Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shor "Empowering Education" : Quotes

When I read this article by Ira Shor I thought many of the points brought up were good and I agreed with them 100 percent. I think that students should learn by participatory learning because they are bound to retain more information if they are participating and not just being talked at by a teacher. Just like in our class we all share stories and opinions during the class and Dr. Bogad does not just talk at us the whole timem and most of us all have agreed that we retain the most information from this class than any of our other classes. I found a few quotes in the reading that back up what Ira Shor has to say.

"Participation is the most important place to begin because student involvment is low in traditional classrooms and because action is essential to gain knowledge and develope intelligence"

This quote shows Shors main idea about participatory classrooms because he is saying that in order for students to gain the most knowledge they need to be involved in the classroom. I agree with this because most of the time if a student is not engaged in the discussion during the class they are not listening and if they are not listening then they are not learning anything. Also, Shor is saying that action is a big part of how students learn in a classroom. If a student never participates or raises their hand they probably will learn less than someone who is more active in the class and puts their opinion in more than others.

"Knowledge is derived from action...To know is therefore to assimulate reality into structures of transformation and these are the structures that intelligence constructs as a direct extension of our actions"

Piaget backs up Shor's idea by saying this. He is saying that the best way to learn is to be active in the classroom and relate what you are learning back to personal experience. I think this works really well because many times in this class people have used stories about themselves and I have remembered them better than I have remembered anything in any of my other classes.

Dewey says that "participation is an educational and political means for students to gain knowledge and to develope as citizens. Only by active learning could students develop scientific method and democratic habits rather than becoming passive pupils waiting to be told what things mean and what to do."

Dewey says that learning in a participatory way helps students to identify themselves as citizens. He says that in order to learn in a good way you have to be active rather than passive because when you are active you are doing what you need to learn rather than being told what you need to learn. He believed that learning and the government were related and if you learned in a participatory manner then you would develop as a citizen and learn democratic habits in a better way. I think that Dewey is right about participatory learning and that it helps students to learn in better ways rather than just being talked at for a whole class. 

During class I hope to talk more about ways that participartory learning is beneficial to students and how we can help incorporate it into the more traditional classrooms today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promising Practices

I got to the Conference around 8 in the morning and was thrilled to see what this might be like and what kind of things I would learn and hear at the conference. When I got all settled in I sat down and looked through the folder that they gave me. I found many interesting things inside the folder that could be beneficial for me today and in the future. I was very intrigued as to what was to come in the conference just from seeing what was inside the folder I received.
My first session that I took was called “Students with Special Needs.” I picked this because I want to do my concentration in special needs to I figured that it would be very beneficial to me in the future. The first thing that we ended up doing was we looked at pictures of students and tried to identify their disability if they had one. I thought this activity was alright but I thought that the point of it was going to be for something more than just showing us how students with special needs look the same as non-disability children. I feel like we could have spent the time on something better than realizing sometimes you cannot tell if a child has a disability or not. After that we did many other activities to show us what it would be like to be a student with a disability. We did a listening activity that we had to listen really carefully to in order to figure out a puzzle that we were supposed to make. We had to listen to the recording and do what it was saying in order to make a picture out of shapes. This was really difficult and gave me good insight on what it might be like to be a student who has a difficult time listening and following directions. Although we did many other activities like the ones I mentioned above I wish that we had learned a little bit more about special needs and the ways we can help the students learn rather than understanding how they feel. I think understanding how they feel when they are having trouble with something is important too but helping the student find ways to work through the trouble is the most important part as a whole. I feel like the main message that the speaker was trying to send was to start small with a child and work your way up. She used examples like color coding questions and the answers in readings so the child can identify they match up. She also used reading lower level stories at first and working your way up to the correct level as an example. I agree with her and think it is good to start small but not too small because I feel as though some children take it differently than how the teacher might want them to take it.
This relates to the story we just read about in class recently about children with disabilities and how they are separated from other students because they are considered a student with “disabilities.” I think sometimes teachers need to evaluate students more than they do and try to think of what might be best for them and if staying in a segregated class is what is good for them then so be it but if going into a general education class will benefit that child more, then that is where that student should be.
The second session that I went to was about social skills and different activities that we could do to help a student develop better social skills. We played a game where everyone got a number 1-7 and you did not know what number you had. You then were not allowed to talk to anyone with a lower number than you had. Because no one knew what number they had it made it clear who had higher numbers and who had lower numbers because the ones with lower numbers were alone not talking to anyone and the ones with higher numbers were being ambushed by people. I liked this activity because it shows students who are less shy the others what it might be like to be ignored if they have a lower number and it also helps students talk to others even if they do not know that person. One thing that I did learn during this session was that even the smartest students might not have any social skills. The speaker showed us a video of a boy who had won the spelling bee recently. He was being interviewed but he had no social skills at all and said things that most people would not say back to someone who was interviewing them. I thought that was very interesting to watch.
This topic relates to the theme of tracking in schools because even if you are smart you could have no social skills. What I mean is that tracking is to separate students into groups based on their ability in school. How can you put a student in an honors class when they have no social skills and are not able to hold a conversation with another person? I think tracking is a difficult thing to have when it comes down to situations like this one where the boy is extremely smart but just cannot talk to someone normally. I wish the speaker would have explained more about this topic and how we would solve issues like this one.
I really did not enjoy the keynote speaker at the end of the conference because I thought he was boring to listen to and should have used more examples of things instead of listing everything and talking in such technical terms. Most of what he was saying I just did not get and I thought he never got a main point in his speech where he told us what his point was. The one thing that I remember the most about his speech was at the end he said it should be about the kids and he showed a picture of a various amount of students of different races. I agree with him that it is about the kids and we need to do what is best for them as teachers to educate them in the right ways.
I thought the conference was a great experience even though I did not get as much as I would have liked to get out of it. I will definitely be attending many more in the future in hope to gain many strategies to educate students the right way.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kliewer: "Citizenship in School:Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" Connections

