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 What is your definition of learning? 
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While reading the first part of the book The Shame of the Nation, many things stuck out to me. However, there was one quote that resonates with me right now. On page 131 a conversation with Dr. Sobol was discussed. One of the things he said was, " Edcuation involves the heart as well as the mind...Learning entails play and risk-taking as well as ordered study...We don't have time for these things anymore."

While reading I was contrasting this idea with the ideas that schools need to be run more like a business. I kept thinking about how different my classroom would look if I did not balance play and learning as a Kindergarten teacher. How else would one of my students who came to me have a chance to decide they wanted to be a teacher and police officer in on day? It was a risk he was taking because he knew last year when he was in Kindergarten there was alot going againest him already.

My message is that I hope we don't take that hope and wonder out of learning for our students. We need to balance what goes on in the classroom. We can't overwhelm our students with too much of one thing. Stress is felt by everyone with mandates are set in stone.

So...a school is a school not a business. It should be some place where children WANT to come and feel safe. Let's not take that completely away from them.


Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:33 pm
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Jenny,
I agree with you so much. School should be a place children want to come and in order to do that, we must make it FUN for them. I know that if they aren't having fun than either am I and what fun is that? I have been doing this for 10 years and the one thing I take great pride in is my students who come back to visit me and they recall how much fun they had in my class.


Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:50 pm
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Yes, a school should be a warm, welcoming, fun place to spend the day learning. Teachers do get creative sometimes with teaching kids, to make learning a fun process, but becoming a "manager" doesn't sound like a fun title for a young kid to have. I felt sorry for those students having teachers that couldn't teach with any emotions throughout the day. How awful it would be to sit and listen to an adult give commands and assignments all day with no laughter, personality, or fun activities going on in the classroom. I felt like the kids in the book probably have a pretty rough home life and struggle from day to day. If anyone needed some positive attention during the day, it would be these particular kids. Since the school administration had come to the conclusion of teaching only the objectives and nothing more in these urban schools, students were being given a diservice from the community. I agree with the fact that if these schools would have been located in a nicer part of town, this type of teaching would not have lasted very long!

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Shea Richey


Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:46 pm
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I totally agree with your comments! Jenny that quote was one that really stuck out in my mind, the "risk taking" that teachers must take in order to provide these children with experiences to learn in their hearts and minds; is so necessary!

The last page (332) also supported this idea, "the opinions of teachers are not frequently solicited by those who set the policies that govern public education. Teachers may have to raise their voices louder if they want their own ideas about these matters to be heard."

As I continue to learn the best ways to teach my students, I am being an advocate for what they need. Being a "newer" teacher, it has taken me a few years to just learn how to be an effective teacher. Now, I am beginning to see that not all actions I'm being told to follow are in the best interests of my children and it is up to ME to use MY voice. Using my voice allows my students' hearts and minds to grow.

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Jessica Denninger


Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:36 pm
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I agree with you as well Jenny. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt at my first back to school meeting four years ago when our superintendent said that school was a business. Children are our product. What in the world is that supposed to mean? I have never felt like teaching school is business. I have always felt that school is just a safe haven where children come to learn.

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~Raye Lynn


Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:21 pm
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weaverrl wrote:
I agree with you as well Jenny. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt at my first back to school meeting four years ago when our superintendent said that school was a business. Children are our product. What in the world is that supposed to mean? I have never felt like teaching school is business. I have always felt that school is just a safe haven where children come to learn.


Well, I don't know if you will laugh or cry (or both?) when you read Dicken's story, "Hard Times." But it is about thinking that children can are products. Is this person still your superintendent?

Certainly, there are "business" aspects of schooling that are very important, just as there are "business" parts of family life that we all have to pay attention to. But can you imagine calling a family itself a business?

Some days I am sure we all wish children could be a product, but to actually think a human being could be a product, and not be joking, is the height of idiocy.

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Gayle Turner


Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:24 am
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