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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Slowly and Shor-ly the last blog post

Empowering Education- Critical Teaching for Social Change
Ira Shor

April 16, 2016


After reading this article by Ira Shor, it hit me that many people that teach now a days, started years ago when curriculum wasn't a thing and when they were free to teach in their classroom with their own plan and rules. Teachers have to focus on what the town/school wants them to teach rather than what the children need to know and learn for their futures. Its so saddening that some children are in a classroom being forced to learn things they don't understand or don't need to know just because some school committee or teachers feels a different way about the context. It is the teachers job to yes teach children in classrooms about math, reading, writing, grammar, quadratics and much more but the most important thing they need to teach is social skills and how to socialize with children and adults. Ira describes the point of school as "In sum, the subject matter, the learning process, the classroom discourse, the cafeteria menu, the governance structure, and the environment of school teach students what kind of people to be and what kind of society to build as they learn math, history, biology, literature, nursing or accounting" (pg. 15). Is is extremely important for those in school to actually LEARN and not MEMORIZE. As mentioned in the article and many of my fellow classmates blogs, in half my classes not only in middle school or high school but college as well, we had to memorize many things in class just to pass a test that would soon be forgotten after the semester was over. So what was the point of that? A waste of time, money and a chance for us to learn something we may actually need in our future.

This article has made a really clear point and to me pointed out why we go to school, why we need to focus and want to learn and not just get by. It explained that school when we are young and growing up not only is there for math and reading but for socialization and self/social change. Ira Shors article can connect to Delpit because Delpit stressed how teachers and people that children look up to have to stress the rules and codes of power because some people don't know about them or learn about them in school or at home. It is important to know the rules of society and how to get by, how to fit in and live a normal life. The two connect because both articles/authors explain that students need to learn the "rules and codes of power" the same way that teachers have to teach that, as well as follow the "rules and codes of power" that the common core and school committee tell them to.

Not only does Shor connect to Delpit but it also connects to August because of Augusts' words; "Safe Spaces". Not in the same way of LGBTQ but because children in school need to know they are safe and that what they are learning is important for them and they need it. August talks about how children and young adults need to feel safe in order to be more successful in school, public and private like having a high self-confidence. Shor also touches base on how it is important for children who need help to feel safe somewhere and that they can be helped with whatever they need no matter what.

Comments/Questions/Points to share:
After reading this article and many of my friends blogs and views on common core and Shor's book it is clear that no one agrees with what is happening in classrooms today. The math problem shown above is what children in elementary school are learning today, my brother is tested on this math very often, especially on the "PARC" testing or whatever its called and I don't think its right. Even in my math 143 class last semester we were being taught how to teach subtraction and addition in 3 different ways? Why is that so? School is supposed to be somewhere to go to have fun, learn, socialize, make friends and grow up in. But apparently schools and towns don't feel that way anymore so they are changing and creating new "common core". Overall I really enjoyed Shor's book (well part of it anyway) because well I like everything to do with teaching and looking into why common core is so dumb.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
April 10, 2016


"[Community} requires a willingness to see people as they are - different perhaps in their minds and in their bodies, but not different in their spirits or in their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society. It requires the 'helper' to have the humility to listen for what the person says he or she needs (pg.12)." (Judith Snow pg. 73)

I feel as if this quote almost says it all, explains that it's okay to be different and notice that yes, people with learning disability (Like Down Syndrome) as well as physical or any other type of disability are different and act different in all situations but they are still people. They are people with hearts, feelings, emotions and knowledge. Of course of all this things are shown in different ways, if shown at all but it's their. But no one looks at it that way, they look at them and say "oh she has down syndrome", "yeah, he has autism, he won't understand" and stuff like that. Some people out there (like children) won't understand any of that unless they learn or experience it in something like best buddies or any other one-one organizations where children with both disabilities and non-disabilities can interact.

"Though many of us have a certain level of control over who we meet and interact with, none of us can come close to claiming complete control. So we must learn to work with others, and this hold true whether we ultimately are destined to lead a multinational computer software film, inspire a civil rights movement...We have to learn to get along as individuals and as citizens." (pg. 74)

This second quotes discusses again that we as people need to accept the differences and kind of move on, or not focus on rather. But focus on how we as people, students, citizens act together, interact with each other, and learn from each other. Its important for us as students who want to go into that field and be able to teach them to know that even though they are different they don't alway need to be treated, they need to be treated equal and shown respect. Also, its important that if students with disabilities and those without are in one class, that the lessons taught need to be understand by everyone, not just easy for those without IEP's or without teacher aids and extra help, but for everyone.

"In establishing a representation of citizenship for all, Shayne recognized the transactional relationship of human reciprocity: Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptance. As such, Shayne had to foster a sense of the collective that took seriously the value and idiosyncrasies of her individual students. In doing so, Shayne felt that she broadened and strengthened the learning opportunities opened to all her children." (pg. 75)

Lastly, this quote spoken about how Shayne took the initiative to change the opportunities and expand the horizon for both those with and without disabilities. She decided to focus on the community skills and acceptance of those in her classroom and out of it. She explains how community acceptance is what is really important and can lead to the best changes, good changes. It all starts with teaching those to accept everyone as they are, who they are and what the bring to the table (bring to school, like an attitude and initiative to learn). This quote can relate to August because in that article the LGBTQ groups are mentioned that accept everyone and teach everyone to learn that being different is okay, the world is changing and adapting to all the differences in the world. That is how it is supposed to be but unfortunately people cannot accept that 100% yet and hopefully it will change.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
I really enjoyed this blog because it focused on those with Down syndrome but in a good and positive way. To accept the differences and embrace them, to help those who need it without any fuss. I am hoping to go into this as a teacher and this article really made me want to even more and got me excited to be able to work with many different children and different disabilities to learn about all of them and make them feel welcomes and comfortable at school.