Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

Who is John Galt Krissy Venosdale? Primarily, it would seem— a dreamer. Otherwise she seems to be a very enthusiastic teacher at Rainard School for the gifted (in Houston, Texas). Her dreams are extraordinary—though they seem to be impractical for the time being. She places emphasis on student individuality, progressive learning techniques, student curiosity and self-exploration. Her dream school is filled with nooks and crannies for her students to explore. Her assumption that every student is willing to learn, however, may be a bit too enthused. I am only skeptical because I was not her ideal student—and I doubt the probability that every child, especially the older and more arrogant ones, will have the capacity to fully appreciate her vision.

I believe that Sugata Mitra has a much more plausible vision of where education should go in the future. Teachers should act as conduits of knowledge—asking the main questions and directing their students to the answers (however subtly). Mitra hints that group learning seems more prevalent in the future as it encourages variety among the students in their opinions. Finally, technological advances seem inevitable, so that students may rely on the web to further inform them.

So what do I plan for my 12th grade literature class to be like?

I would like for my students to learn to value of education itself.
I know this may sound sort of silly, but it seems to me that in America education is often taken for granted. If I could teach my students anything, it would be the importance of learning—and I don’t necessarily mean the importance of learning literature.

Secondly, I would like my students to master the art of communication. Communication is key to living life well, I believe. Without effective communication, tasks like getting a job, finding a spouse, keeping a job, and keeping a spouse would be much more difficult if not impossible. The importance of communication is especially relevant in our technological world today. I would hate to see any spoken language perverted by wrds lk ths 4evr. And I certainly hope that I am not alone in this belief.

So how do I plan to accomplish these? I’m not all to certain exactly just yet, but if I was thrown into a classroom now, I would use the styles of teaching that worked best on myself and the classmates that I had which included (but was not limited to):
a ridiculous expectation concerning the amount of reading possible in a given week
essays (or short writing assignments concerning the literature) at least twice a week
an emphasis on group discussion during the class after having given a lecture on the author and the main social/political/economical of the time of the book’s conception. It seemed to be the prevailing theme in my own high school that the more you expect a student to accomplish, the more things they will find ways to accomplish.

Believe it or not, I do plan to use the internet in the classroom. Aside from reading various scholarly articles and academic journals on works, I also like to play the “how did Hollywood destroy the original work” game in which I’d like to challenge students to find all of the ways the director of the movie version decided to “artistically enhance” the original work. Hopefully, they’ll find that game as fun as I do.

I do not want my students to assume the role of audience when entering my classroom. In fact, I would like to assume that role (as an active audience) . I very much intend on my students speaking more in the classroom than I do. I want them to debate the meanings of a work and figure out amongst themselves which seems to be most accurate in a given context. I also want them to act out any plays we may read because Shakespeare, Miller, Williams, and even Sartre are so much more fun that way.
Shakespeare tweeting

Practice Blog Post

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
Okay, that might be a smidge melodramatic. Let’s just say some 19 years ago (a short time ago, really) in a city that really is not all that far away (Birmingham, ALABAMA—not England, unfortunately), I was born into this crazy, old world. When I was six years old, I was radically dethroned from my royal existence as an only child and was joined by an accomplice/enemy (depending on the day)—my younger sister, Sarah. We then relocated from Birmingham to the unearthly humid city of Mobile where my brother Taylor joined us. Ten years later (surprise, surprise) my baby brother Ethan was born. All of us Crawford kids have been privileged enough to receive outstanding educations from outstanding schools. We are all very interested in different things.
So why teach?
If I had a dime for every time I’ve been asked that, I’d be richer than all the educators in Finland (where becoming a teacher is equivalent to becoming a doctor in our culture). It’s very simple, really. There’s a perfectly harmless cliché going around that says something to the effect of “be the change you wish to see in the world”. I want change in America’s education system, so to accomplish this, I must become an educator. The more basic question to ask is why should I want change?
It took me nearly eighteen years to realize that education is the single most influential determinant of a person’s existence. Think about it. From doing calculus homework to watching the latest episode of *shudder* Jersey Shore and every experience in between—the way we are educated and in what we are educated provides the essence of our existence. So no matter how well you think America is doing education-wise (we are number 17 on the list of developed countries in the world, by the way) we should always be striving for more (because, let’s face it, that’s what we do best).
My enthusiasm for learning as much as I possibly can has spurred my greatest past time—reading. While the internet and the television set are magnificent attributes for some, I personally could do without. The written word has always fascinated me. I think most kids of my generation will agree that Harry Potter was a life changer, and Twilight is the root of all evil.
If I could sum up my greatest passion in a photograph, it would probably be this one:
an expansive library

Well, I guess that pretty much wraps me up. Thank you so much for taking time to read my ramblings!
May the force be with you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Test Post Title

This is my First Post. I clicked the HTML button which I should always do in EDM310. I am now a Blogger!