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eheller's picture

LGBTQ teachers

In high school I had several LGBTQ teachers. Some were out and often talked about their sexuality, some were out and never talked about it, and some were out to other teachers but not to students (we found out anyways, of course). To me, having an openly gay teacher was not a big deal and I never really questioned it. However, after reading Blackburn's book, I wonder what the experience was like for those teachers, both those who were open about it and those who were more private. Was the administration supportive? Did students ever make comments? Did parents complain?

cnewville's picture

the warm demander

The reading by Delpit was extremely interesting for me, mostly because this is something that I have been trying to find for my inquiry project. I have been trying to look at what makes a productive classroom and what role do teachers have in the academic identify of their students. In this article they talk about how teachers can and should push and expect more of the students. In a core way I understand this, as a teacher should always respect and admire the intelligence of the student, and try not to underestimate them in their classroom. While I was uncomfortable with the idea of a fearful respectful relationship between a student and a teacher, I was happy to hear and learn more about self confidence from a teacher and a student knowing that the teacher was there to teach them and was incented in their learning. I can tell from my own experience, that most of the classes I enjoy-in college and in high-school-are with teachers that I admire, respect, and who I know respect my time in their classroom. I find that I am more willing to work hard and push myself and understanding knowing that the teacher or professor has created the space in their classroom for this kind of low stakes challenging but with high-stakes results. 

I would like to read further into this article to figure out how to teach STEM felids, and how teachers and students usually fall short in these fields and how students often fell less than able to study these field and are intimidated or uninterested in them. 

eheller's picture

respecting other forms of English

I really appreciated the Paris and Kirkland article "Urban Literacies." Their discussion of alternate forms of literacy as well as alternate froms of English resonated with me because of the students in my Praxis. The majority of them are African-American, and they speak a form of AAL, as described in the article. There is major difference between the way they speak and the way they are expected to write. Little respect is given for the home English that they speak. 

I liked the idea of using books written in AAL to show students that their language is valid and that literacy does not always have to be in standard English. However, my students are in third grade and the texts mentioned are much too advanced for them. I wish there were children's books written in AAL that could be used in elementary schools. I think this would help students bridge the divide between the language they speak and the language that they read in school. I also think using projects that involve alternate forms of literacy- for example, writing a story that inlcludes a text message conversation or doing a project using twitter, would open students eyes to what literacy and literature can be and would encourage them to "learn from vernacular literacies to push against the oral/written and digital/embodied dichotimies in ways that contemporary writing expects and demands" (190).

cnewville's picture

Friday Assembly

At my placement, I rarely have time to take a set back and observe the students and their school community. I am usually knee deep in the class and talking to the students, interacting with them, facilitating the class and having a very present role in the classroom. This past friday, after a few hours of being there, going over a science experiment with water chemical levels, I had the chance to stay at the school for a school wide assembly after my class-when they usually have class that I do not attend. As I walked with a student from my class who had been helping me clean up, I asked him what they were meeting for in the afternoon, he explained that every Friday in the morning, they have an all school assembly to announce the 'star student of the week' which was a student from each grade that was reconigized by the teachers for excellence during that past week. I asked him if he had ever gotten the 'star student' recognition, and he said he had a few times. 

peacock's picture

praxis snapshots

praxis snapshots:

1. We are sitting in a circle discussing last week's writing assignment. The assignment is to write about what we wished was taught in schools that maybe isn't. People are sharing their thoughts - a lot of them revolve around "surviving" in the world, practical knowledge, a real and comprehensive sex ed (the idea of a "Rape 101" class comes up) - esentially, things that may have prevented them from being in the current position they are in. While a lot of people agree with each other, one person makes a comment that sparks a heated debate, saying that she doesn't necessarily relate to all the stories being shared (stories of leaving behind families and falling into addiction). Someone comes back with a comment along the lines of "well, we're all here for a reason." This is the first time I've heard someone explicity reference the setting we are in. They discuss how learning from each other's experiences is helpful and useful, and how maybe hearing someone's story can prevent another person from going through the same thing.

