Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shor, Empowering Education

Chris's response: 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.

I agree with Chris when he talks about how Christensen explains in her article that the media teaches us about the secret education without us even knowing. Also, I really liked his quote he took from Shor when he says the media needss to be more accountable for their actions. This also relates back to Christensen and how the media shows us the secret education. Clearly the media does this on purpose and uses their power to keep the secret education alive and the codes of power present in today's society. Shor also talks about the importance of empowering education. Chris brought up a great point by saying he thinks there is a lot more to learning than just the "three R's" of education. Kids in today's school need to be able to learn in a variety of ways because everyone learns differently. If a classroom is taught just one way, how is everyone going to be on the same page and be able to correctly understand the material. If the classroom is set up where multiple learning styles are used throughout, then certain people will excel at certain styles. Everyone's strong points will be used and put forward in the class.
I found a link to a website that shows a few different teaching styles and it explains exactly what each one is and how what the teacher would focus on.
In class I believe we should discuss more about empowering education and how our past school did or did not use this type of education. Also we can discuss how RIC does or does not use it and how our class uses it and why it works so well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finn and Oaks, Argument

After reading the articles on Finn and Oaks I have seen that both authors argue that "tracking" in today's schools is not an efficient way to place students into classes. Having said this, before I read these articles I had no idea what tracking was. After reading these articles, however, it makes since and is definitely not the right way to place children in classes around the country. Pretty much tracking is all about where and what you come from. The more privileged and knowledgeable children are going to be put into the higher end classes and be taught at a high level. The not so privileged and less gifted children in education are almost going to be forgotten. They are going to be put into classrooms that do not teach the way the higher classes do. They are not going to have the same opportunities as the other kids are. For example, Oaks states about higher end classes, "Classroom tasks are often better organized, and students are given a greater variety of things to do. These differences in learning opportunities point to fundamental and ironic school inequities. Students who need more time to learn appear to get less; those who have the most difficulty learning seem to have fewer of the best teachers."  By giving these kids all the resources that they need and leaving the less fortunate kids to fend for themselves and in a way leave them out to dry, it creates an attitude that will make the less fortunate kids have negative thoughts and they will be more likely to give up and drop out.

I completely agree with both authors in the sense that we need to change the way tracking is used is our schools. If we could integrate the classes and give the less fortunate kids a way to feel equal and like they belong, I believe we would see a difference in how they perform in schools and how much more serious they would take it.

This is a video from the movie Freedom Writers. It shows a different style of teaching that gets the students involved and changes up the usual teaching style of lower end classes. I believe if there was more mixture of teaching methods in classrooms, it would make students want to learn and pay attention more.

In class I think we should talk about how our schools can get away from tracking and placing all of our time and effort to make sure higher end students have everything they need.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gender and Education

In today's society everyone looks at people's opinions and views on every kind of topic. So when it comes to gender and education, there is no secret that there is some type of bias with both girls and boys. One of the first things that I've noticed throughout my education experience is the huge overload of woman teachers over men teachers in elementary schools. Throughout my years of elementary school, I only had one male teacher and he was my physical education teacher. The only other males in my school was one 5th grade male teacher and my principal. It was easy to see the shift that occurred in middle school and high school. I started getting more male teachers as the grade levels increased. So why is there a sudden change in the amount of male teachers? Why does it seem as though you only see male teachers in higher grades? I went online to find out about this issue and I quickly found a teachers blog about it. The post talks directly about why there are not many male teachers in elementary schools today. I really liked what the blogger had to say about the issue. He brought up a lot of great information and facts.

When I searched "gender and education" on the internet, I found a couple good sites that had some useful information on them. One in particular was a site that mainly talked about gender differences in schools today. The site claims that girl and boys learn the same subjects correctly by using different teaching methods. For instance, a lot of schools talk about physics and relate the material to stuff that boys like and are interested in. This makes it more difficult for girls to enjoy to learn about the subject because it is harder to relate to. The website also talks about the difference between single-sex schools and co-ed sex schools. There were a bunch of good articles throughout this website.

In class I'd like to discuss more about the issue of male teachers in today's elementary schools and also the difference between single-sex and co-ed sex schools. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Between Barack and a Hard Place,Tim Wise-Reflection

After listening to the Tim Wise interview, I realized that racism in today's society is more blinded and sophisticated than when the Brown vs. Board of Education case was settled in 1954. In today's society, there is no segregation, for the most part, but racism still lingers throughout our country. One thing that I totally agree with what Wise talks about is the difference between racism 1.0 and racism 2.0. Racism 1.0 is what most people would call "open eyed racism" or racism that is noticeable. Racism 2.0  is now evident since Obama has been president. This is when people support him because he is different than the norm and is something new for the country. The issue with this racism is that it can be turned onto every race and can put people down who are not up to the standards that have been set by Obama.

I found a little article about racism in politics and how it is pushed under the rug and not completely noticed by everyone.

In class I'd like to talk about racism and how it is still very known and seen in our society today.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kahne and Westheimer, "In The Service of What?" Extended Comments

After reading the article by Kahne and Westheimer, I wasn't completely sure what I thought about it. So I decided to look at what other students wrote about the article and do an extended comment. When I read Kathryn's blog I knew exactly what she was talking about and that it is true.

