Sunday, April 25, 2010

Talking Point #10

1. "The most important thing children learn is not the three R's."

This is an interesting statement. As a young child people are told throughout their schooling career that the three R's are the most important factor to a foundation in educational success. It is funny, I was looking for a link to the three R's song but it appears that in this "Going Green" era there are a new set of Three R's.

2. "They might visit neighborhoods to study the vegetation growing outdoors, which would lead to the question of why wealthy areas often have more trees and shrubs than do poorer sections."

The context of this statement was Shor pondering about a problem solving science curriculum. However as I was reading this I realized Shor was implying social class segregation. I realized Shor is right and I wonder why that is? Could it be wealthy people just care more or is it because wealthy families just pay to have their areas look like that or is it something else?

3. "Those conditions cannot be changed by a lone critical syllabus."

This is how I feel towards school. Schooling is important but it is not the only factor to a successful life. All parents need to understand this and need to help their children in all aspects of life. They cannot leave all the responsibility to school because school cannot do everything.

"Education is Politics: An Agenda for Empowerment" by Ira Shor was very boring. Not only was it long but it was confusing and hard to get through. I see her point that particapation is important but I feel curriculums as they are are pretty good and there is no need for drastic change. Shor may have been boring to read but I also disliked the Anyon article but once we discussed it in class, I understood it better and liked it better. Hopefully that will happen with this article.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Talking Point #9

"The individual is prior to society, which comes into existence only through the voluntary contract of individuals trying to maximize their own self interest"

This a very cynical quote. This states the basic concept of utilitarian individualism. When I read this I immediately thought of Thomas Hobbes who wrote Leviathan. Hobbes was a philosopher who thought humans were naturally born evil.

"According to Shayne, the notion of Down syndrome often obscures our ability to recognize the child as a child."

Unfortunately this theory is more accurate than it should be. Kids do get overlooked as being average and as a result do not lead as great a life as there is a potential to. They get placed in special education classes early on and sometimes this need not be the case. Therefore down syndrome kids find it tougher to return to mainstream because they are already started off disadvantaged.

"people with Down syndrome are joined in their struggle for citizenship by other oppressed groups."

This article just likes to make points that are so cheerful. This point has validity to it. Going through history you pick out the obvious African Americans and women. Those can also be made a case for now but not as severe as say gay people. Gay people are a group that certainly can be related to people with Down syndrome in the quote's context. Little people are another group.

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Christopher Kliewer makes a very strong argument. Overall he argues to treat everyone equally. He uses excellent examples of down syndrome students who fit right in once they are given the chance. He uses an example with women at the end but I'm going to add African Americans to that example. Those groups were once treated unfairly but through tough fighting they have gained much higher status than where they were. He says other groups that are oppressed also need to fight for a better status as well. However I feel that other groups who have the "power" should just accept everyone for who they are. I believe Kliewer feels the same way but he does not end the article this way so I was slightly confused. Can anyone clarify this?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Anyon "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work"

"Do it this way or it's wrong."

This statement was clearly taken out of the guide on "How to be a bad teacher". Kids have their own ways of how to learn, so limiting them to just one way can be very detrimental.

"It tells them exactly what to do, or they couldn't do it."

This teacher must have been reading the same guide as the teacher that said the previous quote in my blog. To give up on students like this is setting them up for failure. Like Dr. Bogad says, if you think you're bad at math, you're going to be bad at math. Its the same thing here, only this was a science teacher.

"Decide what you think the best way is."

My faith in this article has been restored. Not all teachers in this read are bad. Giving kids this option is huge. Even if its wrong, this article will not say the answer but instead "Are you sure?" This is the proper teaching method and kids actually retain more information.

I found this article to be interesting but not very good and, to a certain extent, pointless. Sure it was great to read about different teachers and the different teaching styles but, as the author admits, this was a very limited study. Also her conclusion was there needs to be a lot more research. I wonder why she wrote this if she was just going to conclude this research wasn't good enough. Sure she brings up the "hidden curriculum" but it doesn't matter if it doesn't work on a larger scale than five schools. As you can probably tell, this was my least favorite reading so far.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Talking Point #7

This weeks blog is very different from other weeks. We aren't give any specific thing to write about but are just given a broad topic. I thought it would be interesting to break this subject down as follows:

The first article that I looked for was a simple article that talked about gender in general, not specifically relating to education, in 2010. I did not find exactly what I was looking for but found this article on technological giants to be very intriguing. It points out that some big companies woud not reveal information regarding gender or race of their employees. Why wouldn't they is my question. What are they hiding? This quote from the article sticks out to me the most: "Google, Yahoo!, Apple, Oracle and Applied Materials argued that the race and gender of its work force is a trade secret that cannot be released." What the heck did they mean by this? And how did federal regulators buy this as an argument?Like I said this was not exactly what I was looking for but I found this to be astonishing, especially considering it happened less than two months ago!

