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Reading Response: Part III

Who are our Students and what do they need?

Depending on success
I found the chapter depending on success incredibly frustrating. I can feel Susan Parks
struggle with the system. We all know that the education system has many flaws and injustices,
but there is still so much we can do to work towards change. I almost feel like she surrendered
to the difficulty, and decided not to try anymore. When she did the group work with students and
reflected on it, she came to the conclusion that the majority of her students were not at the
academic level she was teaching for. I feel she did not do enough to revise her methods, and
connect with students. Even when Anthony showed interest in reading, and finished a book for
the first time she did not have any discussion with him about it, because she was worried he
would accuse her of discriminating against him again. She missed an incredible opportunity with
Anthony, and frankly that was her failing him, and not the system.
I aint doin' that
This chapter brought up so many interesting points. I like that we get to hear about Apryl
in different context, and how her behavior changes. Mr. Roth, his personality, and teaching style
were clearly not a good match for Apryl. He reached a point of frustration with her that he
allowed himself to be completely unprofessional, and blind to any solutions. As Leah Anderson
points out Apryl followed directions when they were explained well, and when the teachers took
time to form relationships with her. I love when we hear about how important education is to
Apryl, because most of her behavior would have us assume otherwise. The example of her
father is also important, because he was devoted to Apryls education, but did not know how to
help her. Families are a strong resource to educators, and it can be difficult to form the
connection. Teachers may assume that families do not care, but the fact is many families do not
know how to help their child.
Stage Environment Fit- The unique transitional nature of adolescents results from
developmental needs and changes in social context.
I did research on stage- environment fit because it was something I was not familiar with.
I found a mixed methods study that examined students perception of school and themselves.
The study found that males had higher self-esteem and self-efficacy than females. Also most
students entered 7th grade with positive perceptions of themselves, but this declined throughout
the following years.
Booth M.Z. & Gerard J.M. (2014). Adolescents stage-environment fit in middle and high school:
the relationship between students perception of their schools and themselves.Youth and
Society. 46(6),735-755. doi: 10.1177/0044118X12451276
Navigating a new world
When students arrive from a different country, they will face many challenges along their
journey. Culture shock and language shock were mentioned in the chapter. Both of these
concepts are hard to grasp and imagine without actually experiencing them. During my
undergraduate program I took a course called Multicultural Pedagogy. We did a cultural shock
activity, where we had to find a place or group that we were unfamiliar with, and felt
uncomfortable with to visit. We had to go alone, and we had to have interactions with atlas two
people while we were there. This activity showed me a glimpse of what culture shock is. Still it

was only a one time two hour event. For new students to this country it is all the time. I felt for
Jose. He seemed to really be trying to learn, and yet what he really took away from his time at
James Moore Middle school was prejudice against African Americans. I hope that school has
made progress in uniting students, and helping them understand each other.
Drop out or Push out
Karina is a prime example of resilience. She faced many challenges, but was able to pull
through. She found a cause she is passionate about, and works to make a difference. What
makes some youths able to overcome challenges, and others not? For Karina When she saw
people like her going to UC Berkeley she realized she could too. For many young minorities
they chose a life style that they think is their only option. What if we presented other options?
Why was the school not a part of Karinas success story? Three years in tenth grade, and noone stepped in to try to find a solution for her? She mentions that nobody actually explained that
gangs were wrong they just questioned her. They were clearly discussing her involvement, so
why not ask pressing questions about oppression, so that she might look deeper at what she
was really involved in. Karinas story demonstrates the difference that can be made with the
right resources.
Beyond Cultural Relevance
Claudia Angelica Narez acknowledges that to some her class may seem homogeneous,
but that is not the case. She has students of many different backgrounds. She tries to empower
her students by helping them connect to their culture. She makes curriculum relevant to them,
and that gives it meaning. Some times discussions get heated, and that is okay. Her students
will remember content from her class for much longer periods than a teacher who just tried to
pour information into them. Students had success in their work, because they actually cared
about it. Why is this not done more often in classrooms?