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Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Extended Comments, Shor

Chris Blog: 

Shor- Empowering Education (Connection)

This week’s article was on a well known topic in our class: Empowering education. All this semester we have been taught how we deprive kids of that education, but this article tells us the now what of empowering education. As I was reading I made connections to a few authors that we have read and talked about in class.

My first connection was to Finn and Oakes. Right on the first page of the reading I saw the connection brewing. Finn and Oakes talked about tracking. They said how tracking is something that creates a low performing working class standard education. Once you get rid of tracking all together you can lead kids towards an empowering education. Shor talks about how there is more to learning then the “three R’s” of education. He says, “You must arose children’s curiosity and make them think about school.” This is what an empowering education is about. We must use critical thinking to entice our children to want to learn and get the education they deserve. So they both speak about how we can all be successful through an empowering education.

My second connection was to Christensen. As I read through the article I reached a point where media literacy was just screaming out at me. Christensen in her article talks about how the media does not take responsibility on how it perceives people. She also talks about the large effect the media has on people. She talks about the secret education and how we learn these things from the media without any knowledge that it is happening. Shor talks about this journalism class and how the children were asked to ask questions about the media. The question that stuck out the most was, “Why isn’t the media more accountable for its actions.” This relates right back to Christensen and how the media uses the secret education to teach us things we do not need to know. If the media is going to give us this education, then why not give us a knowledgeable empowering education. The media needs to learn that it is the middle man. It controls how we see society. 

These connections just confirm how good an empowering education can be. If we give our children the chance to grow and learn without putting a tag on them or without having the media give them hidden messages then we could have a very bright future. Here are someways these people thought up to create a more empowering classroom to keep students more engaged. 

In class I would like to discuss how our class really encompasses empowering education.

Extended comments: 

I loved Chris' connections and how he explained them. I loved this quote because this is key to empowering education, "You must arose children’s curiosity and make them think about school.”  If children are not interested or challenged they will not learn anything.  If a child if just given "busy work" learning is associated as boring to them and will be stuck like that for the rest of their life. 

Chris worded this perfectly, "The media needs to learn that it is the middle man. It controls how we see society." It is absolutely true. The media is the center of everything, the books we read, the billboards we see, the clothes we wear the food we eat.  The media is indeed in the middle of every aspect of our life. If the media is so central to our life why aren't we using this to our advantage and including helpful things to empower and inspire our young children? 

I also loved this quote "As a pedagogy and social philosophy, problem-posing focuses on power relations in the classroom, in the institution, in the formation of standard canons of knowledge, and in society at large." Problem posing makes the students really think. It also works out well because it allows the children to see how other people in society would answer the questions. It shows different points of view. 

In class I would like to discuss how to involve problem solving is all aspects of the classroom. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promising Practices 11-6-10

1) Narrative description of what the day was like for you, including your experience in the 2 workshops, the Curriculum Resource Fair, and the keynote address.
I woke up at 7:30 which was awful for me, I despise getting out of bed especially that early.  I was excited to see the Donovan fancied up it made me feel very official going to a real conference.  I said my name and received my bright green folder, I discovered I was in the same workshops as Raquel so I was very excited to have someone with me because I had no idea what to expect.  My workshops were D and L which were Problem Solving in Mathematics with Marie Lynch and Mary Sullivan and Destination Fun with Ellen Thompson.  I was very excited it seemed as if I had chosen two good ones.  I love math and my second one had fun in the title so it had to be fun, I assumed.  Destination Fun was not fun at all. It was a geography workshop and we had to do assignments.  I felt nervous as if I were being graded.  In my group there was a lady who was already a teacher and she didn’t seem to like the assignment very much, It was tricky and very detail orientated. We had to use coordinates to find places on the map and guess which places they were. I always hated maps so this was no fun for me.  I enjoyed the keynote speaker at first but it seemed to me he was being vague. He never quite got to the point but he was interesting and I feel if he had more time it would have worked out better.
2) A deeper analysis of what you learned at one of the sessions (workshops or keynote) including two connections to authors we have read in class.
I really enjoyed my first workshop, Problem Solving In Mathematics. The first thing we did was do a worksheet and then talk about it.  On the worksheet it had different ways students learned place value and we talked about all of these.  It was interesting how most of us had learned the same way as elementary students. We were never explained why we did this we just did the procedure.  This reminded me of the Delpit article when it says, “In this country students will be judged on their product regardless of the process they utilized to achieve it.” Process should be important, because just knowing the answer does not mean you understand how to do it again. Next they talked all about their research they did.  They did a fourth grade mathematics study.  They placed math specialists into the classroom, which is a teacher who only concentrates on math.  Their pre studies showed many students using additive instead of multiplication strategies, when multiplication is supposed to be learned in third grade.  When they talked about skip counting they mentioned being explicit which reminded me immediately of Delpit again. They want teachers to be explicit about getting rid of skip counting because it leaves huge room for error. After their study it showed that the school they worked at now is making Adequate Yearly Process AYP.  That is a big step in the right direction.  It shows how important math specialists are and how we need to include them in the classroom.  Math is key to life.  They mentioned how too many jobs are outsourced from the US because we are weak in math and how not knowing math well enough limits opportunities.  They gave us the website for the National Council of Teachers of Math and I feel like this would be a valuable website for all math teachers. 

