Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #2

Consider your relationships with some of your middle and high school teachers. In what ways were you similar with your teachers? In what ways were you different?
     In middle school, I found myself to be more similar to my teachers than different. A large percentage of my teachers were white females; however, I did have a few male teachers, a hispanic teacher, and a black teacher.
     In high school, I found it to be more similar as they were ALL white; however, I had more male teachers. I do not remember a lot of diversity in color in my high school.
     In addition to differences and similarities in race and sex. There was a larger difference within the socio-economical factors between my family and those of my teachers. Most of my teachers were middle to upper class; while I lived in lower class in a farming family stricken with poverty.

Reflection on the Science of Citizenship

In reading, The Science of Citizenship written by Belle Boggs, I found the article to coincide with my understandings of what our public education lacks nationwide. I was not surprised to read, Lawrence had never been told how a cell works. I am only saddened by the idea, “the richest country in the world still struggles to educate our citizens about science and to make that education relevant and present in their daily lives” (para. 7). I pause at the notion that a highly functioning society cannot create a public education system that holds the ability to consistently teach students across America, the basic skills needed to be highly functioning citizens. Or is it that we have these abilities; yet, America includes those citizens who do not prioritize these foundational pillars of knowledge (ie cultural literacy)? Boggs climactic moment is written within the following words,

If American citizens are to have any chance of speaking truth to power, they will need to have a better handle on the truth part. They will need to be better educated, and the science classroom will have to be political — not in the partisan sense, but in the sense of the Greek word politikos: of, for, or relating to citizens. The science classroom will need to prepare them for engagement in our democratic society, to make choices that affect their lives and their communities (para. 22).

    She is preaching to the choir here with most of us future educators. Right? Unfortunately, as I reflect on those words and in addition to my question; I remember conversations from my fellow classmates here at Idaho State University and with students those around the United States in regards to preparing citizens to make a better engaged and educated democratic society… they are not in agreement. They say: politics needs to be taken out of education, the government needs to be removed from the public education system, and they do not want to provide students with the ability to make a better society, they want to better individuals so they can be good strong readers, writers, and critical thinkers ready for the workforce. I disagree. Public Education was built on the opportunity to create an educated and engaged democratic society and should remain its overarching purpose; reading, writing, math, science, art, music, P.E, etc.

    The teaching of the whole child, mentally, physically, emotionally; no matter what socioeconomic class they were born into. None of these foundational pillars of knowledge should be considered a luxury; they should all be considered the norm. America has the ability to create an educated and engaged democratic society, the citizens need to choose whether or not it is their priority.

Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #1

What are two or three of the most important skills you can teach a student in an English classroom? Why are they the most important? How might you impart these skill to your class?

     I believe, the most important skills I can teach a student in an English classroom are: communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. These three skills are important for the workplace, further education in public school, higher education in college; as well as life in general.
     These skills could be taught through giving students relevant, daily opportunities to practice. Through activities such as literature and text master circles; students would be allowed to find their voice, learn material in collaboration with other students, and analyze their own readings as well as others to enhance their critical thinking skills. In addition, communication skills will be increased through these in written form in preparation and orally when participating in the activity.

The Power of Play, Thoughts on another Ted Talk

Play, Stuart Brown in the Ted Talk The Power of Play, states that the opposite of play is not work it is depression. A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Involving yourself in play - creative, hands on, movement, laughter, imaginative - is crucial to your physical, mental, and social health. Research has shown that angry, depressed people have been deprived from the exercise/state of play.

    In my future classroom, play is crucial to the ability to connect with classmates and the learning environment. Whether we are completing a readers theater, acting out scenes from our book, creating a model of a scene, or using our imagination to dig deeper into our readings … this act of play is infused into the learning by student and teacher alike.

    In addition to the above strategies to involve students and teacher in play, purposefully. I want my future classroom to be a safe place for students to act in their own type of (acceptable) play while learning. Laughing, using their hands to create, social interactions, excitement at their own pace (not instructed). Using their own personality to both learn and show their learning.

How do you infuse play into your classroom for your students and in your own life?