Sunday, December 1, 2013

Politics in the classroom

 "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important to begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school. Why does the government force us to go to school? This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough. at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers" (Meier)

   This is a great quote to me. My philosophy as not only an inspiring educator but as a person is to question the reasoning for everything around you. Everything and everyone has a purpose and to continue on with something without knowing it's purpose makes the activity seem less important. Showing the students of your classroom that you have faith in them to critically think and answer this question is a great way to build their confidence, not only in themselves but for the instructor as well.

   Students today are shoved standardized test after standardized test starting at a young age. To me it can have an adverse effect on them because of the fact that it can cause a burnout. From an early age, students are told over and over that these tests are "so important" and that all the pressure is on them to overachieve on them. They become so wrapped up in trying to do perfect on these tests that their other academics suffer because of it. It's a combination of stressing out too much from the standardized tests and just a burnout from too much work altogether. It can be too much on a young student to handle, because even as adults we all have moments of burnout due to mid-terms and other stressful times of our academic year. Imagine being that much younger without the ability to know how to manage our time better? It becomes too overwhelming and that's why I feel these tests should be limited to every couple of years after a certain age rather than once a year.

  So what can be done to prevent the burnout outside of changing how many times the tests are taken? To get back to the quote I opened up with it has to do with engaging the students better. Students learn better when they feel that a teacher isn't just there to lecture them and not hear their explanations. The politics of school is that the teachers speak and the students listen, the status quo if you will. But the real successful classes (measured in student participation and overall interest) come from those that can make students critically think without forcing it upon them. Making them feel like they want to be engaged without forcing anything is the key to preventing burnout because a student will want to think and participate in class. It's a much better alternative than having a student lose focus constantly because a teacher hasn't instilled confidence in them to answer a question posed to them in an effective manner.