Thursday, May 29, 2008

Often students, of any age, fall into a state of self-deprecation. Regardless of the source—friends, teachers, family members—a consistent oppressive force will eventually break down even the most impenetrable of guards. As teachers, we should not exercise unnecessary power over students because of our knowledge, skill, age, or authority. Instead, we should use these tools to inspire. These skills should be used to help students recognize and build upon their own abilities. How then, can teachers establish a non-intimidating classroom environment? What strategies can teachers implement to enable student independence, motivation, and self-confidence?

Creating authentic literacy that is relevant to students and teacher lives. Vasquez’s classroom puts theory into practice and fosters a collaborative learning environment that is conducive to student exploration, self-motivation, and socialization. By focusing on relevant issues, and creating an ‘audit’ and paper-trail of central discussions, students can build upon prior knowledge and reflect on previous lessons. Literacy practices should reflect social issues that are relevant to student lives. With mandated curriculum and high-stakes state exams, what ways can teachers connect mandated units with student lives and issues in the community?

The push for standardized basal readers, and mandatory curriculum dominated over 90% of literacy practices throughout the 1900’s. This system was a balance between publishing market incentives and scientific management ideology. In a democratic society, capitalist agendas should not be dominating the education institution. Private policy in publicly funded schools demoralizes and dehumanizes the nature of democratic education, and deprofessionalizes the teaching profession by assuming the teacher cannot successfully implement his/her own curriculum. Does the push for privatized education mean a decrease in public education or public funding? Basal readers may no longer exist, in the traditional sense, but privatized curricula are constantly pushing their way into the classroom. What long term socioeconomic and cultural effects may exist because of this privatized push?

2 comments:

Dougyfresh04 said...

While basal readings may not exists as they did decades ago I, and I think many of the authors we have read in class thus far would agree, that basal material simply have evolved. As you mentioned in your post mandated curriculum exist and much like basal readers that promote a particular set of values in how they narrowly define learning and student achievement. One way I see this manifested is in the springboard series used in RCSD. How much different is springboard series from basal readers we have discussed in countless warner classes.

I feel new "privatized" education will lead to even more pronounced socioeconomic divide in our country, with certain segments being provided an education and another simply not getting an education at all. A scary though.

I do have some hope, as classes like this and others at Warner, we help us devise methods and strategies to make curriculum's meaningful, engaging, and culturally relevant.

Grace Butler said...

Kelly, could you explain more what you mean by "privatized curricula?"