Experience Builds the Facts

(blog three)

We, as educators, spend hundreds of hours with our students every year. Whether we believe it or not, they look up to us. They lean on us to guide them, to support them, to educate them, and to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Will Richardson once said, “we as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second” and I could not agree more. This reminds us, the future teachers, that there is more to curriculum than outcomes and indicators. We are not only to be shoving facts in children’s faces, we are to be giving them opportunity for experience. Experience that will connect them to nature, to math that will apply to their everyday lives-like how to budget, to understand the First Nations culture who lived here before us, and so much more.

This quote tells me, as a future educator. that it is OK for me to not just stand in front of a classroom and preach to my student’s fact after fact. Rather, it tells me to explore facts and use various and diverse methods of teaching and learning for my students. My role is to help my students understand how curriculum content applies to their everyday lives in their pasts, in their present, and in their futures. It also tells me that my students need to be open-minded and adventurous. These characteristics will benefit them in a learning experience like this and allow them to make the most connections possible. My understanding of curriculum and school from Richardson’s quote is that children need to be given more opportunity to enhance their life experiences, their connections to the world beyond the classroom walls. I understand that curriculum and content are important, but I agree with Richardson, that they are not the most important thing we are teaching children; they need to learn more than the facts in order to succeed after graduation. Children learn best when they are engaging, this way they are building on the facts with their own experiences and connections.

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If We Change the Philosophy…

(Blog Post Two)

While some of Tyler’s initial ideas, somewhat make sense, his entire philosophy, “education is a process of changing the behaviour of people” (pg 2) has got him steering his ideas in the wrong direction. Students (children) are meant to learn through their mistakes, creativity, their own thoughts, feelings and experiences, and while they may need teachers (adults) to guide them; they do not need us to change them.

(a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?

Standardized tests have been in my school experience. I have taken English, Math, and Chemistry Saskatchewan government exams throughout my high school experience. Some teachers have even asked for projects of all students to be handed in with the exact same final product, which is also much like Tyler’s Rationale. This makes assessment easier for the teacher, but also proves students to be the same and to be following a type of “protocol”.

(b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

It makes creativity absolutely impossible. It makes self-learning absolutely impossible because teachers are to create “situations that will evoke the kind of behaviour desired” (pg 2). Tyler’s method understand that children learn through interaction and reaction with their environment, but he wants teachers to control and direct their behaviours to all be the same, thus the final product and thought processes are the same (pg 2). Individuality is impossible in a situation like this.

(c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?

There are a few “good” ideas behind the method, but the entire process needs to be different with various final outcomes/ products. For example, Tyler’s idea that students do need to meet certain standards in order for us to graduate them and move them up levels (pg 20), to me makes sense, just not how he approaches this by molding the students to be the same. The evaluation should include creativity as well as content and grammar, this allows for students to be creative and expressive. Tyler also believes feedback in evaluation is to help shape behaviour (pg 20), but I disagree I think feedback is important in evaluation, but it should be productive and encouraging feedback.

Re-creating “Common Sense”

(Blog Post One)

What does common sense mean to me, before reading the article? It is the “things”, routines, or ideas that people believe everyone just knows and follows. Kumashiro’s definition of common sense is a little bit different, he believes that common sense is that it is a set of “assumptions, expectations, and values” (p. 2) that “have become so routine and common place that they often go unquestioned” (p. 3). He goes on to explain that common sense does not tell us what could be done, but rather it reinforces what should be done and “often [we] feel social pressure to conform” (p. 4). Kumashiro is challenging future educators in specific, but really any person could take on these challenges, to pay attention to the oppression that occurs with our “common sense”.

I wanted a reminder of what oppression means and Google told me, “prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control; the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control; mental pressure or distress”. This helped me understand the article further when Kumashiro explained how our common sense understandings are leading to oppression of people’s race, gender, religion, and much more. Teachers allow this to happen by ignoring stereotypes, harassment, labeling people, and normalizing any “type” of peoples. Basically our first challenge is addressing the “common sense” ideas that are, and can be, oppressive and then acting upon that through discussing or readdressing the idea.

This is a very interesting article, something I never even thought of before. I especially never thought of how it could be harming others. I have been thinking about my “common sense” that could be oppressive. But I am curious what other people believe are some of their “common sense” ideas? How can you consciously make it “go away” or readdress it to become inviting and respectful to all?  How can we re-create our common senses?