Archive for the ‘classroom culture’ Category

EDCI 506: Week 15 Blog: Reflection of Group Project

Friday, April 26th, 2013

prezicap

 

 

Throughout all the presentations the main theme was having a green school as well as incorporating a plethora of technology into the classrooms. Every group had some sort of energy efficient school, a progressive style teaching method (very hands-on) and having the newest technology in their schools.  It was really neat to see all the different ways that the groups incorporated having a “green” school, whether it was through the structure of the school, having rooftop gardens, using solar panels or using preexisting buildings in the area.

It was also interesting to see how the schools would receive funding and how they would be able to pay for the technology that they would be using.  It was a little hard to understand the full concept of funding, and maybe some of the ideas were a little far-fetched for the amount of money that the school would actually have.  Of course, every school would love to have sponsors and donations of computers and ipads, but in reality is that really possible?  Would Apple be willing to donate 250 computer? Probably not.  However, the amount of grants for technology and e-rates that you can receive could definitely help off-set the costs.

I believe that my teaching philosophy pretty much went along with my groups and the other groups presentations.  I still strongly believe in having a technologically saavy classroom, and using all the technology tools my school has to offer in order to be a more progressive teacher.  Using a more hands-on approach and letting my students be able to use these tools and have a choice in the projects that they wish to complete.

In regards to the school that my group had created, it was pretty much along the same guidelines as the other schools.  Our school, however did not focus as strongly on being “green”, not did we try to focus or specialize in any curriculum, such as math and science, or agriculture.  Our school was pretty much like schools today but just adding more of a collaborative approach.  Allowing for “social interaction and discussion” in the mornings, current event boards in the hallways, brag boards and back-alley hallways were teacher can meet away from the students.  We wanted to focus on a community approach, by having parents involved from the first day.  It was important for our group that the teachers and parents had a relationship outside of parent-teacher conferences.

Throughout this whole process of creating a 21st century school, I learned that creating a school is difficult. I never realized exactly how much thought has to go into the school, such as design, curriculum, funds, development, etc.  This project made me go outside my comfort zone, and start to think critically and creatively about what a school entails.  I never gave much thought to how teachers would have professional development or how students needed to learn, but this opened my eyes to the fact that students learn differently and that teachers and the school’s curriculum must showcase that.

 

EDCI 506 Blog week 10: Social Class, Race, and School Achievement

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

 

Social class and race have a huge impact on the school environment and te achievement of students within a classroom As much as we would like to think that all students are equal in their capability to learn and their motivations, it is not the case.  Students are from all different backgrounds, socially and economically.  The way that students have been raised, their morals/values and ideas, have a direct reflection on how that student will be perceived in the classroom and how much they are willing to achieve.

The Foundations of Education provides a detailed chart on how social class, race and ethnicity affect school performance. In summary the charts express that in average mathematics scores of eight graders in 2007, Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage, followed by non-Hispanic whites, then African Americans and then Hispanics.  Reading scores in 2007 were pretty much tied with Asian/Pacific Islanders rating the highest, then Hispanic, then African Americans. It also showed the poverty a percentage for those four groups, with African American’s having the highest poverty percentage followed by Hispanic, Asians and Whites.

Ever since the creation of education in the United States groups have been oppressed. Most commonly thought of when thinking of oppressed groups is African Americans but as time has gone on and the Hispanic population has steadily increased, educators are seeing a rising oppression with Hispanics.  As stated in Foundations of Education, “African Americans have a lower average socioeconomic status than that of white majority, even though many individual African Americans may be of higher SES than many whites…other major ethnic minority groups, such as Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, are also disproportionately low in socioeconomic status” (Gutek 343).  The fact that these groups are of low socioeconomic status puts a damper on the idea of education for children.  Often times the lower the socioeconomic status is, the less motivation and willingness a student may have to complete assignments, or even show up for school.  This doesn’t necessarily have to do with having a lack of an influential role model for the child, but may also be that the child’s basic needs are not being met (Maslov’s pyramid).  By not having these basic needs of food, clothing and shelter met the students may feel as if they need to do more to help their family rather than sit in a classroom for eight hours.

Foundations of Education also mentions that “Hispanic white and Asian students are more likely to compete high school than are African American and Latino students”  This could be due to a variety of factors.  Often the lower the socioeconomic status of a student the less they are willing to compete school.  I believe that it takes a well-rounded, educated and informed teacher to really help push those students to wanting to finish high school and seek a career, however there will be obstacles in the classroom that a teacher must overcome if they wish to see all their students succeed.  These obstacles are, but not limited to,

