Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Liberation Praxis: Participation & Inquiry; "Revisited"

I would like to start off by acknowledging that I am using Jocelyn's blog for my (late) post on Ira Shor's article, "Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change". I was fascinated by everything that she wrote on her blog and the quotes chosen were absolutely fabulous. I will be using some of the quotes she posted and adding quotes from the original piece and then writing about the connection between the two. So here it goes!

1. August’s “Creating Safe Spaces: “Our role as teachers is to create a safe environment in which students can express opinions and most importantly, generate their own language materials for learning and peer-teaching” (Shor, 43).
      -"...teachers, school administrators, and college professors create an atmosphere in which
      difference is not only tolerated but expected, explored and embraced, students will be more
      likely to develop perspectives that result in respectful behaviors."
What both Shor and August is saying is that if there is a safe environment for a student; that in any other circumstance feels foreign to it, where they are embraced and made to feel like they are just as special as anyone else, they can be more successful and respected in life. When a safe space is created the individual(s) can be comfortable to be themselves and know that they will be accepted for who they are. I believe that this can not only be tied to August, but to Kliewer as well.
      -"Its not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We are all here-kids, teachers,
       parents, whoever- it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and
       that's what learning is."
In Kliewer's piece he tells of a teacher that had a boy with down syndrome in her class that loved to dance along to his books and she let him. She did not shut him down and tell him, "that's not what we in school", instead she let the other students in the class learn another way to interpret books through this child. She created a safe space for this student and his classmates enjoyed what he had taught them and stated that they would have never thought about interpreting books in that way. Not only did the boy feel safe within the classroom walls, but other students learned to be respectful and understanding of his different learning style.

2. Collier’s “Code-Switching”: “As writing teachers to Afro-Caribbean students, they taught the community idiom, Creole and standard English simultaneously. They did not install white English as the preferred idiom in the classroom. Instead they developed bilingual literacy and a political awareness of the relationship between the dominant and the community languages” (Shor, 48).
      -"Be aware that children use first language acquisition strategies for learning or acquiring a
      second language"

What Collier is suggesting is that when a child is learning English as their second language they use their first language in order to better understand what they are learning. I have witnessed this first and can say that by using a child's first language to learn English, they children are better able to comprehend and remember new concepts. Shor also includes the fact that when a teacher uses these valuable learning tools, students feel respected and develop a better respect and relationship with the teacher and the environment they are in. This concept can of course be tied to Kohl.
      -"Not-learning tends to take place when someone has to deal with unavoidable challenges to her
      or his personal and family loyalties, integrity and identity."
 What Kohl is acknowledging is the idea that if a child feels as though something about themselves has been threated, disrespected or taken away from them, they will refuse to learn based this outside attack on their being. When this happens you have the "I won't learn from you moment" and in the end it is the child that suffers the most from this.
3. Delpit’s “Rules and Codes of Power”: “Most kids like the sound of their home language better…we talk about why it might be necessary to learn standard English…asking my students to memorize the rules without asking who makes the rules, who enforces the rues, who benefits from the rules, who loses from the rules…legitimates a social system that devalues my students’ knowledge and language” (Shor, 53).

      -"If you are not already a participant in the cultures of power, being told explicitly the rules and

       code of that culture makes it acquiring power easier."

What Delpit is saying is that there is that there are rules and codes of power embedded into our society, in order for anyone to be successful in this world they must adhere to the rules and codes. However if you were not born into the culture that has the power to make these rules then you must learn them. Then it becomes the teachers job to teach these rules and codes of power to their students in order for them to be successful beings in the world that they live in.

In conclusion: After trying to digest the piece that is Shor because it is a lot to process, this being due to the fact that there are so many connections to the articles that we have read throughout the entire semester. This of course making it the best one to end our wonderful class off with. :)

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