15

Dec

by jwomack

All the presentations were very good. I was impressed with everyone’s ideas for their future schools. I hope that we all would seriously take these projects into our schools with us and try to make changes. It was really fun to work with my group and come up with this plan for our 21st century school. I truly hope that someday I will be able to teach or be involved with a school like the one my group came up with. Most groups were focused on culturalism, which is good. There was a lot of making sure things were culturally diverse, and giving our students an understanding of the world. I liked the group that based their schedule on built in remediation time. I think that would be very beneficial to students. In thinking about my group’s school this would play into our idea of no high stakes. Allowing the students to have planned time to go over subjects really takes the stress out of learning. I also liked the last group’s idea about being greener as a school. Having a school garden to harvest and then sell I think is a great idea to teach students in so many different areas. This is also a very creative way to fund the school. I thought all groups did well with funding, but I really enjoyed the ideas that we came up with. Having a school owned diner I think would really benefit everyone in the long term. Like the garden the diner is a source of funding as well as a active teaching tool. After the presentations I think I would give more thought to remediation. This was a great tool presented and I do not think it is utilized enough. There were plenty of times in school that I could have used this, but it was after school or inconvenient. If it were a class within my day I would have used that time wisely to help me with subject or concepts that I did not understand. All the groups really focused on experience and how that affected a students learning. This is something that I would solidify in my philosophy as a must. Dewey said that we cannot rely on the tradition of education, but we must test our programs and see what really works (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011). Moving forward with all the school models there was a focus in different ways on making sure there were solid interactions. Whether that is student to student or teacher to student I believe that we all want meaningful education to take place. When I went to school and even now there is such a focus on standardization and making sure that we pass these big tests. I believe this takes away from our teaching and does not really educate our students. While most groups had testing standards to meet their actual schools seemed more focused on subject matter and not so much things on a test. I also liked the idea of alternate testing i.e. group tests or cumulative works. In the end I learned that I was in a class with a group of people who are here to make a change. All of the class has great ideas and a solid base for how they would like to see education take place. I look forward to seeing our ideas come to fruition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv4sft528Xg

 

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

27

Nov

by jwomack

What do students learn in school?  I was having a conversation at the dinner table the other night and this subject came up.  My father is always quizzing the table on little facts that have to do with things one might learn in school.  Most of the time no one else in the family knows.  My father always responds, “what did you learn in school”.  It is funny because tonight my mother said, “only what I needed to know for the test”.  I think this is very interesting and I thought about the knowledge that I had from my schooling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lge9z7eKCwc&feature=watch_response

I believe that my mother’s response would be pretty typical for the average high school student these days.  It seems with the increased importance of standardized testing, and a general lack of interest from students in school that knowledge is not really being attained.  Even as I type this blog I am starting to realize that I did not really retain a lot of what I was taught in high school and even a bit in college.   Students learn what they value or believe is going to get them through school.  A lot of students today I believe do not value school and they are not motivated to learn because they do not learn how it applies to their lives.  As educators I believe what students are learning are things that they need to know to make sure schools pass test standards.  I believe the focus for schools is making sure their students are educated, but more so that the students are doing well on the tests that the school is required to take and pass.  In this case I do not think this is what education needs to be focused on.

As I have harped for most of my blogs I believe that true education is making sure our students are making connections to the things taught so that the knowledge will be retained.  In our book it talks about 21st century skills.  This is a curriculum to help prepare students for the real world and be active contributors to society (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  I think that this would be a great curriculum that should be used throughout the education system.  As I can attest there are many things that I might have learned in school, but I have no recollection of that knowledge.  It is important for our future students to retain the knowledge that they learn.  If we as teachers are able to create that connection for the students I believe it will make education and life going forward a lot easier.  In that same respect I believe too many of our youth are being thrust into the real world with out the skills to survive.  They may know all they need to know about math, but if they cannot do their taxes what good is all that math.  It is important to add this skill learning to our students to help support them so that they will be able to support our society when they mature.

To be successful as teachers we need to make connections.  These should not just be personal but also connections with society and the content taught.  Students for too long have been spoon-fed their education and as a result we have a society that cannot think for themselves.  We need to move back to critical thinking and challenging our students to use their brains fully.  Shifting our curriculum to activities in groups and critical thinking skills.  If we as teachers are able to make students think and come up with multiple ways to understand information and use it then we will be successful.  Our students right now are not learning much.  It is our job as teachers to challenge students and make sure critical thinking prevails.

