Session Two- American Education: Past and Present/ A Community of Learners

What I took away from the collection of readings and podcasts from this week’s study is a call to take the best of what the 5th C BC Greeks worked to achieve in their society and use it as teachers to make our schools a meaningful forum where young people realize their place in the world. One question I feel compelled to respond to from Dr. Schuerman’s lecture is, “how can we connect various disciplines to the greater goal of teaching kids how to cooperate with one another?” One example I can offer is the enthusiasm that I saw building in my K/1 budding readers for literature over the course of this past academic year. One of many things I admire about young primary learners is their love of taking-in a story that their teacher reads aloud. My students would drop all chatter and glue their attention on me immediately when they knew I was going to read them a story. I observed how this story time gave students an opportunity to have a rich community discussion. At this age children have a tendency to share their feelings and observations about a story, but have not developed skills for listening and responding to one another. I would use this time to encourage students to engage one another in a discussion by using a variety of strategies, i.e.- think-pair-share. At the end of the day in our classroom students had some free reading time. Without fail, a student would seek out the story that had been read aloud earlier, and a lively group reading would ensue. I think it is a reliable barometer for a teacher to reflect on their practice by asking the question, “am I teaching this subject or unit in a way that promotes real-world application and motivates students to think about how they might better the world with their knowledge?”

In the reading from Plato’s Cave I equated the human traveling back and forth between the darkness cave and the light with our lifelong education as humans. One piece of the dialogue serves as warning not to laugh at the person who has attained knowledge (light), yet has returned to delusion or ignorance (darkness). I think if we are committed to being lifelong learners there will always be times when we are feeling around in the dark as we endeavor to acquire new knowledge. As community we can support one another in taking educational risks. As a teacher, if I become someone who believes I have learned all I need to know, and am not willing to feel uncomfortable in order to grow- I have let my community down, and truly am stuck in the dark cave.

Reference:

Scheuerman, R. (Producer). (2014, July). Session 2 Podcast A: Paideia [Audio podcast].  Retrieved from http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/79839793/session%202%20podcast%20a.mp3

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