Learning to be a Teacher

This week I was asked to read some more of Kumashiro’s book Common Sense. He described three different programs that produce teachers. The one I relate to most is teacher as researcher. All throughout my university experience my professors have been telling us to be lifelong learners – exactly what Kumashiro described. 

He did say a couple really intriguing things in this chapter that i though i would share with you all. He states that “learning the basics of teaching does not precede learning about oppression in teaching, therefore, teacher research that does not interrupt the oppressions already in play may reinforce the very practices that are problematic.” I don’t know about you but i think he nailed that.

One last thing that caught my attention was “by assuming that the problem is a lack of knowledge on part of teachers, fail to address ways in which both our teaching and research consist of desire to repeal oppressive practices.”

What do you think of those quotes. Do you think he is right? 

A History Of Education (Painter)

I’ve been asked to read this text, and answer the question of how race is defined. Now this text is from 1886, so the views obviously are a little different. What I found most prominent was the authors use of “mankind” rather than the human race. It seems as though any reference to an person or to humans was referred to as man. Which has been something that has obviously changed over the years promoting gender equality.

However I also think that race is referring to individual people groups. He mentions the “Mongolian race” at one point, to distinguish how different cultures, which is the word i believe would suit better, learn and are taught. I think that teachers in this time period were being taught to distinguish by race, and to teach each people group (or their own people group, “culture”) in a specific way, not necessarily similar to any other group. I think this really causes division in the world as a whole if we are all taught to think of our own culture as radically different than the next.

Thankfully, this view, at least in North America, has changed drastically with inclusive education and culture awareness. It’s embraced rather than the cause for division and difference.

What are your thoughts? Is this what Painter meant by “race”? What are the effects of teaching teachers to think in this way? 

Common Sense

I don’t know about anyone else, but I was overwhelmed with thoughts after reading just the introduction of Kumashiro’s book Against Common Sense.

He defines common sense as a way that our society views teaching and learning, though those views may be oppressive in nature. However, he also states that “common sense does not tell us that this is what schools could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing.” (Kumarshiro, 2009, xxxiv). When I read this I feel as though we can accomplish nothing. It’s common sense to run your own classroom the way all the other teachers do, making sure the students are taught what they need to be taught.

It’s so important to pay attention to common sense because that is the norm. That is what our society and education system bases their foundation on. The “insistence that we “use our common sense” is really an insistence that we view things as some in our society have traditionally viewed things and want to continue viewing things.” (Kumashiro, 2009, xxxvi). If this is common sense, how does one change it?

Kumashiro, K. K. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice. New York, NY: Routledge