Archive for the 'College of Education' Category

What does it mean for a school to be ‘high-quality’?: Aditi Narayan

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Aditi Narayan

They believe that learning about the past, about how education became liberated from the clutches of racial discrimination and prejudice, for instance, can help us understand how education should be for our future students.

Hello Interwebbers!
Travelling to different communities where they have different schooling systems, I have understood how, despite the differences, the overall goal for teaching is still the same: To teach the students to become better citizens. However, based on the articles that we have read so far, there are differences between how various people define high-quality education.
Today, we travelled to a school called Colegio Roosevelt. It is an American-based International school in the city of Lima. It is considered the best school in the country and it is the most expensive school in the nation. With rich families to pay the extremely expensive tuition fees, they were able to get the funds for state-of-the-art equipment with new, fancy buildings with creative spaces where intellectual development and innovation grow into amazing projects. Wagner would agree and encourage this type of education system because Roosevelt satisfies Wagner’s ‘Seven Survival Skills’ that students need to learn in order to become better citizens to their society and community when they leave school. During our seminar today, we were able to give examples of how Roosevelt satisfies each of the seven survival skills. For example, the first three survival skills are:
1. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
3. Agility and adaptability
The students are encouraged to use their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that they have been developing over the years to create projects and present them. For instance, Jeff, our tour guide who is the director of education and innovation, told us about a classroom of students who spent two months creating documentaries about topics that they care deeply about concerning Perú, whether it be about pollution, prejudice and racism, or even about the cultures that Perú has to offer to the world.
The second part of the project leads to the second survival skill: Collaboration across networks and leading by influence. These projects were played at school as well as at various events for different organizations around Perú. This means that the documentaries had to be as professional as possible and had to be presented in such a way where a board of executives, and other members of a big organization, will sit and take time to watch the documentary and consider the students’ ideas. The students took two months to lead their investigations and research and took careful planning and constructing of their videos and then collaborated with various organizations to present their final documentaries. They also lead by influence by taking on the initiative of doing everything they needed to do with their 100 percent effort and creativity.
The third survival skill is Agility and adaptability. There is a lot of construction going on at Colegio Roosevelt right now. They are building a new elementary school. In the meantime, however, the elementary students are being taught in small bunker-like buildings in a space within campus called ‘Camp Roosevelt’. We felt that this is a good example of the survival skill because this requires the students to be able to adapt to their environment as it is undergoing a variety of changes. Wagner explains how many schools today are not teaching students the various skills that they need to know in order to survive in tomorrow’s world. Wagner would consider Roosevelt to have a high-quality education in this specific context.
While Wagner discusses his seven survival skills in his article, Kantor and Lowe talk about how it is near to impossible to have the perfect educational system, especially without the education of the liberal arts and liberation. The liberal arts education system originally stems from the Greek educational system called Paidia, where they didn’t just believe in vocational education (learning the content), but also, they believed in the education of the soul. This soul-searching education had the students asking themselves difficult questions about their lives and how they can improve them, for instance. This idealism has become the foundation of the liberal arts education system. We use this system to create various types of people that have a variety of different skills and help them hone in on their craft(s) and/or subject(s) of specialty.
Kantor and Lowe explain how they heavily believe that the school system is so complicated and is so congested with all that students have to learn (vocational education) that they do not get time to reflect on their lives and do some soul-searching to enhance critical thinking and create new and innovative ideas for their learning and for bettering their communities. They believe that learning about the past, about how education became liberated from the clutches of racial discrimination and prejudice, for instance, can help us understand how education should be for our future students. It is not just about the technology and the resources used in the education process. If one does not have the motivation, dedication, and a reason to learn anything, then the rest of the bells and whistles are absolutely useless, no matter how much one can present those tools as useful tools for learning.

Until next time,

Aditi Narayan

 

How we can save the education system: Mary McQuillen

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Mary McQuillen

Clearly we see where the problems are in the low-fee schools and the public schools, it comes down to whichever is the lesser of two evils.

Today we visited Fé y Alegría which is a charter school. It is a much better version of a charter school than those we read about for today. In the readings, they explain how low-fee schools seemed to be a solution to problems in the Peruvian education system but have actually become more of a problem. Throughout Peru there has been an insane (FYI Figure 4 doesn’t have numbers, so I’m just going to stick with the term insane) amount of private schools that have been founded since 2004.

I consider myself a fairly educated person at this point, I mean I have had 4 years of college! Therefore, I think it would be alright to justify my assumption that Peru is continuing to start more and more low-fee schools throughout their country because they are working so well. Ehhhh. Nope. But don’t feel bad if you had the same thought cross your mind too; it’s basically common sense. The way I see it is that if something is making a difference in the school system by improving the student scores and performance then by all means, keep it going. On the other hand, if it doesn’t work we should probably not be repeating the same mistake. In the article The Default Privatization of Peruvian Education and the Rise of Low-fee Private Schools, the author criticizes privatization of public education by claiming that it is not a solution by any means. Instead, it continues “intensifying educational segregation while misleadingly capitalizing on the hopes and dreams of the poor” (page 3). The reason that these charter schools are still in business comes down to out of necessity, not choice. This study had a lot of information, but what I found to be the most important is what the parents of students at these schools had to say. Their only reasons for going to the charter schools were because they were closer and the teachers would actually teach. The teachers of the public schools did not teach due to the long months spent being on strike and their need to take on other jobs because being a teacher didn’t pay enough.

