Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Empowering Education: Education is Politics" by Ira Shor

This week’s blog post on “Empowering Education: Education is Politics” by Ira Shor is a Connections post. I found this article a tough read so I will be using different resources to help me make my connections.

I believe Shor’s main point in this article is that a teacher’s curriculum needs to be more than taking notes and memorization. These things can harm a child’s development and learning ability.
“People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn. A curriculum that avoids questioning school and society is not, as is commonly supposed, politically neutral. It cuts off the students’ development as critical thinkers about their world. 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.” (pg 12)

“People begin life as motivated learners, not as passive beings. Children naturally join the world around them. They learn by interacting, by experimenting, and by using play to internalize the meaning of words and experiences.” (pg 17)

These quotes reminded me a great deal of Kliewer’s article “Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome.” Children learn in many different ways. As future teachers we will need to incorporate our curriculum to fit the needs of every child. Take the example of Shayne’s classroom and her student Isaac. I loved reading about this classroom and the ideas Shayne had! It was such an inspiration to me. Shayne incorporated a curriculum that fit Isaac’s needs. Instead of verbally communicating his interpretation of a book, he danced it out. This caused the other students to “learn by interacting, by experimenting, and by using play to internalize the meaning of words and experiences.”

Shor also discusses that we need to break the stereotypes of teachers. This coincides with Christensen’s article “Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us.” The media loves to play on different stereotypes-especially in a school setting. Christensen tells us that the media influences us in major ways. Even in college I find myself using stereotypes to describe professors. I’m sure all of us have used to look up our professors. I have looked up a professor, saw the bad reviews, and walked into the classroom worried. Of course, the majority of the time, the professor turned out to be the complete opposite of the reviews left by other students.  

I found this video and thought it helps add onto my Christensen connection. The video shows how the media uses stereotypes for teachers and the students’ reactions to the teachers and their homework. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. (I mainly loved it because I could remember growing up with these cartoons-gotta love the 90’s!)

Points to Share with the Class:

I could personally relate our FNED 346 class to this article. I love Dr. Bogad’s teaching technique. Instead of making us memorize vocabulary words She allows us to learn in our own way. While we read our weekly readings we write our articles in our own way-a way that reflects our individual learning techniques. I have learned so much in these past weeks in our class than any other class-mainly because I am not under pressure to memorize!