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Friday, September 17, 2010

Something Must be Done!

Anyon’s analysis of the different levels of schooling is amazing. She gets her points mostly right and makes good comparisons between the levels of schooling and the social classes that they correlate with.
I found that I could remember times in elementary school where I could relate to the findings based on the working class school. I remember that we always had to follow directions and that the teachers always had control. The easiest lesson to remember is the classic “How to make a peanut butter sandwich”. We were to write the directions exactly right. In math the students needed to follow directions and to know each terms and each step. I found that I always struggled because the teachers never explained why the step was necessary. Language arts class was all about the grammar and punctuation. It was vital to be precise. Some teachers were very demanding and rude to the students and did not allow for any freedom. Structure was a big thing there. No one was above the teacher and we always went together, in line as a class anywhere we were supposed to. At times, I was in classes where the teacher would not go further into the topic and assumed that everyone got it. Everything was based off of something in a book and there was rarely any thought process or creativity involved.
Some topics that Anyon did not discuss were about behavior and minorties. She focuses mainly on structure, work, and freedom. This is probably primarily due to the fact that she focused on fifth graders. The high school I went to was a mess for the most part. I was able to get great teachers, participate in programs I liked, and have open discussions. When I started, the structure was mainly the same as a working class school. Follow directions, control, easy assignments, grammar and punctuation. For the most part, my school years consisted of an “attempt” to have order and control. Mainly, by enforcing uniforms and security guards yelling half the time. This mostly had to do with the outside of how certain classes functioned. For example, in honors classes, we had a little more leeway than regular classes. We got to read at a faster pace and learn at little more interesting things. There was little resistance towards the teacher. Mainly because of the respect the students had for the instructor and his or her “coolness”. Those classes still had disadvantages because it was either you catch up, or you are failing. However, there was still help available to those who requested it. The AP teachers were even nicer. They treated us kindly, gave us a chance, invested a lot of time and effort to prepare us for exams, and connected things to a bigger picture. They liked to have discussions and to question things. They encouraged creativity and thoughts in class. I only had two AP teachers however.
While my school does not offer as much as other schools and has a bad reputation and for that matter fit into categories described by Anyon, I can disagree with her. I had teachers that did not teach honors or AP that really cared for everyone and motivated them to be the best they could be. They showed much care to students who took the initiative to seek help and to ask questions. Those are the students who benefited vastly. The major reason there were not many of those at my school was because there is a lot of gang activity and a pressure that revolves around the student’s self- esteem. They feel like society gave up on them, that they do not have a chance, that they can only expect little in life. Who is to blame? Not really a specific person. For the most part, it is the people who stop caring for the student (and/or themselves) that greatly affects how they perceive themselves and it makes me sad. If more students had someone to invest care into them and make them feel like that have a chance, maybe there would be less students giving up. Why do they have such doubt, financial and social status issues? Some parents cannot take the pressure society puts on them and thus, takes a toll on their children; whether they like (realize) it or not. Something must be done!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unbelievable Ideology!

Friere talks a lot about how education is a narration ( by the instructor) and facts and figures being deposited into the student. His description of the role of a teacher and a student sound exactly like the concepts of a bank. He understands that the student could transform the knowledge and become “collectors” and “cataloguers” .

He describes knowledge as always inquiring, questioning, and pursuing the unknown like Krishnamurti. However, Friere almost talks as if education is not the route to go to if you want to have knowledge and utilize what you learn to create something new of it. He views the role of the teacher as ignorant because he or she assumes that the students have no knowledge. Thus, they validate their existence by showing their absolute need to be there. Friere insists that teachers always fail to see that the students teach them. I disagree, in this day and age teachers can admit that they themselves learn everyday and learn from their students as well. To say that teachers consider themselves the ultimate masters of education is completely incorrect and unintelligible. He give no alternative to education as far as I am concerned.

