For my second connection I chose to connect to Shor’s Empower Education. I really connected with his work because I have seen some of the things he has talked about in the classrooms that I tutored in. The first week when I showed up to the school, the math coach told me that the kids I would be working with need help in math. She handed me a folder and told me that this is what I could work on with them. When I opened it up it was a small math game and a big stack of worksheets, they all looked they same but when I looked closer they were all slightly different.
When I started to work with them I decided that I would play the game with them first just to get to know them and see what they know. That game was just simple addition and all they had to do was roll two dice and add them and move that many spaces, then answer the addition problem. I was extremely surprised to see the difficulty they had staying focused and the trouble they had answering the problems in the setting that it was given. After we finished the game I opened the folder to put it way and they saw their worksheets. They begged me for them; I gave them each one worksheet that had the same problems that the game had just a few moments ago. After just five minutes they were already half way done.
This leads me to my quote that triggered this connection; Shor says “ While principals, teachers, and textbooks may lecture students on freedom, non participatory classrooms prepare them for authoritarian work world and political system they will join. In postsecondary education non-participatory classes confirm undemocratic experiences of adults in school and society. Teacher-centered curricula in the classroom and administration-centered power in the school or college reflects the reality of other social institutions. Traditional schools thus prepare students to fit into education and society nit run for them or by them but rather set up for and run by elites.” This to me connected because the kids here are just doing mindless work and when they are put into a different situation where they have to apply these skills in a real world situation like playing a board game they couldn’t recall how to do the same types of problems when they’re not on a worksheet. It was like they forgot everything they knew.
This passive education is preparing them for passive work in the workplace. College classes that are non participatory are not helping. In my own experiences here at Rhode Island College there have been classes that fit into this category. These classes were full of big handouts full of readings and work that would be due that next week and all we would do is packet after packet. In others we would just be looking at a PowerPoint and listen to a monotone voice tell us why it’s important. My point is that I don’t remember a thing from these classes. Professor Bogad had brought it up in class on Thursday that it’s not learning its memorizing and memorizing is not learning. Further more the way this class was run was ideal and I remember almost all the content that was went over because the discussions in class and the reading engrained them into my brain instead of putting them on the surface and memorizing them for a short instance.