What we'll do today in class:
- Discuss issues from online education sites
- Generate more educational topics
- Discuss Sizer and Gatto
Connection to course goals: The first activity helps generate issues appropriate for the Essay 4 context from the online education discussions. Sizer and Gatto will be another way of generating issues, and will also encourage turning the critical eye we worked on in Unit 2 upon the institution of education.
- Discuss issues found at the online discussion sites.
- What issues did you notice within these online discussions?
- Who was talking about these issues? Did you get a sense of who the people were? What they're interested in and why?
- Discussion (group or class-wide) of main points in Gatto and Sizer to bring out new issues you can add to the list you generated on Thursday.
- You can prepare a list of questions to discuss as a class, or design a group activity that will get students to discuss the essays and generate issues.
- Make sure someone is keeping track of possible issues
- Also, feel free to ask students for personal connections to these issues
- (NOTE: Your goal in this discussion is simply to generate as many potential issues as possible. To that end, generate issues directly from the essays but also feel free to use them as a spring-board to other experiences students have had and other topics the discussion generate.)
- For example, if you get to a general topic, perhaps grades, encourage students to generate more narrow issues (what effect do grades have on students' learning? Do grades actually measure learning?) and to share their own views of and experiences with grades.
Some possible points from each essay (but there are many more)
- "I don't teach English; I teach school"
- Gatto's "seven lessons"
- "central control" of U. S. "requires compulsory schooling"
- What school is supposed to do vs. what it really does
- Connections between the things you learn in different courses (or lack thereof)
- Compare Gatto's ideas with Sizer's for similarities and differences.
- They are discovering gradations of difference between positions that are more complex than "for" or "against" something.
- What does each writer believe is the (unacknowledged) purpose of school?
- Challenge these notions -- as Gatto said, few people even in the field of education can conceive of alternatives, so what do we do?
- Again, encourage students to make a personal connection here
- Assign groups for the topic presentations on Thursday. They'll be broken into five groups, with one group reading 2 essays.
(NOTE: You'll probably want to assign groups for this activity. Don't necessarily put all the brighter students together, or anything that extreme. But make sure you've got some groups that won't complain about reading two essays, or having to read the longest essay)
- Group Instructions:
- Read your assigned essay
- Tomorrow you'll present:
- A brief summary of the essay's main points
- A list of 5-10 issues that you found in the essay that could serve as a focus for Essay 4.
- A brief reaction to the issues you found most interesting. Try to think of yourselves as trying to persuade people to write these issues. Perhaps think about why the author thinks this issue is especially important or interesting.
- Your presentation should be about 5 minutes. I WILL STOP YOU AT 5 MINUTES, SO MAKE IT BRIEF.
- You'll have 5-10 minutes to meet at the beginning of tomorrow's class to put together your presentation.
- Let the groups meet for 5 minutes or so during today's class to organize. They might want one or two people to focus on summary, and one or two to focus on generating issues.
Your assigned essay
RC, Moffatt, "How College Students Choose Majors", p. 124
PHG, Estrich, p. 389 AND PHG, Ehrenreich, p.151
PHG, Petrie, p. 37
PHG, Postman, p. 394
PHG, Tannen, p. 480
Summary or list of issues - what your group agrees on in preparation for presentation.