Monday, June 9, 2008

readings for tuesday, 6/10

For me, the bridge between these four readings was the following topic: the intersection of identity and the classroom. It is clear from all of these readings that students have specific identities that they carry around with them and that these identities play a key role in determining the interaction that the student will have/is willing to have with the classroom and the curriculum. From these readings it is clear that teachers MUST consider the audience before considering the curriculum. However, I suppose that your perspective on this varies depending on if teachers see themselves as teachers of students or teachers of the curriculum. These readings also explored the space where this intersection of student learning occurs. Gee talked about the affinity space, while Gutierrez, Rymes, & Larson dealt with the third space; both of these spaces dealing with where students learn and how the environment affects student learning and motivation. The implicit and explicit power struggles and rules of schooling were also discussed in relation to student identities. Of specific interest to these authors (of the four readings) was how the intersection of schooling looks very different when dealing with students from upper versus lower socioeconomic status. It is obvious from these readings, and everyday observations within schools, that the culture of traditional schools tends to be more drastically different from the home culture of minority students, which tend to also come from lower socioeconomic status. It is clear that there are injustices at work. I think that this research gives the current teachers and administrators a great foundation to do something about the injustices that are occurring in schools both in and beyond our community. Some other thoughts about the readings.....

  • Gee has a distinct way of dealing with technology and how students are engaging authentically with this technology to learn outside the classroom context. Despite Gee’s apparent fondness for technologies, it always seems, to me, that he drifts back to a point about how student engagement with technology in the real world cannot be authentically brought into the classroom. I really enjoy the Gee readings and am usually very enthused by the ideas that he presents; however, there always seems to be this giant obstacle to actualizing his ideas in the classroom.
  • I thought that Gutierrez, Rymes, & Larson’s ideas (expressed in quote 4) about a counterscript were very interesting. I can think of a plethora of situations where students don’t identify with the classroom culture or the schools goals (or they refuse to identity) and as a result create his counterscript to the classroom. How is it that we prevent this from happening in the classroom? Can all students ever really be part of the community of learners? Perhaps this goes back to what Gee was saying in chapter 6 about considering the space instead of the community of learners. Then once the space is defined the roles of students and others within the space can be defined. I think that this is definitely something begs for attention, especially in this educational environment where we are trying to mainstream every student and create this one-size-fits-all education.

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