Monday, April 25, 2011

Education is Politics

This week i am going to extend off of Conor's blog.  I agreed with him completely that this article sums up a lot of what we learned this semester in FNED.  I also really liked the quotes that he picked.

"The teacher leads and directs the curriculum, but does so democratically with the participation of he students, balancing the need for structure with the need for openness (pg. 16)."

This first quote that Conor picked is a great one.  I agree with Conor when he says that it is difficult for teachers to create their lesson plans to fit different curriculums.  Schools curriculums differ and that makes it difficult for teachers to plan 1) what the students will want or participate in and 2) what will live up to their own expectations of lesson plans.  I know from watching my brother write lesson plan after lesson plan, while helping create the curriculum for Health Education in the East Providence elementary schools.  It is a lot of work and everything that he does has to be perfect, so it took him even more time just to write them.  This will make it easier for him in the future because if he stays in the East Providence school system and in the elementary setting because he helped write the curriculum.  If the students dont participate then the teacher needs to think if its their teaching styles or the areas of the curriculum that they dont like.

Conor also makes a good point. " No curriculum created by anyone other than the teacher, can accent the individual personalities and dynamics of each individual classroom."

This almost goes back to what i was saying last week about everyone in my advisory class writing our own IEPs.  If each student has an IEP the teacher would have an easier job when trying to figure out why certain students arent taking to a certain subject like they did to another.  IEPs do take time to create and are just adding more work to the teachers already busy schedule.  It will however benefit the students in the long run so they have more knowledge because they will have learned in a way that they best understand everything.  I might sound insane but its just how i feel.

Id like to talk about how everyone else see this topic and if having an IEP for every student is a good or bad thing.

Hope everyone had a great Easter! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Schooling Children With Down Syndrome


As I read this, I started to think about how my high school's inclusion program was set up.  I came up with the fact that if a student had a mild to moderate disability, they were included in standard or the lowest level learning classes.  If the student had a severe case of disability, they were put into the special needs classroom.  There was always other students in that classroom doing work with them and even when they went to phys. ed they had another student without disabilities there helping them do the activities.

As for the discrimination aspect of this reading, there wasnt much in my high school that i know about. There were chances for the disabled students to play sports if they wanted.  There was always the opportunity for them to participate in the Special Olympics.  This also makes me think of when i was younger and in girl scouts.  We did something called Mini Camp. This camp was always during the school vacation weeks and it was in the morning so that parents had an almost built in babysitter for them during that week.  There were a few girls that attended the camp that had down syndrome. We always made sure that we incorporated them into the activities, most of the time it was having them sit at the same table with the other girls and having one of the "leaders" helping them with the projects.

In class i would like to talk about anyone else's experiences.  Were they good or bad?  If they were bad, how do you think the school or the people that made that situation bad could have changed it?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Schools Need to Take Another Route


"students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than otber students."

This quote from Why Schools Need to Take Another Route is very true.  Jeannie Oakes talks about the study done and written about in the book A Place Called School.  This study reported that students in higher level english classes were taught more education advancing knowledge and were more likely to score higher on their SATs.  I read Steph Bourgeois's blog and noticed that she makes a good point.  Separating the slower learning students from the faster learners is a big disadvantage for the slower learners. Although a school may have a set curriculum, i feel that most teachers pick what they want to teach based on what they feel their class can handle. This holds back students when it comes to the SATs.  People wonder why students that are put in the lower level classes are less likely to go to college.  Its a mystery.....

"For example, in average classes, many teachers expected relatively little of students. They established set
routines of lecturing and doing worksheets,held time and workload demands (both in class and for homework) to a minimum accepted and sometimes even encouraged distractions, and rarely asked students to think deeply or critically. When classes are conducted in this way, average students, too, are deprived of the best that schools have to offer."

This goes back to the beginning of the semester when we talked about the students slipping through the cracks.  Some students are almost ignored and others are focused on too much.  The schools need to find a balance.

"In the standard classroom, instruction is characterized by:
• Competitive whole-group instruction.
• Lecturing as the prevailing teaching strategy.
• Common assignments.
• Uniform due dates and tests
• A single'set of standards of competence and criteria for grades."

This list reminds me of Alfie Kohn's list of what shouldnt be in a classroom.  As I read this i thought about my classes in high school.  If there was a student that needed extra time or needed to take a test on a different day or after school it, the teacher let them.  Now in college, ive seen examples of both.  Some professors lecture for the entire class and i fall asleep and end up teaching myself the material better than he does.  Others give different assignments, let us work on different things and sometimes have different due dates which makes the classes and the work more interesting.

I hope that in class people will have more stories from their service learning or even personal experiences in classes.  Should be interesting! :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Title IX - Extended off of Lukes Blog

I would like to do another extended comment this week, but off of Luke's blog.  I think he brings up a good point when he says that mens sports are being cut for more women's sports.  I also however feel that they are getting rid of some women's sports for more women's sports.  I know for a fact that right here at RIC they are getting rid of women's gymnastics, which i believe to be a pretty popular sport, and replacing it with women's swimming and women's golf.  These two sports i believe are less popular sports well at least women's golf is anyway.  At my high school, the golf team was co-ed.  In the four years i was there, there was only one girl that i know of that was actually on the team.

"Another experience i have with this issue is when a girl at my highschool was allowed to play football.  All she had to do was say she wanted to play and she was on the team because of title nine.  There were no restrictions put on her where she could and couldn't play.  She ended up playing middle linebacker on the freshman team and at times she would be the full back.  I personally believe that this was a great thing just letting her play but at the same time it was a little bit one sided just letting the female athlete play her sports when the male athlete had to jump through so many hoops just to play the back row so he never played."

Luke's experience is also an experience that i had in high school.  How ever i didnt have much of a problem with the girl being on the football team.  She went through hell and back with the team, never missed a practice, came back as dirty and disgusting as the guys, and played in as few games as the the "back row player" who didnt play many games.  The only time the coaches really put her in was when there was blowout. 

About a minute and 20 seconds in, Donna Lopiano starts to make comments about the culture that the athletic directors or high school and college sports grew up in. I think that she makes some very good points and she has some very good statistics about women in sports today and from thirty years ago.

I would like to talk in class about what other poeple think.  I also would like to bring up the fact that men are not allowed to participate in women's sports if there is not a team for them.  For example, at RIC, there is no mens volleyball team, there is a womens but a man is not allowed to play on our team.. Interesting, no?