2011 October : Justin Womack

31

Oct

by jwomack

In my classroom everyone will be equal.  I will maintain an environment of acceptance and knowledge of all cultures.  This issue of culture and socialization and acceptance is very important especially in today’s society.  While I want to be a diverse classroom I also want my students to be proud to live in a country where everyone can be accepted for who they are.  I think the first debate we encountered in class hit this topic very well.  In my mind there can be a balance of our American identity with the inclusion of all the cultures that melt into our country.

What will most affect my instruction will be my own heritage and experiences.  Growing up a biracial student was difficult at times, and really put into perspective the way different cultures interact in school.  I want my students to be comfortable with who they are.  My students will know about each other’s cultures because I will make them aware of different cultures.  Many times in my schooling growing up I think that teachers did not have a good sense of where their students came from and how that affected their learning.  I grew in mostly white schools until I moved to Virginia in the tenth grade.  Even though I am half white I was never seen or treated like that.  I was seen as a black person or Hispanic.   The value of a peer culture as stated in our textbooks I believe dictates a lot about school.  It is safe to say that from the survey shown in the book 37% of students said the best thing about school were their friends (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  I know it was hard for me because even though I was biracial most people did not really understand what that meant.  Stereotypes were thrust upon me without people really getting to know me as a person or the culture that I live in.  This was true for teachers and students alike.  I really enjoyed reading about the hidden curriculum because I believe that is what I experienced growing up.  The underlying sense of negative stereotyping that I felt was really discouraging at times (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).

I believe moving forward we have to be educators that understand cultures and how their differences affect the students.  With this understand I believe that I can create a unified American identity, which really is an inclusion of many different cultures.  Taking time to incorporate different aspects of cultures into lessons will help me in my goal.  I also believe dispelling stereotypes whenever possible will also help.  In this day and age with media and television the amount of stereotypes displayed is enormous.  Helping students to understand that these stereotypes do not represent cultures will go along way.  Having students work with different groups of people throughout the year, or even teaching a lesson to them in an entirely foreign way will help to gain an appreciation for how their classmates understand things.  We are the future of education and we will be the makers of the culture in our schools.

 

References

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

 

 

16

Oct

by jwomack

 

Discipline is always a hot button issue in education.  I myself was never suspended in my K-12 experience.  I was a rule follower and I rarely stepped out to take a chance that could lead to disciplinary actions.  I was raised in a zero tolerance environment and so myself am a bit of a stickler when it comes to discipline.  Reading about suspension rates was intriguing and got me thinking about how to make things fair.  I also thought about perception and if things could be truly fair.

In the article the main focus is the rate of suspension/expulsion of minority students.  These students are receiving these punishments and much higher rates then their white counterparts.  The article goes on to state between 1972-2007 the rate of suspension for white students moved from 3% to 5%, black students 6% to 15%, and Hispanic students 3% to 7% (Toppo, 2011).  Clearly there is something that has been inherent in how punishment is given even before these statistics were taken.  The article later details an interesting discrepancy when it comes to students with disabilities.  Black students with disabilities in 2007 were suspended 16.6% of the time as compared to 6.7% for white students with the same disabilities (Toppo, 2011).  Those last statistics are the most troubling to me being a future teacher who wants to work with students with special needs.  In our book it talks about IDEA 1990 and how this legislation was to make it more difficult for school districts to suspend those with disabilities (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  To see rates listed the way they are makes me wonder how well these policies are being enforced.

I am a strict person at heart.  I was raised in a very disciplined environment, and I believe that it helps shape good character. When I think about schools and suspending people I think back to when I was in school.  Who were the people that were getting suspended in my day?  From what I can remember it was those that deserved it.  It was students who caused trouble and who had no respect for rules and the school.  I do remember that those getting suspended were mostly minorities, but I did not really think much of it.  I do remember a specific situation in which a white girl was suspended for calling a black girl a name and that her being suspended was a big to do.  I remember thinking at the time would it have been like that if it was a black girl who had called a white person a name?  I think in a lot of cases these numbers reveal the inherent racism that still exists.  Racism in this situation meaning that if a white student was to do something it was an accident and they would not do it again.   Whereas if a minority student were to do the same thing it was out of sheer disrespect and that the only lesson learned will be to suspend them.  These are thoughts and preconceived notions that we must get out our thinking teaching students.  In the actions that school districts take students see that, and as a result we are teaching them a learned understand that we should not.  I also think that home lives come into play.  I know that all minorities to not have a tough time, and I also understand that all white people do not have it easy.  But I do believe that culture plays apart in people’s actions, and the way different minorities are raised or the families that they are brought up in affect their behavior at school.  Now the disability discrepancy I also think shows just how in the past education can be.  To think that a disabled minority is almost three times as likely to get suspended over their white counter parts is disgusting.  Not only must these students fight because of their special needs, but they are also pigeon holed by their race.