I find some of his arguments impertinent. His wording and ideology can be very hurtful and ruthless. Especially when he says teachers are depositors and students are receptacles that store. Also, his use of the word education is too broad! What kind of education is he referring to? Is he trying to write off education as a waste and a complete brainwash? While some of his arguments are interesting, he lacks sympathy. While Krishnamurti encourages individuals to challenge life and its unknown truths and he has faith in humans to some extent. Friere is tough and is a bit dehumanizing himself. He assumes that teachers view students as objects. He believes teachers are oppressors that only seek to mask the unknown truth. What Friere fails to understand is that it is not the fault of teachers for teaching certain material in a planned format. It is the authority above them that chooses what is appropriate and what goes above the “limits”. I personally, would not view teachers as oppressors because they do not get to make the major rules and structures that make oppression exist. I believe the problem is hierarchy. The very notion that educators rank low in the hierarchy of education in technical terms, suggests they are not as important to value or get the appreciation they deserve for investing their time and effort into students. If not school, then what would children do with themselves? Go on a road to self discovery? Friere makes teachers seem like they are major threats to society and that they play the biggest active role in conformity. He treats teachers as if they are robots and inhuman as possible. I believe it all depends on the mind of the student and what interests them. From there they decide what they are aching to find out about. They have minds to inquire what they wonder about.
He himself can be crude because he insists people may realize that life is full of lies with their journey to “become” fully human. (On, “the crude mind”!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is the Opposite of Becoming?

This is a question Krishnamurti has sparked into my mind. Also, how can we live in a world with no fear? How can you take out the things in society that conjure up the fears we have? How can you approach the issue of wanting to change society. Is the world is so comfortable with where their life stands? Obviously not but, why not try to make a change? Are we waiting for some miracle or being with the guts to do such a drastic thing? The reason is because of FEAR and Krishnamurti is absolutely correct. People's lives are embedded with fears and threats of what will happen if you do something viewed as unacceptable in today's society. Even if this was the case, things do exist that spark debate and backlash. Some do have the gut to change what they think should be rebelled against or fixed. So what not suggest or strive for a change that we all need if it is indeed important? Is it too radical? These people who want to deviate from societies supposed “norms” are feared. People are more powerful than they realize. The government fears people that rebel and try to change order that they have decided is correct.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Your Hand can fall off!

I believe writing helps you think. It helps you understand other points of view and develop a sense of creativity. I personally do not like to write because the thought process has to be concise and carefully planned. Not my specialty or style. I do like to think about things and often times my ideas come best when I talk to myself. Well, my thoughts on writing are that it is a great way to show your life experiences and unravel your mind. Writing can be personal and specifically important to you and/or can speak to others in the same way it speaks to you. My writing has improved along with my reading but, I am always learning something new about the way you choose to tell a story and what you want it to say. Works of writing are like people. They display feeling and are expressive in their imagery. They are works of art if you want them to be.
So far I have not changed my attitude about writing. I find it irritating and tedious. I would rather talk than make my hand meet the writing utensil and thus meet a white paper. That is not my cup of tea. Do not misjudge me just yet. I can write some very nice pieces if I wanted to but I do not have patience to do that. I, like Professor Sheldon, am a slow writer. I can think up things that can blow your mind. Things that can make the CIA want to kill me but alas, I keep my thoughts to myself. I am my best secret keeper, confider, and friend when there is not one else. I love very colorful and clever writing. I don't like to hear a laundry list of a detailed process someone took to get to where they want their focus on unless it is vital. I am not too big on details of everything the last ribbon on Aunt Lucy's dress that she got on sale at some store. That drags and takes the limelight from the things that need to show us the message.
An author that really got me thinking about writing, literary devices, culture/identity, and impacting messages was Toni Morrison. I love this woman and I would love and would be honored to meet her. I read Song of Solomon and it was a real, lovely, groundbreaking and amazingly touching book that I had ever read. Writing like hers has given me a desire to write in her clever way. She uses literary devices consistently and wonderfully! My senior AP English teacher Mrs. Mooney taught me very great things about writing and its power. The words you spill out on paper themselves tell a story. You pour your feelings and experiences at the moment you are giddy and know what you want to say. Writing is a work of endurance. Sometimes writing doesn't have to be about what you say but, about what you went through to get there and all the time you invested into it.