Thursday, April 14, 2016

Empowering Education

Empowering Education
Ira Shor


Ira Shor makes a thoughtful and difficult statement in the opening of her reading.  She discusses the fact that all teachers should be engaging in talk about socialization.  Every primary teacher along with other teachers should be asking their students, " Why do we come to school? Why does the government force students to come  to school?"  If asking these thought provoking questions, it would set a tone of intelligence and questioning throughout the rest of the year.  As Shor writes:
"People are naturally curious.  They are born learners.  Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn.  A curriculum that avoids questioning school and society is not, as is commonly supposed, politically neutral.  It cuts off the students' development as critical thinks about their world.  If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted."
Ira Shor makes a clear point that students should be challenged.  Students should not be able to just breeze their way through school just by simply memorizing or following 'the rules and codes of power' [Delpit].  Students should be challenged by critical thinking of thinking outside the box on the subject matter and questioning what the teacher is asking; the students would have a more successful knowledgeable mind.  Empowering students are students of the future.  They are the students that think for themselves not just what the teacher tells them.  Shor powerfully states, "Empowering students make meaning and act from reflection..."

An argument that has been set on the table is that students who do not agree with the curriculum act out.  Shor points out:
"... The students who decide to what extent they will take part in the syllabus and allow it to form them.  many students d not like the knowledge, process, or roles set out for them in class.  In reaction, they drop out or withdraw into passivity or silence in the classroom.  Some become self-educated; some sabotage the curriculum by misbehaving."
 Most teachers up to the high school level are confined by the governments common core on what needs to be taught by a certain ending period.  Many teachers border around the curriculum by using creativity and some critical thinking to deviate the common core amongst a school year.  They do so by "themes, texts, tests, seating arrangements, rules for speaking, grading systems, learning process..."  Through these choices, the classroom is defined as "critical or uncritical, democratic or authoritarian."  But, as the level of education increases, such as college level, the professors make the students think.  They use massive amounts of critical thinking to make the student understand why the curriculum is the way it is.  The professors let the students ponder on different subject matters that means something to them. 

Teachers that make an impact on students are the ones that use critical thinking in the classroom.  In high school, I hated critical thinking- I was all work, work, work and what was being told to me was it.  But, once I entered college, I wanted to know why what I was learning happened.  I used more of my resources to look up certain topics then I did in High school. 

Participation.  Participation enables the students to ask questions.  Participates enables openness in the class where students create the learning process by bouncing idea off of one another.  Dewey relates participation to him by saying:
"... participation was an educational and political means for students to gain knowledge and to develop as citizens.  Only by active learning could students develop scientific method and democratic habits rather than becoming passive pupils waiting to be told what things mean and what to do."
Especially in 2016, where there is an abundance of information everything, students should be able to research anything that becomes interesting to them.  Students are the minds of the future; they are the ones that will pass down knowledge of next generations.  Dewey believes that students should be able to openly participate in class to enable the learning process is all students.  When there is openness, there are also minds working together as one.   When there is no participation, or open learning, there is a depress in performance levels.  Shor looks deeply into low performance classrooms and openly states:
"In classrooms where participation is meager, the low performance of students is routinely misjudged as low achievement.  But the actual cognitive levels of students are hard to measure in teacher-centered classrooms where students participate minimally.  An accurate picture of what students know and an do is possible only when students really want to perform at their best. "
When there is no process of learning, the teachers will be measuring the low ability of students and reacting to the negative emotions of students.   To articulate on the matter of participation, teachers should involve debates to let the students speak their minds and let the students argue about a point that is important to them.  Also, when there is positive thought and feeling in the classroom, the students are able to feel safe and have a developmental increase amongst teachers and other peers in the classroom. 

Teachers Roles.  Teaches play a crucial role in students participation alongside students development.  When the teacher is fully engaged into his or her work, the students tend to feel positive and accepted towards the teacher.  When the teacher is able to accommodate the students cognitive thinking into his or her lesson place, the student doesn't feel hopeless or unimportant.  If in English class, the student has a hard time comprehending a subject or a topic, the teacher should be able to react in a positive manner and help the student fully understand the topic or subject.  Teachers that don't correspond to a students difficulty positively have a harder time understand the student.  The student then feels as if he or she is just a burden on the teacher, and just sits there and waits for the class to be over or simply just doesn't show up. 

This reading relates to Delpit because both the student and teacher need to follow 'the rules and codes of power.'  The teacher needs to follow 'the rules and codes of power' of the common core and of the curriculum that the government and/or upper level hands her.  And the students need to follow 'the rules and codes of power' of the classroom such as participating, working quietly, and following the rules of an everyday classroom to let the class run smoothly.  This reading also relates to August, slightly.  August talks about safe spaces, and enough though this reading isn't about LGBT; students need to feel safe in a classroom in order to learn effectively and gain a positive aspect of learning.

Points to Share:
This reading was very effect in the way that is truly goes over what is it to run a classroom and how to effectively get every students mind on the subject at hand.  It was definitely a great reading to end the semester!  (Even though is was so long).


  1. I agree with your point to share...this reading was a great way to see what goes on in running a classroom and what to do to involve every student to make sure they are having fun and not bored or resistant. This was the perfect article to end the semester with because it wrapped everything up.

  2. Awesome blog this week! It's clear that you are passionate about this field. I agree with both you and Ariana that this reading was a good way to wrap up the readings this semesters, and I enjoyed reading your ideas.

  3. Your blog was super helpful this week when writing my own! I did an extended comments on it. You had a lot of really great connections with other authors and helped my organize my own thoughts.

  4. Well first off, soooooooooo long but worth the read. I really enjoyed your quotes and how you explained them with support from other articles and your own opinions and feelings. The picture you chose really tells a story and it stood out as basically the Mascof for this blog. I think this was your best one yet, awesome post!!

  5. Wow first props for writing this it shows how much work you put into explaining your understanding. I honestly read this before mine and found it super helpful. Awesome job :)

  6. Holy poop Kamryn. You killed it on this post! Your blog really helped clarify my understanding of the topics the article discussed. Your picture is so powerful! Nice work as usual!

  7. Before I read the article, I usually go and read a few blogs to get the main idea. I looked at yours, said "Nope, this is too long" then scrolled down to the comments to click on a different blog. Then I read the comments and decided to go back up and read. Great post. It really broke down everything for me, and made the article such an easy read.