Monday, March 28, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude, Patrick J. Finn


"Working class children with varying degrees of opposition identity resist school through means reminiscent of the factory shop floor-slowdowns, strikes, sabotage and occasionally open confrontation. The result is the "pretend-school model" Teachers ask little of students in return for enough cooperation to maintain the appearance of conducting school"

I couldn't help but compare this quote to the classroom I am completing my service learning in. To me this meant that Finn was comparing the resistance within classrooms to those in factories performed in strikes and in person battles. I interpreted that the pretend school model is when a classroom is set up to look like ideals classrooms with ideal informative and helpful teachers and behaved, engaged students. In order for the classrooms to look like this, the teachers lower their expectations to keep the students at a "happy" or maintained level. They do this by lowering their standards as teachers and expectations from their students just so they don't get out of hand. In the classroom I assist, I see this happening every week. Often, a teacher will try to promote the work to a student with intensives at hand, persuading them to cooperate just so the environment will appear stable. I agree with Finn completely when saying this is not the path we need to take as educators. I believe a teacher should praise the student when the student truly deserves said praise, after providing them with the same educational opportunities and assignments that a "higher-class" student would receive. 

"The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the people who will benefit from the change."

This quote made me think about the education school here at RIC and our FNED class in particular. According to RIC, our Schooling in a Democratic Society classroom is described as "An interdisciplinary approach is used to examine the social and cultural forces that affect schools. Attention is given to diversity and equity." Although I am early in my journey through the education courses thus far, I have already learned an overwhelming amount of teaching approaches and considerations in this course. With this at hand, I imagined what our curriculum would look like taking away the exposure to these cultural and multi-privileged classrooms and further more how much this context will improve the next generation of teachers pushed out into the world. I questioned if every college education curriculum included courses such as FNED and Educational Psychology. On my first day of my service learning, the teacher asked me if I saw myself wanting to teach in a classroom with the same background information as the one I was in. I related this experience to this quote, questioning if those with power would refuse to participate in a service learning act such as this if given the opportunity to. I wondered if having the power to make changes would truly take "too much energy" from them. I finally asked myself, if the powerful were exposed to some of the things us in FNED 346 were, would they then feel the push to make the change? Is it that they're too comfortable, or too uninformed? 

Defined Words:
Have Nots: an individual or group that is without wealth, social position, or other material benefits


  1. CAllie! great blog post ! my favorite is that photo !!! when I had taken a gender class in the past , I came across that photo right there and it had such an impact on me, I am not sure I would have been able to bully appreciate it had my eyes not been opened to things my mind knew but could not quite name :)

  2. Great blog Callie. I thought quotes were great for this article because there were many different points that were presented and needed to be talked about. I liked how you talked about our classroom and the society of democratic schools.