OVERVIEW: I picked the texts for this post for a number of reasons: 1) to give you a reading break because everyone needs those; 2) critical literacy is not just about being able to read literature--or even print based media. Critical literacy is the ability to read and makes sense of the many texts that a student will encounter in life--from Shakespeare to The New York Times to their favorite TV show to video games to a social media post a sign they see on the side of a bus. Everything is a text that merits analysis; and 3) I want you to offer these to you as a way to revisit one of our earliest conversations about what makes a good or bad learning experience.
FOR THIS POST: Consider what teaching and learning looks like in these different texts. Then consider the story one of the stories one of your classmates told and try to analyze it through the lens of what the podcast and TED talks tell us about great learning experiences. I'm asking you to do this because great teachers need to be able to analyze teaching experiences with some objectivity and with the knowledge of what should be happening in a classroom. Further, these stories make clear the complexity of teaching--when you are a student it is hard to think of it from the teacher's perspective, but these pieces demand that you do. Finally, they offer good context for interviewing teachers next week.
You do not need to respond to a classmate for this post.
6/15/2021 11:27:09 am
David’s teacher did not feel invested in themself and could not transfer passion and excitement for learning to students. In the podcast, the Principal showed devotion to his students by telling a student that his office is a safe space to discuss what is bothering him to prevent challenges that may happen outside of school. Other teachers, like David’s, who show no interest in school, students or job in general may not have taken the time to invest in the students. When a student knows they are heard and valued, this images them more to hear their teacher's voice throughout the day that motivates them to keep moving forward instead of avoiding school and going backward. David said, “they did not care so why should the students” and the TedTalks serve as resources to see what this teacher could have done to bring value to learning. David learned mostly from slides, but Laufenberg shared that the most learning happens when there is open creativity. As she argues, “failure is instructional” and experiential learning goes a long way. Alvin Irby suggests finding drive and equity, as a lack of people who looked like him was in his English classes in higher levels. Just like David, Irby had “no dive” to be at school. Though that was because of different reasons, altogether relevant reading needs to walk into classrooms that connect and represent students but also make them laugh or think, none of which happened in David’s class. Edmin suggests that teachers do not have effective models of how to “create magic” even if they are a nice person like David said. All TedTalks and the podcast would suggest for teachers to step back and find the spark that makes learning active and a connection between teachers and students.
6/15/2021 12:28:43 pm
6/15/2021 05:08:09 pm
When kids use their own voice in learning and speak for themselves in their work, they are more motivated to do well in school. Laufenberg asked, “why do you have kids come to school if they no longer have to come there to get the information?”. Teachers need to allow their children to fail as it is apart of the learning process. Telling kids that they should always have the one right answer to something does not allow them to learn. It’s important to give students freedom to express their creativity, they need to experience learning though play or by going to places. They need to learn from not doing well. “Fail, process, and learn from” is something that stood out to me most in this TedTalk as a way to help support a student’s academic success. It is so important for teachers to engage their students. Teacher education is full of different theories and standards about basic skills. However, it is most important to engage a student in a classroom. Students need to see their students more for who they are rather than how well they perform in school. The more challenges to reading that a student may encounter, the more culturally competent teachers need to be. So many children can’t and don’t read because they are uninspired with having to read forced books and finding particular meaning to it. To help children identify as readers, teachers need to be a positive role model and be aware that culture plays a role in the ability to learn and process information. In Elizabeth’s writing, she mentioned having the opportunity to pick what characters her and her classmates wanted to be. She also discussed how having a choice made the atmosphere of the classroom a more welcoming one since each student had a say in what they wanted to take away from their learning. This expresses the importance of getting student’s engaged in their learning as it helps to promote memorable and meaning learning experiences.
