Service Questions & Answers 2

What are the strengths and limitations of virtual engagement? What surprises you?  

The strengths are that we still have a means of communication. The children have something to look forward to during these difficult times and have a different means to make friends. The limitations are that it is virtual; therefore, the connections are more difficult to make. Children may still feel isolated; however, I was surprised by the willingness of the participants to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and ideas.

How are your life experiences similar and different from others’ in the situation?

My life experiences are different from the children because I am older and more understanding of the virtual situation. They most likely do not understand why they must decrease socialization and now attend school, as well as, these activities online. However, they seem to be more accepting of it. The children have adapted to their changed environment and overcome their difficulties.

What struck you or stayed with you today?  I was impressed by the children’s willingness to communicate over zoom. I assumed that because it is a different means of communication, the students would be more shy and less likely to speak, but it turned out to be the opposite.

My Reflection

I enjoyed my experience with the children; however, I would like to personally interact with the students more. There really was not a time for me to get to know the any child on a personal level, but I am aware that in weeks to come, I will be given this opportunity so I am not worried about it.

What needs in the community does this organization address? Why? 

This service recognizes the need for more socialization in the community during these covid times. The children seem excited to get on and interact with children their age, so programs like this will really benefit their social skills.

How have your eyes been opened to the realities of the people you work with?  

My eyes have been opened to the reality that children have adapted to this new technological era because of covid. The kids seemed to be excited to interact virtually which was not what I was expecting.

Learning Experience – Neoliberalism in Education

Jason Blakely tackles the issue of neoliberalism in education in his piece,  “How School Choice Turns Education into a Commodity.”  Blakely uses real examples and quotes from reliable sources to present the reality of the “school of choice” initiative that has become increasingly popularized in the United States. He emphasizes the negatives of this marketization of education and highlights the need for academic reform.

Blakely incorporates a variety of themes and perspectives in his article. The first major concept is how neoliberalism, a political movement which supports the creation of markets as a means to uphold individual rights, fits into the educational system.  Blakely affirms, “The goal of neoliberalism is thereby to rollback the state, privatize public services, or (as in the case of vouchers) engineer forms of consumer choice and market discipline in the public sector” (Blakely, 2017). In other words, neoliberals desire schools to be redesigned to resemble a market. This is done through a voucher system that is greatly supported by the Secretary of Education in Arizona, Betsy DeVos. The marketization of the academic sector will, in theory, fuel reform because it will inspire competition amongst schools similar to the competing products in a market. Neoliberals support this type of system because it promotes individualism and personal responsibility. However, what many fail to acknowledge is that this will always result in winners and losers.

Furthermore, the second main idea presented by Blakely is the reality of implementing the Neoliberal concept in schools leading to the disadvantagement of those who are not financially sound. Blakely offers an ideological perspective in favor of the poor or less fortunate. He claims that in Detroit, the economically disadvantaged parents are burdened with finding their child adequate schooling nearby. Two long decades of the neoliberalization of schools has diminished Detroit to a state with large areas where no educational facilities can be found, thus forcing students and guardians to drive unreasonably long distances because of the defunding of various public schools. Nevada’s attempt to implement the “school of choice” system has also disadvantaged the poor. Blakely exclaims, “Market competition in the context of schools thus opens the possibility for a vicious cycle in which weak and low-performing communities are punished for their failings and wealthy communities receive greater and greater funding advantages” (Blakely, 2017). Therefore, neoliberalisation leads to the diminishment of funds and benefits for the poor, and the increase of money and advantages for the wealthy. Many advocates of the neoliberal model of education support this concept because it fuels individual choice; however, as Blakely points out neoliberals are opposed to any person’s democratic decisions that are against the market system.  

In addition, the author emphasizes that although the marketisation of schools is not the right method, education is in dire need of reform. Blakely takes a political standpoint in support of democratic participation over market choice. He urges his audience to spark conversations about the improvement of schools centered around democratic freedom. People should discuss how each child deserves the right to education and how much of their education should be controlled by distant outsiders like the federal government. The public school system is in constant need of rejuvenation so these debates will hopefully lead to constructive and innovative solutions. 

