Sunday, March 27, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude

Literacy with an Attitude
Patrick Finn

Reflection/ Quotes

This was probably one of the best readings we have done in this class.  Patrick Finn is such a great writer, and he goes so in depth in his work.  Patrick Finn writes about how children receive different education based on the social class that they are in or raised in.  Finn starts off in the Preface by saying..
"When rich children get empowering education nothing changes.  But when working-class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude." 
There are two types education:  empowering and domesticating education.  Empowering education "leads to powerful literacy, the kind of literacy that leads to positions of power and authority."  Domesticating education "leads to functional literacy, literacy that makes a person productive and dependable, but not troublesome."  Finn than goes on by describing the four different types of education and what each student is getting for education.  The four types of education are:  The working- class, the middle-class, the affluent professional, and the executive elite.  Each area learns and get taught a completely different way.  I feel as if each child in each type of school should be taught the same way and when they leave school, every child should have the same amount of knowledge as the other.

In the working- class, which are the "low ability students,"  they don't learn much.  The teachers barely want to be there and neither does the student.  Finn says, "In the working-class schools, knowledge was presented as fragmented fats isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experience of the students."  Teachers are told by the principal,
 "Just do your best.  If they learn to add and subtract, that's a bonus.  If not, don't worry about it."  A teacher stated that the children where getting dumber every year.   
I believe that the working-class schools need extremely more work!  They need a better professional staff and a better school system in the first place.  These students are the ones that need it the most unlike the other students that get everything handed to them.  

In the middle-class schools there is kind of a better school system in place, but it could also need improvement.  Many students in the United States attend a middle-class school, but many town are pronounced as middle-class. Knowledge in these schools are
"'more conceptual' than in the working-class school.  It was less a matter of isolated facts and more a matter of gaining information and understanding from socially approved sources."
I went to a middle-class school, and it was what I see as normal.  Than I went to a poverty school, a working-class school, where you can see all of the difference.  My old school and this school where I do my Service Learning at is completely different and in one way I feel privileged because I was able to go to a school like that.  Yes, sometimes I wish I went to a different school, a better one with more money and high-tech technology; but I am glad that I went to the school that I did.

In affluent professional schools students set their goals to creativity and personal development.  Saint Johns is in Massachusetts, and I feel like that is what you call an affluent professional school.
"Teachers wanted students to think for themselves and to make sense of their own experience.  Discovery and experience were important."
I feel like many schools should have a mind-set like this, but in most cases this is not the matter.  Many schools revolve around the curriculum or what is placed in a textbook.  Many teachers don't let the students think outside the box and conceptualize the big picture in most cases.  Students at an affluent professional school would  ask "How should I do this?" and the teachers would answer with  "You decide" or "What makes sense to you?"  I feel like this is a better way for students to learn.  To really use what they know and apply it to everyday problems or use critical thinking to develop their answers.

The last kind of schooling was an executive elite school.  He writes:
"Knowledge in the executive elite school was academic, intellectual, and rigorous.  More was taught and more difficult concepts were taught.  Reasoning and problem solving were important.  The rationality and logic of mathematics were help up as the model for correct and ethical thinking." 
This kind of schooling I feel like is for the geniuses.  This schooling is ridiculous.  I would never want my kids to go here.  I like the mix between middle-class schools and affluent professional schools.  I feel as if a student could use what is being taught at a middle-class school and apply it with terms of an affluent professional school.  If they were combine both of the schools, that would be an ideal school for many students.  

Finn relates to Delpit's reading because it relates to Delpit's "Culture of Power."  A rich child is not going to go to a working-class school, and a poor child is not going to go to an elite school.  If a child was born and raised in a low poverty area, they are most likely going to go to a working-class school because their parents are not going to be able to afford a rich school.  AND a rich child will not go to a low poverty school because their parents will be able to afford a high end school.

Points to share:
What can we do to change this?  To change the fact that their are people "over" other people.  I feel like it will not change, ever.  There will always be the rich and always be the poor.  But is there a way to integrate the two types of people into one place?  It shouldn't be based on money.  And especially the teachers that teach at the lower schools, why do the teachers have to be "sucky"?  Why can't they be great teachers to help the students that are under privileged?


  1. I really liked your blog and I think you picked great quotes to focus on. I think that picture you added in at the end really gets people to think about what it takes to change the way we live. It's true, were quick to blame everything that happens on the kind of society we live in but if we really think about it, we have all the power to change it.

  2. I chose to reflect on quotes as well for this reading and enjoyed reading yours because it brought up many new points for me I had not really thought about at first! I also really liked your picture as well, just tonight in a class a professor made a negative comment about society, forgetting she was part of it! Nice job:)

  3. Kamryn, great blog post!

    those were quotes that caught my eye too, there were so many good ones in this piece that my paper was underlined like crazy :) I thought this was a really good one as well.

  4. Kamryn, great blog post!

    those were quotes that caught my eye too, there were so many good ones in this piece that my paper was underlined like crazy :) I thought this was a really good one as well.

  5. Great Blog post. Very descriptive, and it talked about everything that was about that article.

  6. Very nice job. I really enjoyed how you broke down the different classes and gave an explanation/quote for each.