Archive for September, 2012

Is No REALLY Child Left Behind?


30 Sep

1. What will you do if a student with a disability is in your classroom? How will you meet their specific needs? Who will you consult for assistance?

The first thing that I would do with a student with a disability is talk to them. Assuming that it is the start of a new school year as a teacher you want to make all of your students feel included, welcomed and comfortable in the classroom. I would talk to the student and ask them questions like “what do they enjoy about school? What do they not enjoy about school? What subject or area do they feel like they struggle the most?” I would ask these questions because I want to know what their attitude towards school is because I’m going to take a different approach depending on the student’s attitude. If the student has a positive outlook on learning and they are doing well with the curriculum I would most likely stick to the strategy that they are already using to help with their disability. I would speak with the student, their parents and their previous teacher to find out what that strategy is and what is working for the student and what hasn’t worked in the past. I would continue down that path as long as it was working well for the student. If I have a student with a disability that has no educational plan, has a plan that isn’t working or they have a very negative outlook on learning the first thing I would do would be talking to the student. I would listen to them and try to get some idea of what the issue is. Then I would talk with the student’s past teachers to see if we can find out what isn’t working for the student and try to figure out a new game plan. I would also sit down with the student and their parents together and we would all talk about the issues and try to collectively come up with a plan that helps put the student on the path to success and a plan that also gets them excited about school and learning. I would consult the parents, my principal, any in school specialists and other teachers for assistance first. If I found that I needed more information or assistance I would go into the community and see if there were any learning conferences that I could attend that would further my knowledge about the student’s needs. Also, I would possibly go online. I would do research and even look for support websites that maybe have discussion boards where I could talk to others who are in or have been in similar situations.  I would educate myself to the best of my ability and treat the student and the situation with the respect that they deserve.

 

 

2. As the chapter states, the NCLB Act has principals and teachers strategizing to increase test scores of all students. According to the educational professionals in this video case, why are higher test scores sometimes difficult for students (and teachers) to produce?

First off I think standardized tests are ridiculous. Do I think students and teachers need to be held accountable for the information they are suppose to know, of course. Do I think that one generalized test given once a year is the correct way to determine that, absolutely not.  I’ve been very open about this and I have a feeling my opinion is only going to grow as I become more educated and get more real life in classroom experience. The professionals in the video state a few reasons why it’s hard to produce higher test scores: 1. The tests are made up by people who are outside the day to day activities that go on in individual classrooms. They don’t know what the students are going through on a daily basis. They don’t know what is going on in those kids’ lives that could be affecting their school work and their test scores. 2. Because these people aren’t in the classroom on a daily basis they don’t see the improvement that the students make throughout the year. So depending on when in the year the student is tested could produce different results and yet students are only tested and judged based on one test once a year. 3. These test givers don’t know if a student who tested poorly was just having an off day on the test day. Maybe they didn’t sleep well, maybe they were hungry, maybe there is some type of situation going on in their world that is having a big impact on their lives, these test givers will never know and the student only gets one shot on this test. That’s not fair.

3. Do you think the NCLB Act is an effective and accurate way to measure school and student performance? Use research to explain your answer.

No I do not think the NCLB act is an accurate way to measure school and student performance. I believe that government officials had the best intentions in mind when they drafted NCLB but I don’t think that they came up with the most accurate or correct way to evaluate our students, teachers or schools. “This proposed Act is a good idea; however, it has many loopholes. One problem that many people have noticed that teachers are teaching to the test. The teachers feel like they are skipping over fundamentals in order to prepare students for the test”(Benton, 2006). This is one of the main reasons why I think NCLB isn’t an accurate way to evaluate performance. We shouldn’t be having out students memorize information that is going to be on a test so that the school districts continue to get the funding that they need and so that teachers can keep their jobs. We should be teaching students the information and skills that can help make them better world citizens, successful individuals in society, and teaching them skills and information that they can learn and grow from. Going to school and learning isn’t and shouldn’t be about being able to take and pass and general test! Anyone can memorize the information they need to pass a test but then what? Just because they are able to regurgitate the information for this one giant test that they take once and year and pass it does that mean they really learned anything? Not necessarily and our goal as educators should be to educate not to train our students. Also, as it was said in our video this week there could be many different reasons a student doesn’t do well on a test. Maybe they didn’t sleep well the night before, maybe they are sick, maybe their home life isn’t great or maybe they aren’t very strong test takers! Just because they don’t do well on the test doesn’t mean that they don’t know the information, there are too many factors to take into account that can affect a student’s performance on a test and that is why  students, teachers and schools shouldn’t be judge solely on the test scores they produce. This is just one of multiple issues that I personally have with the NCLB act.