The keynote as well as my first workshop both mentioned the movie, “Waiting for Superman” I really want to see this movie, it sounds very interesting. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Citizenship in School, Quotes

"Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community. Though many of us have a certain level of control over who we meet and interact with, none of us can come close to claiming complete control. So we must learn to work with others."
In school you learn not only information but how to socialize.  In the real world there are all types of people you are not separated into groups. You have to learn to not only work with others but enjoy each others company.  We should learn from each other.  It gives us an opportunity to look at everything through a different prospective. 

"Throughout the classroom activities, Shayne maintained a focus on individual goals for each child. She did not dismiss the linear developmental progression laid out for children by developmental theorists (as translated by educational researchers and publishing companies). She recognized these norm-referenced guides as important for certain students' future acceptance and success as they entered public elementary schools."
I agree with this, you can't judge children all on the same standard.  They should all have different goals because they all have different ways of learning and therefore will progress differently.  Success is different for every person. One child's success may be reading a whole book while another may be writing a summary on it.  Children are all on different levels and that should be recognized in the evaluation process as well. 

"Gardner's research to this point has yielded seven such valued patterns for solving problems and fashioning products. Included are the two traditional school emphases on (1) logical­ mathematical thinking and (2) linguistic capacities. But Gardner also includes five other culturally valued ways of knowing and acting in the world that are commonly neglected in schools: (3)a spatial-representation intelligence-the capacity to represent the complexity of time, space, objects, and spirit through symbols, drawings, and other media; (4) musical intelligence-the capacity to communicate meaningfully through the creation of song and rhythm; (5) kinesthetic intelligence-the capacity to use one's body to communicate, solve problems, or to make things; (6) interpersonal intelligence-the capacity to deeply understand the communication of others; and (7) intrapersonal intelligence-the capacity to deeply under­ stand one's self, to make choices, and to act on those choices." 
In high school we had to do a senior project to graduate, I did elementary education as my topic and I wrote my 10 page paper on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory.  Everyone learns completely differently.  For my product I taught a lesson plan that included aspects targeted towards all these types of learners. I learned how difficult it can be to make a lesson interesting and educational for all of your students but how key it is to success as a teacher. 

This video shows how to teach all the Intelligences:

I would like to discuss in class how on campus we do that thing where you can use a wheel chair or something for the day, It would be cool if we could somehow have a day dedicated to trying to be in the shoes of someone else who is also discriminated against.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oakes and Finn, Argument

Oakes' argument is pretty clearly against tracking.  When reading his article he convinced me to be against it to.  It doesn't make any sense at all.  It is exactly as he described it, "rich get richer and poor get poorer." Why would we only have the students who are doing well getting special attention and better classes and resources.  Who came up with this idea? The "less abled" kids are expecting to do bad. If you are expected to do bad, then why not do bad.  If your teachers believe you are "less abled" and give you non- challenging work and just expect less in general you are going to behave just that way.  The students who need help should receive that help, no just be stifled.   His alternative to tracking makes way more sense.  Have a curriculum rich with meaning for all and have students do self evaluations. So they can see how they are doing and where they need to improve. This video shows how unequal these classes really are..

