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Team Sparkle Shoes

Ava Cotlowitz's picture

Reflection #3 - Ethnicity, Inquiry, and Threat

   For my field placement at Ableton Elementary, I am constantly scrambling to ensure that our one-hour Friday art lessons are running smoothly.  With four other Bryn Mawr volunteers to help “take over” Mr. Cohn’s first grade class, we are never without something to do or someone to help.  Yet, several weeks ago, during an art project on collage, I decided to step back from my deeply hands-on role within the classroom and focus more on observing the classroom dynamics and environment unaffected by my contributions.   

maddybeckmann's picture

Making teachers our superheroes: Reflexion #3

I have found that I learn a lot about what is going on in the classroom from the times I spend talking with students outside of the “traditional setting”. In the after school program we have the opportunity to get to know each of the students and in a different way then their teachers. I don’t know the grades of the students I work with, I don’t have to worry about disciplining 30 students while I work with one, and I don’t have to make sure what I am teaching will be memorized for a test. I feel very lucky in this way, but worry about what it will mean for me to be a teacher in the future.

             I remember one of the first weeks of tutoring we were sitting in a circle asking each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. They responded, policemen, singer and doctor. When it was my turn I proudly told the students that I wanted to be a teacher. The comments that followed from the students were not what I anticipated. “why would you want to be that?” “ugh” and “that is a boring job”.  I went on to explain to the students how wonderful a job being a teacher would be and that we are all teachers throughout our life. They were not convinced. I have thought a lot about this event because it had great impact on me.

mertc's picture

Reflection #3

At the Blackburn Nursery School I am working with the second youngest class which is the two to three-year-olds. It is their second semester now and all of the kids show dramatic growth since I saw them at the beginning of last year. They have learned to play with each other without snatching (for the most part) and are good participants in the class’ activities. All except Howard. Howard is not the naughty kid, nor the kid that can’t talk, nor does he require more special attention than the others but for some reason he struggles to play with the teachers or the children.

During his first few weeks back in September his mother stayed by his side at all times and whenever she left she would come running back if she heard a cry. Other mothers also stayed by their children so that they could adjust but to me it seemed that it was this mother having a harder time letting go than Howard.

Last Friday Howard came to the playground where we all play for the first half hour of class time. It was cold but the children were keeping warm by running around the playground. Howard stood there shivering in his favorite purple shirt. I have never seen him  in a different shirt. His mother tells him to put on his coat because it is cold outside. He refuses. Without much of an argument she quickly says that if he puts his coat on, after class she will get him a surprise. A new (toy) car. One he doesn’t have and she knows he wants.

lkahler's picture

Reflection #3: “What was the first European country to go to Africa?”

   On Monday, Mr. Rhea’s history class discussed “The African Scramble.” After discussing the papers he had just handed back, Rhea lectured while sitting at the table of around fourteen students. Capitol High School charges tuition of over $30,000 a year, and socioeconomic privilege is a very present factor in all of the classes I’ve observed so far. So when Rhea started to discuss Africa, I decided to pay close attention to his framing, as in how does he present the topic of imperialism? Who is the focus? Are moral implications discussed or are the facts passed on unemotionally? Does he recognize the sensitivity of the topic? How do the students respond in body language and words, and can I make a statement about the raced nature of these reactions by white students versus the two students of color?”

            Rhea opened the lesson with a question. “What was the first European country to go to Africa?” I decided to use this as a slice of Rhea’s classroom because it is a perfect example of the way we tell stories about imperialism and in history classes in general. By closely analyzing the subject, verb, and object of each sentence, we can see through a benign, well-meaning question to really a statement that totters dangerously near ethnocentrism.

mertc's picture

Response 2

The next day in class after reading McDermott and Varenne’s ‘Culture as Disability,’ the class was asked to line up across the classroom to show how strongly they agreed with a statement. One corner was declared the corner for those that strongly agree and the other was for those that strongly disagree. The statement was to the affect of ‘disability only exists because of culture.’ The class moved over to strongly agree. Those closer to the middle wavered tentatively. For me, it isn’t obvious.

cnewville's picture

Response Paper #2 Sparkle Shoes?

