Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PLN 9: "Schools Would be Great if it Weren't for the Kids"

"Schools Would be Great if it Weren't for the Kids"
Alfie Kohn and Valerie Strauss


Summary:


Alfie Kohn’s “Schools Would be Great if it Weren’t for the Kids” describes how kids can be motivated by nontraditional ways of teaching school.  Kohn criticizes Robert J. Samuelson’s column about reforming schools by offering better salaries to teachers and the use of “positive reinforcement  and punitive consequences” for students.  Kohn’s article rejected Samuelson’s ideas for school reform, and instead said that school reform should be based on the idea that schools should change how classroom’s function to make the learning interesting and make kids motivated to do better.  Kohn says traditional schooling methods are causing kids to become less motivated to learn, and the best idea is to change things in the classroom to make learning fun and meaningful for kids.


Summary Response:
Alfie Kohn’s “Schools Would be Great if it Weren't for the kids” elucidates how kids are becoming less motivated in school under traditional teaching methods, and the best idea to change this is by changing how classroom’s work.  If a kid is bored, he or she tends to not pay attention and does not hear important things.  This causes students to be less motivated in school.  Kohn suggests that kids have also lost “the hunger to make sense of things, with which all children start out.” He also reflects on how kids are losing the fire that they have to learn new things.  He says teaching of students today “reflects a problem with what, and how, they’re being taught, or the extent to which they've been excluded from the process of making decisions about their own learning.”  This suggests that students want new, non-traditional ways to learn in the classroom.   To support his viewpoint, Kohn wrote “You need to visit classrooms or schools that take a nontraditional approach to education, places where students are more likely to be absorbed and frequently delighted.”  Kids learn better if they are absorbed by the work they are doing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

PLN 8: "What Teachers Really Want to tell Parents"

"What Teachers Really Want to tell Parents"
By: Ron Clark

Summary:
Ron Clark’s “What Teachers Really Want to tell Parents” describes how teachers are feeling threatened as parents’ protectiveness of their kids grow.  Clark states a starling fact that the average educator teaches only 4.5 years, and many of them say that dealing with parents is one reason they quit.  As a teacher himself, Clark lists ten things teachers want parents to know.  The list includes: teachers are educators, not nannies, trust the teachers, and stop making excuses for the child so they can learn to be successful.  The next set of things He also wants the parents to help the teacher instead of prosecuting them, do not complain about bad grades because the teachers that give low grades often are the better teachers, teachers and staff are living of fear of what the parents could do to them, and teachers want the parents to deal with negative situations in a professional manner. Clark is trying to raise parents awareness “…to trust us, support us, and work with the system.”  Teachers are becoming more threatened due to parents’ protectiveness and Clark wants parents to change their behavior.

Summary Response:

Ron Clark’s “What Teachers Really Want to tell Parents” explains that parents are becoming too over protective of their child and teachers are feeling threatened by the parents.  In the article, Clark gives an example of a child that was cheating on a test, and the parents claimed the teacher was labelling the child as a criminal.  Clark writes “…principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.”  This shows that parents are looking for better grades but when a child is accused of getting a bad grade in a class, they blame the teacher even if the grade was appropriate.  Another example Clark citied was when a teacher tried to help get a red mark off the side of a student’s face, but it was still there when he got home.  The parents called the media, and the teacher lost her job for something so trivial.  Just think, if a teacher could get his or her life ruined from something so trivial, then could they be fired for any reason?  Clark is also a teacher and suggests parents are immature, and tells them to deal with this in a professional manner and not just jump to conclusions.  Teachers are being threatened so much due to parents over protectiveness of their child that mean good teachers are quitting.  This trend threatens the quality of education.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PLN 6 Redo:

PLN 6 Redo:
Amanda Ripley "The Case Against High-School Sports"

 
Summary:

Amanda Ripley’s “The Case Against High-School Sports” describes how students are being distracted by school sports.  Ripley provides an example of a test of critical thinking in math, as proof of why the United States ranks 31st because students are more focused on sports than they are on education.  Ripley questions the role of schools being involved with organized sports and the lack of emphasis on academics. Ripley explains the reason why South Korea, Shanghai, and Hong Kong are ranked the highest on the test is because these countries have a strong focus on academics.  Schools that are failing in education have tried multiple ideas to get education back up on the top priorities, such as getting rid of all sports.  Schools have multiple sports, and these sports are affecting student’s ability to learn.




Response:

    Amanda Ripley’s “The Case Against High-School Sports” elucidates that schools are edging students to play sports and not focus on education, in some cases becoming bad enough that schools need to find ways to switch a student’s focus.  The author explains that she is worried about the imbalance of schools’ emphasis on sports and academics, where they put sports first and academics later.  Ripley cited two schools that were trying to make changes by eliminating sports (Premont High School in Texas and Spelman College in Georgia).  Premont shut down all sports so their students would focus more on education, and Spelman College cut sports completely and instead put $1 million into a fitness program for the students.   Premont’s plan was a success, with 80% of students passing their classes instead of the previous year’s 50% of students passing, proving that cutting sports is a good way of changing a student’s focus.  Spelman College students lost weight because the fitness program benefited the full student body instead of just 80 athletes.  More schools need to figure out how to make education the primary focus of schools, even if it requires a major change in school sports.

PLN 7 Redo:

PLN 7 Redo:
Dr. Michael Wesch "Web 2.0...The Machine is us/ing us"


Summary:

Michael Wesch’s “Web 2.0…The Machine is us/ing us” educates how computers and the Web 2.0 are starting to use people once they post images and other comments on the internet.  The video starts out with an explanation of how using hand writing is not a very good form of expressing oneself.  Michael Wesch then illustrates multiple web applications, including websites, HTML formats, and Google to explain that people are growing more accustomed to the Web 2.0.  Wesch explains that users are teaching the “machine,” and as the machine starts to learn, it begins to “use” the user instead.  Throughout the video, Wesch portrays people are teaching the “machine” and the machine is growing smarter.



Summary Response:

Dr. Michael Wesch’s “Web 2.0…The Machine is us/ing us” demonstrates the use of the Web 2.0 and portrays a very negative effect on people by making them addicted to the internet.  Wesch expresses his dislike of the Web 2.0 because the web or “machine” is growing stronger as more and more people use it.  An example is when the video explains that over 100 billion people click on webpages every day, and this can lead to procrastination of homework or important work.  Also people can post things on the internet like pictures, videos, or comments, and once these are posted, people cannot get them back; this can harm someone’s reputation and can also affect their occupation.  The video ends when the writer transcribes a comment saying “We need to rethink ourselves.”  Wesch means that people should rethink their privacy, what they do online, and that they should be aware that the internet can be untrustworthy because people can post things that are based off other webpages.  The idea of the video is that people should stop trying to post immoral pictures or comments on the internet because those posts can end up negatively affecting the user.