 

 

References

 

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

 

20

Nov

by jwomack

Teaching in this day and age is very interesting.  I have been out of high school for seven years and I think things have changed by leaps and bounds.  With the continued innovation in technology and constant pressure to meet state and federal requirements teachers have a lot to think about.  The things teachers need to know in order to teach I believe vary depending on what level and where you are located.  I do believe though that no matter what or where you are teaching you will need a plethora of tools to help assist in educating students.

Schools are still very relevant and I think more so now then ever before.  We live in an era of many struggles.  It is up to our education system to prepare our future generations to handle their lives moving forward, and become good, contributing citizens.  I believe that much of the strife or problems going on now can be related to our education system or a lack of education.  We have a large class of people who have some form of education from a college degree or high school or even GED.  The problem is many of these people are not really educated to things that affect them now in there daily lives.  The task now at hand is to take back these classrooms and work to fully educate students, and give them tools that will help them live out the rest of their lives.  As stated in our textbook I believe in student-centered curricula.  It makes sense that if we as educators would incorporate the interests and needs of learners into curriculum that they would be more motivated and learning would be greater (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  Now I do not think that students need to be given full control of what they learn in school, but understanding what their interests can help in forming a teacher’s lesson plans around those interests.  This goes back to teachers needing to get to know their students.  Sending home a survey at the beginning of the year so that you have an idea of whom you are teaching.  From that you can also take not in how each student learns.  When we as teachers understand these two things I believe we can then begin to truly educate the students.  With this new understanding of our students we can gear lesson plans that will allow for our students to have the most success.  I believe we also need to allow our students to be creative and think.  Allowing the students to work in groups, and work on project based assignments I believe will utilize their minds as well as help in developing real life skills.  Students need to use their minds; they do not need to memorize facts.  Being able to apply what they learn in school to their future life will be the most beneficial for them as well as our society moving forward.

 

 

References

 

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

 

14

Nov

by jwomack

It was very funny to see the subject for our blog this week because I myself want to be a special education teacher.  I continue to think to myself, “Am I really going to be able to teach”?  This is a fear of mine because these students do require extra attention and patience.  I struggle with confidence because these students education will be in my hands.  It is a tall order to think about, but I know that it will be worth it in the end because I do care.  I want these students to learn and I want to challenge them to do more.  I believe they are capable of great things, and I believe that they need teachers who truly believe this to teach them.

Now I believe I would teach gifted students the same as I would students with special needs.  Both groups would need modified plans to fit their learning styles.  For both groups I would need to get to know the students and understand how they learn.  My goal as a teacher is to know my students and to know what it will take to make them the most successful at learning.  In a classroom that pertains to gifted students I think giving them work that is challenging and interesting would spark their interest.  The problem most teachers end up with these students is that they don’t have enough work, or the work is too easy for them.  Handling this in an inclusive class would not be a problem.  I would assign work, but I would add an addendum to the work for those students who I knew were gifted.  For example, if students had a worksheet of 25 math problems I would add to the students who were gifted additional work.  I could ask them for the mean, median, and mode of all their answers.  I might also give these students other assignments such as researching a topic and reporting to me about it.  The goal is to make sure that all my students are stimulated through their education.  I do believe that we are moving to a time where collaboration will flourish.  Especially with the push for inclusion I believe it makes the most sense to have multiple teachers in the classroom.  With two teachers game planning could be done, and those students who need to be challenged or who are struggling through a learning disabilities can be focused on.  There could be one main focus for the lesson and there would be branches that catered to the different students in the inclusion.  The supporting teacher could then monitor those students as the main teacher continues on with the main focus.  As far as tools are concerned I know that something that will help me greatly is “Exceptional Learners An Introduction to Special Education”.  This was the book we used in my first graduate class and it has many amazing things that relate to teaching students with special needs.  The book is a great resource and goes in depth about many things from IEP’s to laws that are constantly being updated.  It also has little sections throughout the book with Internet resources listed that will be helpful in teaching.  The National Association for Gifted Children has a website dedicated to gifted children.  You can learn all about gifted students and how the term came to be used.  While we want to treat all students fairly we must also look to keep the students engaged.  It is our job as educators to educate the students and make it interesting and challenging.

