By: Ira Shor
This piece was definitely a good last reading for the semester. It touched upon almost everything that we have talked about or read about from the other authors. It was also a good piece to gain some insight from for being a teacher. The word pedagogy was used a billion times, and I was really confused until I looked it up.
1. “A curriculum that does not challenge the standard syllabus and conditions in society informs students that knowledge and the world are fixed and are fine the way they are, with no role for students to play in transforming them, and no need for change” (page 12).
In this quote Shor is expressing how schools need to challenge students because when they are not challenged, they are not growing in any way. Students need to be shown that their education, and their life, can mean something. If the curriculum presented to them doesn’t allow for any creativity or thought, then they are most likely not going to develop their own thoughts and opinions. This quote reminded me of Johnson’s reading. Johnson argued that in order for there to be any change in the world, people had to first acknowledge the problem and “say the words”. Students need to be given the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and ideas, and they shouldn’t be taught that there is no need for change.
2. “Students learn that education is something to put up with, to tolerate as best they can, to obey, or to resist” (page 26).
In this quote Shor is explaining that when students are taught with no participation from them, they begin to see education as something they just have to get through. Often times, they start to resist the education. This relates to Finn’s reading and Anyon’s study of the different social classes. In the working class schools, where there was no collaboration from the students, the dominant theme was resistance. The students would be violent, there would be vandalism, and behaviors would get out of control. Shor argues that students need to be able to work with their teachers in order to get the most out of their education instead of seeing as “something to put up with”.
3. “In traditional classrooms, teachers routinely begin by defining the subject matter and the proper feeling to have about the material rather than by asking students to define their sense of it and feeling about it, and building from there” (page 29).
In this quote Shor explains how students are often told how they should feel about a subject. The teacher introduces a topic by explaining whether it is good or bad, or how the students should think or feel about the topic. This Shor argues that this doesn’t allow for any critical thinking or creativity in students. They should be given the opportunity and the chances to form their own thoughts and opinions on topics. I liked the examples Shor gave in the reading of when he would introduce a topic to his students and then have them write about it before he went into detail. This gave the students a chance to put together what they were thinking, form an opinion, and then gain knowledge from their teacher about the subject.
Point to Share:
Since our class focuses a lot on social justice issues, I liked how this was also brought up in the reading. A teacher that Shor quoted from said, “Children often can be heard saying ‘But that’s not fair.’ They understand the importance of dealing equitably with each other” (page 45). This is so true. I probably hear kids saying that at work every day. They really do understand when things aren’t right. Whether someone got more crackers than them or someone got to play with a toy longer, children will always call them out. I think adults need to do this more often. As Johnson would suggest, and I think Shor would agree, we need to bring up the problems, and find a way to change them.