Five Big Ideas from First Class Discussion

I really enjoyed our class discussion this last week. Thes articles were amazing and I got so much more out of them as we discussed them. It was very easy for me to find five big ideas. (Bare with me, as I’m doing this entire post on my iPad…)

  • Illusion of democracy – I think this idea of having an illusion of democracy is powerful. This also hits on an illusion of access. In America, we take democracy for granted and tend to believe it’s in every part of our society. Unfortunately, when it comes to education, we do npt have a system that promotes democracy and equality. We talked about how different education can be for future teachers across the state and across the country. We also talked about how different an education can be for different schools across the state and even within a district ( and even within different classrooms within one school). When you add technology into this, things get even farther apart. For so many in the priveleged class, technology is seen as a great part of our democracy. It puts us all on the same plane and gives us all access to information. Yet we don’t ALL have access to technology. Many people don’t have the finances to have a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Internet access is too expensive for many and hard to come by in rural areas even today. whole some might say that anyone can go to the library to access technology, not everyone can get library cards, find transportation to their local library, pay fines on their accounts, or get to the library while it’s open. Also, many people don’t know how to use the technology if they can get access to it. In schools, technology should be ubiquitous, but funding for the hardware, software, and training isn’t always available. While we should strive to use technology in our classrooms, we must do so knowing and working with/around the above constraints.
  • One-Size-Fits-All Schooling – unfortunately, we live in a time of standardized texting and an attempt to standardize teaching and learning. Somehow me must make the bureaucrats understand that the corporate model of education DOES NOT WORK. in teaching and learning, one side does not fit all. Teaching and learning must be differentiated. For students to have thebest education possible, they must be in classrooms with low teacher-to-student ratios, with teachers who are highly educated and passionate about their subject area, and who are willing to meet each student where he or she is. Standards and benchmarks for learning are needed, but cookie-cutter education will never work. Let teachers speed up and slow down as needed, and measure student growth over the year instead of from year to year since performance must be measured.
  • Social Justice in ELA – in order for our students to succeed in school and on,life, we must teach all of them to be critical users of language. They must all know how to negotiate and question the power structures present in our society.  ELA is perfectly situated to help create socially responsible citizens. It is our duty to do this. Without it, those within our democracy become complacent, and our democracy will fall apart.
  • How DoWe Integrate Research into our Teaching Life? – I’m still not sure how new teachers can balance class loads, meetings, extracurriculars, paperwork, and a personal life without burning out and leaving the profession. Yet I believe it is important for all teachers to be teacher-researchers, not necessarily in a formal research venue, but at least reflective practitioners. At some point, the education system must change to allow teachers to have more time to teach, research, and reflect. This means smaller class sizes and fewer preps, for sure. It means a complete overhaul of the system and LOTS more funding and importance placed on our children’s futures… And now I’m feelIng depressed. 😉
  • Connecting Teacher Educators, Pre-Service Teachers, Teacher-Students, and Real Classrooms – we cannot allow preservixe teachers to wait until their 3rd,4th,or 5th year of school before they get into a real classroom. Teacher-students should work with and in a variety of classrooms throughout their education in Oder to be fully prepared to teach when they graduate. I believe a full year’s paid internship is important. Opportunities to co-teach with in-service teachers are needed. More Observation of classes and interaction with students, especially in one-on-one and small group settings. This requires that teacher educators do not insulate themselves from schools. If each professor created a bond with just one in-service teacher or school, and if these connection were varied throughout the university, Pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, students, And professors would all benefit.
Burning Questions
Ok,these aren’t in question form yet,but here’s what I want more info on:
  1. One-size v. Differentiated learning
  2. Social justice in ELA
  3. Balancing teaching and researching
  4. Connecting schools with teacher-educators and Pre-service teachers
  5. teaching as a political act

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