 

 

References

The national association for gifted children. (n.d.). Retrieved from

http://www.nagc.org/

7

Nov

by jwomack

In today’s age one cannot afford to be uncultured.  In every class you teach you will encounter many different backgrounds and ways of life.  It is the teacher’s job to do there best to accept and mold these differences into a workable teaching environment.  This may not be an easy task for some, but it should be the ultimate goal for having a good classroom environment.

When it comes to tracking I believe that if it is used right it is a very helpful tool.  Unfortunately, I do not think that it is being used very properly in the schools systems of today.  A great example of this is shown in the movie “Freedom Writers”.  The students of room 203 were tracked as the lower level learners.  They were all students with many difficulties, who the school had really given up on.  It was clear the school was no so much intent on educating them as it was keeping them under control.  It was only because of the efforts of a true educator that these students were able to learn and better themselves.  It is in situations like this that I think the education system really fails at utilizing the tracking method.  Our book labels this type of education as ineffective homogeneous grouping (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  In the movie the school had labeled this class as the “dumb” class and resources were not given to help these students learn.  As we also talked in class when these students are aware of what is thought of them it makes trying to teach them even more difficult.  Students at any level of learning need to feel cared about, and know they matter.

I believe in educating every student the best way that we can.  As I continue to learn about education I gain more knowledge and opinions about how things should be done.  Tracking in my opinion can be good.  There are times in a class where you have students who are more advanced.  How does a teacher cater to both a student who learns fast and one who struggles and takes more time?  I think it might be easier and more beneficial in the long run if these students were separated so that the teacher for that class could focus on those students abilities and gear the curriculum for them.  I also do no think there has to be a separation if there were more teachers in the classroom.  There could be cooperative teaching where one teacher focuses on the struggling learners and augments lessons for them.  I think too often though tracking does not work because the support is not there, and teachers already have their minds made up about the students.  I believe everyone is capable of learning.  Different students may learn slower, or learn in extraordinary ways, but they can learn.  I want to be a part of that learning, and I think being able to identify like learners will help in educating.

 

 

References

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

 

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,

26

Sep

by jwomack

Before reading the chapter on philosophy and education I had paid little attention to what everything actually meant.  As I sit here pondering these different philosophies it is intriguing to think how they come into play when it comes to education in this day and age.  I believe it may not be one specific philosophy, but the working of many that makes for the most effective education.

When I think about the question pertaining to the tree it always makes me laugh.  In my mind I think, “who cares”, but when I continue to think about how a realist would answer this I believe that my answer would offend them.  One of the main principles of a realist is to know about the real world, and that this knowledge is the most reliable guide to behavior (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  A realist would want to be out in nature and experience a falling tree.  They would see how nature around it is affected, and take from this the real life experience.    In this experience I gather that a realist would conclude that a tree does make a noise even if no one is around.  This knowledge is solidified in their experience.

Idealism and Realism both in their own respects play roles in our education.  In “The Cave” it talks about man being chained up and what would occur if those chains were broken (Ellis-Christensen, 2011).  I believe Idealism relates to the idea that as young learners our minds our “chained”, and through education we are able to break through these chains of unknown truth.  I really liked the analysis of how different people would react to being freed.  I believe it is a very accurate representation of not only our education system but humanity as well.  In education we have those who are frightened of what is new, and you have those who see the information and run to it.  You also have those that no matter how hard you try will not listen to the information they hear.  Another aspect that hits me is the fact that with Idealists values are unchanging and relate to all people (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  We see this belief with the ideas involving NCLB in the standardized tests, and meeting goals that apply to all schools throughout the country.

Student learning should not be governed by these two philosophies alone.  I believe that there has to be a perfect mix of all philosophies to truly educate.  I do not believe that we can embody the idea of all things being equal because they are not.  Students learn in different ways, and at different paces.  This is evident in Plato’s theory on how people would react to their freedom.  I do believe though that with education comes knowledge and there is freedom with this knowledge.  The education system is the forefront to how we as a society will function and see the “real world”.  There are those with a wide knowledge and those with little knowledge.  From our education we go on to live our lives and continue to follow a certain set of ideals or philosophies learned when we were young.  It is this reasoning for why I believe all philosophies should be ingrained in our education.  While Idealism and Realism are very important in the shaping of education they are only pieces to the puzzle.

 

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References

Ellis-Christensen, T. (2011, september 19). What is the allegory of the cave?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-allegory-of-the-cave.htm

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

Belmont CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

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