Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Empowering Education by Ira Shor

I apologize for posting my blog update so late; I have been extremely busy over the last couple of days. For this post, I will do a reflection.

Shor's article talked a lot about the importance of socialization in schools. She says that it is crucial that students are able to participate in class, and it is important that they are willing to participate. For this to happen, the teacher must connect what they are doing to student's interests and challenge the status quo of society. They must teach empowering education, which is student centered and promotes both self and social change. She states that humans are natural born learners, and that they only resist authority in schools because of the way the system is currently set up. The idea of empowering education could change this so that students never lose their curiosity or their thirst for knowledge.
I believe that empowering education and a focus on socialization would greatly help both students and teachers to become happier and more productive in schools. If teachers tried to connect their topics with the student culture, students would enjoy learning more, which in turn would allow the teacher to enjoy teaching and not have to put up with much deviance in the classroom. If students have a say in what they get to learn about, then they will be much more interested in that topic. More learning would happen in the classroom. Standard tests and quizzes would not be as necessary because knowledge could be tested in other ways, like group discussions or class projects. The idea of empowering education is a good one that I believe should be implemented by anyone who hopes to be a successful and inspiring teacher.

At the high school I attended, I believe that I had at least one teacher who followed the empowering education model. My AP Euro teacher was in love with anything to do with history. However, he didn't really believe in memorizing dates and people, but rather knowing main concepts and ideas. Why did things happen, how could they be compared to other things in history, how does this relate to our society today, what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again, etc. Every day, our class would get into heated discussions about different concepts in history. Everyone would share their opinions and point out any connections they could make to either current day things or other historical ideas. Our teacher seemed to fit in with the class well; everyone loved him and he knew a lot about the student culture. Every once in a while, he would host AP Euro movie night at the school. Most of the people in the class would show up for pizza and a movie relating to history. He would give everyone a sheet of paper saying what aspects of the movies were true and what was exaggerated or just thrown in as an interesting plot point. The movie nights were not only tons of fun, but they actually helped everyone to understand the material that we were learning about in class. I believe that my AP Euro teacher is a great model that I can look up to, and I hope that I can someday be as good of a teacher as he is.

There are so many things that students want to learn, but the construct of the education system today often squashes their interests in knowledge. Empowering education can help to change this for the better.

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