Thursday, December 1, 2011

C4T #4

Steve Miranda: Re-educate Seattle

Post #1

Main point: We make students take classes that bore them, but assume they pay attention and learn. Their boredom is taken to the workplace!
Mr. Miranda makes this post about two (2) valid points: 
1. Teachers assume that because they are teaching students something out of a book, they will just learn it. 
2. There are not many consequences making students take a class. 
In his post, there is a poll that was taken from 3 different classes: "Only 13% of high school seniors showed they had grasped the subject content, along with only 22% of fourth grade students and 18% of eighth graders showing any kind of progress in school" ( 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress). He goes on to add that most of this issue is in Math and English subjects. My first reaction to this statement was "Oh my gosh! Math....that is understandable to a certain point; but English?!? That is our first language for most people living in America." Then I saw his point, most students do not learn anything just because you teach them some material. There was another excellent point he made about students who do not understand why they are being forced to take a class: most either spend the whole time in outter space or doodle and draw, all while waiting for the bell to put an end to the torture. Mr. Miranda also wrote that many people who do not find school all that interesting and graduate and so forth, they take this habit to the work place. "Required classes do not guarantee that students will actually learn anything if the student is not engaged in a subject and actually enjoy it. In the workplace it is the SAME thing, those with degrees say they either do not know what is going on usually or they just do not care and no strong feelings for it" ( According to a recent Gallup poll, reported by 71% of people). One of the best quotes I have ever heard comes from Mr. Steve Miranda: "We train our students in conformity, compliance, and the ability to tolerate boredom. We help them bring those into the workplace".

My comment to this post consisted of the usual introduction, as well as my agreement and a bit of a counterpoint. I do agree that most students find school boring, especially forced subjects that are only taught and nobody is being educated instead. I graduated from high school in 2009, and our senior year was nothing but praying it was all over soon, and just wanting to not be in high school anymore. We all let our boredom take over most days. But at the same time, we must suffer boredom and torture of the basics to get to where we need to be. This is why teachers should switch it up a bit: put the desks in a way that the class can discuss a subject and the teacher has small to no interference. Watch them, listen to what each student says and you will know if they have listened and learned anything.

Steve Miranda:

His post: Lowering the Bar

This post is something all teachers need to read and actually follow through on. A friend of Mr. Miranda said:

“I hear some people, some leaders, talk about how not every kid needs to go to college. When you hear someone say that, especially if they themselves went to college, be very suspicious. Because usually what they’re talking about is a certain segment of the population doesn’t need to go to college.”

 He did not mention who his friend was, though Mr. Miranda believes by the friend 'a certain segment of the population' he mean the lower- income kids of color. The result of this is lowered expectations. In his post about this comment he says that he does believe not all kids need to go to college because some kids are not interested in academic learning. Mr. Miranda loves learning, which is why he became a teacher, but that may be part of the problem.Those who are not interested in academic learning probably will not have long conversations about school. SO a conversation on how to fix the educational systems do not include a very important set of voices. But because a school is established by people who enjoy and value academic learning, the definition of school is continually a place solely for academic learning. For students who are not too interested, teachers have no choice but to lower the bar. And for really uninterested students, the kids whose self esteem was damaged in school, the teachers lowers that bar even further because they shut down when they reach the campus. The effect is of this is having one class reading The Picture of Dorian Gray at home, then having a lively and exciting discussion about it in class; one class in which the kids are reading the Spark Notes version of The Great Gatsby, and doing work sheets in class; and another class where the teacher is reading aloud a Richard Wright story while the students follow along. Classroom teachers have no choice but to lower the bar, or so they think because they do not engage the students in activities that match the skills or the interests of the kids. Mr. Miranda does not justify the lowering the bar for students; he says he wrote this as condemnation of a system like the ones we have that does not give teachers the opportunity to create a high bar for the students personal areas of interests or skill sets.


I commented by saying that a lot of schools are like that; however, some schools actually have started using the method of teaching by using the student's person interests and skill set. You are very right that most teachers just educate the kids by using the curriculum, and try to make that interesting. However, the students do not get anything from it. Hopefully one day the people who run the education system will try to alter some of the rules.

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