Assignment 2 Part 1: Article Summaries

Teaching in the Undertow: Resisting the Pull of School-As-Usual

In this article Gregory Michie discusses how new teachers can be caught up in the pull of the undertow of education. It is important to keep your goals and beliefs in sight so that you have a reminder of where you want to be going. Michie outlines five parts to help resist the pull: make allies and build support, start small by first building an environment that supports social justice, make content manageable by starting with one subject, balance freedom and control by putting freedom into practice, and hold onto hope by seeing your successes. Once in the ocean of education it is easy to lose sight, so it is important to break up your goal into manageable pieces of action that will work towards the bigger picture. (Michie 43-51).

‘Brown Kids Can’t be in Our Club’: Raising Issues of Race with Young Children

            In this article Rita Tenorio discusses her experience with teaching about issues of race. Because we live in a society where racism is prevalent and therefore young children are aware of racial differences it is important to deal with these issues in the classroom. Students can explore similarities and differences, their attitudes about race and differences, and gain the tools to challenge assumptions and understand other people’s perspectives. From this type of education students will ideally internalize anti-racist ideas and come to see that they have the ability to make a difference in society. (Tenorio 83-91).

Q/A: What can I do when a student makes a racist or sexist remark?

            Important to providing the correct answer in this scenario is to remember that curriculum is made up of “everything that happens” while at school, because children learn from formal and invisible curriculum. Such opportunities should be tackled as teachable moments and not disciplined outbursts. Rita Tenorio says to talk openly about the issue and notice who has said it, but also who is affected by it. Talk about how such statements make you feel, defend the group/person being insulted, allow the class to respond in the same way in order to dissect the issues bound up in insults. (Tenorio 93).

Framing the Family Tree: How Teachers Can Be Sensitive to Students’ Family Situations

            Sudie Hofmann discusses the diversity of family situations and how school activities and classroom projects can be painful or hurtful for students whose family situation does not fit into the norm favoured in these activities/projects. All people have to work as advocates for all variations of the family units that exist, because it can be hard for marginalized people to speak out and because it is important for everyone to work toward equity. In this part of the journey of exploring diversity it is also important to see other people’s perspectives to gain knowledge that will help improve the current situation. (Hofmann 95-99).

Heather’s Moms Got Married

            In this article Mary Cowhey uses examples from her own classroom experience with diverse families and using that to teach about equity and respect for all types of families. She notes that often the issues of family diversity come up spontaneously, but that controversial issues are often not comfortably taught in younger grades in education. It is important to discuss diversity and allow students to provide different perspectives ultimately creating an environment through word choice, activities, materials, content and questioning of the issues around family diversity that provided equality and respect to every family. (Cowhey 103-110).

Out Front

            In this article Annie Johnston articulates how to create a school culture that is open and safe for queer students from the perspective of an openly gay educator. Johnston discusses how all teachers can provide support and make the situation better in schools. She talks about how organized groups are important for providing support, but how it is also important that a standard is set in all classrooms. It is necessary for queer teachers to be able to be “out” so that they can provide a role model for students. It is also necessary for language boundaries to be discussed and set throughout the whole school so that the anti-slur and anti-homophobic ideas are reinforced. Ultimately Johnston concludes with the idea that the support of all teachers is important. (Johnston 111-121).

‘Curriculum Is Everything That Happens’: An Interview with Veteran Teacher Rita Tenorio

            In this interview Rita Tenorio answers questions focused around issues that face teachers and ways new teachers can navigate through issues in education. Since school cannot be separate from the rest of the world teaching students is academic, but it is also preparing them to be active and engaged members of our society. Teachers have to be aware and be active in finding allies that can be helpful in expanding their awareness about the lived realities of their students, because curriculum goes far beyond what’s written down, it’s the relationships, attitudes, feelings and interactions of the classroom and between the student and the teacher. (Tenorio 163-167).

Working Effectively with English Language Learners

            In this article Bob Peterson and Kelley Dawson Salas discuss the responsibility of teaching English language learners and ways that are most successful. This work includes seeking resources that will give them support they need, provide class lessons ahead of time to prepare them, don’t ask if they understand in front of the class, use visual clues over verbal, have them repeat the information back in their own way, provide many attempt at success and a low-stress environment and support their first language, learn parts of their culture/language. It is important to be interested in the students and to actively seek out extra-support for them. (Peterson & Salas 183-187).

Teaching Controversial Content

            Kelley Dawson Salas speaks to the challenges of bringing what we learn about teaching anti-oppressively and the subjects that are controversial to the real world classroom. Salas discusses the need to find approval, but realized the controversial topics she was teaching in her classroom were ok. She found that having open communication with parents was helpful and was prepared to answer questions and hear criticism, but the curriculum supported her choices. Not everyone will be excited about the work teachers do in anti-oppressive education, but it is very important work and there is support out there to help teachers teach controversial content. (Salas 199-205).

Unwrapping the Holidays: Reflections on a Difficult First Year

            Dale Weiss gives a first-hand account of trying to increase awareness of diversity in his school but he also shares the mistakes he made and learned from. Weiss engaged in a controversy over the way holidays were being celebrated at his school, which was in a way that favoured Christian beliefs. Weiss meant to question the biases and have a larger representation of diversity introduced to the school. He acknowledges that he should have spent a year keeping his practices in his classroom and later introduced the subject before the holiday season so others might be more accepting of what he had to say. Weiss maintains that the work of bring awareness still needs to be done, just more carefully. (Weiss 317-326).

 

Works Cited

Michie, Gregory. “Teaching in the Undertow: Resisting the Pull of Schooling-As-Usual.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 43-51. Print.

Tenorio, Rita. “‘Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club’: Raising Issues of Race with Young Children.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 83-91. Print.

Tenorio, Rita. “Q/A What can I do when a student makes a racist or sexist remark?” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 93. Print.

Hofmann, Sudie. “Framing the Family Tree: How Teachers Can Be Sensitive to Students’ Family Situations.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 95-99. Print.

Cowhey, Mary. “Heather’s Moms Got Married.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 103-110. Print.

Johnston, Annie. “Out Front.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 111-121. Print.

Tenorio, Rita. “‘Curriculum is Everything That Happens’: An Interview with Veteran Teacher Rita Tenorio.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 163-167. Print.

Peterson, Bob and Kelley Dawson Salas. “Working Effectively with English Language Learners.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 183-187. Print.

Salas, Kelley Dawson. “Teaching Controversial Content.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 199-205. Print.

Weiss, Dale. “Unwrapping the Holidays: Reflections on a Difficult First Year.” The New Teacher Book. Ed. Terry Burant, Linda Christensen, Kelley Dawson Salas, and Stephanie Walters. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, 210. 317-326. Print.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s