Sunday, April 20, 2014

Connections to "Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change", by Ira Shor

          I know a lot of people will be doing a connections blog post this week, but I also think it is a great way to sum up our semester."Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change", by Ira Shor was a very informative article. I was constantly thinking about and connecting back to a few past texts while reading this article. Christensen, Kohn, and Johnson were some of the major connections I was able to make. Additionally, my service learning experience was another way for me to relate to this article. It was good to have some experience to relate back to, and really bring Shor's words to life.
          Shor had a great way of pulling the reader in with a great point that really related to Christensen, and how she believes that students need to find real ways to talk back and express their critiques; and teachers need to encourage this, and realize it is beneficial. Shor says that "not encouraging students to question knowledge, society, and experiences tacitly endorses and supports the status quo." This further imply's the fact that students need to be able to have a voice, and have confidence that can help them succeed in other things in the classroom. By just following the curriculum and giving no leeway, this gives the impression to students that the "world are fix and line the way they are, with no role for the student to play in transforming them, and no need for change." It is important for a student to be able to question the curriculum and school in general; and for the teacher to encourage their students to question school. This method can gives the students a better learning experience, while allowing them talk explicitly about things regarding privilege, power, and differences. Johnson would agree with this idea by Shor, because now the teacher is not seen as the only intellectual in the room; the power dynamic does not shine the light solely on the teacher. Students are made important, intelligent, opinionated, and motivated to learn.
          Another important point that was discussed, is about things regarding how "this competitive orientation leads to isolation and alienation". This is a reason to worry in  Kohn's "What to look for in a Classroom". Shor goes on to discuss the harmfulness of having things like star charts, the best project on the walls, the neatest handwriting displayed. This method of encouraging those who are successful, simply discourages those who are not rewarded (in many cases, the" minority and female students"). This is definitely something that I can relate to from my service learning assignment, my classroom is full of these reasons to worry. The walls are covered with "excellent explainers", "terrific tests", star charts, and a reward bucket.
          Another important point regarding was regarding inequality in school based on the economy. They spoke about how education should be democratic, when really schools are designed with the "small elite destined for the top and a large mass destined for the middle and bottom". This is again another Johnson moment, but this time anti-Johnson. The privilege and power difference is clearly evident, and it is become of wealth. The learning experiences an opportunities as a result differ.
          This article is so informative, and extremely relatable. It is also full of great tips regarding how a teacher should conduct their classroom. The importance of giving students a voice and an option to speak out is highly enforced in their article. It is a good thing for your students to question why they are in school, question the curriculum, and have their own opinions. Also there was a point about how student learn from doing and thinking about their own experiences. This gives the students something other than just simply academics and note taking and feeling as if they can learn the same things if they didn't go to school, and simply read a textbook at home. I certainty feel like that in some of my classes, even here at RIC. The teachers who strive to get their students involved, and interested are the ones who are most successful.

          I can't believe this is the last blog post of the semester, time has certainly flown by! I have learned so much from all of these articles, and I think this was a great one to use for the last article. These articles and FINED 346 has made me even more excited to become a teacher, and given me the proper tools I need to know how to have a successful classroom. Maybe we can talk in class about how this article was about sum up all of the other articles we have read so far, and about different connections people were able to make.

This is just a short video where students are speaking about how they want to learn to their their teacher, some of the points are really good, but the video is set up a little weird but it still get the point across.



  1. Awesome job!! A connections post seemed like the only way to end the blogging experience haha! Great job and awesome connections :)

  2. Sarah, I have really enjoyed being class with you. And you did a great job referencing all of the different authors we've experienced this semester. I am in 3 different schools and i have seen examples of good and bad. I'm not sure i would've recognized what I was looking at had we not gone over all of the various scenarios. We will be better teachers for it. Good luck to you!

  3. Great job again Sarah. Loved your post. You did a great job analyzing the text and connecting it to past texts we've read in class. You did a great job finding connections and finding pictures to go with your ideas. Great job overall. See You Tuesday.

  4. Hey Sarah, great job this week I really liked all of the connections you made!