Classroom Control

” Schools serve the same social functions as prisons and mental institutions- to define, classify, control, and regulate people.”  -Michel Foucault

I found this quote when I was looking up different theorists and I found it to be extremely blunt, invasive, and quite intriguing.  Even though this quote may not point you in the right direction as to how you should change things in the education world, but it points you away from what you do not want to be as an educator.  When I started thinking about this quote, it made me reflect on my own experience in education.  It reminded me of all the times that I failed, or the times where I did not agree with what I was being taught.  Sometimes it makes me think that the best way some teachers could push progress on us was by making sure we knew about our failures as a student.  The idea that fear of not being normal may have been enough to just push us through the system. 

Teacher’s have one of the hardest jobs out there.  They are responsible for teaching certain curriculum and material that is given to them from above and can find the ways to teach that information in the most efficient and diverse ways depending on how each student learns.  And it is the student’s job to understand and develop the skills that each lesson has to offer.  The interaction that happens in the middle is the most important part of it all.  Teachers and students need to have the ability to grow relationships, trust, and understanding of one another to grow and develop as individuals.

The Tyler Rationale

I grew up with the idea that success in the classroom meant you received a better mark on the test than your friend next to you.  It was simple to measure success when it came in the form of a percentage.  The development of a student’s confidence in the classroom was usually dependant on the marks that they received on those important tests, and that would lead them down very different paths.  I remember sitting in my grade five or six class, watching our teacher stress about the importance of the standardized test as she preached and paced across the room.  Among the pressure she put on us to remember specific answers and equations, was a true lack of understanding. I did not know why we were learning about each of those topics, but I knew they were important for the standardized test we were going to be taking part of.  I believe that young students need to understand the reason as to why they are learning the subjects and topics that are being covered because it gives them reason to pay attention and focus.

There are many limitations to the Tyler Rationale.  One of them would be the focus on the objectives, compared to the focus on the student.  When the focus is based on the substance of the topic, there is a lack of experience between the teacher and student, which usually results in the student losing their opinion and voice in the process.  Another limitation is the focus on measurable outcomes.  Once a teacher has stopped focusing on the experience of the student and the development of the student as a whole and creates an enviroment that allows all actions and results to be measured, they will have lost the connection to the classroom.  This will affect students’ abilities to feel like they can speak freely or share opinions without being graded or judged.  This method ultimately makes it impossible for students to be graded and acknowledged for their own personal growth throughout the class because they are constantly being compared to the expectations of the outcomes.

The potential benefits of the Tyler Rationale are that it is a good tool for teachers to see the end goal and have a direction in which they can focus the class.  This allows them to be able to organize and develop plans that have direction, but they should not fear the unexplored area around the various topics, that allow the students to feel like they can explore ideas of their own.  I believe that is important for students because it can develop their ability to pursue ideas and information on their own, compared to being forced towards one direction of learning.  I believe that there are good aspects of the Tyler Rationale that should be taken into consideration when preparing the class objectives and goals, but the teacher needs to remain the voice and leader of the classroom, that allows their children to grow and develop in their own way.

Common Sense

Kumashiro describes common sense in a way that most people would not understand until they get the opportunity to read his point of view.  Every person has their own opinion of what common sense is, and it usually only applies to that one person’s beliefs.  We live in a world that is structured and explained to us, only by the morals and beliefs of those who are in power and have the status to create our common sense. He uses examples comparing our way of living compared to those of other countries.  It is our belief, people of the North American lifestyle, to believe that whatever we are doing here is correct and common sense. 

As a white, heterosexual male born into a middle-class family, everything that I have learned and been exposed to in life has been created for people exactly like me.  I have not been exposed to oppression or been treated incorrectly solely on the person I am.  It is very important for me to challenge what I have been taught as common sense because my views have been shaped by the people in power who have had the same privileges that I have had.  This chapter has brought attention to the unseen oppression that many people live with everyday and are taught to accept.  Kids at a young age are pushed through a system with a goal of molding them into a “contributing citizen” in a world that has already set the boundaries and limits to what they are capable of.  As an aspiring educator, it should be my goal to challenge those limits and allow children to develop without having the pressure to be anyone else but themselves.