November 27, 2016
Education is Politics
by Ira Shor
This article was placed exactly where it should be as the last one. I found that I could relate it to many of the past authors we have read. It has been difficult for me this semester to do the extended comments blog as I think many others work on them a lot later than I do. This week I have decided to use Cassie's blog for extended comments and then relate Shor's article to connections of other authors. Cassie used quotes and reflection for her blog. The first quote was "The teacher plays a key role in the critical classroom. Student participation and positive emotions are influenced by the teacher's commitment to both. One limit to this commitment comes from the teacher's development in traditional schools where passive, competitive, and authoritarian methods dominated." (Shor 26) I feel like Cassie is right, most people have had that teacher who is not interested in what they are teaching. Although I have been out of high school a lot longer than most, I can still recall those dreaded teachers. I had several that were not engaged with the students and time seemed to very slowly drag by. In my situation, those classes were ones that I did not do as well in as others. The next quote Cassie talked about was, "If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted." (Shor 12) I also agree with Cassie, students should be taught beyond the guidelines to increase students abilities to think critically and open their eyes. Because I have been out of high school for close to 30 years, there are only a few teachers that I will never forget. I had a great teacher in high school that was so passionate in his subject that he would act out the point he was trying to convey. I remember him jumping on desks and running around the room just to project his point and make us understand the material. Well, it worked because I still remember it today. The teachers that were not engaging I cannot tell you anything that happened the entire year. In fact, there are several classes I took that I cannot remember who the teacher even was. The third quote Cassie used was, "Until students experience lively participation, manual authority, and meaningful work, they will display depressed skills and knowledge, as well as negative emotions. Teachers will be measuring and reacting to an artificially low picture of student abilities." (Shor 21) Cassie's point on this is the same for me. I have found in my other classes that if a teacher does not attempt to bring their students into a conversation and encourage participation then I'm the one that sits in the back of the classroom very quiet. In our FNED class, Dr Bogad makes it easy to participate and interesting. Some of the authors that I feel Shor's piece connects with is where he says, "School funding is another political dimension of education because more money had always been invested in the education of upper-class children and elite collegians than has been spent on students from lower-income homes and in community colleges." (Shor 15) Kozel had proposed traditional schooling contributes to the culture of power. Empowering education means thriving in a classroom of mutual respect where questioning everything is encouraged. Shor states that a key to empowering education is critically thinking. Also, discourages teachers assuming the stereotypical role of all-knowing adult there to educate the children and encourage teachers and students working together to make learning happen. This connects to Jeannie Oakes' article on tracking. She analyzes how separating children by ability dictates how rich of an education children receive. Children in lower ability classes spend more time learning basic facts that don't encourage critical thinking while those in higher ability classes spend more time on diving into the topics. Finn was critical of the difference of education given to upper-class and working-class students, while Shor believes that education in working-class schools should allow students to understand and demand their political civil rights just like an upper class school. Shor says, "Asking my students to memorize the rules without asking who makes the rules, who enforces the rules, who benefits from the rules, who loses from the rules....legitimates a social system that devalues my students' knowledge and language." (Shor 53) This reminds me of Delpit's "Rules and Codes of Power" where Delpit suggests teachers should create opportunities for more than one language in their classrooms. Shor says, "If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted." (Shor 12) This reminded me of our class where Dr. Bogad handed out a "ditto" and gave us 20 minutes to fill it out. While she said she was waiting for someone to object or refuse, I would never have done something like that. I was always taught to do whatever the teacher tells you to do. There are many other author connections that relate to Shor but this is where I will leave it for now.
The following video is from the movie Clueless, a perfect example of students from upper class
This video is a great lesson on privilege and opportunity for upper and lower class students:
This video has the song "The Rules of the Classroom", 6 rules for kids to follow...