The Freedom Writers is truly an inspiring and uplifting story. A young teacher was able to take a freshman high school English class that was plagued with hatred and unite it. At the beginning of the school year the kids has no desire to learn or be an active part of the English class. They did not want anything to do with school because they had bigger concerns in their life and had no motivation to learn. I also think a major reason why the kids did not want to learn was because in their minds they had no hope. Never in any of these students’ lives did anyone ever believe in them, until Mrs. Gruwll. Mrs. G was able to give her students hope; hope for a better life, hope for peace, hope for the future, a hope for change. By making her students look past differences in race and gang affiliation, she was able to make it clear that all the kids were very much alike; all the students carried similar burdens and could relate to one another’s struggles. Mrs. G also brought the class to life by choosing topics that were relevant in the kids’ lives. The students’ attention was gained by using relatable material and also finding a class comradely.
The story can have many different messages for its audience. One message would be that one person can make a difference. Mrs. G’s patience, resiliency, love and belief changed each of these students’ lives for the better. Another message could be that differences can be overcome. This class full of a diversity and hatred was transformed into a family.
Even though there seems to be no apparent direction in the film, “The Class,” a very interesting story is told. Throughout the movie your heart goes out to the teacher, Messier Marin. The teacher shows how he cares for his student’s lives and futures, and does everything in his power to help these troubled kids. The unique way in which this film was created gives the viewer a chance to see a true classroom setting without a Hollywood style script. To me the main focus was showing show difficult it is to be a teacher. Messier Marin shows an amount of patients toward his students that is uncanny. Only once did the teacher’s patience crack; however, this one slip up seemed to cost him all of his student’s respect. Messier Marin, lost control of his restraint and insulted two of his student. This is certainly a no-no but, to me it wasn’t his worse offense. What was worse was not apologizing to the students he had wronged. If he expects his students to ever ask for forgiveness he must do the same. Instead of an apology, he tells the girls he insulted that there are things a teacher can do that students cannot! This made me change my mind about the type of teacher Marin is; a teacher should lead their class with the example of class and respect, not hypocrisy.
What I did not understand about the movie, is why there were student representatives at what should have been private teacher meeting. It seemed outrageous that students were involved in personal disciplinary and academic conversations about students. All the issues at the end of the film would not have happened if those meetings were kept private. For me, what made this movie so different and powerful is the realness it projected. The story was not concluded with everything tied together with questions answered; this made it much easier to relate to life.
Learning styles have been ingrained into education throughout recent decades; however, some believe it is time to wrench learning styles out of the spotlight and direct teaching methods elsewhere. Learning style theories were introduced centuries ago by Greek philosophers, and have been modified and tweaked by brilliant minds’ of physiologists such as Carl Jung, David Kolb and Howard Gardner. Most people will agree that learning styles certainly exist; every person learns in a very unique and different way. Because people have learning preferences, it is thought that students would greatly benefit if teaching styles matched up with students’ particular learning style (Felder and Silverman, Hein and Bundy). On the contrary, it has been argued that tailoring teaching styles to correlate with learning styles is not at all valuable to students (Reiner and Willingham, Glenn). This debate arises many questions about the way in which we teach our youth. I think that teaching styles should not be focused around how to get students to learn, but rather how to get students to engagingly think. Great teachers are the ones who provoke curiosity and questioning in their students and create lifelong learners.
Firstly, I will introduce my topic by giving background information about learning styles and how they have evolved through the years (Chen, Pritchard). After informing the reader of the basic information, I will present the theory of matching teaching styles with learning styles (Felder and Silverman, Hein and Bundy). Shortly thereafter, I will display refuting information and research against the matching theory (Reiner and Willingham, Glenn). I will end the paper by giving my opinion: saying that teachers are focusing on the wrong areas of teaching and should stress learning less and thinking more. I will present the material starting with small ideas and continuously build on top of them until concluding with my analysis. This topic interests me so much because I plan on becoming a teacher; I viewed this assignment as an opportunity to become a better future teacher.
In the essay we read on Thursday, “Preparing Minds for Markets”, Jonathan Kozol argued that our school systems are merely training our youth to enter the work force. Kozol seems to view this as a terrible crime and that children’s destines are being made for them. In his observations of underprivileged schools, Kozol witnesses many new techniques that enforce children to pick a mediocre career path and set goals toward that position. A managing position is what the majority of the students are training for at urban primary schools. I agree with Kozol’s implications and think that training children instead of teaching them is a major problem in our society. School systems should not be limiting students’ opportunities, but expanding them! What disturbed me the most about Kozol’s observations is that these types of school environments, where students are being focused toward a career, are only underprivileged, urban schools. To me this is where opportunities should be promoted most; children that grow in poor families may not know that opportunity outside of what they are used to are out there. Underprivileged kids should be taught that they have the ability to become a doctor, or scientist or anything they could dream of, with hard work and determination. If these kids are taught that the best possible career would be a store manager, it is putting a ceiling on a child’s imagination and creativity we should enforce. Kozol was also successful in making me sympathize with the bright student whose future as a restaurant employee was determined for her in high school. This particular student had potential to do great things outside secondary school, but the school system limited her. I don’t think there is anything wrong with school systems trying to build a work force for the next generation; however, the schools that aren’t flexible with students’ array of ambitions and don’t supply students with abundant opportunity are failing our youth.
