Critical Teaching for Social Change
By: Ira Shor
(Connection & Refection)
For me, this reading wasn't what I would call hard, it kind of wrapped everything together for me. During this semester, we've learned so much about how our society is and throughout this time, we've really had to think about our experiences and if they fit what we're now seeing as the issues within the school system. During this piece, Shor continues to talk about how education is politics. I was able to connect this piece and things Shor was addressing to Delpit. Delpit talks about how when you know the rules and codes of power, you are more likely to succeed because you were told explicitly the rules. More towards the begining of Shor's piece, he mentions a lot about how teachers in the classroom need to work on having that kind of good relationship with their students and also be able to be there and tell them things that they might not being talking about at home. The students need to learn the rules and codes of power where the teachers need to learn how to follow them. In order to succeed, you're better off knowing a head of time what is expected from you. It will help you get farther and help you succeed. By knowing these rules and codes, you then know what to do. A Delpit lightbulb also went off in my head when I read these sentences. "The syllabus deployed by the teacher gives students a prolonged encounter with structural knowledge and social authority. However, it is the students who decide to what extent they will take part in the syllabus and allow it to form them." (Page 14) I'm not sure if I understood it wrong or not but this made me think of those first couple of days of school where teachers are giving our their syllabus. Some people choose to go by, and some people ignore it and hope to get by. Knowing the rules and codes of power I guess helps you in this situation. It's an option to follow it but you know you will do it because that's what we've been taught and we know it's the rules and the way to succeed.
I was also about to connect this piece to August and safe spaces. School shouldn't be a place where students go and feel uncomfortable. They should want to go and learn and be excited about it. On page 17 Shor says, "Participation is the most important place to begin because student involvement is low in traditional classrooms and because action is essential to gain knowledge and develop intelligence." Basically, he is saying that students get more in the classrooms and they are interacting with the other students and not just sitting and listening. I disagree with this because I went all through my school years also sitting and listening. I rarely talked and if I did it was because I was forced to by the teachers. If the teacher used it against my grade of course I started talking but if not, I would sit and do my work a lone and just listen to my other classmates if I got stuck. When I knew I had to speak up, it always made me nervous and made my experience at school in that classroom terrible. I guess it wasn't that safe space that it should have been in terms of not feeling comfortable.
Reflection to Service Learning
"School funding is another political dimension of education, because more money has 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." (Page 15)
Volunteering at the school I do now, I can see where they run into issues with funding. They don't get enough and the students really do suffer from it. When I was in Elementary School, our desks were set up in groups of 4 and at each group there was a bin that was in the middle that had pencils, crayons, rulers and just little things that we might need. We never had the problem as simple as coming to school without anything to write with. When I work with this group of kids, every time I am there at least one of them tells me that they don't have a pencil or anything to write with. Now we have to waste more time trying to find one and that children and the rest of the other have to miss out on learning. The funding is that little in schools like that they can't supply any extra but they simply don't have it to spend. The money has to go somewhere else because it's the smarter way to use it. The lack of school funding just really messes with children's education.
Comments/Questions/Points to Share:
Comparing my school and the one I go to for my service learning, it amazes me the differences. From things like funding all the way to being able to voice your opinion. At my service learning, I don't notice children really talking out and being a part of a bigger discussion as a class. In all my classes growing up, everyone was able to speak out if they wanted to and that's how a lot of the classes ran. Being use to that all my life even though I never participated in the discussion and then going to see things were students just don't speak out like that makes me think how they are learning anything.