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EDUC 2120-Dr.

Stinson Fall 2013 Breauna Hale Reflective Essay November 12, 2013 I have always heard the saying Reading is fundamental, which I never really had a chance to agree with because I never read a book and got so much from it that it changed my way of thinking. Today, after reading Dewey, Freire, and Ladson-Billings, I have a new perspective and now know that reading is truly fundamental. These authors all discuss a topic I hold very close to my heart; education. Education is an important factor in my life because I have always been good at it and plan to expand my knowledge inside of the education system as an educator. These readings all pointed out major points and key ideas that I personally fell every educator should read before entering the classroom. Helping us understand progressive education, the act of oppression, and the importance of understanding culture inside the classroom, Dewey, Freire, and Ladson-Billings left their mark in the world of education. In John Deweys Experience and Education, he discusses traditional versus progressive education. Traditional education, as stated by Dewey, imposes standards, subject-matter, and methods upon who are only growing slowly toward maturity.(Dewey, p.5) While on the other hand, progressive education consists more of learning through experience. Although throughout the text Dewey makes it clear that he is not downing one type of education and taking the side of the other, it seems as if he favors progressive education. Though he does seem to favor progressive education, he points out clear issues that are present in this form of education as well. The thought of learning through experience offers a chance for both teachers and students to

learn in the classroom because one can learn from being taught or just observing the experiences of the other, but the importance of the freedom that is present inside the classroom has to be clearly understood and respected. Freires Pedagogy of the Oppressed focuses more on the problem with the relationships inside the school. The oppression of the students by the teachers is one of the points that he expands upon. Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor.(p.72) Freire says this to show that education isnt a two way street. The learning process is very one sided. The teachers teach the students without allowing the students to offer in knowledge that they may have or thoughts that way want to express. This also, like the type of system and teaching that goes on in the school is a major problem in th school that was present in the past ad is still present today. Gloria Ladson Billings took a more specific route in her text. In her book The Dreamkeepers, she discusses the past and present situation of African American education and the problems within the teaching of African American children. Billingss talks about her study which sets out to show which methods are ineffective or proven less effective than others in the teaching of African American children. The strategies offered in this book could prove helpful in assisting many teachers in understanding what they should do as future or present teachers of African American children. Also, I feel that Billings took a powerful stance and was an appropriate candidate to write the text, being that she is an African American woman, who is a scholar, teacher, and a mother. The way that Billings admits that this text does not follow the norm make her text stand out even more. Saying, Because of my decision to write in this way I break at least two scholarly conventions. First, I diminish the primacy of objectivity as I write both my own life and memories as an African American student and of the lives and experiences

of this group of methodologically messy as I discuss issues at both the classroom level and the school level. (Billings, p. xi) She is not afraid to take a chance in order to voice her opinion and hopefully spark a change in the way that teachers teach African American children. All of these authors are taking a stand and voicing their opinions, which are all agreeable thoughts, about issues in the education system. Dewey, Freire, and Billings all state the problem and offer up possible solutions to these problems, but all take time to state that they are not trying to go against any one or thing. While Dewey focuses more on the type of teaching methods and the type of learning that is best, traditional and progressive, Friere and Billings seem to focus more on the teachers and what they could do differently and the things that teachers have done in the past and present time that just isnt effective for the students. Then, there is another separation when Billings focuses mainly on a certain type of students. The separation between the ideas that the authors pose is because of the changes that they are trying to bring about. In my eyes, it seems as if Dewey is trying to change the schooling system, including the practices and approach towards teaching as a whole in the school, Freire wants to change the student and teacher relationship, with the teachers seeing the students as human beings and not as objects, and Billings wants to change the failure or low standings that is present in the education with African American children by offering new techniques to teachers. Going into the field of education, I never thought about the negatives in education. I always just thought Im going to get into the classroom and teach and be good at it. Now that I have read these texts, I know that without having read them I wouldnt have half of the potential that I have now. Initially, before reading these books, I went into schools as just an observant of how teachers teach, but after the readings, my whole observation status took a turn. I was able to recognize things that I knew I didnt want to do, techniques I wanted to make sure that I didnt

use and Techniques that I definitely wanted to use. I had a different way in which I perceived the teacher, students, and classroom. The teachers I looked at with hope, that they too share a passion for teaching and interests in what is best for the students. The students I looked at as intellectuals, not just children, but as humans who also have knowledge, from which I could also learn a few things. The way of thinking was heavily impacted by the readings of these texts.