Thursday, December 11, 2014

Theory Connection #3 Shor

Quote and Explanation:
"The participatory classroom is a 'free speech' classroom in the best sense, because it invites all expressions from all the students. An empowering class thrives on a lively exchange of thoughts and feelings" (Shor 22).

"The difference between empowering and traditional pedagogy has to do with the positive and negative feelings students can develop for the
learning process. In traditional classrooms, negative emotions are provoked in students by teacher-centered politics. Unilateral teacher authority in a passive curriculum arouses in many students a variety of negative emotions: self-doubt, hostility, resentment, boredom, indignation, cynicism, disrespect, frustration, the desire to escape" (23).

Students are more likely to thrive in "free speech" classrooms because they get to share their thoughts and learn from other students (not just from the teacher). This lets students take control of their own learning and it then creates a safe space for them to grow academically. Students need this "free speech type classroom because if they are being lectured or given worksheets all the time, they get bored, the lose focus and they no longer want to try. When students reach this point of learning they no longer have a safe space for growth and they don't want to try any more. Students' voices need to be heard throughout most of the class time.

Practice Example:
In my classroom I have seen both positive and negative learning happening. While they are on the rug, they students are asked to share their ideas quite frequently. The teacher has asked them what they were thankful for, what they did over break and she even had them exchange ideas about the history of Thanksgiving. The students loved sharing their ideas and they would build off of what their peers had said.

In this class they also do a lot of worksheets. While I'm there I watch over their work and help them when they get stuck. They don't like doing the worksheet and I
can see the look of boredom on most of their faces. They are not getting anything out of these lessons. I heard one girl keep saying "I quit" and I went over to her table. I tried to make the activity seem a little more fun than it really was, but she was still saying "I quit." She was bored and wanted to stop doing the activity.

When I had to play a word game with a few of the students, one boy understood all the words and one girl was frustrated because she didn't know what the words say. She didn't want to keep playing and she was extremely frustrated. She wasn't
learning, she was trying but she didn't understand what was going on.

So What?
Every student learns differently but sometimes the activities my teacher has them working on frustrates them and they automatically give up. Some are bored and start drawing pictures on the back of their papers. For the students who understand the assignment, it's an easy task for them to complete, but for those who struggle it creates a distance for the students' desire to learn more. These are not safe spaces that allow students to question things and want to learn more. The students should have an input as to the way they want to learn so that they can benefit and be an active part of learning. 

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