Our tangent about High School reading really got me going. By assigning classic books in High School that are outdated and unexciting, are we not teaching children to depreciate books and associate reading with boredom? In High School every student nationwide is required to read almost the same standard books; for every grade there is a new set of books that are read year after year. These books that are assigned are usually classic books that were written 50 or 60 years ago. This makes it difficult for students to make connections to characters and situations because times are always changing. By assigning books that may not be enjoyable for the reader, students correlate their displeasure with reading altogether. This is criminal. I think the most powerful thing an English teacher can do for their students is instill the love for reading, and by assigning tedious books teachers are doing the opposite.
I think this issue may go beyond books and High School English classes. This is an issue I can see throughout schooling. As times change, curriculums do not. Many teachers continue to teach the same things year after year, with no change. This is a fatal flaw in our teaching system. The world is constantly changing; what was relevant five years ago may not be today. There is a wealth of new resources and new engaging information being produced every day. So why not break old traditions and evolve classes around the changes in the world and modernize education?
Is school truly just a factory for producing childish consumers and laborers as John Taylor Gatto suggests? Gatto does a great job in pointing out many flaws in our school system, but I disagree with his overall distain for our entire education. To me the American school system is not a mind-numbing experience that prohibits my creative thought, but a structured path to guide and develop my inspired future. I think schooling is important in today’s era because it gives everyone opportunity and it creates a well-rounded society. School gives every man the opportunity to become whoever they’d wish to be, and gives us a basis to succeed in life. Gatto argues that the school system educates in order to produce people that are dumbed down, all alike, and therefore easy to influence. In my experience in our school system I never once felt as though my individuality was being purposely stripped or my creativity dampened. I agree with Gatto, in that schools certainly do put up walls and ceilings that can contain many thoughts students have; However, I believe that many brilliant ideas are fostered from schooling and that our school system is what keeps generations moving in a positive direction, and becoming more aware and more intelligent. I also agree with the idea that boredom comes from within. Boredom is in fact enhanced by the monotony of a classroom, but it is originally generated by people themselves. No one should blame their boredom on school; the responsibility of being curious and having the desire to learn is one’s own. Finally, Gatto gives the solution to all the problems of schooling, “Let them manage themselves.” By giving people no structure to learn, will people be better off? Are people more creative if they are set free? No, I don’t think so. We only can enjoy freedom if we have structure, and without boundaries and order in education I think new generation will become unproductive and thoughtless. Gatto’s suggestion of education through anarchism would be a great failure.
“Will this be on the test, Professor?” asks a fellow student every single day. This question alone sums up the American school system and the American student. Students in our school system are enforced to memorize facts and spit back information and actually discouraged to really learn. Students’ concentration and motivation are immediately directed toward grades and what they will have to do to achieve a good mark. This type of attitude detracts from creativity and a kills student’s natural passion to learn new things. What school systems should be encouraging instead of grades is the love to learn. Kids should ask themselves what greater purpose a class serves and what benefits they can absorb from the class. This mind-set will push a student much further than the approach of, “How can I get an A?” I have personally seen so many accounts of the flaws of the way student’s think. A couple weeks ago I tried to help teach a girl in my class how to solve a worksheet correctly and she refused my help. She said that she wasn’t worried about it because the teacher was just going to check the assignment for completion. This nearly blew my mind! She was going to do the entire assignment incorrectly and not even fret about not knowing the information. I now realize it is not her fault, but the fault of our school system. The system has trained us to focus solely on grades, because that is how we are reinforced. I am a Physical Education major and hope to someday be a teacher. If the day comes where I have to grade my students I will grade on: Effort, Enthusiasm and Engagement. And if a student ever asks me, “Will this be on the test, Mr. Brown?” I will slowly exhale to regain composer and tell the student, “No, It will not be on the test Marsha, so please feel free to ignore everything I just taught you.”
What stuck with me most after reading Harriet Johnson’s “Unspeakable Conversation” was Johnson’s class and respect. As a physically disabled lawyer, Johnson was clearly extremely against the option of killing disabled babies and people. Even though she had so many physical problems Johnson talked about how she has had a happy life and does not need the pity of others. A well-known activist, Peter Singer, believed very strongly in Euthanasia: the intentional killing of people to end suffering. Singer believed that parent of disabled children should have the option of killing their child. Of course Johnson hated Singer and his ideas because if Singer’s ideas were in place when Johnson was born her happy and very honorable life would not have existed. However, after debating with Singer for some time Johnson’s overall view toward Singer changed. Continue reading
From our class decisions and readings the past few days it has become apparent to me how powerful media is in our society. Media has control over almost every aspect of our country. The media elects our government, sells us products, teaches us how to act, what to where, who to aspire to be and so much more. It frightens me how much the public is influenced and swayed by the media. The Introduction of the chapter How We Watch in AOC, examines the roles we play as “watchers.” Constant exposure to media has trained us to be great pets to the media world. One of the reasons why we are so influenced by media is because we have been taught what role to play as a viewer. As watchers we know what to expect and how to react to media because we have been exposed to so much of it. Continue reading
I noticed that there was a strong connection and contrast between the subjects we covered on Tuesday versus our discussion Thursday. On Tuesday we read and went over Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Introduction”, from her book Bright-Sided. Ehrenreich argued that America has become overly positive. Ehrenreich attributes our country’s catastrophic issues to the excessively positive attitude of Americans. In recent years Americans have picked up a norm to think optimistically and to always display happiness and enthusiasm. Being positive doesn’t sound harmful, but Ehrenreich saw it as a weakness. Continue reading