Sunday, November 07, 2010

Reforming Education?

Here is an excerpt from one of my current projects, on education:


I had some interesting interactions in my program that caused me to pause and try to make sense of the field into which I was heading. I was unable at the time however to gain proper perspective. One of the situations was in my class about how to teach second language learners as we call them. California especially, but other states as well have a plethora of students from a number of countries, speaking a number of languages. This poses a challenge for the teacher obviously because in any given class there may be a large proportion of students who did not grow up speaking English, and who's parents also do not speak the common tongue of this nation. In my student teaching experience, I taught a group of students who were entirely made up of second language learners. It was interesting trying to teach about the history of 20th century America while my students had trouble understanding .

    Anyways, my professor was a woman who hailed from Argentina, but had since gained a college education in the United States through a doctorate program. She was the mother of two high school students at a local school. There were several things that bothered me about her and the class. The first was that she was never on time. It was normal for us students to be assembled in the class before she arrived and then took a few minutes to set up. She dismissed this as cultural, explaining that in Argentina no one is ever on time. Interesting. The next thing that piqued my attention was that she regularly denounced the American education system as unfair for immigrants and even extended it to the nation as a whole. I found this difficult to swallow as she herself was the product of the American college system had held lofty degrees and positions in education. Furthermore she drove a luxury SUV and her daughters attended what was commonly accepted as the bourgeois high school in the area. She was always adorned with jewelry and dressed in fashionable clothes. She seemed to embody the American dream and not the American nightmare she was selling. I was getting confused.

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