“The common sense student”

To be a good student according to the common sense you need to be punctual, you need to be well behaved, and you must learn all that the teacher expects you to learn. Many students do not stand up to this definition and you cannot blame them for that, each student has a life and experiences that are continually impacting and shaping them, teachers need to be prepared to indirectly deal with what each of their students are dealing with. I know from my own experiences that if there are issues or stressors in your life school will change, your whole attitude shifts, and this makes doing some of the things you do every day hard to do. As many students deal with negative experiences in their lives the commonsense definition of the good student can disadvantage many students. Some students who deal with disadvantages their whole schooling experience may be viewed as a troublesome student because they miss school, or they lack time to complete their assignments. Some students may be disadvantaged for a shorter period of time for example my mom had a surgery when I was in high school, in the months leading up to and after the surgery I missed a lot of school due to having to help and care for my mom while he was injured and recovering.

There are some students who are advantaged by the commonsense model of the good student, most of these students typically are not dealing with many stressors and negative experiences as many other children experience. Although these students may be disadvantaged at certain points, they often are not the students being disadvantaged by the commonsense model of the good student.

Our commonsense ideas make it impossible to see our students for who they truly are and acknowledge that each student is knowledgeable in their own ways. Our students even when their misbehaving need to be remembered for their good qualities, that does not mean we let kids run wild but at the end of a bad day with a particular student its important to remember the good days you have had with that student. Each student is knowledgeable and is an ‘expert’ in something, by giving our students a chance to be an expert and by supporting them in the knowledge they have the students will go above and beyond expectations. “what students already know when entering school functions as filters or backdrops or lenses for what they experience, process, make sense of, act on, and otherwise learn in school.” (Kumashiro, 2010). Its important for teachers to correct wrong information in a way that keeps students believing they are performing well and are capable and should be excited about learning, if teachers make students feel bad for not knowing the correct information students will be discouraged from learning and they may believe they are not capable of learning.

possible critical summary topics.

For my critical summary I am still undecided on my topic however I have narrowed down my list of theorists to a select few. Of these theorists I have decided to write my critical summary on only women, I decided to do this because women make up a massive number of our educators and I would like to hear more from them. The first author I may talk about in my essay is Margaret latta, she is a big supporter of the arts and the impact they can have, she also has strong support for learning through play which I am a strong believer in. The next author is Nina Asher, I am interested in her as she has written plenty on teaching for different groups and making your classroom a safe place for students of any racial, ethnic, or gendered background. Author number three is Ericka Hasebe-Ludt she is a huge advocator for writing and life writing, as an English major writing is very important to me and I am excited to read more of her work. There are a few more authors I am interested in but aren’t on the top of my list.

When it comes to the actual topic of my critical summary, I am a little undecided. I would like to write and research a little on learning through play and peer interaction, I have witnessed firsthand how much kids can learn from playing (worked in a daycare) and I believe play and peer interaction can be powerful tools for any teacher. I have also been thinking about writing a piece on writing and life writing in the curriculum, I believe reading and writing are very important and more emphasis should be put into making sure students are writing and reading at their proper grade level. A third possible topic to write on would be death/ghosts in the curriculum, I believe there is a lot of important things involving death that needs to be taught and discussed. However, with the topic of death comes the issue of conflicting religious and cultural views about death, there is a lot of work to do to change the curriculum and to teach these units in easier way.

Response to the Smith reading on curriculum models.

The four models of curriculum found in the reading are 1) curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. 2) curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product. 3) curriculum as process. 4) curriculum as praxis.

  1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted:

Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted or curriculum as/according to syllabus is a model of curriculum that is mainly concerned with content. The drawback to this is people who are concerned with the syllabus will limit the learning that could be done in the classroom. Students also don’t get a chance to influence what they are learning and may not be as engaged with the content. The benefits are that the content that needs to be taught is being gone through however how much understanding is actually being done may vary depending on both the teachers and the students capabilities.  

  • Curriculum as product:

This model of curriculum is highly focused on product and what is being produced, with less emphasis on how its being produced and the actual experiences being had by the students in the classroom. The main draw to this model is that it is very organized and structured, it is easy to embrace a quite classroom where students learn in the same way everyday but its not how most students learn best.  This model again takes away student voice in what they learn and how they learn and relies heavily on students meeting behavioral objectives.

  • Curriculum as process:

In this model the curriculum isn’t a physical entity instead it is a combination of the interactions and experiences both students and teachers have with each other. With heavy focus on the actual process and learning the students do rather then the product they produced. “where the product model appeals to the workshop for a model, this process model looks to the world of experimentation.” (Smith 1996, 2000) teachers have to be prepared to direct their students through “un-traditional” teaching methods which will require the teachers to develop deep critical thinking skills in order to maintain control and the learning that is taking place. With this model relying so heavily on student, teacher, and knowledge interaction this approach is much more modern and seen often today.

  • Curriculum as praxis:

This curriculum model is based on collective understandings and a underlining social justice aspect. ‘That is, the curriculum is not simply a set of plans to be implemented, but rather is constituted through an active process in which planning, acting and evaluating are all reciprocally related and integrated into the process’ (Grundy 1987: 115).” (Smith 1996, 2000). Praxis is often identified by its focus of collective understandings, a strong commitment to values and beliefs, and finally the high amount of peer interaction. Praxis is often referred to when we think about learning and teaching through play.

Looking back through my own schooling experience I believe I went through and seen a lot of the process model but also a lot of the syllabus model. My teachers often talked about being behind in the syllabus and having to skip over things, we as students seen them stress of the curriculum and we weren’t even a hundred percent sure what I meant. Curriculum is a big scary word that scares students and stresses out teachers, in my classroom I hope to keep concerns such as that to myself, I felt like I wasn’t doing good enough and I wasn’t moving fast enough in my education because of how my teachers talked about curriculum. Id like to have both the process and praxis models in my own pedagogy as I am a strong believer in learning through play and gaining a deeper understanding of all your materials instead of just memorization.

Response to commonsense reading by Kumashiro.

In the reading Kumashiro defines common sense as the things we have set in stone. What we consider commonsense is everything that we know but may or may not know why we do such things, for example we go to school September through June and we consider this normal we do this because this is what we experienced and the generations before us experienced. Commonsense is something we often don’t think about, we don’t consistently question our decisions and the small actions we do everyday that we do because their proper for that social situation making it commonsense.

 It’s very important to pay attention to commonsense because its often rooted in the past and although history is important a lot has changed in how our societies are structured since these commonsense rules were implemented. For example, women nowadays can have any job they wish and are active and prominent members of society however when it comes to moving desks or setting up chairs for an assembly we consider it commonsense that the boys in the class do it instead of the girls. This piece of commonsense is not only oppressive toward the women but it teaches them that this is not something they should do or something they cannot do. Paying attention to our commonsense and calling our own selves into question about whether how and what we are teaching is harming and oppressing our students in any way. In order to move toward non-oppressive education for all we will need teachers who are willing to challenge their commonsense and make sure their classroom is a safe place for all their students.

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