6/16/2021 09:09:46 am
Diana Laufenberg’s TedTalk offers insights on what learning should actually look like, explaining how the history of education, for too long, has consisted of students coming to school to ‘get’ the information. Instead, she offers a changing perspective in which students acquire education on their own through experimental learning. She highlights the importance of empowering students’ voices and embracing failure as major qualities for educators to value. Through empowering students and encouraging the risk-taking factor that comes with experimental learning, teachers can provide a better learning experience for their students. Another aspect of a good learning experience involves engaging and meaningful lessons-- lessons that hold the “magic to enthrall and teach” as Christopher Emdin puts it. In his TedTalk on how to create that ‘magic,’ Emdin reveals that the secret to making a classroom come to life is understanding the background and true influences on the students being taught. He advocates for a transformation in teacher education to focus more on learning how to acquire these insights and create that magic, in order to create a better learning experience for all students. Another important aspect of a good learning experience is being encouraged to read, to want to read. In his TedTalk on how to inspire children to be lifelong readers, Alvin Irby sheds light on ways in which teachers can create better reading experiences. He emphasizes the importance of students’ identity, urging educators to provide opportunities that promote children to identify as readers. Incorporating books that acknowledge social and cultural factors of interest to the children being taught is imperative for a better learning experience. Irby’s Barbershop Books organization is an example of how positive reading experiences can be instilled in students; This concept allows children to connect reading to their cultural and social identity, influencing a stronger desire to read. Finally, This American Life’s podcast on Chicago’s Haper High School takes its listeners on the emotional journey to try and understand the life of high school students in staff in a community that is saturated with gun violence. Unveiling the heart-wrenching stories of the individuals, this piece highlights the importance of positive, compassionate, and dedicated members of the educational systems-- Principals, counselors, teachers, coaches, and resource staff alike. While the faculty demonstrated what contributes to good learning experiences in such a bleak environment, the students showed what it truly means to be resilient.
6/16/2021 06:39:19 pm
Sarah described one of her best learning experiences when teachers would hand out a piece of paper on the first day of school that read, "what is something I should know about you?" She describes herself on the shy side and appreciated when her teacher took the time to understand that about her. Teachers would therefore have more patience with her and understand how she is as a student in a classroom. Sarah remembered a time when she wrote down that she needed the teacher to randomly call on her in class because she didn’t want to raise her hand. The teacher responded to her request positively which led to more self-confidence and openness to share aloud. She appreciated when teachers would show validation on her work, even if it was just a sticker. As a student, you want your work to be acknowledged, and that notion doesn’t just end after elementary school. Connecting Sarah’s experience to what Diana Laufenberg had to say, there are a lot of parallels. Laufenberg says that when you ask children to use their own voice, it’s remarkable what they are willing to share. Sarah needed time to use her voice in the classroom, but when she was ready at her own pace, she gained confidence and felt heard. Laufenberg describes you have to take the time to listen as an educator to student needs and affirm that failure is designed to be instructional not feared. Students should encounter experiential learning, have a student voice, and feel comfortable embracing failure. Sarah’s teacher allowed her to have a voice in the classroom that respected her wishes as a student. By taking the time to know Sarah as a student, she responded better in the classroom environment. Alvin Irby’s Ted Talk was about finding identity as a student. He created Barbershop books with the mission of helping young black boys identify as readers and use books they actually would read. Finding books that make children laugh and can identify with is very important. Sarah was open about who she was as a student and the teacher acknowledged her willingness to share her identity as a student. Christopher Emdin describes how future teachers are taught theories and standards, but not how to spark magic in and engage students. The “magic” that some teachers have can be taught. He says you learn magic by watching magic happen. He says those who have this magic know how to engage audiences. Bringing that magic helps dead classrooms come back to life, reignite lost imaginations, and change education for the better. If Sarah’s teacher stuck to the “rules” and “theories”, she may not have been willing to listen to Sarah’s note. Sarah’s teacher had that magic because she helped Sarah become more of an engaged learner at her own pace. Looking at the Harper High School Podcast, the two social workers, Krystal and Anita, really stuck out to me. A particular student, Davonte, tragically shot his brother and struggled to vocalize this traumatic experience with Krystal. Krystal spent months understanding, listening, and being patient with Davonte, not only as a student, but as a person. Sarah’s teacher was patient with her wishes as a student which resulted in a positive experience for both Sarah and the teacher, much like Krystal and Davonte.
