Monday, April 6, 2015

Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick J. Finn

So for this powerful piece, I'm going to choose some quotes because alot of them stuck out to me.

When a girl realized what they were making and said she had a faster way to do it, the teacher answered, "No you don't. You don't even know what I'm making yet. Do it this way or it's wrong."(page 10)

Wow. Teachers should always be open and listen to what the students have to say. It's a perfect teaching moment whether what the student says is wrong or if it is a different way of doing it that is right. It's the best feeling as a student to be heard and understood and especially when its an idea the teacher hasn't thought of. What this teacher did wrong is first not even give the student a chance. Second the teacher put the girl down assuming it wouldn't be right. And third, the teacher said to do it the way shown or it's wrong. That is restricting and harsh. By letting that girl answer would have given her confidence that what she thinks matters. Also that there are different ways of getting to the same answer, that she could be right even though it may not be the same strategy that the teacher showed the class.

Click here for a great video on catching teachable moments  

"There was little excitement in the school work, and assignments did not seem to take into account the student's interests or feelings, but the children seemed to believe that there were rewards: good grades lead to college and a good job."

This is disappointing but not surprising to me. It's a very common case that we have all dealt with. In too many of my classes that I have been in there is little to no excitement in the work and assignments. The work/assignments will be strict to the topic without freedom to think or be creative. I just had the conversation with someone the other day about how if we are assigned to do something such as read a particular book, it makes us not want to. However, given choices and freedom we are interested and more up for doing it. Teaching is more successful when there is room for personality and creativity. For example this blog. It could have been typed pages for a reflection that was very strict summarizing the articles we read but instead we have a blog that is interactive and personalized. There are options for the posts which give us some freedom within the assignment. I know that I am more likely to put my full effort into an assignment that I have freedom with that will be graded on effort and open to my opinion.

Heres a super quick video on fun learning (funny!)

"Creativity and personal development were important goals for students at the affluent professional school. Thachers wanted students to think. for themselves and to make sense of their own experience. Discovery and experience were important." (page 15)

Mickey Mouse Clipart
      "In the affluent professional school, work was not repetitious and mechanical, as it was in the working-class school; it was not knowing the correct answers, as it was in the middle-class school; it was being able to manipulate what Anyon tenned symbolic capital. The children in the affluent professional school had the least trouble answering the question "What is knowledge." (page 17)

These are both awesome! It makes them interested and want to learn, instead of being mechanical and robotically saying the words the teacher says. I had a teacher in 9th grade who talked about this and I remember what he said like it was yesterday. He said that he doesn't like how students, the majority of the time, just regurgitate essentially what the teacher says. In his class I remember actually learning things. He had us thinking for ourselves and supporting our opinion. There are few classes that I remember things from and his is one. I have a lot of respect for him and his teaching style and want to use it as an example for when I teach.


  1. Great post Christy! I loved the choice of your quotes. I agree with your first quote that the teacher was wrong on so many levels, and that cutting out creativity and thinking outside the box in a classroom is a really bad thing to do! I also couldn't agree more with you when you said that being forced to read can sometimes hurt a student more than do good rather than giving them freedom to choose what to read. I think your personal connection at the end of your post was great as well.

  2. You chose really good quotes from the text, but I especially liked the first one you picked because that quote stuck out to me when I read it too. Teachers learn things from their students all the time so I agree with you that they should always hear students out. I also love the pictures you chose and can see that you put a lot of thought into this post!