This example from Finn related to the tracking from Oakes article:

"In the working-class schools, knowledge was presented as fragmented facts isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experiences of the students. Work was following steps in a procedure. There was little decision-making or choice. Teachers rarely explained why work was being assigned or how it was connected to other assignments. Work was often evaluated in terms of whether the steps were followed rather than whether it was right or wrong. For example, one teacher led the students through a series of steps to draw a one-inch grid on their paper without telling them what they were making or what it was for. When a girl realized what they were making and said she had a faster way to do it, the teacher answered, "No you don't. You don't even know what I'm making yet. Do it this way or it's wrong."

This would be an example from the "less abled" classroom.  They take the kids from working class families and they make work and process be the only thing that matters to them. They do not encourage them to succeed.  They encourage them to stay where they are and just work to work.  Children should be motivated and encourage to be whatever they want to be, no pushed down by their teachers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Over education leads to ugliness, premature aging and beard growth."

This video sarcastically talks about what happens to women when they "learn too much": "Over education leads to ugliness, premature aging and beard growth."

I also found this video very interesting.  It is a list of what teachers are more likely to do.  All of them are in favor of male students, why is this? This made me want to do more research on gender bias in the classroom because I had never heard of that before.  This video gave even more gender bias' in the classroom. I was shocked at this statistic that 80 percent of high-school dropout are boys.  I did not realize it was so extreme.

In class I would like to talk about these gender bias and discuss if anyone has experienced them personally.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tim Wise

             "The proof of racial equity will be the day that people of color can be as mediocre as white folks and still be hired." I really liked the quote by Tim Wise it really made me think.  This is absolutely true. A mediocre white man is given the same opportunities as a exceptional black man just because of the color of his skin.  Yes the same opportunities are given but only to  a select few, the exceptional ones.

I was shocked when Will Smith was brought up as being offensive, he always seems so positive to me.  So I researched this further and found this blog thread with people discussing him. I also found another article on Will Smith that talked about this issue that was also interesting. This quote from the article made me laugh.  "All I can think is that Mr. Smith spent a little too much time with one of those pens that flashes the red light and selectively erases people’s memories in Men In Black.  Or maybe Mr. Smith spent too much time looking at his statement from his accountant that showed how much he was worth with all the trailing zeroes and forgot how much racial discrimination is a part of the American way of life."

In class I would like to talk about that argument. The "no excuses now" argument. I would like to know what other people think. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

In the Service Of What, Reflection

"For Thanksgiving this year my stepmother and I helped serve the seniors their Thanksgiving dinner. This was a very rewarding experience helping others in need. It seemed that the dinner was something special to them; it was a chance for them to get together with their peers. Many don't have families in the area and are all alone for the holidays. This made it a little less lonely, which feels great. Thank you for giving me the chance to help!"
This quote reminded me of the times my mother brought me to the Martin Luther King Center in Newport around Christmas time, to prepare toy, food, and clothing baskets to be passed out to the less fortunate.  I used to love doing this because it felt good to help people.  It put me and my family into the real Christmas mood, the season of giving rather then receiving.  But then after this I would go home to a house full of food and toys.  Now that I think back on it I should have done more.  
"The student's description of the event lacked the perspective and input of those she was helping." 
I agree with this quote, I went to the MLK center and helped but i never thought about how It would feel to be on the other end.  I think if more people thought about if from the needy prospective more people would want to help.  My mom always says this quote that I love, "there before the grace of God." I could be in that persons shoes.  People tend to think of the poor as their own class of people, but we are all the same people and we all have the same needs.  
"Clearly. having students share their thoughts and experiences with one another can be valuable, but reflective activities (commonly in the form of journal entries and discussions) may simply reinforce previously held beliefs and simplistic, if generous conclusions." 
I believe if students see their friends helping it will become more real to them and they will want to help also.  We have to make the opportunities to help available and easy to access so children along with their families will want to help. 
In class I think we should talk about programs available for children to help, should more be created?