Friday, July 27, 2007

wheatley and lisa delpit

i have a terrible migraine today, which is upsetting b/c i'm supposed to be in a wedding in a few hours and i can't go outside - the lights are too bright. will i be standing there in my dress, with sunglasses on? probably. hot!

anyway, i've been thinking ahead to my placement a lot lately. i haven't yet met with my mentor teacher because of this wedding and general craziness and she lives in novi, but i will very soon - we are both incredibly excited to begin and i definitely get the sense that she will let me lead pretty early on... but my research topic for 695 and much of the reading on adolescent literacy we've been doing (i'm loving speedreading, by the way!) is really causing me to shape my inquiries on two things: engagement and classroom management.

i feel that i can have a strong grasp on engagement, i see myself experimenting all the time with new activities, new projects, new designs, in order to keep my students interested and engaged in the material. i know already that it will be generated from them. and that there is much planning and scaffolding that must go into a lesson plan so that choice can be implemented and done WELL. i am not just looking to teach some surface level factual thinking, i'm trying to teach for understanding, for critical thinking, reading, writing skills, i'm trying to teach to question. there needs to be a generation of active questioners.

i have been blogging back and forth with mr. shannon wheatley, a high school history teacher in houston, texas. his blog, (education noir) is about his thoughts around education, adding a voice to the teachers of color perspective. and a strong voice! i am honored to read his writing, and look forward to the opportunity to dialogue with him about our experiences. mine the first time in the classroom in awhile, his at a kipp (knowledge is power program) school. i'm interested to learn more about these schools of choice.

shannon makes me think about lisa delpit, in an article she wrote about how black educators are often scolded by the (very white) progressive education community for being too stern... but their teaching is often more affective for urban students than alternative education. teachers need to understand how to communicate with their students; part of knowing them is knowing their cultural backgrounds, traditions and codes. and i am going to be a difficult teacher. but hopefully a class with me will be a memorable experience!! ha. i'm getting a little nervous for the fall.



Jeff Stanzler said...

You're going to do really well, Lauren. Thanks for turning me on to your colleague in Houston...he's treating some interesting topics (and you made his blogroll--that's great!)
I would love it if you saw fit at some point to blog about KIPP schools. They are making a big splash. We just had one of our grads go to Oklanhoma to work at a KIPP school. I can put you in contact with her if you want.
On the point you raise about Delpit, one of things that I've found interesting is a kind of price that's been paid by many African-American students as a result of integrated schools. In the educational annals, the stories are told about the value of integration (and, of course, there's so much of tremendous value therein) or of the anger of whites over solutions (busing, for example) to the challenges posed by segregated residential patterns. One story that isn't told as much is how African-American kids not only had to adapt to new schools--as they were generally the ones that moved--but also how certain topics that were a part of the non-academic curriculum (discussing racism and helping African-American kids to adapt) were much less available.
More on this later...

lolosita said...

once i do a little more research on KIPP, i definitely will blog about it... what is the value of integration if not to better the quality of education for all students? and as savage inequalities points out, we have not done this. i think that programs like KIPP are created to combat the disparities between the two school systems we have going on under the false pretense of one public school systems... more soon.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should consider allowing Shannon to do a guest post on your blog about the KIPP schools. I'm sure he'll provide an interesting perspective. Or maybe you can interview Shannon for the information you need. Just a suggestion... :-)

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