Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Current Events

I think Shor's main focus was using learning as part of the socialization process. Schools have started to socialize students into believing that they should, "answer questions, not ask them". Participation is discouraged. Once I started reading this article it made me think of the problems going on at Central Falls High School. The teachers are being blamed for these chronic low test scores and I don't think firing all the high school teachers is the answers. Schools and states are imposing specific curricula on teachers, telling them what to teach and when to have it completed by. On page 13 Shor wrote,
"The teacher is the person who mediates the relationship between outside authorities, formal knowledge, and individual students in the classroom. Through day-to-day lessons, teaching links the students' development to the values, powers, and debates in society."

Projo Article (If you're interested)

Later on in the chapter he discussed how he allowed and promoted participation in class. He allowed students to provide daily feedback, help plan the syllabus, etc. All of these promoted participation. Shor explained how this participation in schools leads to participation in society. For a democratic society, we are not very involved. Most people do not vote and even less participate in town meetings. I really agreed with Shor's breakdown starting in schools. He stated, "While a participatory classroom cannot transform society by itself, it can offer students critical education of high quality, an experience of democratic learning and positive feelings towards intellectual life". Participation is democratic and even if it does not lead to participatory adults it does promote important behavior of good citizens.
I teach a Sociology class, and I am think of using this article when we get to the Socialization chapter. I am curious to hear their opinions on if the breakdown of democracy starts in the classroom.

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