Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education in Politics -Ira Shor


Shor's main point of this article is about the problems with our education system. In the beginning of the article is says, 

"If I were a primary-grade teacher, I would devole my time to problems of socialization. The most important thing children learn is not the three R's, It's socialization" He urged teachers to encourage students t0 question their experience in school: "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important to begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school. "

I really liked this and it couldn't help but to make me think about the written paper assignment we got in class last week. I really didn't think to much about the assignment when professor Bogad handed it out. It was a an assignment to see how much we understood and retained from the article. I wasn't really appalled at the assignment, it was like a worksheet we did hundreds of times in high school. I know it wasn't something that we usually did in her class but it was something we have all done so many times in other classes throughout high school and sometimes in college. It didn't seem like that big of a deal to me. Towards the end i was slow on answering a few questions because I wanted to make sure that they were right because I wasn't sure if she was collecting them, but other than that it was like a normal assignment for many of my high school classes.

Now after the assignment we all talked about the assignment and how we all should have been appalled that she would give us such an assignment. Now when we first started talking I was like yea okay everyone needs to relax it was just a paper we had to fill out it's not that big of a deal. Then professor Bogad talked about the kid who put his pencil down in a previous class and refused to even do the assignment. I was shocked at that because in my head i couldn't wrap my mind around all the tension about filling in a paper. 

However after listening to everyone talk I couldn't help but start to agree. We do deserve more as students. That paper really wasn't teaching us anything. We were all in more of a panic trying to finish it than the actual information we were writing about. Now thinking back that was all we did in a lot of my classes. In many of my history classes we would read something and then do fill in the blanks. Was that really teaching me anything? It taught me enough to get me through the test that week but i couldn't tell you about half the stuff we learned. 

Now there is always so much talk about how corrupt the education system is and how many problems there are. Here in Rhode Island is a good example. They are firing tons of teachers in providence to try to help fix the education system. However as much as we complain about the curriculum and testing and all that kind of stuff, in the end i believe it all comes down to the teachers. It doesn't appear that the government is going to make any drastic changes anytime soon, but we as teachers i think can. It's just about the time and effort you are willing to put in.

I bet if you really think about it there may be a handful of teachers from your high school that you enjoyed as a teacher or made in impact on you. Then I bet you had more than a handful that you thought were not so great. Maybe you did maybe you didn't, but i know that's how my experience was. I think it's up to you what kind of teacher you want to be. Do you want to be that teacher who gives you assignments like we got in class? Or do you want to be the teacher who helps their students to learn? Personally I think we as teachers can change this. I think it's taking that extra hour after school to help students even though you aren't getting paid. It's taking those extra couple of hours planning a lesson that fits every student in your classroom. No one ever said that being a teacher was easy, and after being in this class and reading all of the article throughout the semester I've learned it will be even more difficult than I thought. 

Like I said before I don't see the government changing anytime soon, so the only people i can see making a difference are the teachers. It's all how hard you are willing to work. The people who go above and beyond are going to find they get better results. If we only do the minimum of what is required then I don't think our education system will ever change. I think we can make a difference and all the new teachers starting out need to approach it with this sort of mentality and i believe we will start to see a change in our education system. 

In class i would just like to know what everyone else thinks. Does everyone else think that us as teachers can make a difference? Am i totally off about what I'm saying? What are everyone else's opinions of our problems in the education system?


  1. I hope you don't mind if I do an extended blog off your post! I think you explained everything so clearly and I really enjoyed it :)

  2. Way to go Courtney. This was great to read.
    I agree, this class has opened my eyes to just what I'm getting into. Never really thought about how hard it was going to be or that there would be so much that we have to prepare for.
    I think we can make a difference. It's probably going to be slow, but as more and more informed teachers get out there, I think things will improve.

  3. I agree with Nick and Emily. Your blog was really fun to read. As I was writing mine, I realized it was our last blog of the semester and I couldn't help but think about how much this class taught me. Just like Nick said, it really did open my eyes too. Just by going to our Service Learning placements, I can already tell that we have all made a difference. It may not seem like it some weeks, and I know the kids can be a pain sometimes but just by showing up weekly we have made a difference. We have shown the kids that there are people out there that do care about them and their future.

  4. It is messed up that Rhode Island is firing so many teachers, because by doing so you are losing those handful of really good ones. And I one hundred percent agree on everything you said about the government. I feel like anyone who is going to have a job that affects the public should have to take this class lol.

  5. responding to heathers comment- I do see the intention of firing the teachers though as a way to weed out the not so good ones, the ones who have been maybe too safe from not losing there job that they just stopped caring or trying. Hopefully the handful of really good ones would re-apply and then be seen for what they are. Although, as it often happens in society, good intentions sometimes are just that and it ends up causing more harm then good.
    Off of Courtney's original blog- I love how you related this to the worksheet we got in class! I too related it while reading, what made me think about it the most (besides the fact that we are taught to obey) was when Shor talks about how the typical classroom is framed by competition, which can lead to isolation and alienation. When we were given that worksheet I got all of those feelings back that I am used to when in class. I thought nothing of doing the handout but I felt the competition of making sure I got things correct and wondering how I am doing time wise compared to other students and if it is going to be graded- how I want a good grade but anxiety came into play because I wasn't prepared enough. Nerves kicked in for me which does not help me learn, all it does it force me to memorize the material for the test then forget it all.
    Speaking off of that I found it interesting that when I went to go become certified in CPR and First Aid, everyone was freaking out about the exam and whether or not they were going to pass (myself included). The teacher laughed at us and said trust me EVERYONE WILL PASS with a 100%, I promise. He explained that CPR and First Aid are not something you just memorize and ace a test, he said we can speak during the exam and ask any questions out loud and he will explain them to the entire class- he said he wanted us all to really know this stuff because a test grade is not going to save someones life.