Reading Response 5

Before reading:

I think that the curricula are developed by the school board in cooperation with the other school boards from different sections, provinces. The government does have some influence on the development of the curricula.

After reading:

It saddens me to find out just how much the government and the industry has so much say in education. I had hoped that the government had very little say on curricula but it appears that they have a lot of power when it comes to developing curricula. Not only that, big companies have a say in what is taught to. Just like we talked about in lecture, Pearsons will cater to the province who is willing to buy the most textbooks. I had always thought that the textbooks were made as a collective of the education boards but now I realize that it is just made according to the highest buyer. It had made me realize that I was quite clueless about the world of education. I had this utopian vision of education, where the main focus is the students’ learning but that is not the case. The students who are the most affected by the curricula have the least amount of say in the development. I had not realized that there was so much political influence involved in education. This article was an eye-opening article for me and it makes me question if I will ever be able to teach the way I had always hoped to or will I be suppressed by the political influences and made to conform to their ways

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Reading Response 4

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?

After reading the chapter, I believe the article’s definition of a “good” student is a student who is compatible with the teacher’s teaching methods. A good student is willing to learn new knowledge but also willing to unlearn knowledge he/she had learned prior. A good student will learn to handle “crises” and to learn from them.

Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?

The students who are not a minority are privileged by this definition of the good student. People with a physical or mental disability will have trouble learning by the conventional methods of teachers. Like the students M and N in the article, teachers will see them as the “problem student” instead of trying to understand that some students simply have different methods of learning.  Students who have trouble understanding English are also heavily impacted. The traditional method of teaching does not allow for a student to thrive if they do not have fluency in the English language

What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

Students who are unique and need different ways to cultivate their knowledge and talents are made to believe that they are failures. Just because the standard method of teaching that is forced upon them do not suit their needs, they are marginalized as the failures or people who will not succeed in life. Just like student N in the article, N excelled in writing a short story that had no restrictions. With the given freedom, N was able to impress the teacher with his/her “complex, long, and lucid” short story. On the other hand, the essay that N handed in, which would have had many restrictions, seemed like it was done in “last-minute efforts”. N would excel at writing book, novels, stories, and should be guided or helped to cultivate his/her skills. N had a mind that could critically think about what he/she was being taught and the manner of the way that it was taught. Should one of the goals of teachers be raising a student that is capable of thinking critically? Instead of encouraging, all the teachers except Kumashiro would punish N for questioning their teaching methods.  By following these “commonsense” ideas it is made impossible to realize the potential of a student.

Reading Response 3

“One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.” – Paulo Freire

I chose Paulo Freire’s quote for my reading response. I chose his quote because as a minority I had some disputes with many of the founding people of education. Like talked about in class, the majority of these people are pale, male, stale and their views on education were heavily reflected on those three traits. Paulo Freire was the first person I have come across in my education studies that account for the cultural difference of people who were not born in North America. This view of Paulo supports the individuality of the students and is respectful of it. As an Asian minority, I had always felt that I needed to abandon my cultural background and adapt to the Canadian culture. Not once in my elementary school and high school days was I ever encouraged to express or embrace my cultural background. This reminds me of the Kumashiro that we read as a class in the first week. It reminded me of Kumashiro trying to colonize the students of Nepal. Kumashiro believed that the “advanced” methods of teaching that he had learned in the United States of America were far more efficient than the “outdated” teaching methods that the education system of Nepal was using. Kumashiro had started using the American way of teaching that the Nepal students were unfamiliar with. This had caused some students to confront Kumashiro and other teachers because they felt that they were not getting a proper education and they rightfully felt so. The Nepal students had grown accustomed to the Nepal way of teaching and would learn more efficiently by the way they were accustomed too, rather than the more “efficient” way of America. Kumashiro had failed to “respect the particular view of the world held by the people [of Nepal]”. Although he had taken a course on their culture to prepare for his teaching job, although his entire article is based on “commonsense”, Kumashiro does not show any signs of commonsense when he was teaching the students of Nepal.

I hope to learn more about Paulo Freire because he accounts for the different cultural backgrounds of the students and respects it.

