If I didn’t get so into these I’d finish much faster. But I guess that’s a good thing. I do enjoy working on them if I’m not pressed for time. This is the first out of sixteen.
1) Wolk, S. (2007). Why go to school?. Phi Delta Kappan, 88, 648-658
Wolk talks about how we are dumbing down our nation through our schools. He feels that instead of being places of joy, our schools are spoon feeding information that our children will forget quickly, and teaching them to hate reading and learning. Wolk also points out that the main reason our students go to school, is to become workers. Wolk then provides nine changes to the school system : 1) Inquiry based learning, 2) Developing a sense of self, 3) Developing a love for learning, 3) Developing caring and empathy, 4) Teaching environmental literacy, 5) Awareness of our multicultural community, 6) Teaching social responsibility, 7) Learning about peace and nonviolence, 8) Teaching media literacy, 9) Developing global awareness, 10) Incorporating creativity and imagination, and 11) Learning about money, family, food and happiness. Wolk continues by addressing the need for children to play at school, as we are decreasing the recess time less and less. Finally, Wolk provides small explanations of what teachers can do to change the education they are providing their students in a positive way, by 1) teaching the things they are already teaching in a different way, including the eleven changes Wolk provides above, 2) eliminating some of the existing curriculum that is not promoting growth for the students, and 3) creating new classes that incorporates the eleven changes stated above, such as ‘Who am I’ and ‘What is Justice?’
Connections to Text and Self
I agree with many of the things that Wolk said. I love that he addresses teaching students about well being, and what it means to be happy. I am still working on that in my life, and it would have helped me greatly if my K - 12 experience had given me some guidance in that area. I also liked the eleven things he suggests we incorporate into the education system. All eleven suggestions have the potential to really enhance one’s curriculum for the well being of our students. Wolk also pointed out some very true, although uncomfortable ideas about society, such as “We will not be a democracy of the people, but a corporate nation of workers, TV viewers, and shoppers” (pg 658), and “It certainly seems the more “civilized” we become as a species, the more brutal we become as people” (pg 653). I praise Wolk for many of his ideas, however, Wolk’s harsh criticism of the education system outweighs the solutions he provided.
Many things did not quite click with me in the Wolk article. Perhaps Wolk is writing in this way to grab people’s attention and make them think, because so many do not question our education system. Where I lost Wolk to a certain extent, was his total disdain towards preparing students for the workforce through education. I do not think students should go to school primarily to enhance our workforce. But I also believe acquiring a job is very important. If we want to stray away from that fact, we are going to have to move away from how society runs, away from capitalism. According to President Obama, we have a surplus of jobs that our citizens do not have the education to attain. Perhaps Wolk’s idea of inquiry based learning (suggestion one) would address this issue, and perhaps Wolk believes that if we educate our students to become people with a strong sense of self who can also think for themselves, they will land a job, maybe even one that makes them happy. I still have trouble eliminating the connection between a job and education completely from my end in view. I cannot get past the idea that money (while definitely not the most important thing!) affects well being, because we need enough to be comfortable, live, and truly be in control of our own lives.
I thought the three suggestions at the end of the article were very good ideas, however, it would be helpful if Wolk expanded on those ideas into more than a paragraph each. I agree with what he suggested, especially with teaching classes like “What is Justice” and “Media and Power”. I can relate, it is so very eye opening to take a women’s studies college class for the first time, or a college history class (that reads A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn). If we taught this content in K - 12, our children and adolescences would have a better idea of the hidden oppression working against them, and learn why they act a certain way or why certain things seem to act against them. This would help students develop a greater sense of self at an earlier age. However, I feel like if Wolk is going to say things like “As I look at our schools today, I do not think we have any right to call what goes on in there ‘education’” (Wolk, 207, p. 657), he needs to provide more than three paragraphs at the end of his article, with suggestions about how to incorporate his eleven steps into the classroom.
Overall I think Wolk’s eleven suggestions of what we should incorporate into the classroom are very bright, and I hope to incorporate these into my curriculum.
Besides the three suggestions Wolk includes at the end of his article [ 1) Incorporate his eleven steps through what they are already teaching by alternating the content, 2) eliminating unnecessary content that suspends growth to make room for his eleven steps, even for just an hour a day, and 3) Open up entire new classes on this content, such as “What is Justice”, and “Media and Literacy” ] what are some other ways we can incorporate the content in his proposed eleven steps?
Should we eliminate the “attaining a job” or “preparing one for the workforce” completely from our end in view, and just focus on developing students love, uniqueness, and passion for learning instead? Will attaining a job come naturally from that? How can we move away from the fear of having a Masters Degree, but not being able to make a living?
Other Articles of Interest
“Rather than being places where students sit in silence as their teachers talk all day, our classrooms would be dynamic public spaces where the authentic and vibrant discourse of daily democracy in their classrooms” (Wolk, 2007, p. 651)
“…we must take children outside to experience nature…My school was just a 20-minute walk away from Lake Michigan, and about a hundred of us—kids, teachers some parents, a few dogs—gathered at school at 5:30 on a dark, crisp morning to walk to the beach. It was extraordinary to watch the sun lift over the horizon” (Wolk, 2007, p 654).
“social studies are dominated by textbooks, which do an outstanding job of teaching students that studying history, democracy, citizenship, our Constitution, and the world and its people is boring and irrelevant.” (Wolk, 2007, 654)
“Why do we insist on teaching all children algebra and teach them almost nothing about what it means to make a home?” (Wolk, 2007, 656; Noddings)
“Why don’t our schools engage children in investigating and debating questions about our present and future well being? (Wolk, 2007, 657).
Inquiry based learning, teaching about well-being
You deserve happiness. So I left. — Six Word Story #30 (via duskydays)
(Source: elzaro, via bruiised)
#TBT #Maui #May2013 #Boyfriend #MakenaSurf #Ocean #Hawaii #Beach #DisposableCamera #WaterproofCamera
What a shitty day.
While trying to distract myself from the shit storm of angry frustration I experienced this evening, I caught up on some celebrity gossip. Natalie Portman is moving to Paris with her adorable family. She’s so gorgeous.
How I feel at work today
(Source: everythingsommer, via lipsredasroses)
Is somewhere outside meowing through the window at me but when I try to let him in he just sits in the darkness silent and invisible. All I want to do is cuddle and pet him for the next hour. Is that too much to ask?