Sources:
1. Benton, L. (2006). Technologies of writing. Retrieved from http://class.georgiasouthern.edu/writling/professional/TechWrite/4-1/benton/index.html

Idealism and Realism


23 Sep

Idealism: The Cave from Plato’s Republic & Oversoul by Ralph Waldo Emerson

First off let me start of by saying that I found these readings difficult. I have no idea if it’s just me or not but for some unknown reason I had a very hard time following what both of them were talking about. Plato was easier to understand once I read the summary of his writing from www.bachelorandmaster.com and his ideas became more clear and actually very interesting. I enjoyed how he used a cave, the shadows and the sun to describe the knowledge that people have and the knowledge that they COULD have if they worked to “unlock” said knowledge. I like how he used the shadows in the cave describe the false reality we are all living in and the world outside of the cave as the world of spiritual enlightenment (the real reality that is locked away in our minds) which, according to Plato, is something we should all strive to have. Something that I found interesting between the two writings is both authors believed that humans’ minds already had all of the knowledge it was every going to possess and that humans needed to unlock there knowledge for themselves. They both believed in a divine being and that the reality we see/live in isn’t the real reality. They wrote that the real reality could only be uncovered by divine enlightenment. It was interesting to see both authors focus so much on the divine and the power and knowledge true divine understanding could bring. Idealists believe that knowledge “is about the universal spiritual truths that underline reality and about the ideas that reflect that truth.” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011, p. 171).

Sound or No Sound?

Realists believe “that reality is outside our minds, or objective, not latent or internal to out minds as Plato claimed” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011, p. 1713).

Therefore the answer to the question: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, would it make a noise?” from a realists point of view the answer would be yes. A realist would say ‘”yes” because the tree DOES exists and it grows rather or not you are there to see it grow inch by inch, so it makes a sound when it falls even if you aren’t there to hear it.

 

Idealism or Realism?

Surprisingly I am a Realism. I was surprised by this because I do believe in God and many of my core values and my beliefs come from my relationship with God. I also believe that the world was created by God, but to me Realism is more logical when it comes to education. I believe that students should be taught different skills and teachers should use many different methods to teach their students (hands on learning, discussions, visual aids and so on) to ensure that they can make the subject matter as clear as possible to every student in their classroom. While I don’t totally agree with the idea of standardize testing as a way to always test students I do believe that teachers and students should be held accountable for the knowledge they teach and the knowledge they learn.

Realism, Idealism and Learning

While I am more of a realist I think both Idealism and Realism offer interesting and unique ways to think about learning, education and the world around us. Both theories can be used as a base to form an educational institution and both bring up good points about how to view the world around us. Realism, I feel, is for people who think more logically and Idealism is better for people who think more abstractly.

 

This video contrasts Idealism and Realism was easy to follow which was nice for me since I had a hard time with the readings! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilt-gP4dehs&feature=share&list=PL3ED4A5B0BF91CACD

 

Sources:

1. Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

2. Steven Kreis. (2004, May 13). Lectures on modern european intellectual history. Retrieved from http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/allegory.html

A bit of Education History


13 Sep

How has the institution of education changed? How has it remained the same?

One of the biggest changes in the institution of education is now women are able to receive a education and not just a basic education but they are allowed to go to institutions of higher education. The fact that women have not always been able to receive an education has always been something that has bothered me. Even though some societies allowed education of women as long as it was for religious education like the Medieval societies, the fact that women had to fight so hard to get their rights to have an education shows how important education is in people lives. I think this change in education is wonderful! The more we educate everyone in our society and allow them to explore different ideas and bounce ideas around with their peers the more likely we are to continue to grow and be successful as a society.

What are your thoughts on the purpose of education?

In our class text book Foundations of Education I thought it was very interesting that the earliest societies had many of the same educational goals, “Greek: to cultivate civic responsibility and identification with city-state and to develop well rounded persons, to train soldiers and military leaders. Roman: to develop civic responsibility….to develop military skills” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011, p. 60). I found those common goals to be interesting because each society wanted to be the best and while they each went about teaching education in their own ways, they still very similar goals in what they wanted to teach their citizens. I think the purpose of education is to make our students the best possible person they can be. As a society we want to give our students all the tools they need so that when they go out into the world they can be a well rounded individual who will help our society function as a whole. I also like to think that the purpose of education is to learn from our societies, and other societies, past mistakes. Another big purpose of education is so that people can learn about other cultures. By asking the questions what makes people unique, what makes yourself uniques? We can open up many different doors for our students to go through and we make many different results possible.

How have educators from the past contributed to teaching today?