Reading Response Week 2

A

“This model is hot on measurability. It implies that
behavior can be objectively, mechanistically measured.”

This quote stuck out to me because when I was in high school, a math teacher thought that I was goofing off during class. He had asked me what this shape looked like.

I replied I don’t know but he urged me to say whatever popped into my mind. I replied a window. It wasn’t the answer that he was looking for but I had answered his prompt to say whatever popped into my mind. Later on in the class, I went up to him to ask if I can use the bathroom. He said to me “Why are you acting stupid in my class.” I was so taken aback. To this day, his comment is stuck with me. He did not specify what he exactly wanted from me. He has taught me before and I had gotten above 80% grade. He thought my moment of confusion was me acting out in class. He didn’t stop to think about how it could be a confusion of the material but had thought it was a behavioral problem.

B

Tyler’s theory is based on four fundamental questions and one of them is “[w]hat educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes”? The problem I see with this is that not every school can give the same experiences to students. Some are more funded than others, meaning more chances for experiences that Tyler is putting emphasis on. There are students who will not be able to pay the fee to partake in some experiences. I was privileged enough to go on a Europe trip with my French classmates. Needless to say, it had cost a lot of money. I had parents who were able and willing to spend that money on me so that I may have this once in a lifetime experience. The school has given options to fundraise the money for the trip but it was an amount that simply fundraising may not be enough to achieve the amount needed. While experiences are influential to a student’s learning, I feel that it should not be considered fundamental unless all students have equal chances of being a part of those experiences.

C

“One way of viewing this is that teachers simply get it wrong – they ought to work with objectives.” After experiencing a less than pleasant professor at the university, I believe this quote could be beneficial. Last semester I had to unfortunate circumstances of taking a math course from this one professor. I had failed his course. The classmates who did pass the course and are taking the math course that builds upon the materials learned in the previous class are struggling. They are struggling because the professor neglected to teach something fundamental about the course that we needed to learn to progress in our math studies. The professor should have had the objective of preparing us for future math courses that build upon the materials learned in his/her class. However, the professor only taught what he/she thought was important or “fun” as he/she had put it. I am glad I am retaking the math course with a different professor because even from just a few days that she had been teaching this course, it is significantly more comprehensible.

Reading Response Week 1

How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense’?

Kumashiro defines “commonsense” as something that is accepted as the norm in a society. It is something that should be learned to be able to fit in a specific society and it can vary from society to society. Kumashiro, being America-born, had to learn the social norms of the people of Nepal or risk being outed, shunned, or cast out of the society. For example, there only being one faucet and is used for different uses by different groups at assigned times. If he were to use the faucet when it is time for the women to shower, he may be cast out. Kumashiro believed that the American way of teaching is more efficient than the Nepal way of teaching and tried to implement it in his classroom. However, that is not the socially accepted method of teaching and his methods were shunned by his own students.

 

Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

It is important to pay attention to commonsense because the majority of the people will follow it. It can be considered like an unspoken rule or law and may have severe consequences for not following the society’s “commonsense”. As I mentioned about how Kumashiro may accidentally go to the faucet during women shower time and be branded a pervert, leading him to get kicked out of the community. It also applies in the classroom when he was trying to teach through his American methods. Since the students of Nepal has grown used to their way, trying to change the style of teaching to something that he thinks is more efficient, could have devastating effects on the children’s ability to apprehend the subject.  It was the students themselves that were complaining about how they do not like Kumashiro’s method of teaching. Instead of trying to do teach the way he thought was more efficient, Kumashiro should have listened to the students and taught in a manner that will allow the students to learn to their maximum capacity. In this case, it was to be taught by teaching methods that were considered “commonsense”. Kumashiro’s American “commonsense” states that the American is more efficient than the supposedly outdated method of the Nepal school system. However, I believe that Kumashiro is forcing his own “commonsense” on to the clashing Nepal’s people of “commonsense”.  Teachers need to wary not to force their own “commonsense” on to the education system and their students when they are in a different setting from what they are used to. For example, Kumashiro is used to the American teaching method and was trying to force on his methods to the Nepal students.

 

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