On the water, Newport bridge

On the water, Newport bridge
My happy place

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Empowering Education

Critical Teaching for Social Change
Ira Shor

Maybe because its our last reading, or maybe because so much of what the author is saying just makes sense, either way its a reading that somewhat frustrated me. Its one of those, please practice what you preach ideas that comes to mind. "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. "  I wonder if this is being done across the board. Are all teacher's trying this, or is it just being encouraged with the smarter students, the confident ones. "People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn."  By encouraging students to question, it can help develop their intellectual growth and emotional growth.
What type of effects does it have if a child isn't encouraged? Is it long lasting? If one teacher in one year doesn't encourage, does that move with them to the next grade up? Will the student expect the same from each teacher? It takes one teacher to truly make a difference. To help a student thrive. "Many withdraw from intellectual work because they are told so much and asked to think and do so little. Rote drills drain their enthusiasm for intellectual life, as do short-answer exams and standardized tests. These familiar methods disable their intellects in a process I call endullment, the dulling of student's minds as a result of their non-participation." Well then, I ask... why. Why are standardized tests still in practice? It takes away so much time from the classroom and the teacher's spend so much teaching time preparing for them. When will we learn? This reminds me of one of our past readings from Oakes about tracking. Clearly standardized testing would help accomplish this. 
Shor states "From Dewey to Piaget to Freire, many educators have asserted that learning works best when it is an active, creative process." So with all the research showing this, and proving this, why do students have to go to separate schools like the Met in order to get these type of learning experiences? Why can't the public schools implement the same type of learning? "The typical classroom is framed by competition, marked by struggle between students (and often between teacher and students), and riddled by indicators of comparative achievement and worth."  My cousins son goes to the Met here in Newport. His hands on learning experiences and opportunities to participate far surpass anything the public high schools are doing. He is currently growing his own coral reefs in six separate fish tanks, He's received his diving certification and plans on taking what he's learned, going to college and working with oceanography in the Caribbean. What an accomplishment. He's 15. I'm not saying that public school students don't aspire to have a future or careers, but what I am saying is that the hands on learning he's had has truly developed into a love for learning and continuing. "There is now a good deal of research evidence to suggest that the more time and effort students invest in the learning process and the more intensely they engage in their own education, the greater will be their growth and achievement, their satisfaction with their educational experiences, and their persistence in college, and the more likely they are to continue their learning. "  

Points to discuss in class: If research shows the process in which children learn better, and grow, then why aren't we all teaching this way? Standardized tests suck. 


  1. We focused on the same points when it came to discussing this article. Great Post as usual;)

  2. Totally agree with your thought on teaching the way children learn the best, nice post.

  3. We are still forced to meet the standardized test model. Be it AP, SAT, ACT, or the various state tests, they do not address ability to learn or the ability to solve a problem. Most of all, we do not teach our students how to recover from failure. Great insights, it is too bad that those who do not do the teaching are making the rules.