  1. Inappropriate instruction and curriculum: The teacher needs to be aware what the students know and what they need help with. Teachers cannot just assume that students know their basic math skills and vocabulary words, often times they might not and by continuing on with lessons that build off of the basics, you are just preventing the students from ever coming to level and achieving the best for them.
  2. Lack of Success: This goes in hand with inappropriate instructions.  If a student never learned or understood the fundamentals and they continue to be pushed to the next grade, they will eventually understand that they will not ever be able to accomplish that of other students, they will lack motivation to do assignments knowing that they might score an F on it. If they know that they have no room for improvement, why would they even try?
  3. Difficult conditions of teaching: This was showcased in the Freedom Writers movie.  If you have an inner-city school that has a mixture of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds you classroom climate may not be what you expect.  It is up to the teacher to really get to know his/her students in order to make them all feel welcome
  4. Homogeneous grouping: This type of grouping has been praised and ridiculed in the recent years.  The idea of “tracking” students based on their intelligence and achievements has schools starting to put those higher-learners in one group and the lower-learning/thinkers in another group.  This type of grouping clearly discriminates between the two different types of learners.  Instead of embracing the class as a whole teachers focus their attention on helping the lower-level learners on basic fundamentals while the high-level, more independent students are free to explore more in depth of the topics and move on without much help.  I believe that homogenous grouping will inevitable happen (think of Regular, Advanced and AP classes, that right there is clear separation by ability level), or even reading groups in elementary schools.  Separation doesn’t just stop in education, in careers you are split up among the most intelligent and the least.  There will always be a discrimination dealing with intelligence.  However, I do believe that this type of grouping could cause more emotional problems for students.  If they know that they are in a slower-learning group they may not even try to push themselves because they are comfortable. Of course, I want my students to be comfortable but I also want them to push themselves to be better. I think that if teachers group homogeneously then there should always be a chance that students can advance to the other group. Also, the groups should always come back as a whole in order to reflect on what they did, that way the learners can see how each other interpreted the situation and may lead the slower-learners into new ideas and pathways for how they interpret situations.

Time and time again you will read that the more time a student spends in school and activities the less time they will have to get into trouble. I agree with this statement but I also think that it takes more than just giving the students an assignment or busy work.  The teacher needs to be able to express to the students the importance of an education, the importance of achieving goals and dreams.  If the students can see that the teacher is there to help them, through thick and think, I believe the students will do a little more than what they come off as being able to do.  Students need to feel accepted by their peers and teachers.  If the classroom is comfortable and the teacher continuously shows how subjects relate to life and the environment I believe that students will start to see why an education is so important and why they should be in school and trying to achieve their dreams.  In my future classroom I would want to start the year off by having the students write down their quarterly and yearly goals. I would want to reflect on these goals with the student and with the class to be sure that these goals can be accomplished. When the students can see how they are achieving their goals through learning and being in school I think it will show them just how important and successful they can be.

Resources:

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

 

 

EDCI 500: Blog 9 Culture, Socialization and Education

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

diverse

 

 

Within a classroom there are bound to be a plethora of different cultures and values that your students represent.  These cultures and values is what makes a classroom so inviting and interesting.  The students not only learn about themselves but also how to appreciate people of other cultures.  However, it is important that as a teacher, you understand the culture and values of each student in order to understand how they learn and what is important in the education to them and their families.

The family is one of the most influential forces behind a student’s culture and values. As mentioned by Ornstein, “the family is the whole world to young children, its members teach a child what matters in life, often without realizing the enormous influence they wield” (Ornstein 205).  It depends on the family environment on how a child will react in a classroom, and how interested a child is in learning.  If the family of a child has not provided the child with an appreciative environment for learning and doing well in school, then the child may not even try their best to earn good grades or even go to school.  It is important for teachers to really make sure they know their students so that if this is the case for one of their students they can approach the child and perhaps the family in order to really get down to the bottom of the families values and feelings towards education.

Along with families being an influence, peers are also an important influence.  Peers can influence how a student reacts and how they feel towards certain situations.  The influence of people “popular” is such a strong drive, especially in high school.  In the secondary grade levels you start to see more being becoming friends and those friends can create peer pressure on each other, tempting each other to start doing drugs and alcohol, or even to just not care about school and learning anymore.

Although there are many influences through families and friends, the culture and values of a child will also influence what they are interested in learning, how they respond to certain learning styles and whether or not they appreciate what they are learning about.  Students from Asia often have different education values than American children.  “Nott all cultures share North American perspectives on intelligence, which tend to emphasize cognitive achievements” (Jordan 226).  As Americans the focus is often that men and women are equal and can each do any job that they want.  However in certain Asian cultures the importance is often put on the men to perform better than the women, because the women’s education is not as important.

“Taiwanese Chinese value general ability, interpersonal competence, intrapersonal competence, intellectual self-assertion, and intellectual seif-effacement where as Hong Kong Chinese value nonverbal reasoning, verbal reasoning, and social skills.  In the United States, Latino parents value social competence, in contrast to the cognitive skills emphasized at school where most teachers are Anglo” (Jordan 227).

If my classroom has a mix of Asian children and American children I will try my hardest to be sure that I understand what is important to each child. I would like to start off the year by doing a simply questionnaire to get to know the children and their backgrounds.  This will probably help me understand how the child learns and what they would like to learn about.  I would really want to know my students by testing out different methods of teaching and see how they each respond. In order to allow for a comfortable classroom culture I would want to try to inter-mix the different cultures that way they could teach each other about their values.  I do not want all of the same cultured children to just interact with each other, that way the groups will make them open up and try to share with others how they interpret different situations. With lessons that may be sensitive to the different cultures I would try to provide a side for both of the cultures and try to teach them what happened and why it happened and if they think that it still exists today, and if so then we can discuss why we think. I would love to do something like in Freedom Writers, where she takes the class through the Holocaust so that they can understand why some things are hateful.

 

Sources:

Jordan, E., & Porath, M. (2006). Educational psychology: A problem-based approach. Boston, MA: Pearson.

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