Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm having a hard time writing. I sit down to write on this blog and it feels impossible to get words down. It's not like this when I freewrite, but I guess I'm feeling uncomfortable because there is an audience. I think you are my only audience though, Donna. I was looking for your blog, and I couldn't find it. I went to a blog of someone you suggested, and I clicked on a blog listed on his/her list and it was yours! I read the one where you talked about writing with students. I was wondering if you meant that you felt uncomfortable writing and then sharing that writing with students. Do you feel like if you share it then you are holding yourself up as the best example of writing? I don't always share my writing with students--actually, that's pretty rare, but I do try to write with them when I ask them to write. I always have students say, "I've never had a teacher write with us before." It feels like the class goes better when I write with them, even though I don't share.

Some of the blogs from last week really bothered me. Okay, only one. I know that there is tension between all departments and education departments. I also know that there is tension between composition and literature and composition and other departments. I feel like the work I am doing in the English Ed. department is very similar to what I would be doing in composition. I love composition. I love everything we have talked about this semester--especially the theory. What I like about English Ed. is that I am looking at pedagogy and bringing this to the classroom. I don't think because I am interested in pedagogy that I can go into any classroom in any department and teach. I guess I also think that "educational research" that is so worthless to R. is the same research that composition studies uses. I think of Emig, Flowers and Hayes, Elbow, Friere, Weaver, Foucault--these are all people that I have learned and talked about in English Ed. I also wonder how a person who hates George W. could use the Department of Education as a source to support that educational research is watered down. I'm just so confused. He wants to change Education departments from progressive to content-based. This confuses me too because if you go to the high school where I work, very few have a process-based pedagogy for writing--most teachers are heavily into content and testing on knowledge-based questions.

But, if being a content teacher means that I have to quiz students using Hirsch's ideas about content then I won't do it. Does it matter who invented the cotton gin anymore? Good for Trivial Pursuit, but that is about it.

Now I am getting to it. I guess what I don't like is this either/or, dualistic, dichotomous thinking. (Do any of those words work? ) I hate that thinking where you are either progressive or content-based. You know what, I am both. I can do both. I have done both. I also don't like it when people make condescending remarks about "progressive education" when they have never tried to look at their classroom from Friere's lens. Teaching is not either or. It's balanced. Everything is taken into account and analyzed. I change based on the students I have in class. I want them to become better writers and to see the world in a new way--not my way--their own way--I want them to see the possibilities.

The reason I didn't work on my doctorate in Educational Administration was because I did not like how they did things. There is all of this research to support a certain type of school and a way to do things to improve education, yet they ignore all of it and do it like they have always done. I couldn't stand to be in a department for 3-5 years where I didn't agree with what anyone was saying.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

I'm listening. :-) I have your post about bell hooks still in my aggregator. I want to read more of her.

I think a content based education can be compared to learning quotes without the context of the rest of the material. Well, the thing is, quotes don't always make much sense when removed from context. Who cares if one can win at trivia pursuit. I'd rather be able to talk to more people about issues that matter.

I also think there are a lot of people who get far too comfortable and are not willing to change, despite what the research says or what the changing times bring. I wish this course was a year long course. There is so much more I want to read and learn.