I have not personally experienced this marketization during my time in public school; however, I will say that as I aged, I noticed that my education had become increasingly competitive as testing becomes more and more prominent. Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree with Blakely in his stance on the neoliberalization of education. I do not believe in the idea that children should be labeled as “winners” and “losers” in the academic sector.  The school of choice concept will only help the already wealthy and high-performing schools do better, while the poorer and low-performing schools, which typically contain impoverished students or scholars that are a part of minority groups, continue to struggle. The implications of this marketization are extremely unfair for the young adults who do not deserve to be excluded from receiving an education. I see the need for, as Blakely suggests, a higher rate of democratic participation to help fuel the needed reform in education. His article does raise the question of what is the correct solution for educational reform? Is there a true correct path in academics or will we always disagree?

My LC chose to highlight the three themes listed above, the neoliberalization of education, the disadvantages of this marketization of schools, and the need for reform in the academic sector. We felt that these main ideas worked to not only summarize the article, but also provide our students with an adequate understanding of the situation so they could ask questions, answer inquiries, and apply their knowledge to their personal experiences. I worked with my group to decipher what we wanted our students to learn. We concluded that our learning objectives were to develop an understanding of neoliberalism and its effects on education, as well as provide our students with enough information to apply their comprehension of the material to their own understanding and perspectives on the subject. 

Our lesson consisted of three parts. We first presented a slideshow to the class, giving them an overview of the article, the facts on neoliberalism in education, and preparing their minds for future discussion. For this part of the lesson, I was in charge of introducing the topic and ensuring our audience felt engaged and intrigued. I did so with a short example where the students were a fresh fruit and vegetable store owner who had lost in competition with a neighboring business. I then related this winning and losing concept to the school system to highlight the unreasonable injustice that  neoliberalization is creating for students. In addition, I made sure to highlight that as current students and future teachers, we should all be aware of the changes being made in education. I was also tasked with defining neoliberalism, and presenting its effects in the school system as laid out by Blakely. My slides touched on the aforementioned themes, specifically the negative impacts the marketization of education has on the poor. I was sure to include both examples mentioned previously to provide the audience with a true understanding of how neoliberalism is affecting schools. The next part of our lesson was a discussion in small groups. We each went into a breakout room with two to three students  in which we asked a variety of discussion questions about the presentation, a video discussing neoliberalism in general, and an excerpt detailing how this marketization is negatively affecting certain racial and ethnic groups in the schools of Cleveland, Ohio. For this part, I wrote the majority of the questions and found the article from which the excerpt was taken entitled, “Neoliberalism, and Racial Inequality: How Black and White Parents Manage Schooling in the Cleveland, Ohio, Metropolitan Area.” I felt that this piece helped to highlight the issues that neoliberalism creates for certain minority groups, as well as, emphasize that turning schools into a marketplace is not an outlandish idea, instead it is happening to educational facilities nearby. Our discussion questions helped to lead the students along so that they could discover how to apply their ideas and thoughts about this concept to their own experiences and the experiences of others. The final part of our lesson was a quick group discussion at the end of class. This is where we worked to summarize our ideas and give our classmates an opportunity to provide us with any last thoughts about the lesson. 

Overall, I felt that this was a successful learning experience. I believe that I was able to provide my classmates with useful information about the neoliberalization of education and they were able to give me new and interesting ideas on the subject that I had not thought of before. One member of my small group spoke with such passion about the concepts we presented that I felt glad to have been a part of sparking this cry for educational reform within one of my students. I look forward to the next learning experience to be able to share my knowledge and gain the insight of others.

References

Blakely, J. 2017, 17 April. How School Choice Turns Education into a Commodity. The Atlantic. 

