Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tracking - Alternate Routes?

This week we were assigned to read Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick J. Finn and Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route by Jeannie Oakes.
I chose to write my blog on Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route

This article talked about separating students by their intelligence level. PERSONALLY I don't agree with doing this to students. When I was in middle school, each grade was divided up into four teams, (I'll use 7th grade for an example) so the 7th grade had four different teams and within those teams there were different levels of classes (red, green, blue and yellow) For each team the levels were different, but they were STILL LEVELS. So there was the lowest level, the highest level and then two medium levels in between (I'm an average student, so I was always in the middle levels). Everyone knew that the "super smart" students were in the highest levels and all the "dumb" students were in the lower levels. If you were in the lower levels you were always discouraged and you were given easier work... You were learning the same information just at a different pace with assignments that weren't as challenging.

When I was going through this I didn't look at it as being a big deal, it was just something I was used to - I didn't see anything wrong with it.. But now, I definitely do. The lower level students were not challenged to their full potential at all. They were just passing by because they didn't have hard work... "Students in high-ability groups have far richer schooling experiences than other students" - This is very sad but true, because this goes back to Brown v. Board, Separate is definitely not equal... These students are getting treated different -discriminated against- because of their intelligence level. They don't CHOOSE to being slower learners, its the way their brain functions.. I don't see how this can even be considered fair... But, then again, I can say that and challenge it all I want, but I still can't wrap my mind around any ideas for an alternate strategy for this situation.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gender in Schools.

This week we were assigned to research gender issues in the school system.

While thinking and talking about gender in schools, it made me think of something actually positive about gender in schools that happened in my high school last year. There was this one girl - she was a junior - and she is very athletic, and she decided that she wanted to play on the boys football team. The coach said absolutely not, but being a gymnast she was pretty strong so she challenged the coach saying that if she could out-bench one of the boys, he would have to give her a chance. To make a long story short - she made the team! She didn't play too much, but everyone loved that she actually took a stand for herself and proved that she could actually go against the gender stereotype, showing that girls CAN do what boys do.

I read an article which talked about the steps in which children perceive gender and it all starts when they begin school because that is when they actually go out into the world and experience life. In elementary school is when they learn the differences between girls and boys in deciphering who wears what types of outfits and that girls like princesses and dolls and boys play sports. Once middle school comes around, is when you begin to see boys being encouraged to be outspoken and girls must be well-mannered and behaved. These issues can affect the places that students go to college and the jobs they pursue in the future.

Children in the school environment everyday learn and see their experience in the school different from how we analyze it because they're living it, while we're just observing.
While looking on youtube, I wanted to find a video of actual children speaking about the way that they perceive gender and different gender roles. It's crazy how much children pick up from just simply watching - I believe they aren't given enough credit for how much they actually know...