Christine Newville


            I struggle with Freire because I agree with him the most, but also find the most problems with his ideas.  I would like to talk most about chapter two on the section titles “Respect for what Students Know”. I think this is an amazing concept to bring into the classroom; that the teacher should use the backgrounds of the students to enhance their own teachings. Even using the word ‘respect’ shows a great degree of humility required from the teacher, that the teacher should not come into a classroom with a superior and apathetic manor, but should evaluate each student as a person with a story.

            When I first read Freire, I could see this being a very effective way of teaching the humanities, using current world events to understand past social tensions, or taking personal backgrounds to understand a text, this to me is beauty in a classroom and would lead to good discussion and thought. However I struggled to understand how Freire would be applied to a science classroom, most of all a math. I felt that, because there was so little discussion in math classes to begin with, that math was, in fact, a set of rules and systems not to be reinvented or evaluated, that Freire would have a hard time involving personal backgrounds into the curriculum.

lkahler's picture

Response Paper 2

Leah Kahler

Professor Alice Lesnick

Critical Issues in Education

February 20, 2013


To my group members: I chose to analyze Freire because I had a hard time reading and am unsure if I’m misinterpreting his points, so if you got something different from the reading, please let me know. I chose three separate passages to which to respond.


“By ‘progressive’, I mean a point of view that favors the autonomy of the students” (21).

Looking back over the binaries that we established on the first day of class between traditional and progressive educations, the line seemed very blurry then. Freire puts it in obvious terms- a progressive education is one that grants the student to decide. But the question that follows his simplification is what choices exactly are the students making? Are they allowed to decide what to study? How to study it? And most importantly, is the array of choices discrete, or is the student allowed as many educative possibilities as his imagination can muster?

Ava Cotlowitz's picture

Education and Experience - John Dewey Response

Ava Cotlowitz


Response Paper #2


            John Dewey’s publication Experience Education begins by framing how educational theory, in its most extreme terms, is an “opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without.”  As far as schools are concerned, this opposition “takes the form of contrast between traditional and progressive education” (Dewey, 5).  Within traditional education, a “pattern of organization” takes place that continuously transmits to new generations bodies of information and skills that have been worked out in the past.  On the other hand, progressive education is a more dynamic mode of learning, in which individualized experiences shape how one learns and grows through creative activity and democratic arrangements.  Dewey argues that the students who learn under these two types of education generally maintain different behaviors and attitudes.  Students who are educated traditionally may be more docile, receptive, and obedient, while students who are educated progressively may be more outspoken, creative, and autonomous.  Ultimately, these contrasting modes of learning rely heavily on difference of experience and how educative and miseducative experience can either foster or stunt growth of further experience.

maddybeckmann's picture

Maddy's Paper 2: Lareau Critique

Annette Lareau Perpetuates Inequality Rather than Helping the Issue

“America may be the land of opportunity, but it is also a land of inequality. This book identifies the largely invisible but powerful ways that parents’ social class impacts children’s life experiences” (Lareau, Kindle Locations 299-300).

Ava Cotlowitz's picture

Educational Experience

Table of Contents

  1. Pre-K – Kindergarten: Shifting from Montessori School to Public School and Learning how to Read
  2. 2nd-3rd Grade: Learning how to Behave in a School Setting and Classroom Etiquette
  3. 5th-6th Grade: Shifting from Public School to Private School
  4. 7th Grade: Learning What it Means to Cheat
  5. 6th-8th Grade: The Hierarchy of the Privileged in Private School
  6. 8th-9th Grade: Shifting from Private School to Public School
  7. 10th-12th Grade: Beginning a Creative Education of Art
  8. 12th-College: Shifting from High School to College

Educational Experience Paper

Shifting from Montessori School to Public School and Learning how to Read

            “I don’t want to go to school!” I yelled at my mom, the morning of my first day of Preschool.

            “School’s going to be fun,” she told me “You’ll make friends and play and you’ll be back home before you know it.”

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