By: Ira Shor
The article this week really made me think about my high school experience. Shor really emphasizes how children in school should be challenged, and that they should feel free to question what they are being taught. After thinking about Shor's main points, I tried to think of classes in high school that challenged me, and classes that I felt free to speak out and express how I felt in. While you have classes like math and science, where it is hard to teach anything but math and science, there are also classes that I felt could have been expanded on, or taught differently. For example, I was required to take an art class in high school. I decided to do clay building. The teacher I had was so strict, and it was either her way or the highway. First off, I think art is a class that I knew would challenge me to think differently. Also, I feel like it is a class in which you can express yourself. The teacher I had made it clear that we had to do it her way. First, she would show us how to do something, and then, we would do it. We would basically get graded on how closely our project was to her example. I remember one project, I made a clay alligator. I spent weeks on it. It was by far the best work I have ever done. The most artistic thing I have ever made. The teacher gave me a feakin' B- on it. I was devastated and didn't do anything the rest of the year. But on the other end of the spectrum, I had an English teacher who always challenged us, and actually gave us a say in what we would learn. While we had required authors we had to go over, the teacher would let us choose the pieces of literature we would read. She would give us multiple pieces to choose from, give us the synopsis of each of them, then as a class we voted. I really had a wide variety of teachers, and how they ran there classroom. While I had some that just focused on the 'rules and codes of power', I had others who would actually allow us to think critically. Like Kamryn said, it is difficult for high school teachers to freely change the syllabus or allow the children to be challenged. They have rules and codes of power that are set forth onto them. They must abide by them. For some students, the first time that their opinion is ever asked about schooling is in college.
"... The students who decide to what extent they will take part in the syllabus and allow it to form them. many students d not like the knowledge, process, or roles set out for them in class. In reaction, they drop out or withdraw into passivity or silence in the classroom. Some become self-educated; some sabotage the curriculum by misbehaving."
really hit home for me. I have two very good friends, that are a couple of the smartest people that I know. They both however barely passed high school. They hated the system, and hated how systematic everything was. They always felt like no learning was going on, and that they were just expected to memorize and repeat back. One of them actually freaked out in class one day, and refused to go back. He freaked out over how they never learned anything new. He was then punished for voicing his opinion.
Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
A question I have to the class is what was your high school experience like? Were you challenged? Were you allowed to voice how you felt? Or were you just constricted by the rules and codes of power?