The next article I wanted was to discuss gender in relation to schools. Still not what I wished for I found an article about a study that was very thought provoking. However the study was done in 2006 so I was a little weary to use it but since the topic is still debatable, I figured it was safe to use. The study concluded that boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women. At first, I did not know what to think of this as in my experience I have had great teachers in general and do not believe their genders have had anything to do with it. However in countering this study Marcia Greenberger states "We have to be careful of too many generalizations". After reading this quote, I believe this is the answer to how I feel about this.

In the last article I was looking for it to combine gender and education into one. I found a terrific article but unfortunately it is a very small sampling size as it is only based on one high school. However it was exactly what I was looking for even though I would have liked to cover the country or even a state. The article shows that only 46% of the students in Rochester graduate but more girls graduate than boys. The superintendent claims "It is a phenomenon that is not unique to the city, it's across the country." This was what I was looking for but it not backed up with statistical information.

In conclusion, I never did find exactly what I was looking for in any of these articles but nevertheless, I learned a lot from what I did find.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Talking Point #6

When Tim Wise discussed his book "Between Barack and a Hard Place" he mentioned a lot of interesting things and some were related to Brown v Board of Education. The main point he made related to racial issues was that Obama's election is not the conclusion to equality. He argues that it is just another step in the staircase that will lead to equality. According to Wise there is still a lot of work to do.

One thing I disagree with Wise about is that another presidential race with an African American president winning will help prove discrimination is disappearing. If an African American loses a presidential race it does not necessarily relate to racism. Political elections always have a winner or loser and I believe if either one happens to be African American it does not have to coincide with discrimination or racism.

An interesting point made in this interview was the fact that Obama is a role model to colored kids. He gives kids more hope and opens their world to a less narrow world than they thought they had. It was ironic that this was this weeks reading especially because of the discussion in our class Thursday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Its not my rule

Yesterday we talked in class about our Service Learning. A lot of good stories were told. I am sure every group will do fine on their final project due to the great connections that were made. One of the stories I heard really bemused me. That story was told by Beth.

Beth's story was quite bizarre. She told us that a lot of the time when the teacher at her SL school wants the kids to follow a rule she says "It is Obamas rule not mine". I tried to analyze why she would say this. Most of the things I thought were said in class. The thought I immediately had was she was using Obama as a scapegoat. This way the children could not blame her for having so many rules. In class I connected it to Christensen which makes sense to me. Kids will not want to disobey their idol and many kids look up to Obama. They would much rather listen to him than her so maybe he is not a scapegoat but rather a reinforcer to make sure the kids listen. The last thought I had was not brought up in class and I did not bring it up because it is kind of radical. The teacher may be an extreme nationalist/patriot. Maybe she is trying to instill in the kids that they always have to listen to the President because they are Americans. She may be making sure kids do not grow up to resent government or the President. No matter what the answer is, it is sure bizarre.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cindy's Strategy

Homosexuality can sometimes be a sticky issue to talk about. When our class discussed how or if to present this in classrooms, our class seemed a lot more quiet than usual. Personally I do not have a problem with it. The problem comes later in life when I have kids and I have to choose what to say to them and how to phrase it. Thanks to Cindy in FNED 346 I will now use what I deem "Cindy's Strategy".

What exactly is "Cindy's Strategy"? This is a term I coined after hearing a story in class. Cindy was watching Ellen Degeneres with her daughter. Ellen, as you may know, is gay and is married to a woman. Cindy's daughter asked her what Ellen was doing married to a woman. Cindy responded with the answer "That is who she fell in love with so that is who she married". Cindy's daughter then asked if she could marry a woman. Again Cindy replied with "If that is who you fall in love with". I feel this is an excellent way for kids to learn about homosexuality. If more parents were like Cindy the world would be a much more understanding one. As for me, I will always remember "Cindy's Strategy" and use it when it is time to teach my kids.