Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Talking Points #4: Kohl and Kohn


While reading Herbert Kohl's article "I Won't Learn From You!" and Alfie Kohn's arcticle "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job'", I did a lot of thinking about the experiences that I've had so far during Service Learning. The most important message from Kohl's article was that there's a big difference between failure and refusal or unwillingness to learn. In my service learning classroom, there's a particular student that I see getting in trouble every single week. In fact, this past week he walked outside of the school in the middle of the day and nobody could find him. When he was finally found, his reasoning for leaving the building was because he "wanted to play outside". I see him acting up in class all the time, and he never answers the teachers questions when he's called upon. In his case, I've come to find that he refuses to learn or behave because he gets attention for it. I'm not sure if he's getting a lot of attention at home or not, but it seems like he'd rather receive negative attention than no attention at all. I don't think he's actually incapable of doing what the other students are doing, I just think he wants more attention than the rest of the class. Also, after reading Aflie Kohn's article I decided to change the way I complimented the students on their work. At first, I was always saying "good job" whenever the students would show me their work, and I really did start to notice that they were becoming "praise junkies". They just wanted me to tell them that they did a good job, no matter how well they actually did. Students were constantly asking me how their work was and wanted approval. After reading the article, I stopped saying "good job". I started simply saying "you did it" or "that's right", or I'd ask the students what their favorite part about their work was. This honestly seemed to work much better. They were no longer constantly asking me how they were doing, they just accepted that they did it, and completed things the way that they considered their best. Both of these articles are great reads for future teachers. because clearly they are things that happen frequently in the field. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Talking Points #6 Kahne and Westheimer

"In The Service of What?"

ARGUEMENT: Kahne and Westheimer argue that "while service learning advocates rush to forge coalitions and find a shared vocabulary that accommodates multiple agendas and while practitioners and researchers begin to work on difficult implementation and evaluation issues, educators from schoolhouse to university to state house are neglecting to answer the most fundamental question: In the service of what?

       Kahne and Westheimer want the readers to understand the impact and more importantly the purpose of service learning. What service is actually being done? What do the students learn from their experiences and what exactly does service learning do? They want students to become pro-active instead of reactive. Going out and volunteering for something is great, but what the students did in Ms. Adams' classroom was exceptional. They completely submerged themselves into the topic of homelessness, helped the homeless community, and the students also gained a ton more knowledge than if they were to just go volunteer in a soup kitchen. Volunteering is important, but service learning is supposed to not only benefit people in the community but also be a learning experience for students. They learned new things about the subject every day in class, and then got to actually initiate change and created a plan to solve a problem in the community. Volunteering teaches civic duty and empathy, while service learning teaches students to identify and respond to problems at hand and the factors leading up to them. Instead of making service learning projects about charity, teachers should be more concerned with making their projects about change. If students were given the right information and tools to create change, their communities could be improved greatly.