Garcia, E. (1997, January 01). What is neoliberalism? Retrieved February 16, 2021, from 

https://corpwatch.org/article/what-neoliberalism

HarvardX (Director). (2018, July 26). Pros and Cons of Neoliberalism [Video file]. Retrieved

from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t41rFqVp1I

Kean Birch Associate Professor. (2019, December 11). What exactly is neoliberalism? Retrieved February 16, 2021, 

from https://theconversation.com/what-exactly-is-neoliberalism-84755

Simms, A., & Talbert, E. (2017, April 7). School Choice, Neoliberalism, and Racial Inequality: How Black and 

White Parents Manage Schooling in the Cleveland, Ohio, Metropolitan Area. Retrieved

from https://www.soc.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/HPHK_Paper_D3Abr_April2017_pdf.0

Service – Questions & Answers

Activity/Event Name
Story Time K-3
What struck you or stayed with you today? *
Nothing struck me, it was simply an instructional and informational session.
How are your life experiences similar and different from others’ in the situation? *
My life experiences are different from the children because I am older and more understanding of the virtual situation. They most likely do not understand why they must decrease socialization and now attend school, as well as, these activities online. I will be more clear on this situation next week when we begin our sessions.
What are the strengths and limitations of virtual engagement? What surprises you? *
The strengths are that we are able to virtually interact with the kids and provide them with entertainment during these difficult times. The limitations are that we do not have in-person interactions and connections are more difficult to make. Nothing has surprised me yet since I have not actually had a chance to interact with the children, but I am excited to see what awaits me.

What are you feeling as you begin a semester of service in this activity? 

I am feeling excited and nervous to begin my semester of service in this activity.

What is one hope you  have for this experience? 

I hope to gain experience interacting with children to be able to look back on when I am a teacher later in life. I can not wait to read a story to the children!

Progressivism in Education – Current Connections

In “Education in the Progressive Period,” Edward Janak, discusses the Progressive Era of education. He details the key components and figures of this educational period, as well as the limitations and downfalls of progressivism. Janak brings these ideas to light through the skillful incorporation of examples, detailed stories of lived experiences, and references to important events. The Progressive Period allowed people to see academics in a whole new light and brought about some significant reforms to the education system. 

Janak delved into the many facets of progressivism, keying in a few notable concepts. One idea was that progressivists believe “it is more important for students to learn how to learn than is what they learn” (Janak, 2019). This means that students must understand what is effective for them in group and individual learning environments. Progressivists think that cultivation should be more highly valued than content in academics. This is connected to the student-centered pedagogy that is at the core of  progressivist education. They understand what each child needs and integrate these concepts into the lesson. The roles in place in a progressive classroom are more flexible than a typical learning environment. Students are supposed to take the reins and control their educational experience. However, many of those that attempt to reflect this individual learning for their students discover that this methodology is difficult and tiring for the educators. Most teachers struggle to relinquish that much control in their classroom, thus making the application of a true student-centered pedagogy arduous to actually put in place.

Furthermore, Janak places progressivists into three categories: Administrative, Social Reconstructionists, and Child-Centered. Administrative Progressives bring about change by creating a system of checks and balances that work to lay the framework of a system similar to that of the United States Government in schools. The Social Reconstructionists’ goal is to revolutionize education by highlighting the fact that education should stay focused on the future, rather than the completion of short-term goals. Reconstructionists believe that, “everyone involved in education must presuppose a vision of the future and actively work to make their students form that new world” (Janak, 2019). Child-centered progressivists, on the other hand,  attempted to fix the curriculum by creating the Cardinal Principles. This consists of  seven objectives:  health, command of fundamental process, worthy home membership, livelihood, civic education, worthy use of leisure, and ethical character.  These seven concepts are geared towards the idea that students should be prepared for life. This highlights another main idea of this chapter, progressivists see education as an opportunity to prepare children for life, rather than ready scholars for more schooling.

