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What does it mean to be an educated person?

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Hillary Chang

on 5 December 2014

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Transcript of What does it mean to be an educated person?

What does it mean to be an educated person?
What is learning?
What is the role of school in society (the purpose of education)?
What is worth knowing?
Philosophy of education
By Hillary Chang
What is good teaching?
Maxine Greene
"To look at possibility is to be free."
I believe that the purpose of school is to foster imagination. I believe that the role of school in society is to create a building of empowerment. According to Greene, the school is to provide possibilities to students (Greene). I believe that schools can and should provide equal opportunities to all students.
Maxine Greene believes that wide-awakeness means "seeing things you probably would not want to see" (Greene).
According to Greene, we as educators need to teach wide-awakeness to students, because it gives students the courage to see what may not otherwise be seen (Greene). I believe that what is worth knowing is anything that opens our minds to new experiences and possibilities. What is worth knowing to me is anything that continuously helps us grow and better ourselves. Being awake is the notion that we are open to see and view things differently and to challenge our previous schema.
Greene believes that wide-awakeness is being present (Greene). I believe that being present means to be present professionally, such as always adapting and changing teaching methods. I also believe that wide-awakeness applies to being present with students. Teachers must take into consideration the students' backgrounds, interests, etc., and apply it to the classroom.
"Part of teaching is helping people create themselves" (Greene).