 I found this article to be very similar to the last one we read about tracking. Kliewer writes in his article about making students with down syndrome or other disabilities feel like they are just as equal as the other nondisabled students in the school. He mentions that students with disabilities should be able to be in the same classroom as nondisabled students and not in special education classes. He says this because he thinks that students in special education classes are denied certain classes and activities that a student with down syndrome might want to take because they are considered disabled and put into a special education class it limits what they can and cannot do even if they are capable of certain things they might be denied. This is similar to tracking because the school is seperating children into different classrooms due to their ability in school. For instance, students who are really smart are put into a different classroom than students who might have more difficulty learning than others. Just like the students with down syndrome are put into special education classes instead of a class with nondisabled students. I think that if we all want everyone to feel equal or all have a fair opportunity in school then no matter what abilities or disabilities you have in school you should be able to participate in certain activities in school. I think children in special needs classrooms sometimes are missing out on things in school when they could be experiencing school to the fullest if they are capable of doing so.

I also think this article is similar to the article by Dennis Carlson called, "Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community." This article is about treating people the same and not using a persons sexuality or race against them in an Educational setting. Just like Kliewers article this article is another way of sterotyping people because of the way they look or what they choose to like or dislike. Many nondisability students end up making fun of or sterotyping students with disabilities because they are limited in certain areas of learning or do different acts because of their disabliltiy that they might not be able to control. The truth about all of this I think is that no one knows what its like to be gay, a person of a different raise, or have a disability until they walk in that persons shoes. Just as Kliewer says, "How absurd to be judged by others at all, especially by those who have never experienced a disability..." This is true for not just people with disabilitys but also people of different raises and also homosexuals. The connection between these two articles is that there are so many stereotypes today in the world and we are trying to find ways to get rid of the sterotypeing and have more acceptance and support for people of all kinds.

In class I hope to discuss more about chilren with disabilities and what it might like to be like them because like Kliewer says some of us do not know what it really is like because we do not have disabilities. I also hope to discuss ways that we can help to try to get rid of sterotyping.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oakes "Tracking, Why Schools need to take another route" : Extended Comments

I was reading Caiti's blog and I agreed with her points and what she had to say about Oakes and how he disagreed with tracking. I think that she is right about how we should not be having teachers in schools teaching children just for the job and not caring about how the students are doing in the classes. The quote that Caiti used fits perfectly, "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer". It really does not make any sense for us to favor the children who are doing well more than the "less abled" children. I think in a way this is like treating Men and Women different when there really is no difference just the fact that one is a male and the other is a women. Just because some kids are doing better than others in school does not mean they should be more privaledged than the other kids. I agree with Caiti that the children who need help should be able to get that help that they deserve not be ignored and expected to do bad for the rest of their lives.

I also think that the quote she picked to connect Oakes article and Finn works out really well. I think it is a great example of a classroom where the teachers under estimate the ability of the children and just teach them to keep a steady job. I do not know what I would do if I grew up in a school where  my teachers did not encourage me to do well or succeed in life. I think this is a huge part of a teachers job and for someone to neglect to encourage a student to do well blows my mind. I think Caiti did a great job explaining the points that Oakes put into his reading and she put good evidence from Finn to back it up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gender and Education : Hyperlink

I do not know why my video did not post so here is the link for it....

Gender and Education : Hyperlink

There is much controversy today about gender and education. Do boys get more attention than girls in class? Do girls get called on to answer questions more than boys? or do teacher evenly submit their attention to both boys and girls? These questions are the first things that I think about when talking about gender and education.

I googled gender and education and found a really good website that talks about the differences that girls and boys go through in school and how teachers teach them to be treated differently and that woman are "unequal" to men. This startled me because why are woman unequal to men? There is no doubt in my mind that we are different than men because even woman are different from each other but that does not mean we can not do the same types of activities. In the article it says teachers, lessons teachers teach, and textbooks are all guilty of gender bias and focus their material on one gender rather than the other. I do not agree with doing this because the students will grow up thinking the wrong things about who we are as people. They will start to develop stereotypes for each other like the popular girls are the ones who are pretty and nice and have lots of friends or the jock boys are all the ones with huge muscles and can get the girls. If we start to develop stereotypes for these students at a young age than we might always have the problem of gender favoritism in schools. I think that teachers should be teaching the students we are equal and always treat us equally rather than favoring one gender over another.

Here is the article that I read....

I also found this YouTube video that has to do with gender bias in young children's first books.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tim Wise "Between Barack and a Hard Place." : Reflection/Hyperlink

In the video's Wise seems to think that rascism still exist today and he is right it does. Even though Brown vs. Board of education did not get rid of rascism totally it was still a huge step in the right direction and Wise says that it will take time to get rid of it completely. I think that he is right about this and it will just take time for things to settle down and for people not to be rascist. You can see the progression step by step every day.

Another interesting idea that Wise said was that Black people have less opportunities than White people. He said that some people have less job opportunities than others and even are treated differently in many ways. I agree with him in so ways that Black people are distadvantaged because of the sterio type that exists in todays society.

In class, I hope to talk about the ways that we can help more White people accept Black people and also create more opportuntiies for them as well.  More background information about brown vs. board of education