Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bringing it all together

I’m so glad this reading was left for the final post. Though long, it really tied everything we have learned together.  A lot of different authors came to mind; One in particular was Johnson. As we know Johnson argues that we must talk explicitly about issues of privilege, power and difference. Shor argues a very good point that right from the start is important for teachers to encourage their students to question why they go to school. This discussion allows the students to share their thoughts and express opinions on how they feel towards school. “ This would set a questioning tone, telling the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent” (1). Trust is key in a classroom and being able to discuss, as Johnson says, “the issues of power, privilege and difference,” there is already a strong bond formed in the class for a successful year ahead.
I was quickly reminded of that time in class when Dr. Bogad gave us all that question and answer “assignment” and we had to put everything away and answer a worksheet on the reading, when Shor stated “ If the students’ task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted” (2). We all simply took the paper and wrote down as many answers as we could find, assuming that we read the article, knew what it was about and went to it. None of us questioned why we were answering the questions, or thought the questions were irrelevant while finishing the assignment. Relating that back to Oakes and how tracking exists in schools and to Finn with Literacy with an Attitude, if students are not allowed to question and explore the learning process at various academic levels, then how will they ever be able to fully appreciate learning?

I know that I said that I have had many other favorite readings, but this one really brought home everything we have done with this class over the semester. I thought that when Shor mentions that the teachers are the ones who make various decisions to teach the traditional curriculum; that they do what they can to teach creatively and critically. I LOVED this. I can remember in high school my history teacher would create such interesting ways of teaching different decades or have us create a project to help us understand why we had different wars. Rather follow a boring “turn to page 117, read the chapter, a test next week” sort of syllabus, she would find maps and videos to show us how the wars started and just really brought the class to life with her lessons. I feel that's a big part as to why I want to be a teacher; to make learning enjoyable for students. Shor had many great points and many of the previous authors we have read all connect back to this article. This past semester has truly prepared me to take the next step on the path to becoming a teacher. I found this link that shares different teachers ideas on how they make teaching enjoyable and really bring their students together as a class. I feel as a class we can definetly all relate to this article and have had different "teacher" experiences this semester, with our service learning projects and even outside of school . This semester flew by and I absolutely loved every class we had. It's weird this is the last post, i've gotten so used to blogging haha! Good luck out there future teachers xox!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Citizenship in Schools

I first have to start off by saying that this reading was not as difficult to get through as I thought it would be.  I never looked at Down Syndrome the way Kliewer argued or rather realized how the   behavior and ability.  This reminded me of the article we read by Oakes. How tracking students is so controversial and even our own class discussion about being separated by honors classes, EEP credits and college prep classes. Children begin to realize and compare themselves to others. In relation to the ability and behavior, students who are seen as having these behavior and ability problems are separated and not kept within a regular classroom. Biklen states, “success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community.” The community at school is the entire makeup of al the students. It is all the learners, all the teachers and all the people who make up the community of the school. Though for some, controlling who is met and interacted with is not possible. Sometimes we meet people who are not going to be the best around, but learning to work together and finding ways to work and interact is all apart of being in the democracy of school in a community.
separation of classrooms makes an impact on these students . Many children are put into classrooms where they are not able to interact with other children and never experience being able to work with other children on group projects, at recess or even just having a conversation. Douglas Biklen stated “ society itself is hurt when schools act as cultural sorting machines- locations that justify a competitive ethic that marginalizes certain students or groups of students.” Race, ability, ethnicity, gender are all part of this sorting method of the students in schools. This method later elaborates into sorting of just ability and behavior.
  Within this democracy there will always be judgment and that's something that cannot be avoided.  Judith Snow a self-advocate in the disability rights movement stated, “ how absurd to be judged by others at all, especially by those who have never experienced a disability or who are unwillingly providing us with support or who don't listen to the voices we have.” Makes a lot of sense and many people do not realize that people with disabilities are able to function just as you or I.  My favorite part of this reading was about Lee, a young boy who has Down Syndrome, and Colleen Madison who’s response to a question truly hit me and made sense.  Madison believed that no child was inherently an intellectual burden to the classroom but that each student brought something unique to the relationships that are formed at school in the community. She was a leader in Lee’s classroom and when she was asked  “ wouldn't anyone who come into the room pick out Lee as the student with a disability” and she responded in such a way that I was like BOOM you GO! The quote is really long but to sum it up she stated that, people who do not know lee, but have that “stereotype and mind set” would pick him out as the child with the disability right away.  People see the mental challenge, the see the Down Syndrome, but they do not see how the child is, they see what they know. Make sense? They do now see how this boy reads, solves problems and works in the class. They brand Lee and in a way, they give him a label. That's not only true with just this case of Lee, but with many students just like Lee.  Quick judgment of any child with Down Syndrome will get you no where because not every child is the same.  Honestly when I read this I was just so in agreement and couldn’t wait to blog this part of the reading.
            There’s a young boy in my swim lesson class who has Down Syndrome and he is a great  
swimmer. He is well behaved and to be honest, the other kids do not think anything less of him. All my students talk and laugh and I know they would agree with me that he is just as capable as they are in swim lessons.

 There is so much of this reading I could blog about and I could go on for days about this reading because I was truly amazed and learned a lot about children with Down Syndrome and the classroom setting. These students should be around other children and not held back from doing the same things. The teacher, Shayne Robbins, was another interesting part of the reading. The way she included Isaac in her classroom and made every opportunity in the classroom for all her students. Examples in this article of teens who have Down Syndrome holding jobs and being apart of their community is something many people need to realize. It's like when we talked about the window of glass. This is like a tap in the glass, these students and even teens or adults with Down Syndrome are capable of preforming tasks, they just need time and patience from those around them. I found this reading that describes various classrooms that have students with Down Syndrome and how the teachers work with the students, and also another link  about Down Syndrome in the classroom and how many students learn and interact in class.