My favorite part of Kathryn's blog is when she talks about her definition of service learning, and community service. she states, "One example they give in the article is giving survival kits to the homeless. I think this is one way of service learning to help improve the community. Or is it just community service? I also think that it means not only helping people in need but you benefitting from helping those people." 

I completely agree with this quote because a lot of times the act of just giving people stuff is considered the greatest way to help. For many years I've watched ESPN and sports channels daily. I love to see all the different shows and athletes away from their jobs and interacting with the hosts. One great example that I've gotten from watching these different shows is one in particular show called My Wish. On this show, there is a child who has had either life threatening complications or a type of disease where they are unable to do stuff they love. All the kids love a certain athlete or professional team and their wish is to either meet them or do something with them. The athlete will come in and take the kid to have a whole day of fun and doing normal things. It's amazing to see how happy the kids get when they see their idol or favorite athlete walk through the door and say they are going to hang out for the day. I believe it's so much better for people to help out by going to the problem instead of just giving to it. Another example is when celebrities support charity's or foundations by giving donations of money or supplies. I believe it is a lot more beneficial and special to have that celebrity be there in first person, helping out with people and showing they care. Anyone with money can write a check and say they care, but people who actually help the problem by taking time from their life and going to the problem really and truly help.

This is a youtube video of the show My Wish  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community, by Dennis Carlson (Hyperlinks)

While reading this article I immediately thought of a recent incident that occurred at Rutgers university. There was a student who was gay and he asked his roommate if he could have the dorm room for a little bit. His roommate said it was alright, but before he left he decided to turn on his computer web cam. After the roommate left he turned the camera on and began streaming what was happening in his room on the internet. Later, when the student who was in the room found out about the video he decided to take his own life. I found a recording of this story online and believe it describes in good detail the issue of privacy and homosexuality.

Recently I have seen commercials on MTV talking about this Rutgers incident and on their website they actually show a video of kids from Rutgers university talking about this new issue of cyber bullying and the affects it can have on kids these days. Many people do not even realize that what they are doing is wrong because they are saying it on facebook or they are just discussing things over the internet with friends. However, it's gotten to the point where homosexual teenagers are taking their own lives because of these actions and something must be done to stop it. In the past month there have been four suicides with gay students across the United States.These numbers are continuing to go up and will continue unless something is done.

In class I would like to discuss what we can do, as future teachers, to stop or at least make an effort to stop this new type of bullying and growing issue of homosexual suicides.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quotes on "Aria", by Richard Rodriguez

"Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great
deal by not being taught in their family's language. What they seem not to
recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a
private language."

These sentences are the beginning of Richard Rodriguez's article "Aria". I believe this was a great way to start off this article because it quickly explains the way bilingual schools are teaching and how this one Spanish speaking boy, Richard, feels his language is perceived. First off, I believe these bilingual schools are very tough to learn in and don't always work correctly. Even though their goal is to have Spanish speaking children learn English, the way they go about doing that is very difficult and one sided. Also when Richard says Spanish is considered a private language I think of all the times I'm standing near people who are bilingual and right when they see me near them they immediately start talking in Spanish. It totally makes me feel uncomfortable because I wonder if these people are talking about me. 

"One Saturday morning I entered the kitchen where my parents were talking in Spanish. I did not realize that they were talking in Spanish however until, at the moment they saw me, I heard their voices change to speak English"

I can totally understand why it would be so hard for a Spanish speaking student to try and learn the English language at school, and yet when he goes home all he hears is Spanish. In this quote, Richards parents try and help their son by speaking English whenever he's around. The only problem is that they have to force themselves to speak it and that frustrates Richard. He just wants to speak Spanish, his language, but now everyone else around him is forcing him to speak English. He is so accustomed to Spanish that when he hears his own parents not speaking in the language he was brought up in, it freaks him out.  

"But my father was not shy, I realized, when I'd watch him speaking Spanish with relatives. Using Spanish, he was quickly effusive. Especially when talking with other men, his voice would spark, flicker, flare alive with sounds. In Spanish, he expressed ideas and feelings he rarely revealed in English. With firm Spanish sounds, he conveyed confidence and authority English would never allow him."

This quote is very sad because it shows how the English language can hinder how people who normally speak Spanish act. Richards father is very happy and intelligent when he talks in Spanish, but when he switches to English he doesn't have that flare and glamor that he used to. I can totally see this is a lot of people. For example, I did landscaping this summer and I worked with a couple of Spanish guys. You could totally tell the difference in ways they talked from when they talked with each other in Spanish to when they talked to me in English. They did not seem confident of sure of what they were saying to me at all and I always felt kind of bad. This quote completely shows why a lot of people who speak Spanish don't like to speak in English because they loose their own speaking personality.

Points to Share: For class I would want to discuss how people like ourselves could somehow make Spanish speaking people feel more comfortable with speaking to us in English. I'm not sure how we could do this but there must be a way. Also, in these bilingual schools, how could teachers make these kids feel more comfortable with themselves and how could they get the students to love to learn how to speak the English language?