I hope in moving forward that we as educators can start to change the mindset of our districts.  Students with disabilities need to be handled with special consideration.  If the decision is to be suspended I would hope that there would be no difference between the race of the student.  There are rules and if they are not followed there are consequences.  These are valuable lessons that need to be taught, but they need to be taught on a more consistent basis.  Educators should approach each new situation as such.  Students deserve due process, and lumping them in with a race or stereotypes is giving them no justice.

 

 

References

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

 

Toppo, G. (2011, october 05). Report shows minority students suspended at higher     rates. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-10-04/minority-students-face-more-suspensions/50661220/1

10

Oct

by jwomack

Money always seems to be an issue.  Whether it is my personal finances, the economy, or how much it costs for gas, it is no surprise that money is also an issue in education.  It the past few years with the financial turmoil that has engulfed the country it seems that education is taking a hit.  There needs to be some reform, or at least a definite reevaluation of how America funds education.

 

As it was suggested by the pioneers in education most of its funding comes from taxes.  The property tax seems to be the main source for funding (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011), and that is something I did not really know about. Funding for school has always been an aspect of education that I have been oblivious to.  The only time I really paid attention to it is when lack of funding would lead to cuts in art programs, which really frustrated me.  I would huff and puff to myself about how that was unfair, but never really did anything to educate myself more on all that goes on with budgets.  It was interesting to read that some schools or districts use exclusive product rights (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  This to me seems like a very good way to generate income, but I also saw the reason for the debate later discussed in chapter 8 about whether or not it was a good idea.  I believe there is so much concern about finances because along with the economy education is incredibly important to our society.  It is how we educate our future generations to grow and be prepared to take over after we are old and feeble.  Funding is especially important with the onset of such programs as NCLB and IDEA 2004.  The goal is to be able to fairly educate all students without loosing quality.

I really like how states use lottery funds to help fund education.  In Florida I know that they use those funds to help support students going to college.  Depending on what grades the student received and test scores they could potentially have their college paid for through this funding.  That was something as an out of state resident that I was really jealous of.  I believe that states should have the last say in how they finance their education.  I also believe though that there has to be some better way to generate revenue on an equal playing field so that all schools are funded properly.  The requirements of NCLB I feel are aggravating an already unstable financial system.  With districts pressured on making sure their schools make the grades I do not think it is prudent to then punish those financially who are not.  Do not get me wrong I want those schools not making the grade to do better, but I feel there is a better evaluation to go through than just cutting funding.  The problem may be that the system already does not have enough money, and what could would putting a strangle hold on what they have do to improve education.  Education is something that we cannot afford (pun intended) to ignore financially.  Changes need to be made, and I am I not quite sure how to do it.  I do know that I am willing an able to go forward, and learn as much as I can to help.

References

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

9

Oct

by jwomack

Teaching in itself is a very demanding task.  As teachers we are charged with the education of 20-30 lives at very critical times in their development.  With this being said I believe in this day and age it is almost a necessity to have multiple teachers in a classroom.  With legislation as NCLB and IDEA there are many different aspects of teaching that need focusing and at times I think this can be too much for one teacher to handle.

I myself am looking to teach special education and IDEA has a lot to do with my field and the kind of teacher that I will be.  In the revision of IDEA in 2004 it was added that there be HQT or “high quality teachers” in educating students with special needs (“Building the legacy,” 2006).   This is one of the reasons that I am getting my degree.  In substituting for two years I felt I saw too many teachers who were teaching but not really educating.  I believe this is especially critical when teaching those with special needs.  Making sure that there are HQT’s in special education and  throughout education is very important.  I believe the best way to serve all the learning needs of the students is the idea of cooperative teaching, or having at least two teachers per class.  With many different learning styles I feel it is an advantage to have two teachers in the class who able to address more learning styles at the same time.  If the co-op is able to identify the differences and maybe break them into two main groups the teachers could tackle the styles that way.  I think that this also lends itself greatly to inclusion classrooms and making education as equal as possible.

With students at risk I think educating oneself is the best way to deal with instruction.  I am getting my masters so that I can be considered one of those HQT’s.  Gaining the knowledge that I will receive from my degree will help me going forward in teaching those students with special needs.  I will be better able to see things that identify as student as special needs, and I will then be prepared to know what to do with the student.  I will hopefully have my entire staff to consult with issues on the student because I believe it takes the whole team at the school to help educate students.  I know that I will have weaknesses, and I will understand that those weaknesses could be another one of my colleague’s strengths.  If I have issues in my classroom with how to approach teaching a student with special needs I will seek out the answer from a peer.

In this day and age with the realization of how effective it is to teach students to the strengths of their learning styles it is important to have the right personnel available.  We need high quality teachers who are trained in the disciplines, and who truly love what they are doing.  I also believe in the cooperation of all educators to help assist in learning.  With the rise in paraprofessionals I believe it is to our advantage to continue to utilize more teachers in the classroom to help students.  Too many students are getting lost in the middle, and with more focused attention I believe real change can begin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vk-2zCg6jE&feature=related

 

References

 

Building the legacy idea 2004. (2006, october 04). Retrieved from      http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,TopicalBrief,20,

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