Monday, November 28, 2016

Empowering Education

Ira Shor

"Education is more than facts and skills. It is a socializing experience that helps make the people who make the society" (Shor 15). 

Schools today have become more about who has the highest test scores, or who can memorize the facts. In reality the education you receive at school should be how to socialize with other human beings because those are the people who are going to makeup the adult society. While reading this article it mentions that when  children are trying to learn they communicate to adults to find out when they want to know. Once these children become school aged they are then supposed to learn by memorizing facts and taking tests and eventually they lose that concept of socializing to find out when they want to learn.

Image result for children learning through communication

"Participation is the most important place to begin because student involvement is low in traditional classrooms and because action is essential to gain knowledge and deep intelligence" (Shor 17). 

Our class is a prime example as to why participation is important. Personally I have never had a class that wanted the student's full involvement when discussing topics. It has always been take notes, do papers, if you have questions ask. There was never a time where they wanted to know what we were thinking. By having lecture type classes where student involvement is limited I believe somewhat creates the anxiety come people about talking in class. Of course people are always going to be shy, but starting in elementary school it was always the teacher talking in order for the students to learn. Having teacher taught classes makes harder for shy people to become the talker of the class. This class has been the complete opposite in that aspect and honestly I don't think I've ever learned so much from one class.By having the ability to participate we are able to do more critical thinking and link what we are learning to our everyday lives. Having discussion based classes has definitely been one of the best ways for me learn and I wish my other classes were set up more like this.

"While a participatory classroom cannot transform society by itself, it can offer students a critical education of high quality, an experience of democratic learning, and positive feelings toward intellectual life" (Shor 29).

Society can't change by having once class that actually makes you use your brain and form your own opinions. More classrooms starting at an early age need to take this approach because more people are able to connect their lives to what is talked about in the classroom. Once students can relate to something in another person they are then able to better understand a situation, or even just feel more comfortable in the classroom.This can be related to Gerri August "Safe Spaces" in how if children have the ability to form relationships in the classroom they are able to have an easier time talking to their teachers if there is in an issue and the potential of making strong bonds with their peers. Having peers who know and understand each other makes a classroom safer and children more likely to contribute to what the topic is and then this has them critically thinking about what they are learning about.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude: Quotes

By: Patrick J. Finn

"We worry instead that the low levels of literacy among them make them a liability for the rest of us. The idea is that if we could raise their level of literacy they would join the haves. America would have no poor, just rich, richer, and richest."

This quote stuck out to me because it does just seem so true to what is going on in our school systems. Although everyone has their own level of literacy some students don't even get the chance to become great at it. The skill level of literacy is easily shown by social class. If students can't get to the best education they don't have any other choice but to go to that school. And they wont have the chance of the best education coming to them. They have to deal with what they can get based on what they can afford. While students families who have the economic fortune of choosing the schools they want to go to can go get the education they feel like they deserve because they have the money for it.

Image result for pictures of tracking students by ability

"There were about four hundred eighth graders who were sorted by reading scores from the highest to the lowest and divided into fifteen classes, 8-1s being the highest, 8-15s being the lowest. But they didn't divide them exactly equally. While the 8-1s through the 8-13s started with around twenty-seven students, the two lowest classes started out with only fifteen. The theory was that the slowest students would get more attention in smaller classes." 

The idea behind this organization of students is a great one. Having this type of system should be able to give students the individual attention they need in order to move up to the next bracket of study. However as we read along it becomes more of a enrich the children who are already in the higher groups and whatever happens, happens in the lower groups. Students were moved to the lower groups if they were having disciplinary issues that weren't even related to how much they know. So although the idea of small class sizes sound great for helping students it turns out they eventually just become a "babysitting" type of class. This quote reminds me of our other reading this week by Jeannie Oakes. In her article she discusses  how children are being tracked through school based on how well they're performing. Although this can be helpful showing which students could use enrichment and which children need the extra help it also makes room for separating them. According to Nikole Hannah Jones, separating students changes the kind of education that a child is going to get. She was talking about separation by race, but it also works when separating students by what we consider their capabilities. Using tracking the way it's used now, as a way to group children into categories based on what they are capable of, needs to change so that children are able to move up the line of education.

