Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finn Literature with an Attitude

Extended Comments:

For this week's reading Literacy with an Attitude, by Patrick Finn, I found that I was looking at other blogs to help me understand the reading better. This week I decided to use Lindsey's blog as the focus of my blog.

Lindsey connected Literacy with an Attitude to Delpit, Kozol, and Collier in her blog. She starts with the quote, "They valued this more than knowledge taught by experience. For example, when a child said that the plural of mouse in not mouses because 'it wouldn't sound right,' the teacher said that was wrong reason. The right reason was that mouse is an irregular noun, as it says in the book" (13). These teachers are teaching based on what "curriculum experts" are telling them to teach. These experts are people who are clearly in the culture of power. I agree with Lindsey's point, instead of the teacher trying to help them understand that the word mouse is irregular, the teacher flat out told them you're wrong. In the article Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route, by Jeannie Oakes she provides both sides to show why tracking can be a good thing and a bad thing. The argument for the people opposing tracking is that, "they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as 'less able,' and where they have fewer opportunities to learn. Many express particular concern about tracking's effects on poor and minority students" (178). This fits in with the culture of power. Students who are poor and/or a minority they will not succeed
like the white upperclass students will because those students will be placed in lower reading groups which puts them in lower level classes in middle school and high school. Lindsey's connection to Kozol was one I never thought to make, but I completely agree with it. She writes, "Unlike Kozol, who fought for the children and families in Mott Haven, Finn simply gave up. He says, 'I was pretty tuckered out after eight years of handling poor children' (6)." Finn gave up on teaching while Kozol kept caring about those families. These children need someone in their lives, a positive, strong role model, and he just gave up.

I completely agree with Lindsey's connection to Collier. She says, "The question he uses is , 'How would this work in my classroom?' ... Collier was one who was a strong believer in that the teacher or authority within the classroom had no right to change the languages being spoken by the students, but rather adapt to it. In discussing how it would work in your classroom, the teacher is finding a way to work around the students while adapting to them rather then changing them." She is right! Instead of changing how students learn or understand material, teachers need to adapt to the students. They need to understand how to deliver material that allows it to make sense to every student.

This video talks about the facts about illiteracy in the US.
Point to share: "I corrected and graded and returned every paper by the next class so the students felt that completing assignments mattered, or put an- other way, students were punished with a zero if they did not do their assignments. But, of course, that meant assignments had to be easily correctable, fill in the blanks, matching, one- or two-word answers on numbered lines on spelling paper" (4). I feel I can really connect to this because when I handed in assignments in high school, some teachers would hand it back right away and some wouldn't. In my classes where the assignments wouldn't be handed back right away, I found my self getting lazy because I didn't know what my grades were and I stopped trying to hard all the time. If I knew my grade I knew if I had to try harder and I also knew exactly what I had to work on in order to improve. 


  1. I think you did a good job using Lindsey's blog as a way of helping you understand the reading. Great choice of pictures.

  2. I like how you used to Lindsey's blog and then incorporated your own ideas into them. I also like how you related it to your own classroom experience!