Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Article Connection #3 - Shor

“The typical classroom is framed by the competition, marked by struggle between students (and often between teacher and students), and riddled by indicators of comparative achievement and worth. Star charts on the wall announce who has been successful at learning multiplication tables, only children with ‘neat’ handwriting have their papers posted for display” (Shor).
In the classroom, students know who is the student in the class who participates the most, is the most confident, and gets all the answers right.  In this quote, Shor

talks about how in schools, teachers put even more emphasis on these students.  Things like these “star charts” publicly show who is the most successful. In the class and can make the other students feel inferior, and uncomfortable. 
In my service learning classroom my teacher usually has me work with the kids on their “multiplication fluency.”  This usually means that I have them do a worksheet of multiplication facts then they correct it, and track their progress on a bar graph.  One of the girls that was at my table was embarrassed about her bar graph and refused to show anybody.  I felt like she shouldn’t have had to show anybody but the teacher wanted to post them up on the wall.  Compared to the other students, she hadn’t done very well and she knew that, and once it was up on the wall so would everyone else.
 “Our role as teachers is to create a safe environment in which students can express opinions and, most importantly, generate their own language materials for learning and peer-teaching” (Shor)
I think that Safe Spaces would agree with Shor that by comparing the students, and making it a competition, the classroom was not a safe space.  We want the students to be able to learn and if the feel uncomfortable or embarrassed they won’t be able to learn, and comparing them will make them feel this way. 
                “Classrooms lay the foundations for a safe and inclusive society: a just community where common interests and individual differences coexist.” (Safe Spaces)

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