This is part of my philosophy of education because I believe that students need ways to identify. It is preparing students for the future; it is building intrinsic motivation so students don't just learn because they are told, but because they want to learn themselves.
Plato's Allegory of the Cave
I believe that learning is a continuous process. I believe that people learn something and that idea is set until a new idea challenges our existing schema. I believe that we all possess our own funds of knowledge, and we use that as a basis to try and assimilate, or sort, the new information (Vygotsky). When we use our metacognitive process, we are thinking about how we think. Plato's Allegory of the Cave has shaped my Philosophy of Education because I believe that we need to know our funds of knowledge and why they are important, because they help shape how we learn and interpret new ideas and concepts (Plato).
Challenging history
In a historical context, the educated person is someone who performs well in school, but I believe that the idea of an educated person has changed.
An educated person not just knows, but they have thoughts of their own. An educated person challenges ideas. I believe that an educated person is someone who does not take in information and believes it as truth, but questions others, ideas, and the world around them.
Plato's allegory of the cave
"Now, imagine what would happen if he went down again to take his former seat in the Cave. Coming suddenly out of the sunlight, his eyes would be filled with darkness" (Plato).
I believe that the purpose of schooling is to better ourselves. I believe that a school is a place where you are constantly learning. In relation to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the purpose of school is to look back and see how much you have changed (Plato). I believe that the purpose of school is to build upon previous schema, challenge old ideas, build on new concepts, and to see the change taking place within your life and the lives of others.
According to Cremin, "schools belong to the people" (Cremin). I believe that schools are establishments that are made for those that want to educate themselves, whether that be with academics or social interactions or anything else. Schools are meant to serve the public. I believe that education should be given to those that want the opportunity to learn, and that public education should be free to all those who want to learn.
John dewey and the whole child
Dewey believes that teachers should consider the social, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs of the whole child (Dewey). I believe that this is true. It is hard to focus on one aspect of a child when all students interpret instruction differently and on different levels.
I believe that there are many factors that influence learning. I believe that educators should consider multiple factors when teaching. Students are multi-faceted and come from different backgrounds. Students have different interests, come from different socioeconomic statuses, communities, and have different past schema. These factors shape how children learn and function in the classroom.
books like me, "i don't think of you as black," and cultural responsiveness
I believe that good teaching is being culturally responsive. Last year I had the privilege of working with students at Longfellow Elementary. One of the projects my colleagues and I worked on was called the Books Like Me Project. Over 20 books were chosen that accurately depict African Americans in children's literature by Whitely community members. We were asked to create lesson plans that were unique and only pertained to the books chosen. One of the articles that influenced the books chosen and the lesson plans was an article titled "I Don't Think of you as Black" (Tutu, Baylor). This article helped me understand that ethnicity does play a part in education because it is part of a person's identity and needs to be accurately represented in the classroom.
rethinking children's literature
My philosophy aligns with John Locke, John Dewey, and Desiderius Erasmus. I believe that academic education is important, but these philosophers believe that education is not just confined to academics. Although academics are important, there are more types of education that are just as important, such as having common sense in everyday affairs (Locke), "social intelligence" (Dewey), and strong moral values (Erasmus). I believe that these components create what an educated person is, which led me to my question: Who decides what the norms are for the different aspects of education? Clearly society sets the "standard," but I also believe in Wade Davis's quote: "The world in which you live in is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit" (Wade Davis). I believe that the educated person does not have a specific look- if anything, they are more confident and observant. However, every human has knowledge in areas in which we do not. Our backgrounds, culture, and where we come from shape who we are.
Dewey's philosophy of education
According to John Dewey, an educated person is based on continuity and interaction (Dewey). This means that past, present, and future experiences shape a person, as well as their interactions with other influences. I believe that this relates to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, because a person needs to know their past and how they perceive their past in order to understand how that helps them perceive the rest of the world in the present and future (Plato). I believe that this is important in understanding an educated person. Others have unique experiences that shape their learning. This does not cause them to be unintelligent because they have not experienced the same things that I, or others, have experienced, but it is important to know their funds of knowledge and cultural backgrounds and how that has shaped and will shape their future learning.
I used to believe that the role of school was just to provide an education, but I never knew what that looked like. After reading about Dewey's philosophy of education, my views changed. He said, “It is the office of the school environment--- to see to it that each individual gets an opportunity to escape from the limitations of the social group in which he was born, and to come into living contact with a broader environment" (Dewey). Basing my philosophy off of Dewey's, I now believe that the role of school in society is to provide an education that goes beyond school and to provide knowledge that will help students in and outside of school. I believe that students need preparation with academics, but also need knowledge on how society functions outside of the school community, other cultures, and other situations.
One issue that is important to consider is that when making school policies to better the school system, they didn’t take into account that different schools require different needs. A lot of policy makers centered school systems and changing the system based on what was already working. Policy makers didn’t take into account low income families or neighborhoods until the achievement gap was too late. By that time, there was too much of a gap and I almost believe that they left that gap, assuming that schools couldn’t compete when really they just needed different standards, or not as many standards at one time. An overwhelming amount of fixing meant that the schools weren’t getting better because they had too much to change.
Greene, M. (2010).
Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life.
In S. F. Semel (Ed.), Foundations of education: the essential texts. Milton Park, Albingdon, Oxon; Routledge: New York. Print.
Allegory of the Cave
. (N.d.) Print.
The Educated Person
. (N.d). P. 7-10. Print. Retrieved from: http://college.hmco.com/instructors/catalog/walkthroughs/pdf/0618251476_ch01.pdf
(Wade Davis, personal communication, 2007. From http://www.ted.com/talks/wade_davis_on_endangered_cultures/transcript?language=en)
Dewey, J.
Education as a Social Function. In Democracy and Education: an introduction to the philosophy of education
. The Macmillan Company: New York. (1916). Print.
Vygotsky, L. (1930a/1981).
The genesis of higher mental functions
. In J. Wertsch (Ed.),
The concept of activity in Soviet psychology
(pp. 147-188), New York: Sharpe, Inc
Dewey, J. (1938).
Experience and Education
. In Semel, S. F.
Foundations of Education: The Essential Texts.
(188-189). Routledge: New York. Print.
Greene, M. (2010).
Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life
. In S. F. Semel (Ed.),
Foundations of education: the essential texts.
Milton Park, Albingdon, Oxon; Routledge: New York. (2010). Print.
Allegory of the Cave
. (N.d.) Print.
Cremin, L. A. .
Experience and Education
. In Semel, S. F.
Foundations of Education: The Essential Texts.
(188-189). Routledge: New York. (1957). Print.
Greene, M. Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life. In S. F. Semel (Ed.), Foundations of education: the essential texts. Milton Park, Albingdon, Oxon; Routledge. (2010). Print.
Greene, M. Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life. In S. F. Semel (Ed.), Foundations of education: the essential texts. Milton Park, Albingdon, Oxon; Routledge: New York. (2010). Print.
I know the importance of wide-awakeness because I have seen it in the classroom. As a teacher's assistant for a children's literature class, I had one student in particular who was frustrated with diverse children's literature because she didn't believe that it was important in her own classroom. After taking the class, she mentioned how learning about diverse children's literature wasn't about her, but it was about her students. The class opened her eyes, or awakened her views on the importance of diversity representation.

This is important to my POE because students have the ability to change their thinking and perspectives and learn something new that they may not have learned before because they were not open to new ideas.
I had the privilege of working in a low SES school about a year ago. The majority of students were African-American. Before I even began teaching, I knew that the experiences that I have had are not the same experiences that these children have had. Knowing that experiences shape how students perceive the world, I had to teach based on not what I might understand, but what the students may understand. For example, in one lesson, I knew that my students would respond to rapping more than if I just simply explained what we were learning.

