Monday, April 28, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
One of the things that really stuck my mind was how “the choice of subject matter cannot be neutral “ what we learn is all chosen by the people who give us funding, which is the government. They decide “which groups are included and which are left out of the reading list or test, from whose point of view is the past and present examined, and which themes are emphasized and which not, along with many more decisions. I can relate to this because all throughout elementary school we learn about the great Christopher Columbus, what his journey was and what he accomplished in discovering the New World, all throughout the history books in my public schooling, I learned about what he did for humanity, but honestly he didn't do anything else but to harm people. I learned this in college, I was asked to read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, where the point of view is not the same as from the ones we get in our history books, but rather we see things from the perspective of the minorities, of the people being hurt. From that book I learned that Columbus was not a hero, but a villain, who killed people just because he wanted their gold, forgetting about their value as human beings. This power that the government has over us, and the students of this nation reminded me of McIntosh, and how she talked about privilege that white people experience due to their race, but I further connected it to the privilege that the upper class of this nation has, because they control what everyone else in this nation sees and learns. McIntosh talked about how “when [she] was told about our national heritage or about civilization , [she] was shown that people of [her] color made it what it is” and that she is sure “that [her] chidden will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race” and all of this is because of the power that the government has over us, and their ability to choose what students learn or at least what they want them to learn although it might not always be true. Keeping this system the way it is, just guarantees that the social classes remain the way they are and that the least advantaged remain to be so.
Finn, was always in my mind as I read this article. Just as Shor said, “Politics reside not only in subject matter but in the discourse of the classroom, [and] in the way teachers and students speak to each other”. This reminded me of when Finn talked about the working-class schools, “Where knowledge was presented as fragmented facts isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experiences of the students”. Finn also talked about the lack of participation of students, which a key in education just as Shor described. Shor says that politics in present in “what the teachers say about the subject matter, [in how] students respond to each others’s remarks, [and if ] they are asked to think critically about the material and to see knowledge as a field of contending interpretations” among many more things, which are not present in working-class schools that Finn described. Finn stated how in these poor schools the opposite of what Shor recommends takes place, because there is “little decision making [by the students] and teachers rarely explained why work was being assigned or how it was connected to other assignments”. From what Finn described we can see that what we tack in working-class schools is what McLaren, in Shor’s article describes as “a curriculum designed to empower students [that is] transformative in nature and help[s] students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action”, that way we can break the cycle and create students to learn about new opportunities for them in order to change their economic or social statuses thus breaking the cycle of the status quo that the people in power want to keep in place.
Here is an Article that talks about how the new Common Core Curriculum won't fix the many problems that the American schools face.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
One of the quotes that Ana Maria said, that stayed in my mind up to this day, is how “language is not the only barrier, but it stops teachers from seeing other problems”. I think it is true, there is something about the system that is wrong, and that keeps things running in such a way the rich gets richer and the poor get poorer. There is something wrong when we have students in private schools “buying” their way out of NECAP, and at same time struggling working class families being left without an income simply to be able to pay for the private schools of their children so that they don't have to take the NECAP, thus creating an educational segregation. There is something wrong in our nation when we have schools in Providence or Central Falls, that are so far behind the academic levels they should be at. Perhaps this problem comes from , the way we teach in this nation, how we teach a “domesticating education , which leads to functional literacy, literacy that makes a person productive and dependable, but not troublesome” as Patrick J. Finn mentions in “Literacy with an Attitude”. As I remember the statistical reports that Ana Maria showed, that displayed the low scores in poor towns and cities in RI, make me go back to the Finn reading, where we see that one of the problems is that in “working-class schools knowledge [is] presented as fragmented facts isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experiences of the students”. In these schools, students are told what to do, with no opportunity to think for themselves, or think creatively or critically. Meanwhile, in executive elite schools the knowledge taught is more “academic, intellectual , and rigorous [students there learn] to be the masters of the universe”. There is something in the system but we can help to change it just as RIC and Central Falls High School are doing.
One of the things that Ana Maria was most proud to present, as being part of the Board of Trustees for the Central Falls School District, as we can see in this website was the partnership between RIC and Central Falls High School. Together they both joined in this partnership, to help better the education and academic status of this high school. This gives the opportunity for only the students in Central Falls to have more support academically and in many other aspects, but also to future educators graduating from RIC to experience a true urban scenario and also the chance to take part in making a change in the lives of many struggling teenagers. This a project that makes me so proud, just as much as the pride that Ana Maria and RIC must feel. As she talked about this project I had to google it and learn more about it, and this is the website that talks more about it in detail. I am sure that positive changes will come along this partnership, and great news as well, just like the one received just this past October, when it was announced that the “Central Falls graduation rate increased 20% in three years” as we can read in this article.
Overall, attending this Dialogue on Diversity made me realize and learn many things I wouldn't have known before, and it certainly made me connect back and reflect bak to past class discussions and readings, that I am sure have made me a better future educator.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
As for the points I would like to talk about in class would be, what could we do as future teachers, to ensure that all of our students regardless of any disability are treated equally and with respect to enhance his or her abilities.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
The points that I would like to talk about in class, are just the reasons why racism isn't over. Our feelings about it and the actions we could take to help change this at least a little bit.