What did you find most interesting or challenging in the reading?
I found it interesting that this article pointed out how freedom of choice is being allowed in general English classrooms but not in honors or AP English. This made me wonder, why are those classes sticking so rigidly to an outdated mode of instruction? In my opinion, choice should be the entire foundation of honors and AP English classes as one of the main tenets is to challenge the students, and not every student is going to be challenged by the same thing. Therefore, it would be better for all parties involved to integrate choice with the goal to consistently challenge each and every student regardless of whether the student is in the general class or the honors/AP class.
However, there is a point to be made that such determination to stick to, what I can assume is being implied as I have had experience with honors/AP courses, the “classics” stems from an underlying elitism. I have an issue with the concept of honors classes anyway. I mean, I understand that it is important to challenge every student, but differentiation in the general classroom can do that without the school separating out the “cream of the crop” for special treatment and kickbacks while the “general populace” gets to be denied the same opportunities and experiences.
What surprised you?
I was surprised that teachers felt that AR tests could ever hope to hold students accountable for their reading. According to this article, such was the reason for the unwillingness to give up Accelerated Reader. Now, I do not know about everyone else, but I know for a fact that there was no way I was going to be held accountable for my reading through AR. Half the time I was taking those tests, I was simultaneously skimming a book I had never really read to find the answer or the question/s were so obvious that you did not even need the book. How, in any way, shape, or form, is this a good practice?
What did you learn or find yourself thinking about most?
I found myself thinking the most about how the teachers, mentioned in the two articles I have linked thus far, were the ones who seemed to be the most afraid of change. Do we not go through each and every Education course being taught to prepare to adapt? New research, student individuality, educational needs, learning profiles, and more should all have an impact on our teaching methods. However, we seem to get stuck in the same old pattern either because we think it is a solid, and thus irrefutable, model of instruction or we are afraid to challenge the status quo. We literally have the future of our nation sitting in front of us every time we teach a class, so how could we possibly think that they deserve anything less than our best?
How do these articles relate to your own experiences as a teacher or student or to your hopes for your own future classroom or work with students?
These articles relate to my hopes for my future classroom in that I want my students to be able to recognize their individuality and what that means for them. I do not want to teach my students that to matter in this world they have to choose a job that they hate just because it pays really well. I do not want my students to ever feel like their net worth should ever control their self worth. Instead, I want my students to become healthy, happy, safe, and successful adults whatever that means to them as individuals. Therefore, I want my educational practices to reflect this ideal, and giving my students freedom of choice directly correlates to this goal.