Monday, November 27, 2006

What I learned!

Traci and I were talking about my data from my interview with a highschool teacher who had been through a censorship case. We talked about the fact that even though she won her case she still has not taught the book again. Did the parent win the censorship case? And is the system that lets teachers choose their own materials infact not letting them do this?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Data Collection Plan

How do we as teachers teach materials that are in dispute? Why are these topics of everyday life censored? And how do we as teachers protect ourselves from these battles? These questions have been changing daily but these are the things I want to investigate. I want to know what is going on in the schools with censorship and why does it happen. I plan to do some interveiws and possibly talk to some students if I could think of some questions that would interest them. I really want to do a case study of a class but with censorship it is hard to find a class dealing with it at that time. I will be talking to a teacher who has dealt with censorship firsthand and hopefully she will be able to give me some insight on what a teacher can do with these issues and how to prevent a case from happening. My collection of this data will be from a one to two time encounter with the teachers being interveiwed. I really have a deep interest in these issues since I will be starting to teach soon. I want to know what to do and how to be a good teacher still and this is what I hope to accomplish with this research.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I thought my question was going to include censorship and violence. After getting into the info I decided to look at just censorship. With research I realised this area is vast and has a wealth of information. I looked at articles from teachers who were involved in censorship, the effects on students and on their teaching. These battles of censorship are tough on teachers. I saw themes running through most of the articles. The first was how censorship has created fear in most teachers, the affects on students is more harmful than reading the banned materials, and most censors never look at the material in full. They pick out one section that is offensive and ban the book entirely.

I guess my question or where I see the gap in this ongoing discussion is why is this ok? Why for so many years have we been banning books on such minor issues when banning the books makes them more widely read? Authors are starting to censor what they write from the start of their novels so they are sure to be published. How as a teacher do we teach well and not offend people? My questions keep going and going. I am not too sure how to focus all of these questions in one way to help fill a gap. With more research I hope to narrow the questions down to one maybe two sentences.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Home Codes

"Critical Inquiries into Language in an Urban Classroom" by Bob Fecho, talks about students home codes and the effect on their learning of Standard English. When students come to school and are told that the way they talk at home with their families is wrong and they must change, is the start of many problems. I had never thought that it would be difficult for students to go to school and learn Standard English. I went to school and did what I was told but it had no effect on my home life or where I had come from. I don't know if I could have abandoned everything I knew like some students are expected to.

In the first part of Fecho's article he tells us a story of a senior who gives a presentation with a "naturalness" in her speech. Her grammar and vocabulary choices "matched the expectations of the audience" and they were more receptive to her because of this. We as teachers have to know where students are coming from to know how to teach them correctly. Students have to be critical inquirers of their language and know themselves where they come from. As Delpit said educators must veiw their classrooms as sites where inquiry into culture takes place. Teachers can't ignore culture, and must let students "celebrate their home-codes."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Working Questions

I started with two topics that I believed were unrelated, banning of books/censorship and school violence. Traci and Brittany B both brought up a great point of how to relate these two. Does the banning of certain material cut down on violence? What are we really trying to do with banning materials? After reading these comments, ideas flooded my mind and my once vague separate questions became more clearly connected and defined into one central question. Are schools banning materials to prevent school violence and if so, is it working?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Paper topic

I happened to read the wrong article for today but it may have been a blessing in disguise! The article I read was about filters in schools and the banning of books. While I was thinking of doinf research on school violence I am now torn on which topic to focus on. I think it is really interesting on how much information is taken away from kids, at the very expense of their learning, to protect them. I also think it is interesting that school violence is happening more and more. What are the causes and what can be done to stop it? We are about to enter into this environment of teaching in schools and both topics seem to be of great importance. The hard part is to decide which one I want to research and be involved in!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Real Reading

While I was in school there was little time devoted to reading your own book of choice. Of course we still made weekly trips to the library but we were expected to read these books on our own. I rarely checked books out that did not have pictures in them and had it not been for my parents I would have never read at home either. My mom was a strong advocate of reading each night before bed, I wasn't.

Eileen Bularzik in "Obstacles in Authentic Reading" writes about how to get students to feel that reading is a worth while activity. She gives great ideas for the classroom, that if I had seen these maybe a spark for pleasure reading would have come a lot earlier in my life. The "Real Reading" she writes about is offering a great environment for kids to read in a real one. Let the kids curl up on the floor move around and talk to other students about what they read. If they are talking they are connecting and connecting is what we want! We have to move away from testing on what is the characters name or what did the character do on Tuesday. Make the kids connect the text to their life or ask larger questions about the text. That is where they learn and that is what they remember. So many students memorize what is asked of them for test and immediatly drop the information upon completion of the test. That is what most of my schooling experience is about and that is exactly what I don't want for my students. I want them to read "How to Kill a Mockingbird" and never forget that text. (I guess my schooling experiences are shaping my teaching goals!)

I know when I step into my classroom I will want all students to love reading, tell me what book is their favorite, and what book they are reading now. Some kids may be like me when I was in school where they don't read unless they have to. My mission is to break this habit by the time they leave my classroom. I missed out so many years of not reading for pleasure, getting lost in a great book, that I don't want any other students to miss out on this. I want to create a great reading environment and creat reading time in my classroom. And as Bularzik said "there is always time for reading in the class."