This is important to my POE because I know that different experiences shape how we view and understand learning, and how others view and understand us as educated people. Therefore, just because others do not have the same experiences as us, does not mean that they are unintelligent or uneducated.
I will be student teaching in Carmel at Forest Dale Elementary. In the classroom that I am in, my supervising teacher, Mr. Getz, allows children to showcase their knowledge in multiple formats. For example, he asked the students to create a journal of a European explorer. Children brought in torn and tea stained pages, with detailed artwork on the covers. Mr. Getz allowed the children to be as creative as they wanted. Children also have other creative outlets, such as art classes, music classes and choir, among other extra curricular activities, showing that the arts are just as important as other academic subjects like math and science.
I believe that students should often reflect on how much they have learned. This particular aspect is important to my POE because I believe some students are so set in their ways that change is hard. However, change can be a good thing. Seeing the world through a different lens can open up more possibilities to new ideas, and it is important to reflect on what changes happened, why they happened, and what students can gain from changes.

One way that I as an educator have changed was by participating in an immersive semester and documenting my changes through a conceptual framework. At the end of the semester, I could recall what I thought I knew, and realized that I did not know much at all about teaching and being in a community. It was refreshing to see that change happen within my framework.
I used to believe that school was just to educate students on academic subjects. However, I believe that there are multiple teachable moments. Dewey's statement is important to my POE because I believe that the role of a school is to educate students not only in academic subjects, but to educate students outside of school as well. As a preservice teacher that has participated in practicum courses, students have come up to me with questions not related to academics, but to real life situations. For example, one time I taught a lesson on scarcity through a close reading. Although close readings relate to academics, scarcity relates to real life situations. Students had questions regarding scarcity and could relate to scarcity because it was a low SES school.
Cremin's statement is important to my POE because not everyone can afford to go to a private school. Therefore, education should be free to those who want to be educated. I know how difficult it can to pay for an education. Shouldn't everyone at least receive an education, whether they can pay for it or not?
School policies are important to consider in my POE. I believe that different schools have different needs. The school that I was at for my practicum was a low income school, and the standards and objectives that students were expected to meet were difficult to achieve because they were farther behind. This is due to the adoption of the Indiana State Standards, which are more rigorous than the old standards. However, the student teaching placement I will be at has challenged their students over a longer period of time. Some of the students are still using Common Core State Standards, which are more rigorous.
Wide- awakeness is important to my POE because I believe that you can't educate a child if you don't know them. When I participated in an immersive semester at Longfellow Elementary, I had to take into account not only the students' academic achievements when teaching, but also how they interacted with other students, their community and home life, and the students' interests. Without knowing all of those factors, it would have been hard to create meaningful lessons. In one lesson, I made sure to activate prior knowledge and I even rapped for the students because I knew they would be interested in that.
This is especially important to my POE because I know for a fact that rewards will not always be present when doing something you should be doing. I do not believe rewards provide anything other than a motive to get a reward. In my immersive semester, I didn't have grades. It was a stress relief and I learned because I wanted to be a better teacher. There was no other reward. I remember in a school that I was at for a practicum and a student asked the teacher, "Where is my reward?" That indicated to me that students were only doing it for the object and not just to be better in school. I know from personal experience that students can learn just to learn and be better if presented in the right way.
Continuing on my belief of being culturally aware, I believe that one way we as educators can be aware of other cultures is by incorporating multicultural literature into our classrooms. As someone who is multi-ethnic, I believe that we need to "rethink" children's literature. Students need to see themselves represented in text. After being a teacher's assistant for the Rethinking Children's Literature course at Ball State, I know that children need role models in print so they can relate and see themselves in a positive light. Children need to be aware of other ethnicities, cultures, families, and sexual orientation, among other diverse characteristics.
Dewey, J; Eisner, E.
The Whole Child
. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Alexandria. (2005). Print.
Greene, M.
Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life.
In S. F. Semel (Ed.),
Foundations of education: the essential texts.
Milton Park, Albingdon, Oxon; Routledge: New York. (2010). Print.
(Pulled from EDFO 420 slideshow)
Plato. Allegory of the Cave. (N.d.) Print.
Tutu, N; Baylor, R.
I Don't Think of You as Black
. Burlington: Linkage. (2008). Print.
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