Another large theme found in this chapter is that progressivists value active, social citizens over intellectuals. They believe that the education of a student should include the practicing of being a well-rounded citizen before the scholars apply these qualities later in life. Janak states, “This vision shapes everything they do in their classroom; progressive teachers recognize that everything in education is political and they are churning out students who step up and become social activists, regardless of stance or issue” (Janak, 2019). However, Janak provides some feedback of this progressivist political perspective. He points out that all educators have different points of view on societal and political issues and how they should be solved. These perspectives create different, sometimes highly subjective, classroom environments. 

Additionally, since progressivists’ goal is to teach students how to have a valued role in society, they believe in a hands-on approach to learning. Scholars’ learning should be rooted in questions and experimentation. They accomplish this through the use of field trips, community projects and real world issues. Progressivism is rooted in the philosophy of pragmatism. Pragmatists value discovery and the scientific method which are promoted to push the importance of problem solving skills.

Looking at the Progressive Era in education from a cultural perspective, the author makes one notable critique. Janak claims that the progressive period did work to eliminate the “sameness” that plagued education; however, these benefits were often only given to those who were white, comfortable or wealthy, not diabled, and usually male. Those that fell into these categories, were able to receive a more individualized education with a broader, more student-adapted curriculum, but those that did not qualify continued to get the same, “one-size fits all” educational experience. This creates educational inequality especially for those that are a part of a minority group, or are academically or physically impaired. 

On a more positive note, one beneficial and lasting impact of this period was the implementation of extra curricular activities. Janak speaks about how the progressivists changed the role educational facilities maintained in the community by adding extracurricular activities. First academic competitions were popular, then it turned to sports. Extracurriculars are still enjoyed by many today. This year, Ahmed, a student in the department of economics at the University of Dhaka, wrote the article, “Why are Extracurricular Activities a necessity for students?”  This piece details the ideas presented by various students in different clubs and activities at Chittagong University was published in the Financial Express.  The scholars were asked a series of questions about extracurriculars and how they have impacted the young adult’s lives. The students brought up a multitude of benefits of extracurriculars that connect to the aforementioned main ideas of the Progressive Era from the assigned reading this week.

One large theme of Janak’s writing is that progressivists believe it is vital for students to learn how to learn. According to Admed, scholars are able to obtain this ability through extracurriculars. One scholar is quoted saying, “Students acquire skills through extracurricular activities. And various competitions– business or otherwise– provide the opportunity for them to evaluate themselves” (Ahmed, 2021). By learning how to self-evaluate, students can find their limitations and more importantly, their strengths. This reflection can help scholars to learn how to learn because they will understand what works for them and what does not and apply it in the classroom. Moreover, progressivists also see education as a preparation for life. One student in the article exclaims that he “believes the teamwork experience gathered from such competitions helps in career”(Ahmed, 2021). Careers are a big aspect of one’s life, so by preparing for one’s future job, extracurriculars actually work to support the progressivist idea that one’s educational experience should ready them for life. In addition, the progressivists believe their students should be active and social citizens. Ahmed details how these clubs and activities help scholars to better their socialization and communication skills through competitions, debates, or meetings. Students are able to voice their opinions and thoughts to other people which will encourage them to voice their opinions and thoughts in their community, thus performing their civil duty. Furthermore, progressivists understand that students should have a very active educational experience. One student in Ahmed’s piece emphasizes that some extracurriculars do a great job to encourage innovation and investigation, thus facilitating hands-on learning for students.

During my discussion of extracurriculars with my classmates, I found that many of my classmates participated in varying activities. In the google doc I asked the class to fill out, I discovered that the majority of my peers have been involved in extracurriculars at some point in their lives. Despite the wide variety of activities, the members of the class that spoke out during the discussion agreed that they developed many of these benefits and skills during their experiences in the clubs, sports, and teams they have been a part of. The main advantage spoken about was that extracurriculars allowed many of my fellow classmates to become better citizens by encouraging them to speak their minds. My discussion helped to reaffirm that extracurriculars provide a variety of beneficial skills for students that would be approved by progressivists.

