ECS 210 – The World of Montessori Education

In class this week we began discussing many of the very influential people within the history of our profession, and how all these theorists still find their ways into the classrooms of today through influence and power over generations. One particular theorist that has always stood out to me is that of Maria Montessori, and the idea of the Montessori classroom. In a Montessori classroom, the child is seen to be completely in control of their own learning, and is very much based on scientific observations of children, and attempts to develop children in all parts of their world, including social aspects, physical aspects, and emotional aspects.

Many of the things that Maria Montessori stated over her career resonate with my own beliefs of how a classroom should be run, including her quote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher.. is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.” When reading this quote, I immediately thought to how I feel as an educator, that students should be able to lead their own learning and you are there as a guide, which is exactly what this quote is stating. In the Montessori view of a classroom, the teacher’s authority is still present, but not as strong, as we are not there to feed information, but to provide learning tools in order for information to be processed.

As I continue learning and growing as a future teacher, I find myself thinking about how I want my classroom environment to feel someday, and this is exactly it. I want children to feel independent and competent, and know that they are capable of learning whatever they put their minds to!

ECS 210 – Curriculum Theory & the Tyler Rationale

 

As future teachers, we are constantly coming into contact with new information, ways of knowing and teaching, and viewpoints that can all become assets in our future careers, but sometimes we must sit back and think about what all these different viewpoints are truly trying to tell us, and why they are there to begin with.

Within the article discussed this week, the topic of the Tyler Rationale came to the centre of attention. The Tyler Rationale, when defined, is an ordered way of passing curriculum to students in which one must complete a certain task before moving onto the next one, and so forth. This is something I definitely experienced on a daily basis during my own school career, and is actually quite common in most classrooms. An example could be a student completing a test, and once they are done the first page, they must bring it up to the teacher to receive the next page. Some subjects, such as English and History tended to be less sequential, when others, such as Math, were set up and taught in a way that it would be very difficult to learn the concepts if not completed in this manner.

When looking at limitations of the Tyler Rationale, many topics and problems come to mind, beginning with the issue of learning styles. Depending on the student, everyone has their own personal learning style, or the style of teaching that they seem to find to work better for them and lead them to more success than others. When the Tyler Rationale is then applied to a classroom, making the lesson follow a mannerly, restrictive order, some students may feel that this is limiting their learning, since they possibly prefer to begin to understand the topic from the top and break it down into smaller pieces, rather than the ladder.

But, on the other hand, many benefits to this system can also be seen, such as the ability for teachers who use this system to always have an orderly teaching plan on hand, and know exactly how they will lay the class out, and when each subtopic will be discussed. Another benefit is the predictability of how classes will turn out, and what to expect of students during a certain week. This type of predictability and readiness for a teacher is super attractive, since classroom planning does not always go as planned, or as orderly as one may want.

As we advance farther and farther towards are teaching careers, I believe that considering and analyzing the benefits and problems of different styles of teaching and classroom systems is very important to our growth and development, since we must learn that our own personal viewpoints on how a classroom should be set up are not the only viewpoints in our community, and all must be considered and respected.

ECS 210 – First Blog Post/Article Response

This week in class we were assigned to read a document by Kumashiro on the topic of common sense and the problems that follow it within the world of Education, as well as the general population. Kumashiro generally defines the idea of common sense as the regular and expected algorithm of life and social norms specific to a certain group of people – whether that be by race, gender, culture, social class, or, in the context of this article, by school community and where that school is located.

Within the article, Kumashiro takes us through their journey of becoming a teacher in a country and a school community foreign to them, and how the social norms and “common sense” that they brought along from the US ended up clashing with that of the common sense of their new students, causing a culture shock to both the students as well as Kumashiro. Their understandings of how a school day works were based around how they came to know a regular school day in the US, which their students did not agree with, as in their school, it seemed that everything was very standardized and based solely around testing.

I believe it is important that us as future teachers deeply understand the idea of common sense and how there is more than one singular “common sense” in our world, and how these common senses plays a role in our lives as teachers in an ever growing multicultural society not just within our classrooms, but also our greater communities. I believe that this is important since, just as in Kumashiro’s abroad experience, our own biases and “common senses” are constantly being tested by our students as well as our future colleagues upon the basis of all of our own differing upbringings, and we will have to know how to work around this and find a way to provide the best education for our students that we can without disrupting their own environments and causing oppression on certain groups of students, or, in contrary, we must know how to work with our future learners and colleagues to build a curriculum and way of learning and using “common sense” that everyone can understand, as well as putting our focus onto anti-oppressive education.