attitudes in education

We have studied a very interesting topic this week about attitudes and culture in education today.  One of my favorite things in our readings/videos was the video Changing Education Paradigms.  I watched it a couple times because I thought there was so much information offered in a creative way that it captured and held my attention.  I especially found the part about medicating our children or numbing them to touch off a reaction in me because I so much agree and have felt that for years the number of kids on prescriptions has become unreasonable. ( http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U

When I was a kid, I am 50 now, I would get up in the morning, eat a bowl of cereal and out the door I went to find something to do.  I spent a majority of time either riding my bike from friend to friends houses or I went to the neighborhood pool.  I don’t have any memories of coming home for lunch usually early evening I would return home to see if my parents were home yet.  I was I guess what you would have called a latch key kid because both my parents worked and on school days I let myself in and then went out to play.  The whole point of this description of my childhood is that I was burning off energy constantly.  I wasn’t any kind of exceptional student but I could sit still probably because I was so active all the other times and even at school we had a few breaks each day to run outside.

You don’t really see kids running around outside anymore.  They aren’t riding their bikes or walking around.  They may participate in some activity arranged by their parents like baseball but I remember my softball days as a lot of standing around.  I just don’t think kids today burn off enough energy and then is it any surprise they can’t sit in a class and listen to lessons or read a book.

I asked my friend who has a 9 year old son if she let him ride his bike around his neighborhood.  She lives in a small town and a good neighborhood with a closed in cul de sac and she said “no”.  Parents are afraid to let their kids out of their sight so how can they run around like kids use to do.  Parents don’t have hours to spend at the park or playground every week so kids are again stuck either inside or enclosed in a yard with minimal explorations.  Kids have so much bombarding them according to the video I mentioned.  They have I-phones, video games, computers, movies and hundreds of TV channels…..on and on.  How can teachers compete with this?

One of the discussion posts this week brought up vocational schools.  Lorraine described her experience of getting her dental assisting certificate before getting out of high school.  This set her up to get a decent job and led her to continue on a get her dental hygiene degree.  These vocational schools are hands on learning as well as books and lessons.  You get to practice what you are going to get a degree in and that seems much more interesting to me.

I just feel school needs to more hands on activities and not sitting at desks listening, reading and studying materials to take a test.  Memorizing facts isn’t nearly as interesting as practicing doing something hands on.

New Adventure

So the start of this semester feels like real step in the second half of my career.  When I started my BA of dental hygiene I was thinking about the future and possibly teaching continuing education classes in far off exotic places.  I was lucky enough to travel to Mexico and spend a week in an all inclusive resort while spending a few hours a day in a class room learning new dental techniques and that was the beginning of my dream to do this near the end of my clinical career as a hygienist.  So last year I started taking classes but never connected what I was doing with where I want to end up and now this semester I can feel that connection.  Taking my Orientation to Internships and  this education class is bringing it home for me.

What I’ve already begun learning this week about teaching is the different class teaching styles and how to maintain order in a class so your learners can actually learn.  I would like to be an assertive teacher able to keep my classes under  control and to keep the information flowing in the right direction but realize I want it create and democratic community environment in the process.  I also want to be a teacher who has ” withitness” a term used in our text, Teaching to Change the world, pg 233.  I want to be a teacher my students see as genuine and there for them to create an environment conducive for learning.

I myself was a student who felt lost or invisible most of my elementary and secondary school years.  We moved around a lot when I was a kid and for the first eight years of my education I attended nine different schools and two more before graduating.  We moved from Arizona to New York when I was in 7th grade and I felt not only like I didn’t understand the course work but also that I was so far behind there was no point in trying.  No teachers that I recall ever seemed to notice or take interest in me in those years.  I didn’t know how to create study habits and my parents didn’t really pay any attention or encourage me as far as school was concerned.  It wasn’t until my father remarried that my step mother put down some rules and guidelines about was was expected from me with regards to school that I even began attempting to try.  She insisted on an 80 average for every class or go to summer school for classes that fell below this average.  I did go to summer school for three classes the first year but never again after that.  I would want to be the kind of teacher who notices and pays attention to that kind of student and not let them just attend but to involve them and help them feel included.

I enjoyed the video in our activities that introduced us to http://wikimindmap.com and want to use this site at some point in the future to expand ideas I’m trying to teach and the relationships it connects to.  The speakers enthusiasm about teaching motivates me to be that enthusiastic as I plan my course ideas.  My plan for the rest of this course is to be organized with my time.  To spend some time every night reviewing the course material and readings and keeping up on the assignments.  I work full time and don’t always get a full lunch hour but I will always have something with me to study at work if I do get a break and I will dedicate my weekends to do the bulk of my assignments.  I am excited about this course and want to do well and although I am off to a shaky start I am dedicated to succeeding with this class.

References:

Oakes, Jeannie, and Martin Lipton. Teaching to Change the World. 4th ed. Boston [Mass.: McGraw-Hill College, 1999. Print.

Class YouTube video:  Rational Learning and Risk Taking