My Google Slides Presentation

References

Fraser, J. (2014). Chapter 8: The Progressive Era, 1890-1950. The School in the United States. 

New York: Routledge. pp. 204-241.

Purdue University (Producer). (2010). Benefits of Extracurriculars [Video file]. Retrieved from 

https://www.youtube./watch?v=cln7yzu1R7

Sheikh Tausif Ahmed |. (2021, January 13). Why Extracurricular are Activities a Necessity for 

Students? Retrieved February 04, 2021, from 

https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/education/why-extracurricular-activities-a-necessity-fo

r-students-1610555116

Class Survey

Hello, welcome to my weblog! My name is Monica Ritchey. I am from Mentor, Ohio. My preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. I am majoring in Early Childhood Education. I would ideally like to teach 2nd or 3rd grade, but I will be happy to educate any grade level. I hope to make the most of life at John Carroll. I am a proud member of the cheerleading team and the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. I believe these two programs will help keep me involved during this unusual school year. For this course, I have signed up for story time with children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade in order to fulfill my service requirement. I am excited to begin this educational journey next month! 

Family is what matters most to me. I have two loving parents and five older siblings. The link attached leads to the article, Family , put out by the National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments. This helps connect my familial values to issues in education. The reading offers details on how a healthy home life creates a better learning environment. I felt that my home life certainly fostered my academic success. My parents created an environment that pushed education which helped all of my brothers and sisters to graduate from universities and hopefully will assist me in obtaining a degree within the next few years.

In addition, I love animals. My pets matter greatly to me. I currently have four cats, three dogs, and a guinea pig. I adore each of them equally and treat them like they are members of the family. Besides their inherent cute attributes, I also find that my pets help to reduce my anxiety. This is especially needed during times like these. I have attached a link to the article, About Pets and People, written by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This piece details various other health benefits of owning a pet. I think that everyone who can, should own at least one pet because of the happiness it can bring you.

I believe that educational inequality is a significant issue facing the field of education right now. Educational inequality is the unequal dispersal of scholastic resources. This especially affects minority students, thus limiting their academic opportunities. Considering my strong interest in the topic of inequality, I believe that this is a top concern for the education system that should be discussed more in order to find a plausible solution.

Another issue that faces the field of education is the common core put in place in public schools. The common core is a set of standards that educators must follow for teaching and testing in the areas of language arts and mathematics. Many teachers argue that these guidelines are inflexible forcing their lesson plans to be less creative; therefore, less engaging for the student. In addition, the common core does not take into account various students who may take a longer period of time to fully comprehend the material. As a student who went to public school, I did not enjoy these standards because they often resulted in less interesting, more demanding classes. Furthermore, as a future educator, I want to have more freedom to create an interesting and memorable learning experience for my students.

Throughout my years of schooling, I have formulated various lasting and prominent memories. One that stands out is when my English teacher asked my classmates and me what educators we were afraid of. A few of my peers stated certain teachers that they were scared to speak to or ask questions to which saddened my English professor. She explained that we should not feel this way about any teachers and how school should be an open learning environment where students feel welcome and encouraged to learn. These ideas are what I hope to one day implement into my classroom, ensuring that my students feel that they are in a safe, supportive, and comfortable learning environment.

In order to feel comfortable to take intellectual and creative risks in a college classroom, I must feel that there is a limited amount of judgement from the teacher and students. This will help me express my opinions freely and take on new challenges as I see fit, thus benefiting my overall educational experience. Classrooms that have a more open form of learning with facilitated student discussion and debate are where I feel most comfortable especially if a multitude of my classmates are participating.

I am excited for this course and to begin my journey into the world of education! I have no questions about the course at this time, but I was wondering how many cats you have owned? In addition, I was curious as to whether you prefer cats to dogs?

Daisy

Peach

References 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, April 15). About Pets & People. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html#:~:text=There%20are%20many%20health%20benefits,depression%20by%20giving%20us%20companionship.

Family. National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/training-technical-assistance/roles/family.