I chose this week to use Kelseys blog for my extended comments on Empowering Education written by Ira Shor. Kelsey used great quotes that captured Shor’s main points, that education is not simply about learning facts and memorization but it's also about socialization. Shor also brings to the table the idea of empowering your students by making them feel valued and intelligent in an adult social environment.
“You must arouse children’s curiosity and make them think about school. This would set a questioning tone and show the children you trust them and they are intelligent enough at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers.” (Shor 13)
I saw this occur first hand with my service learning project where students became engaged and realized that I had valued their opinion and their beliefs. When I opened the debate to the whole classroom, students were hesitant but once a student gave me an answer, I responded positively and asked for more opinions. More hands went up and began to give full answers because they felt that they were intelligent and their opinion mattered. There were times in my service learning where I felt students did not want to participate because they always felt they were “too dumb” to know the answer.
Shor also mentions, “Politics are not only in subject matter but in the discourse of the classroom, in the way teachers and students speak to each other” (Shor 14). I’m sure most students in FNED 346 with Bogad would agree that the classroom she describes is the one we are in every Tuesday and Thursday. We hold open discussion in class, not much one-way teacher talk, and there is mutual dialogue between teacher and the students. We all feel comfortable enough to disagree with Bogad and are able to discuss it amongst our classmates in open discussions. No student (in my opinion) feels that they are unable to voice their own opinion or that their opinion is not a valid one. That is what I believe is key in empowering your students. Allowing the students to have an open “safe space” that there is substantial critical thinking going on. The video below shows Gary Bennett's philosophy of teaching with that same idea in mind. He ensures his students are able to engage and tackle the hard complex ideas and make sense of them together. Not having a right or wrong answer but being able to discover together.
“In sum, the subject matter, the learning process, the classroom discourse, the cafeteria menu, the governance structure and the environment of the school teach each students what kind of people to be and what kind of society to build as they learn math, history, biology, literature, nursing or accounting. Education is more than facts and skills. It’s a socializing experience that helps make the people who make the society” (Shor 15).
We all learn from one another, for example when they say you learn through play. Regardless of the age group, we learn from our environment and those around us. Your school and experience with teachers can mold you into the person you are today. It can sometimes take one teacher to make you see things differently or make you "question everything". Regardless, each social experience "makes the people who make the society".