Sunday, April 17, 2016

Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change by: Ira Shor

     'FNED 346- Schooling in a Democratic Society.....' We claim that our society is truly democratic. A nation created upon the basis of equality, freedom, and justice for all. A government established "by the people for the people." If this is what we claim to be true, then why are we educating students like robots to complete against each other, some already with an advantage since they are accustomed to Lisa Delpit's "rules and codes of power," for the coveted spot in society that will allow them to claim prosperity without the fervor to make a difference in the world? Ira Shor argues that the concept of 'schooling' in our nation can be defined as a "vast undertaking and mass experience in society, involving tens of millions of people, huge outlays of money, and diverse forces contending over curriculum and funding [which] converges schools, programs, and colleges [to have] each generation socialized into the life of the nation."  Where is the freedom within this context? or the equality?

    Shor continues his argument by urging America's teachers to inspire their students to question their schooling, a term that some students are familiar with as analysis or critical thinking. Unfortunately, the concept of analysis and/or critical thinking has become restricted, in some cases even eliminated from school districts, due to a "deficiency in school's curriculum" where the students are faced with the "task of memorizing rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or learning process." Shor quotes Freire, who contributes this problem to an "education[al] [system] that tries to be neutral [to] support the dominant ideology in society"..... a direct connection with Leslie Grinner's SWAAMP. We shouldn't be following curriculums that limit interaction in the classroom as a "one-way transmission of rules and knowledge between teachers and students" as Shor states. Students should be allowed to collaborate with each other and foster learning through one and other, whether it be by discussion, debate, technology use, critical analysis essays, or more. When limit the learning experience of students based on traditional curriculum, textbooks, themes, tests, seat arrangements, grading systems, standardized tests, portfolio projects, rules and codes for speaking, choices on the cafeteria menu, what districts get federal funding based on efficiency and those who don't, what technology is accessible and acceptable in the classroom, all impact a students ability to foster creativity and learn to be critical thinkers. Shor states that in order to establish democratic schooling in our society we must "orient subject matter to student culture-their interests, needs, speech, and perceptions-while creating a negotiable openness in class where the students' input jointly creates the learning process."        

-Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

   Since this is the last blog post, I thought I would reflect on what I have taken away from FNED 346 in conjunction with Shor since this piece did a good job with helping me summarize my learning experience. Ever since I was in the second grade and about seven/eight years of age, I've always known that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. That being said, before I started college and this course, I always assumed that teaching consisted of a process that followed curriculum, created lesson plans, managing a classroom in a productive and organized manor, all while educating students about History, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Writing, etc. I've been able to come to the conclusion that this profession entitles much more than this. Ethnicity, economic status, sexual orientation, ideologies, politics/government, special education, Linguistics, equality, and more all play a part in the day to day life of a teacher, followed by teaching the basic subjects above. I've also come to the realization, and believe Shor would agree with me, that our educational system is corrupt. We describe education in our nation as an 'opportunity', according to Kristof, when in reality there are many more words that should be used to describe our education system, but we shy away from them since we are too afraid to acknowledge the problem, according to Johnson. I came across a video that I believe "hits the nail on the head" when it comes to defining an educators job in society. Check it out below.

No comments:

Post a Comment