As I described in my previous post, last Thursday in my Writing in the Disciplines class, my students explored their touchstones as writers. I’ve written about my own touchstones elsewhere and have connected those to some broader contemporary contentions about writing instruction in the era of Common Core. But in the past week, it’s been snowing like nobody’s business, so we’re using this venue to begun a discussion via comments to this post.
We’ve been reading what Mike Rose has to say in Why School: Reclaiming Education for All of Us about the touchstones in the history of public education in our democracy. Students have been collecting what they see as the most compelling sentences in each chapter of his book. (They only get to choose one per chapter, and that’s a challenge because there are so many!)
So hey, CO301D gang,through your comments below, we’re going to build that discussion about the function of education in creating our democracy:
- Before you write anything, look back over all the sentences you’ve collected from the Introduction-Ch. 8 and all the passages you charted for your most recent homework for Chapters 10, 12, 13, and the Conclusion. (Remember, we skipped Chapters 9 & 11.) Try to identify some patterns or some key ideas in these sentences and passages that seem to hang together.
- Then, in the Comments section, respond to these questions:
- Take ONE sentence or a passage. What’s it nested in (i.e., what’s happening in the passage around it?)? → Where does the crux of his argument appear in the chapter in relation to the role of education in developing our democracy? What strikes you about the arc of his argument and the techniques he’s used to develop it?
- As you think back over all the sentences and passages you’ve collected from Why School?, what do they reveal about Rose’s view on our nation’s touchstone beliefs in the purpose of public education over time and in this moment in our history? What do you notice about HOW he builds his argument?
- Now try to connect those touchstones to your own teaching. I know it can be a little odd to think about your day-to-day work in the classroom as playing a part in developing an educated citizenry, but students spend more of their waking hours in school than anywhere else. Given that fact, what will you DO as a teacher (as in, really specific things you will do with your students in your classroom on a moment-to-moment basis) to support them in constructing a world that you (and those that you matter in your life) can thrive in? As you write, try to do so using the kind of detail Rose uses to convey what teaching and learning look like/sound like/feel like in the classroom.
3. Once you’ve posted your comments to those questions, we’ll use them as catalysts to begin our discussion.