Dozens of Hispanic children complained that they were being excluded from their classrooms after successfully enrolling at schools in Long Island, NY. They were told there was not enough space or teachers for them and were sent home after signing in for attendance. The state issued new legal guidance reguarding enrollment on Friday.
You can read more at the article posted here.
For weeks now, Colorado high school students have been protesting over a school board member who made a proposal saying that AP history classes should promote “patriotism and…the benefits of of the free-enterprise system” and should not “encourage or condone civil disorder.” Students were saying they did not want their history censored.
You can find the article here
I believe that I have more anxieties directed towards policy and advocacy. I believe that many people today lack the knowledge of many policies and information that will effect their lives. Many people take the word of the government without doing their own research and coming to their own conclusions. The government does not always inform its citizens and it seems that younger generations are ignoring big issues in the world. We need to become informed to current issues and come together to make a change. Fukushima is both a passion and an anxiety of mine. I do not know everything about the disaster, but I have spent a lot of time following the news over this past year. Very little is being said here, yet it seems to be a great issue in many other countries. There could be devastating, lasting effects from Fukushima and it would affect our children and families for many years to come. We need to inform ourselves of this issue so we can do our best to protect ourselves as well as future generations. We need to come together, as nations, to come up with a solution for this issue that is currently out of control.
The article discusses how media and screen technology is affecting children in today’s society. Children are using screens somewhere around 4o hours a week and parents are not realizing the harmful effects it has on their children. Many parents don’t realize the harmful effects of screen time because they are not immediate. It was explained that many parents don’t feel like the effort they have to put in is worth it because the decline in school performance and other problems are so gradual that it is almost unnoticeable. Doctors recommend that children 2 years old and above should be limited to 1 to 2 hours of screen time a day and no more. When children are getting many more hours, it causes problems with academics, obesity, sleep schedules, and behavior. The study done by Iowa State University found that limiting screen time indirectly affected BMI. When screen time is limited, children exhibit better school performance, get more sleep, among other health benefits.
This article is relevant in today’s society because technology is becoming increasingly available to the general public. I remember that I was not allowed to have a cell phone until freshman year of high school and now there are many elementary aged children with smart phones and, even younger, toddlers with tablets. There are many dvd’s and tablet apps that are geared towards parents with children as a learning tool. It is convenient to let your child be immersed in screen technology because the parent knows where their child is and that the child is staying out of trouble, but they cannot see the harmful effects the screen time has on the child. I believe that parents should be informed through research of their own or by their pediatrician so that their children can lead a healthier lifestyle. We are aware that too much screen time for adults is not healthy, so why are we letting our children spend 40 plus hours looking at a screen?
– Taylor Hilton, April 3, 2014
The article I read, Three Approaches from Europe: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia, was an overview of those three models. I liked how the articles were able to give an overview of the three models so that people who were unaware of what each model represented could get a general idea. However, I read it as my third article when I wish I read it as my first. That way I could see from the beginning that Montessori might not have been right for me. In addition, the article talked about the similarities between each model and at some points it got a little confusing because they started to all sound the same.
I joined the Waldorf group during the discussion and we talked about how Waldorf was co-educational, open to children of all backgrounds, and independent of external control. This was unheard of at that time when it started. We discussed how it focused around art and story telling, music, play, etc. which in turn helps children focus on motivation and concentration. One group member said they thought it was really interesting that the children made their own textbooks. I really enjoy this school model and would like to keep researching it.
There were quite a few people who read about the Waldorf curriculum, so we split up into two groups to discuss it. I read the article “Holistic Education and the Brain: A Look at Steiner-Waldorf Education” by Abigail Larrison, which researches the effectiveness of the Waldorf teaching method in comparison to a regular public school. It was noted that younger students did poorly on tests because they were not focused on academics early on, but by the time they were 13 or 15 years old they were doing just as well, if not better than, the other school studied. It was also discussed that there is potential to reduce the rate of ADHD in children who attend a Waldorf school because they are able to develop their basal ganglia more by not focusing on academcis too early on. This is the area of the brain that focuses on attention and motivation. They made it appear that children are being pushed into academics too early and it has a negative effect on their learning.
The discussion with my group found that the Waldorf approach seems to be focused around caring and story-telling. The teachers are supposed to be like another parent to the child and one group member thought that was inappropriate. You also have the same teacher for something around 8 years. This is an interesting concept. I am unsure of how I feel about that as a future teacher. It sounds nice to watch the children grow through the education you provide for them, but I’m not sure if I want to do something like that. I do like that the early years focus more on arts and story-telling before they get into math and sciences. They focus on concrete learning before going into abstract concepts. I like most aspects to the Steiner-Waldorf Education and would like to read more about it later in the semester.
I read The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori and found that I really did not know that much about it. We discussed in groups and my group seemed to all come to the conclusion that Montessori is a little too structured for our tastes. One group member is not a child development major and it was interesting to see her point of view on the teaching theories. She had a hard time distinguishing the differences in the beginning. I liked how Montessori catered to an individual child letting them take as long as they need, but it seemed as if there was only one right way to do things. There are certain steps when taking out an activity and there is only one answer a child can reach. I prefer something a little less structured, letting the child discover things their own way. I really liked how the activities reflected real life tasks, like polishing silver. I like being able to connect learning experiences to real life. Overall I think this style of learning would suit some children well, but I might choose a different approach in my style of teaching.