How have educators from the past contributed to teaching today? I think the better questions is: how have they not?! Comenius had a huge impact on how we teach today. It’s interesting that he had to crete these principles for people to think about because now a days you read his principles and think to yourself “duh.” I think my favorite principle of his is number 1: use objects or pictures to illustrate concepts (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011, p. 98). This concept is so important because today we know that every person learns differently. Some students are visual learners, so are hands on learners and the point that Comenius made when he stated principle one was as teachers we need to incorporate as many different learn styles into each and every lesson as possible so that we make sure our lesson plays to the different strengths of our different students. It was a thought process way before his time and this is a method that is being used more and more in today’s classrooms. The other reason I really connected with this principle is I hope that I can be this type of teacher. I want to be a creative, caring and understanding teacher who strives to do the best that I can to reach all of my students and if that means incorporating as many types of learning styles into one lesson then so be it! I will be the teacher who makes learning fun, visual and hands on. I want my students to enjoy learning and coming to school every day. The educators of the past asked questions that many people were afraid to ask. The challenged people’s ways of thinking about education and most of them were thinkers way beyond their time. They affect students because they brought forth new idea about how people learn, they affect teachers because they offer teachers many different types of teaching styles and challenge teachers to better themselves and their teaching styles.

Teaching Philosophy


09 Sep

Your interests in new techniques, activities and types of learning:
I have a very big interest in new and different types of learning and new teaching techniques. I have a strong desire to be an affective teacher and I have a fear that I am not going to be one. It’s cause of this fear that I really enjoy reading, learning and collaborating with others in this field to find new ways to strengthen my teaching skills. I also think it is really important for all teachers to know and understand the different ways in which people learn and we need to know them inside out. I believe that through understanding the different ways in which our students learn and doing our best to develop lesson plans that explain the material in as many different learning styles possible is going to be the most affective type of lesson plan. If one student learns better with a book in hand but another student learns better by using the computer, how can I create a lesson plan where both students learn affectively? I’m really interested in what kind of activities  I can bring my classroom that can create a fun, active and hands on learning environment. I think that by making a lesson as active and hands on as possible students will not only retain more information but they will also enjoy learning! That’s very important tome, I want to feed students’ learning by not just helping them to learn but getting them excited about learning so that when they come across difficult material they don’t just get frustrated and give up like I did but keep trying because even though the material is hard they are enjoying learning about it!

A reflection of why I plan to teach the way I will:
I believe that learning occurs most from hands on experience and when we interact and learn from our peers. I plan to have as many group activities and small group discussions as possible in my classroom. According to an article I found, “according to the currently dominating social constructivism theory, learning is not a passive, receptive process, but an active and constructive one, where “the others” play an important role…” (Brayden & George , 2010, p. 152). I think it is important to bring collaboration into the classroom because not only does it expose children to ideas different from their own but it also allows them the chance to work together as a group and how to listen and respect other people’s views and ideas. Also, if a student is struggling with an idea or a concept I think it is better for them to talk it out with peers and try to figure it out together rather than just running to the teacher for the correct answer every time. I also plan to create lesson plans that teach to many different types of learning styles rather than just one. I also plan on asking for advice from my peers if my students aren’t understanding something and I can not figure out what I’m doing wrong and why the students can’t understand the material. I will not be afraid to ask for help nor will I be afraid to admit that I did something wrong or that I need to improve in a  certain area.

Link to the pages from the book that is quoted above: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35085466/New-Forms-of-and-Tools-for-Cooperative-Learning-with-Social-Software-in-Higher-Education

Source: Brayden, M., & George , F. (2010). Computer-assisted teaching: New developments. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/35085466/New-Forms-of-and-Tools-for-Cooperative-Learning-with-Social-Software-in-Higher-Education

 

The goals you have for yourself and your students:
The goals I have for myself as a teacher are to be a good teacher, to be a good listener, to accept criticism and advice when if is offered, I also want to take part in special professional organizations. As stated in our text book Foundations of Education, “…the professional organizations that best serves teachers usually focuses on their major field. A subject centered professional association provides a meeting ground for teachers who share similar interests” (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011, p. 49). I think that these organizations can be very helpful and are important to the growths of teachers and their knowledge and I hope to be a part of one some day. I don’t want to be a teacher that gets stuck in their ways. My goal is to be a teacher who is continually learning and growing as my students change from year to year. My goals for my students is that I want them to enjoy learning! Obviously I want them to learn and grow up to be productive members of society but I want them to enjoy it a long the way. I want them to enjoy it so much that they set goals for themselves and their own education and soak up as much knowledge as possible!

Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

This Video is a good example of taking one lesson and using different methods to teach it and a good example of students having hands on experiences with a subject that is being taught. It was fun to see how involved the students got! http://youtu.be/xr9kcpvuHto

Thoughts of a Future Teacher

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