6/16/2021 07:45:09 pm
While I was reading the article, the author - Emma was talking about how she feel about her math course and how math is her worst experience. Math wasn't her favorite subject in school, anytime she try, she feel that he fail because she wasn't giving her best or even ask for extra helps. One of the student name Diana who said that she believed that it is a good idea for students to ask for help in their academic. Sometimes in life as a student it's a good thing for students fail in their class or anything, because it's shows how strong they would be and how many time they would study. The products allowed the students to go to his office time if they need help. When students ask for help it's a good thing for the, only if Emma had this connection or supposed, I feel that she won't have hard time in the class. Students need to be engaged in class according to Christopher. We know that Emma math teacher wasn't the best and didn't explain the work. Maybe that why Emma is having trouble in his class.We may have some teacher who don't know how to teach their students or even have connection with them, it's can be very hard for the student to be engaged in the class. That why Emma feel this type of way because she wan't getting help enough or even understanding he works.
6/17/2021 06:57:40 am
Throughout Diana Laufenberg's TedTalk she brings up many aspects of learning she has come to know as a teacher. From the beginning she talks about how she as an educator chose to step away from the past knowledge of what going to school meant. She knew that in this generation students had all they needed to obtain the information school would teach them, so she found new ways to make school and learning enjoyable for her students. Going to school is not all about getting the information you need but rather gaining experiences in the process. Dianna talks about how she leaves room for creative ability and giving her students a chance to use their own voices in order to express their learning. She encourages them to try, even if it means failing because it will help them in the long run to fully understand what it is they are learning. In David Golden's story of a worst experience he talked about a teacher who "had no interest in their students and how well they retained the information". This teacher had no use of engaging the students and made learning unenjoyable and ineffective. Diana would say that this teacher needs to allow room for creative activity and active learning in order to make this class a good experience. It is so important to have engaging lesson plans for students to get the full effect of learning.
Gabriel El Khoury
6/17/2021 01:01:44 pm
In the three assigned Ted Talks—Diana Laufenberg’s “How to learn? From mistakes,” Alvin Irby’s “How to inspire every child to be a lifelong reader,” and Christopher Emdin’s “Teach teachers how to create magic”—a whole host of teaching theories are put forward, ranging from Laufenberg’s “failure forward” approach to Irby’s “identity-based” approach. Laufenberg’s core message: “failure is informative.” By “letting go of the paradigms of the past,” and by allowing “students to fail as part of the learning process,” educators enable students to genuinely grow. They fail forward, so to speak. Experiential learning, student voice, and embracing failure are the three main takeaways. Alvin Irby, founder of Barbershop Books, is a tremendous proponent of identity-based reading programs, seeing as how identity, he argues, is crucial for helping students become “lifelong readers,” as the title explicitly states. If children identify with the characters about whom they are reading and writing, and if reading experiences are catered to specific audiences, then this will motivate students to read. Students are not “empty buckets” but “co-creators,” and their respective learning needs should be factored into the curriculum. Lastly, Christopher Emdin, in “Teach teachers how to create magic,” argues in favor of what he calls “Pentecostal pedagogy,” arguing that black churches have the skills for engaging audiences that educators are criminally lacking. Emdin notes that “magic can be taught” and encourages prospective teachers to leave the confines of their classrooms “to go into the hood,” to observe firsthand how preachers engage and inspire their audiences.
6/17/2021 04:01:09 pm
Diana Laufenberg's TedTalk was incredibly insightful and shined a light on the many aspects of learning. Laufenberg's strategy is to step away from lecturing and asks her students to use their voices. Laufenberg realized that students are more receptive when they are given a chance to freely speak their minds. She visualizes school as a place where students should feel comfortable enough to express themselves. There were times where Laufenberg would leave her classroom to let her students engage with themselves and others so they can get their creative minds flowing. Elizabeth Cheesman's story was very similar to Laugenberg's style of teaching. Elizabeth had an educator who encouraged expression and creativity. Her class was the star of the show, while the teacher was the observer. Students should be given the opportunity to experience learning for themselves, to be hands-on. Giving students the freedom to learn amongst themselves can be a liberating experience that emboldens learning. I will be forever thankful to teachers who foster creative and engaging experiences because they are the ones who are truly making a difference.
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