"Teachers who see themselves as allies of their working-class students can help their students see that literacy and school knowledge could be potent weapons in their struggle for a better deal by connection school knowledge with the reality of working-class student's lives."

This quote shows that when some teachers are able to relate to their students they are able to help them connect their education to what they will need in the real world outside of school. A teacher who works in the same type of community that they grew up in know what kind of life their students are going to have. Typically when someone is from a certain class they are born into that social class, go to schools that other students from that social class is from, and then get the same types of jobs that their parents had.Having this type of cycle makes it so the teachers know what the students are going to need to stay in their social class. In order for people to exceed the limits students are going to need to be taught more than just the minimum of what is considered needed. With out changes being made to the educational standards for students, they are always going to be in the social class they were born in when they become adults. Of course there are exceptions but not enough to make a difference in societies.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mapping the Authors

Map the Authors

Promising Practice Overview

The two workshops that I chose to participate in for Promising Practices were Promoting Resiliency in Kindergarten: How Mindfulness and PBIS can Work Together and Building Resiliency Through Play. When I originally picked these two workshops I thought they might be a little similar because they were both dealing with younger children, and I was wrong.  

The first workshop about being mindful and PBIS, and it was run by a counselor, a psychiatrist, and a kindergarten teacher who all work at the Henry Barnard Elementary School. In the first workshop about mindfulness I learned about how children aren’t always mindful of not only others, but themselves. The psychiatrist talked about different exercised that can be done to help a children become more mindful of themselves. One exercise she actually did with us was she rang a bell and we had to raise our hand when we couldn’t hear it anymore. She did this a second time, but this time we didn’t raise our hand when we couldn’t hear it. Instead we sat there until she started talking. This exercise made you sit there and think about how fast were you breathing and how you were feeling that day. This could be connected to Kristoff because the institution of education is teaching children how to be mindful of themselves and then learn how to be mindful of others. This will help them as they grow to recognize things such as bullying. While doing this exercise it made me feel more aware of myself on the inside. I learned that PBIS means positive behavior intervention and support. This technique is used as a discipline approach when dealing with behavior issues. Another thing I learned was that children need four positive interactions for every one interaction. If children receive too many negative interactions it can affect the way they see themselves and how they learn.

Image result for children playing in a classroom

In the second workshop about Building Resiliency Through Play. The first thing I noticed was that the instructor started out by calling all of us friends. I found this interesting because last year when I was a preschool teacher before the children even knew each other we would refer to them as our friends and each other’s friends. For introductions we started out by doing different kinds of handshakes with one another. I can be really shy, so this felt extremely awkward I’m pretty sure for all of us. After our crazy handshakes we split up into groups. Some of us played Jenga, some people tossed stuffed animals, a few people played operation, and the group I was in was called builders and bulldozers. The object of my game was that ½ of us would build 3 story block stacks while the other ½ of us got to knock them down without physically following the builders. As some of the other games ended they became part of our game splitting up into builders and bulldozers. At first the new people didn’t know exactly what was going on. This could easily be related to Delpit because they had no idea what the rules and codes of power were for this game. In the beginning the new students seemed lost as to what they were doing because some of the buildings were 5 or 6 blocks high, and some of the bulldozers were following the builders. Once we told them about the rules they caught on and became part of the group and following the rules.  After everyone was settled into the game we all took turns being both jobs. While playing this game I became very protective of the buildings I was creating, but when I was a bulldozer all I wanted to do was knock as many buildings down as I could. While I was a bulldozer can be connected to our reading about Johnson and the position of having power. I had the power to knock down as many buildings as I could without anyone stopping me. It became so competitive between the two groups; you could feel it in the air. Once we were done playing the games the instructor asked us how we felt playing these games. A lot of answers were competitive, disappointment, protective, and aggravated. This was definitely an excellent way of showing adults how children can feel when they are playing with new friends in a new environment. While looking at websites a lot of them were from a parents perspective on how to teach a child to be resilient in general. They had some great ideas on how to teach a child about their strengths and techniques on how to achieve their goals.