eheller's picture

Praxis story- motivating readers

My praxis is in a third grade classroom. I come in the mornings, which is when they work on literacy. They usually do PSSA reading prep, which entails reading a passage and answering questoions about it. Sometimes they read a book together. The students in the class are at very different reading levels. Most are average, some are behind, and a few are advanced. One of the students who is the most behind in reading is Nick. Nick lives in a homeless shelter with his mother and does not show a huge interest in school. He reads at about a first-grade level, and gets very discourged when he reads, usually choosing to give up and not finish the assignment. Other students sometimes make fun of him when he pronounces words wrong or gets stuck on a word.

cnewville's picture

Sleeter and the zone of proximal learning

I was very interested in the Christine E. Sleeter reading and her conversation her emphasis on framing a students learning around their lives, connecting the classroom to their home and using this knowledge to reinforce their learning. She goes though several examples of how teachers can do this, and provides a structure for understanding the backgrounds of the students. I think this can be a powerful tool with students for a variety of reasons, mostly because this makes a student comfortable in their own classroom, using terminology and situations that they are comfortable with as a framework for learning hard classroom materials. Having access to even the language of the classroom is a huge step and learning and as someone who spend most of her time in classrooms where precise and incapable language is normal; I know that by not understanding one word-not a concept — but a word, can hinder learning until that student has caught up. While I was reading this article, I kept thinking... what about the tests? I believe that this method of learning is very effective, but I kept thinking about what happens when these students are put into a situation that isn't catered to their background and outside lives. But then I thought, but by that point that are comfortable with the topics, they understand them as they have taught them so personally. 

eheller's picture

Response= "innovative voices in education"

I really enjoyed Karyn Keenan's piece on "The Importance of Student Stories." This piece resonated with me because at my placement, the teacher is supposed to have a morning meeting every day. Though she does not always find the time to do it, when she does, I think it is very beneficial. This seems very similar to when Keenan says that "Carving out the 15 minutes for the Morning Meeting can be a challenge with all the demands facing teachers and their schedules. However, this time to share is crucial for students" (64).

The students at my placement love to share their stories, and the teacher carefully listens to each one, no matter how long-winded or irrelevant it might be. I think that it is very important for these student's voices to be heard, especially since as low-income, minority students, their voice is often muted in several contexts. However one thing that concerns me is that though the teacher listens to each student's story, the students don't listen to each other. They often talk over one another or talk to each other when another student is talking. I think that is is important that the students show respect for each other and learn from each other's experiences, but this is not happening in the classroom. I don't know what can be done about this, but I think peer respect is a crucial element for students to openly share their stories. 

cnewville's picture

Identifying like a scientist

I would like to focus on the students who are "not math people". In particular I would like to look at how students form their educational identity and how they begin to relate to certain subjects, but more closly look at why people think that math, chemisty, etc is "not for them". This topic has come up in my Praxis 3 course,as we talked about students identifying as a scientist through certain pedagogies and progams that better fit students in learning math and sciences. I would like to look at different ways of learning enviroments and common lessons that either deter or encourgage students to pursue these field and what components are neserrary for them to stay in STEM fields, or what make them avoid them all togeather with a  passive wave.

peacock's picture

inquiry proposal

I've always been really interested in how education can work in "different" environments (and I use different to mean deviating from the norm in some way, or having some special quality that is greatly linked to the way one would perceive/pursue an education there) and spending these last few weeks at my placement has really heightened that interest. There are many factors that need to be considered when working in a place that isn't a "typical" school environment, especially when the students/learners/people receiving the education are also not typical. (Some pop-culture examples I'm thinking of are the movie "Freedom Writers," in which a teacher starts a job at a school that has been recently racially "integrated" and is faced with the challenge of creating a cohesive class made up of students of many different (and often rivalling) backgrounds, and the movie "Precious," in which the main character is sent to an "alternative" school because of the way she struggles in her classes and is met with a tough but clearly social-justice-motivated teacher who supports her.) I'd like to focus specifically on the environment in my placement and how that affects the way one might educate in that space; how does one choose their methods, what does one need to keep in mind about one's own place in the larger structure of society when approaching learners in these "different" environments, what are the goals/aims one might have for these learners, how does one integrate the personal experiences of the learners without having it overshadow one's own educational purposes, etc.

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