way, predetermines the future of the student and limits possible opportunities. Finn goes on to say:

“When this happens, progressive, collaborative methods begin to emerge because traditional, directive methods are inherently domesticating, not liberating. “Do it my way or it's wrong," is not liberating. "What we're trying to do here is get some notes for Friday's test," is not liberating. Progressive, collaborative methods can be liberating, but for many children they are not possible without simultaneous conscientization and dialogue.”

With this I believe Finn is trying to say that as educators we must be open to ideas in regards to education that go against the norm. We have to be open to the idea of progress through scientific observation. The text provided clearly displays the findings of Anyon. It showed that the students from the higher echelons of society are educated in an entirely new and new age manner. It is liberated, and by this Finn means that due to the freedom and unique relationships/interactions between the students and teachers, the students actually want to learn and obtain the knowledge that teachers want to share.