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School and Society Book Review

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Sophie Utpadel

on 22 February 2013

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Transcript of School and Society Book Review

Themes We Don't Need Another Hero
By: Gregory Michie Diving In: An Introduction to Basic Writing
By: Mina Shaughnessy Movie Clips Results And the Verdict is…A Better Life
By: Peter Georgescu The little girl "did something that was special. She looked him in his eyes, and she understood that the eyes are the doors to the heart. All of us want to do good in our lives. It's what we do for others that matters most" (as cited in Georgescu 2013, p. 1) Teachers and Students Book Review Shaughnessy (1976) decides teachers need a grading scale to assess how well they are doing as teachers. She claims classrooms are more, “about what is wrong with students than about what is wrong with teachers” (Shaughnessy, 1976, p. 94). Shaughnessy creates different levels of effective/noneffective teaching.
Guarding the Tower
(Teacher is more concerned with defending their discipline and the academy than helping their students)
Converting the Natives
(Views students as empty vessels and teachers the bearer of knowledge in which they can just pour into their kids heads')
Sounding the Depths
(teacher now begins to assess common student problems and analyze the components of his discipline in order to help students and recognize correlations with common problems)
Diving In
(Teacher becomes student as he allows himself to step back and learn from his students in order to help them) (Shaughnessy, 1976, p. 94-99). Ron Clark Story Overall, we enjoyed the book and felt Michie had many insightful ideas on education.
The only flaws we found were his contradictions to humanistic approach (he seems to be advocating it but disowns it in movies that are just meant to inspire hope)
Seems to want the "color blindness" to stop in society as a whole, not just in schools. Misses the point that by starting to teach it in schools, hopefully we can change the way race is viewed in the future (society is too set in its' ways for racial issues to change with current generations)
Half Nelson (2006) was more focused on Dunne's drug addiction than it actually did on teaching, and did not seem like a realistic teacher scenario
While Michie seemed to dislike the Ron Clark Story (2006), the movie told an uplifting tale of a teacher willing to help his students in whatever way possible.
Michie ties in the humanistic approach and social impacts well by talking about Dunbar school, and it relates to the article, "And the Verdict is...A Better Life," by Peter Gorgescu.
Mina Shaughnessy (1976) and Michie (2012) share similar ideas when it comes to teacher's methods of teaching. Michie seems to touch on all the levels Shaughnessy talks about. It also connects to standardization and how teachers are weighed down by looming state-wide tests Federal Control Humanistic Approach Social Impacts Standardization Rules and Regulation Acknowledging and appreciating racial differences Meeting the needs of ALL students Establishing relevancy for students Violence and Gangs Poverty Parental involvement Teaching for the test No Child Left Behind Race to the Top Federal funding Teacher evaluations No tolerance policies The title is We Don't Need Another Hero but, when you treat your students like actual people, and attempt to make human connections with them, you are a hero Bad Good Michie's view on standardization "Using a single test score as the basis for assessing our kids is unfair...But at the same time it's the reality of how students are being evaluated right now, so we have to be responsive to it" (as cited in Michie, 2012, p. 102) Humanistic approach to teaching Optimism about Education Appreciation of diversity Contradictions Societal expectations of race Race and Gender "What matters is helping aspiring teachers begin to see schools as arenas of struggle and to see themselves as people who can bring about change. What matters is helping them understand that there's no such thing as a neutral classroom, that teaching, by its very nature, is a political act. We're all teaching for and against something, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not" (Michie, 2012 p. 21). "Maurice's story demonstrates that resistance to schooling-as-usual doesn't have to take the form of grand or symbolic gestures. It can also be found in steady, purposeful efforts to make the curriculum more meaningful, the classroom community more affirming, the school more attuned to issues of equality and justice. Sometimes it means starting small" (Michie, 2012, p. 28). "We emphasized a social justice component to dedicate ample time to other, equally important, challenges. Among them were making room in the curriculum for students' voices and cultural backgrounds, building strong relationships with kids and their parents, better understanding the impact of poverty, and getting to know the communities from an asset-based perspective" (Michie, 2012, p. 32). Michie's work, even though it pointed out the numerous flaws with the educational system, came across as extremely hopeful for the future. Michie emphasized the need to ask "What can I do?" instead of stating what we can not do. Michie critiques this movie, and those that are similar, for their tendency to be over dramatic and their stereotypical portrayals of urban schools.
