Friday, June 6, 2008

class structure

Just putting a thought out there: Are the readings getting repetitive? Not just the ones within a given day, but from week to week? It seems the basic gist (removed from the edu-speak) is that the current method of teaching does not respect the capital, experiences, language, identities, etc... that students come into the class with and that we'd all be better off if we valued and utilized all that. OK got it. What if we had spent the first 2 or 3 classes reading and discussing the highlights from our semester long list of readings and then spent the remaining 10 or so classes actually writing up lesson and unit plans and trying them out on each other? Theory is great, but let us try our hand at it, let us learn by doing, change some participation here, stop dishing out these theories in a top down manner (see I can use edu-speak too!) . But honestly these guys are inventing new ways to say the same things as each other just to justify another publication. And to do it, all they do is quote themselves from earlier articles to fill the space. I definitely, TOTALLY, ABSOLUTELY agree with what we've been reading, so I'd like to use it. Thoughts?


Jason Lustig said...

i'll comment on my own post . . . i started at Warner with only a practical/experience based background in education (i thought arts-integrated curriculum k-12 through a non-profit and wrote curriculum and grants for them too) so during my first week or two at Warner I was really learning at a fast pace, everything was new, I was getting a lot out of it. I just feel like my pace of learning has dramatically slowed because there isn't that much new from week to week.

Although there are definitely differences between community of learners and socio-cultural literacy practice (and the two can very nicely be used together) and situated learning etc... reading 4 articles about each one each week just isn't adding much to my store of knowledge or ability anymore, they're getting very redundant.

Here's the real point: The differences between these theories of new literacy is not nearly as important as the similarities between them.

Hali Resney said...

Wow, Jason. After reading your blog I was quite impressed. Unlike you, this class is one of my first here at Warner, but despite this, I too feel that many of the readings are becoming repetitive. I liked your proposal for reading/discussing the highlights from the readings first, and then spending the rest of the time creating lesson plans. A lot of the theories we have been reading about are hard for me to grasp because I have no experience teaching yet. I can think about how they might apply to a classroom, but it is hard for me to actually see the connection sometimes. I agree too with what we are reading, and think that changing our participation in class, by having hands on experience w/ lesson plans on the material would be very beneficial. It also bothers me that so many of you who are at the end of your programs are like, this is how Warner is, very theory based. I'm a hands on learner myself, and need more than just theory. So where do we go from this? Can we actually propose this style of classroom learning to our professors or chairs?

Dougyfresh04 said...

As an older member of the Warner School I totally agree with both of your posts, especially Jason's comment about the importance of recognizing the similarities between the readings.

Warner School is, and will most likely always be a theory based. It took me a bit to get this as well. I not only entered Warner with little to no experience in education and entered the classroom with little to no experience with Warner. I really feel that is up to us to apply the lessons from readings and class discussion to our development both as students and teachers. I wish there was some grand master plan that would be like this is how you implement new literacies into a social studies lesson, but that is just not going to happen. Your implementation of these lessons relays on your own teaching philosophies and on the dynamic of the classroom and not on what exactly is talked about in the reading (not that they are not important).

I do feel, however, there needs to be more discussion in class (especially from those of us with more classroom experience) about how we implemented Warner lessons into the classroom.

Cassandra said...

i agree that the readings are repetitive...not just within the class, but within the entire warner schools.

if it is any consolation, jason, the classes that are usually the most beneficial ones are the ones within your major. so hold on, it will get better (at least it did for me once i got into the actual science classes).

in the end, just remember its only 15 months :)

Kelly H said...

This is only my 2nd class at Warner, and I am noticing the repititon. When I was being interviewed by admissions, I was asked why I believed Warner would fit my beliefs and interests. After briefly reading some mission statements I casually answered something about feeling connected to the 'social justice' views. In hindsight, I didn't know what I was talking about. I'm only beginning to realize how central these themes are to each class.

I'm hoping that what Cassandra said is true... the preliminary courses should help us develop a foundation to 'scaffold' our understanding of theory and practice, and eventually the classes within our major will present new material.

Genna said...

as everyone else has been saying the repition is truely the nature of the warner school. Since most of our readings and theory based work is in line with the research of the professors. Since many of the professors here are like minded, we read many of the same authors and similar theories. I do agree with Cassandra that it gets better when you begin your major track, there is more focus on integrating theory and practice!