Sunday, March 27, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude- Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest - By: Patrick J. Finn (1999)

Extended Comments: This week I chose to use Katherine's blog to do extended comments on. Katherine's blog really caught my attention because we had a similar reaction while reading Finn's article. Delpit was the first thing that came to my mind after reading Finn's quote, "When I discussed discipline problems with other teachers, a frequent topic of discussion in the teacher's lounge. I would talk about my teaching methods as methods of control. I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do. I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument." (Finn, 3-4) I also agree with Katherine, this quote is a perfect example of Delpit's 4th aspect of power "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier."  I think Finn did a great job explaining the importance of the way you phrase statements or questions to your students. As a teacher you need to be educated on the most effective strategies for using discipline with your students. As a future teacher, both Delpit and Finn have taught me the importance of being aware of the cultures in your classroom. Too often educators neglect to recognize the cultural differences that are present in their classrooms. As both authors explained, discipline is demonstrated in many ways when students go home. Students who are already part of the culture of power are familiar with the rules and codes and know how to succeed. When it comes to those who are stuck outside the culture of power they are at a huge disadvantage. Unfairly, teachers tend to write those students off assuming that they don't want to learn, when many times thats not the case at all. Those students are just not knowledgeable of what what is expected. That is why I really admire the strategies Finn uses with his students. The fact that he always has an assignment on the board conditions his students to know what is expected of them. He demonstrated his power in the classroom in a general way that all the students understand. Finn also uses an effective technique with his students when they are off task. Instead of asking a question, he makes sure to use a statement so their is no opportunity for argument or confusion. This can also be related to Delpit's aspect of power, "Issues of power are enacted in the classroom"(Delpit, 25) The title, Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest is the most fitting name for what every future educator and educator needs to become educated on. It is extremely crucial for educators to educate their students in their own self interest in order to provide their students with the opportunity to learn as much as they can...but more importantly to prepare them to succeed and achieve. 

Questions/ Comments/Points to share: 
"When rich children get empowering education nothing changes. But when working-class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude." (Finn, preface) I think that this quote of Finn's is extremely significant because it can be related to  Delpit's 5th aspect of power, "Those with power are frequently least aware of-or least willing to acknowledge its existence. Those without power are often most aware of its existence." ( Delpit, 24)  Similarly, it can be related to TAL, the importance of school integration, and Mah-Ria's story. The parents and students at Francis Howell were already participants in the culture of power. They do not have the same appreciation for the education provided at Francis Howell as the students from Normandy do. 

P.S. I found this really cute video. I think it is relevant to the idea of empowering education. The little boy in the video makes a great point, "You wanna change the world, you gotta know about it!"  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Problem We All Live With- This American Life & Separate and Unequal- Bob Herbert

Each of these readings discuss a specific topic that our country continues to tip toe around, the need for integration. The readings all question, why not integration? As the articles explain, research does prove integration to be highly beneficial. So why have we not put integration into action? 


"So we're not talking about the Normandy School District losing their accreditation because of their buildings, or their structures, or their teachers. We are talking about violent behavior that is coming in with my first grader, my third grader, and my middle schooler that I'm very worried about. And I want to know-- you have no choice, like me-- I want to know where the metal detectors are going to be. And I want to know where your drug-sniffing dogs are going to be."
Part 1 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about Nedra Martin and her daughter Mah-Ria Martin. While Mah-Ria was in the process of transferring to Francis Howell a primarily white school, it was heart breaking to hear all of the negative opinions from the Francis Howell parents. The parents were so eager to assume that their children would be in danger. They worried that welcoming the Normandy students would disrupt their children's learning. The quote above really upset me because the issue of the schools un-accreditation was not a result of violent behaviors. This parent clearly holds a  negative stereotype about the students of the Normandy school district. That stereotype is encouraged because of the high percentage of latino and black students, and the fact that the school lost their accreditation. The parents of the white students showed barely any open mindedness about integration. Which is exactly the problem, integration needs to be given a chance. Little do those parents know, integration is also beneficial to their children. 

One teacher testified, "I think that children can overcome the stigma of poverty. I think children can overcome the stigma of their ethnicity. But what they cannot overcome is the stigma of separation. That is like a damned spot in their being, in their self image. And that's what segregation does to children. They see themselves as apart and separate because of the language they speak, because of the color of their skin, the origin of their parents."
Part 2 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about a different approach to integration. A less hesitant one and a more aggressive approach towards it. John Brittain, a civil rights lawyer was in favor of integration. He knew exactly he needed to do to be as successful as possible in his attempt to make it happen. He got the entire board of education to not only support him but actually testify. Now that's saying something. The board of education knows what is best for their students. They are the ones who are most aware of the negative impact that segregation has on their children. 

"Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. "
Bob Herbert's article in the New York Times also discussed the need for integration, and the fact that the need is being ignored and pushed aside. His quote relates very closely to part 1 of TAL that we read. Part 1 also brought up the point that these schools made up of latino and black students, are also primarily living in poverty. Research as shown that clumping these students together is harmful. They do not have the opportunity to learn from peers and are not likely to be encouraged by their teachers and peers. Those students are more likely to benefit in a motivational environment where they will have the opportunity to learn from their peers and achieve. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning By: Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Extended Comments: 
I found Kahne and Westheimer’s article extremely engaging. After reading some of my peers post, I found that I share many of the same ideas as them when it comes to the topic of service learning. In particular I was drawn to Ariana's post and my post will be extended comments on her post.  In the article, both Mr. Johnson and Ms. Adams students took part in service learning experiences. However, each teacher took a bit of a different approach I think that both had positive outcomes. Ariana began her blog post stating that the beginning of the article gives a great description of what we should be getting out of our own service learning experiences. As the article explains,
"Improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling...[we] aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students."

This quote couldn’t be more accurate, we are improving the community by spending time at these inner city schools. We are making an effort to enhance the knowledge and lives of students who come from very little. We are also building meaningful relationships with students who could really use an older role model in their lives. Just by taking a few hours a week to spend time at these schools is benefitting children social- emotionally, and academically. Personally, I feel like my experiences have also benefited me social- emotionally and academically. After my visits, I feel so happy because I know I helped make someone’s day better. I also feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to work in the classroom and learn things first hand that will be especially useful to me in my future as an early childhood educator. Another quote from the article that Ariana used that I thought was important to touch upon was that,
"Unfortunately, in many service activities, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource". I think that this quote relates to Ariana’s high school experience. Ariana explained that many of her classmates complained about having to complete 30 hours of community service. I think it’s important to acknowledge that students think of the term, “community service” as a chore. Often they are not made knowledgeable of all of the highly valuable skills and experiences that can be taken from service learning.

Comments/Points to Share:

I was never required to complete service learning hours before attending college. Unlike Ariana and many of my other classmates, I was not introduced to it in high school. In a way I feel as though if I had been introduced to it sooner, it would have really benefited and prepared me for the real world and college. I think that service learning serves a huge role in the development of maturity. From my service learning experiences I have become more familiar with how to respond to many different situations in the classroom, especially in regards to culture. I think it is crucial to discuss some ways of positively promoting service learning in order to reduce many of the common misconceptions that students have about service learning.