I’m thinking of using this post (and it’s related readings) to start my Social Context of Schooling course next term…. Good discussion starter! I know my own students wrestle with this one a lot, because a Foundations course like Social Context asks them to think about schooling in sociological, economic, social justice perspectives, rather than in terms of classroom instruction, and a lot of them have zero interest in such abstractions. They want to know about the craft of teaching: how to do a lesson plan, how to evaluate, and –most importantly–how to get little Johnny to sit down and shut up. They want to know the dollar value of everything they are taught as it relates to their immediate needs as a student teacher in a practicum classroom. They do not always see the value of learning anything that is not instrumental in their short term need to pass the semester. So part of me suspects I’m trying to teach them something unrelated to their own priorities, and we would be better off making this a grad course…that whole ‘readiness’ thing. On the other hand, every teacher should have a little professional prep on why we’re doing this and why it matters, or they won’t be able to answer the question posed in this post when asked by their students, other than to say, “Johnny, I told you to shut up and sit down!” So a bit of irony given double standard to which they hold themselves vs what they expect of their own students….So, yeah, this post(s) might make a very nice starting point for a discussion about how it is they find themselves in my class, and what to do when in theirs….
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