While Michie's point is not without merit, he seems to forget that movies like this remind people to remain hopeful, and to try to make a difference. In films like this, we are reminded that just one person could make a difference, and maybe it can be you. Half Nelson Most classroom shots in Half Nelson (2006) show the teacher, Dan Dunne, as an engaging and likeable teacher. Not hard to see how Michie highly regarded this movie, claiming it is more realistic than Freedom Writers or the Ron Clark Story. However, as the movie progresses and Dunne's cocaine addiction spirals more out of control, he begins to slack on his responsibilities as a teacher, including walking out in the middle of a lecture, straight up not showing up to teach class, and letting his personal life interfere with his treatment and attitude towards his students. Hopefully most students have had teachers that were on the more "unrealistic" side, like Ron Clark, considering Michie regards Dunne's character as realistic. This article begins by telling the story of seventeen year old Andre, a juvenile delinquent. Andre competed in a chess tournament with an eleven year old girl, who was unafraid of him, or his background.
The little girl defeated him, but ended up reaching out to Andre.
Her attitude inspired a judge, Jimmie Edwards to found his Innovative Concept Academy, a St Louis School that serves as a last resort for children under 18
In this academy, he shows the children he cares about them, which allows them to care about themselves and others.
The school provides many services outside the “normal” school programs, such as STD and drug treatment, conflict resolution, and more, and also seeks to create a positive culture of pride and self-respect for its students "I truly believe I can rehabilitate children. Most are good and decent. I know they can do better; they can achieve. They want somebody to teach them what's right." (as cited in Georgescu 2013, p. 2) In response to Oprah's segment "Trading Schools", Michie (2012) says "But if Oprah really thought that her audience believed [that every American child deserves the best school], she could have gone further. She could have laid the funding and race questions on the table instead of allowing them to go unspoken" (p. 98) This is expecting quite a lot from one person on Michie's part. But he seems to conveniently forget that as a public figure, Oprah cannot always say everything she might want. Just getting the inequality out in the open is the first step, and it is not an insignificant one. The opinions of society as a whole are more difficult to change than a few children in a classroom. "Understanding the limitations of their own perspectives may in turn help them to work with students of color and their families in more authentic and respectful ways" (Michie, 2012, p. 44) He asks that white teachers do not ignore the different races of their students, but asks that they attempt to understand them Relates to Michie (2012) by observing a humanistic approach to teaching. It especially relates to when he quotes Freire on engaging in dialogue with students, and that by assuming their ignorance, teachers, in turn, are becoming ignorant when they fail to see the other "I's" in the classroom (p.38). Also relates to standardized testing and how teachers are forced to just pour information into children's heads for the test, but not actually focusing on what the students are actually retaining. "Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptable inevitable" (as cited in Michie, 2012, p. 8) This piece ties into both Michie's request for a more humanistic approach to education and to greater understanding for current social issues. The students at this academy are being treated like real people, instead of delinquents for the first time in their lives. In addition, Edwards does not ignore that these students come from diverse backgrounds, and tries to meet their needs. Bibliography Shaughnessy, Mina. (1976). Diving In: An Introduction to Basic Writing. In The Writing Teacher's Sourcebook (4th Ed., pp. 94-99) New York: Oxford Univ. Press. Fleck, Ryan (Director). (2006). Half Nelson [Youtube]. United States: Hunting Lane Films. Michie is a teacher that cares about students, and emphasizes the importance of every child having access to an education. It is a teacher's job to provide students with this education despite social impacts or circumstances that may be holding these children back. Georgescu, P. (2013). And the Verdict Is….A Better Life. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-a-georgescu/troubled-students-education-_b_2491107.html Haines, Randa (Director). (2006). The Ron Clark Story [Youtube]. United States: Turner Network Television
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