Ayers Chapter 3
1.) Ayers essentially explains that the classroom is the foundation framework in which a student learns and grows. The classroom is an enviornment and every environment has ideas or beliefs worked up in them weither they are self consciously placed in there or not. The Enviornment tells the students what to do. The classroom environment as ayeres states makes the impression upon students and kids that it is a crowded scenario in the sense that students are among many other people those of their peers and those older than them who have authority over them. There is no privacy or individuality to it. Kids understand these fundamental concepts of school as they experience it. It is a system that is broken up into different classes where they learn different things from different people and is divided into a 9 month unit span of time per year. It is very time and calendar based. Students start to realize that wisdom and fundamental learning comes with age rather than lessons. Ayeres addresses the significant differences between practices in teacher and classroom environment from younger grades in elementary school to middle school and high school. Ayeres states by middle school students are traveling from class to class in 40 minute intervals being taught by specialists in specific fields for certain subjects. It furthermore makes the world of learning a punctual and systematic process for students to go through the motions. The ridged structure of this process seems almost fundamentally opposite of what learning is suppose to be. Ayeres describes how the classroom for the younger elementary student is an environment for discovery and experiment. He talks about prop boxes and other miscellaneous items that are relevant to the students learning followed by the statement “Explore Experiment!” By presenting this information Ayeres shows how students learn and grow from visualizing the concepts they are learning and making connections by things they use in hands on activities. A classroom provides that environment where a student can use these tools to make connections and learn. Ayeres continues to elaborate on this concept and idea by explaining how his son learned how to say his first word “ball” His son loved running across the kitchen floor after tennis balls or marbles. Through hands on activities and at some point hearing the word ball his son was able to make the connection and learned to pronounce the word ball purely through experiences and hands on functions. Ayeres also mentions this important concept to the learner. The student/learner would like to know and understand the relevance in what they’re learning. Ayere basically compares the concepts of learning how to swim or ride a bike to lectures on the principles of the gyroscope or biology of a fish. This is important because students show more of an interest and effort when told the relevance or importance of a subject matter. This can be tricky because a lot of subject matter is subjective when it comes to importance or relevance.
2.) A music classroom could exemplify creativity, exploration and student interest in the following ways: Much like what was observed during the winterim partnership experience the elementary classroom was vibrant in colors with posters of everything from instrumental families in the music world to music time periods. Several posters showed the instrumental families such as brass, woodwind, string and percussion. The music time periods were reflected in Baraoque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century. Having these things present in a classroom might provoke interest in some students just by the virtue of the fact those are on the wall and a students eye might wonder over to it during the lesson. Additionally fun posters with basic rhythms and clef/staff explanations might also catch the students attention in which case a student might make the connection of what’s on the wall in the classroom to what is possibly being taught during a lesson. Just like in the Ayeres chapter prop boxes are accessible to students during the classroom where students can explore and encage in hands on activities with the small musical instruments provided in the prop boxes. This can exemplify both the conceptual/visual learning process students need to make connections about the lesson being taught and it’s relevance but also provide the creative outlet for students to try new things with fundamentals they learned in the lesson. This might motivate students to want to learn more because if they learn a rhythm or a tonal scale pattern in a music lesson and try something on the wooden blocks or small keyboard in the classroom this might present them with curiosity on how to do something else with those musical tools. Students are always asking questions and are always growing as learners.
3.) These are fantastic concepts being addressed Ayeres chapters and really challenge the aspect of standardized learning but what might be a difficult thing to do is implement these things into he every day lesson/classroom. How is the teacher, staff, and curriculum suppose to incorporate a creative process into their lesson plan? And how would each student be able to execute this in only a 40 minute time frame in a seven day week?
Could the teacher allow students to ask more questions? Would it be challenging to encourage students to ask questions and how would the teacher and curriculum provoke thoughts and questions from the student?
“Seeing the Student”
The chapter begins with a very important question of how the teacher views their students with following words such as “half civilized barbarians”, “a collection of deficits” “IQ’s or averages” and begs the question “What hopes do they bring?” As a youth, one can speak to this much more keenly way specifically because we have the best memory of being in the shoes of the very young student and in real time being a current student still learning. The perspective is completely different. As a student in a class you see your fellow peers as people who have not learned concepts or ideas/life lessons that you have not either. In some cases you see each other as equals with the same task at hand. To absorb and and grow. To see the view and perspective from the teacher is essentially flipping the table. The teacher is the aged experienced person who has gone through the motions of a student and is now the giver of knowledge rather than the receiver. It is more difficult for the teacher to remember what was like to be the learner the older they are. This might provide a bit of a disconnect. Additionally there is that question if someone is culturally deprived. This begs the question of what that means exactly and any form of ethnic discrimination or misunderstanding there is in the classroom. This chapter also addresses a very important point that as a society we feel the need to cling to and jump to as a conclusion immediately label students. Some specifically being talented and gifted and others as high risk or high needs. Immediately we are making assumptions about students and putting them into categories and almost making a filing system out of people. Seems completely out of place for a humanities and social science practice. The author follows this up by addressing the important things of strengths and weakness a student may posses using themselves as an example. Stating things like, I’m lousy at chess or can’t reap are their own refrigerator and there strengths would be good at baking. The point is labeling the incompetencies of a student does not help reflect their interests or their strengths. If anything it provides a counter productive way of having a student grow. Two things Ayers touches upon that one can attest too in a personal sense are the two following things. With tests and grades students are inherently constantly compared. In school from elementary to high school I found it to be one of the most frustrating and emotionally discouraging things to find myself consistently below the bell curve of tests and seeing my peers always performing on tests better than myself. It made me search for what I was good at a strength and passion I cared for and could understand. One of the reasons I gravitated towards music. The other thing Ayers addresses is that the lesson plan is a linear and only one way type of process every single day. Any student can vouch that a lesson plan on certain topics or just in general can get monotonous and boring which leads to lack of interest and absorption of material. A very important aspect Ayers touches upon is the importance of not having any form of discrimination as this would prevent any progress in the world of learning for teacher and student. This by itself throws the way of the concept of assumptions about students and pre existing assumptions about students. Ayers transitions into the topic of understanding a student and getting to know their past or their personality as this will provide a platform in which the teacher can use to help the student lean and grow even more. If the teacher understands the student more, the more the teacher can learn to teach the student to learn. Ayer expands on this idea and brings it to the front of the parents. He states that schools are viewed as typically unwelcoming to parents. Much can be gained from information from the parents about their child. This can help the teacher understand why a student may have the strengths and weaknesses they do. The parents provide part of the insight of what goes on outside the classroom for the student. This is key to helping students even more. Finally Ayer talks about observations and staff being involved if the teacher does observations and collects data on the student/ students the staff can now create a frame work in which they can now approach to new staff development and policy making. This of course would lead to better practices in the system of the whole school.