Today in seminar we talked about the different types of schools in America, and how publicly funded schools and privately funded schools differentiate. Within charter schools there are two divisions, instrumental charter schools or non-instrumental charter schools. Instrumental charter schools have teacher unions, so they answer to the district administration they just have more freedom on how you run the school. All public schools have teacher unions due to the fact that teacher unions benefit the teachers by helping them earn better pay and have better conditions to teach in. As a result, they are happier teachers which means the students will be happier students. There are then non-instrumental charter schools who are not unionized. We didn’t go into as much depth as to how things work in Peru, but it seems to me that things are kind of backwards. The public school teachers do not have unions that work collectively towards better pay and teaching conditions, this causes the teachers to strike or take on more jobs than they can handle. They then fail to teach their students and all of this becomes a GIGANTIC waste of everyone’s time. Then in come the low-fee schools with teachers that have better salaries and expectations that they will be present for class. The article Public Education Is Up for Salesaid it best when they wrote, “A quarter century after privatization began in earnest, it is clear that its main effect has been to undermine the public schools.” What this really means for a parent is that the choice is pretty much made for you. Such a shame due to the fact that the teachers and administration of the low-fee schools are, for the most part, unqualified and unfit. So the students and teacher may both be in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean that there is intellectual learning going on. Clearly we see where the problems are in the low-fee schools and the public schools, it comes down to whichever is the lesser of two evils.

Walking into Fé y Alegría this morning was quite the experience! There was a huge open courtyard, someone was making a colorful poster with sparkly sticker letters on it. There were computer rooms, science labs, even sewing machines! I don’t have that much backstory on this school but what I do know is that it has public funding but private administration. I was pretty shocked that all of his was publicly funded but I mean, what do I know?! Bottom line, it was a beautiful school. Our seminar didn’t take place until a few hours after our visit, so I had a lot of time to think about the contrast between my great personal experience and the conclusions of both articles. It’s now 9:30 pm and after further evaluation I have finally come up with a conclusion; it’s what works best for the individual.

We had a fairly busy day today, consisting of Spanish class, a visit to Colegio Roosevelt (an international school $$$) and then seminar. So Roosevelt was like awe inspiringly perfect in every way… except for the fact that half of Peru has nothing and this school has a few 3D printers, 27 acres of land, and computers as far as the eye could see. Making this the most extra school I have EVER visited. For homework we read a paragraph of a book called The Global Achievement Gapin which the author believes that a quality school is a school that teaches seven specific skills: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration across networks and learning by influence, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective communication, effective oral and written communication, and accessing and analyzing information and curiosity and imagination. According to the author, this school is a quality school because it definitely provides opportunities for its students to learn all of these schools. But is that enough? Let’s ask my dear old friends Kantor and Lowe who wrote Reflection on History and Quality of Education. On page two they wrote, “If quality education is taken to mean a structured curriculum taught by engaged, engaging, and well-educated teachers in schools committed to the promotion of intellectual development, we simply cannot locate much of it in the past” (p2). Clearly we have two different thought processes going on, and according to Kantor and Lowe Roosevelt doesn’t really meet the criteria for a quality school.

After some great discussion during seminar we came to the conclusion that Kantor and Lowe believed that a quality school prepares its students for going out into the job force. I don’t know if these students will be ready for what life throws at them, but I do believe that it is important to look at how SEA provided education to people that migrated to Lima. During Felix’s presentation, he mentioned that the Jesuits would help provide popular education. This meant plumbing, electricity, and social consciousness that helped people get jobs! Wait a second, another problem has arisen (In education?? Really??). Now it is Toni, the author of the book who wouldn’t qualify this form of education as quality education.

By the end of this blog I was hoping to have solved all of the problems within the education system, both in Peru as well as in the US. Looks like I couldn’t figure it out quite yet. What I have discovered is that not a single person, not even myself, has the best definition of quality education because it’s just not that simple. That doesn’t mean that we should stop analyzing, criticizing, and applying what we have learned to the world around us. In fact, we should do the opposite, we should keep striving to make that definition, to help our students, and to create a healthy school environment for all

Considering “High Quality Education”: Kelsie Lamb

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Kelsie Lamb

“The failure to give all students these new skills leaves today’s youth and our country at an alarming competitive disadvantage. Schools haven’t changed; the world has. And so our schools are failing.”

What one believes makes a school “high quality” depends on what one thinks the goal of education is. For example, in the book The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner says that U.S. schools are failing because they are not teaching students the skills they need to compete in the 21st century. These skills include critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, and imagination. According to Wagner, “The failure to give all students these new skills leaves today’s youth and our country at an alarming competitive disadvantage. Schools haven’t changed; the world has. And so our schools are failing.” In Wagner’s opinion, high quality schools are those that are preparing students to enter the increasingly competitive, changing workforce. In contrast, Harvey Kantor and Robert Lowe would argue that what constitutes a quality education is not about preparing students to compete in today’s workforce, but about equality and liberation. In their paper “Reflections on History and Quality Education,” Kantor and Lowe argue that examples of quality education in the past are very limited. They give a few examples of schools that did provide their idea of a quality education, such as John Dewey’s Laboratory School, which the authors call an “extraordinary effort in progressive education.” But since their paper takes a historical approach, little is said about what the present and future of quality education should look like. There is not a definitive, undisputed definition of “high quality education,” but after visiting two Peruvian schools over the past two days, I have begun to formulate an idea of what quality education looks like in the context of Peru, and how this compares to what the above works have said regarding quality education.

On Monday, we visited a Peruvian public school called Fe y Alegria. We will spend three days in Fe y Alegria II in the San Martin de Porres district of Lima during our third week of programming, but we had the opportunity to tour the campus and meet with some of our cooperating teachers. This school is part of a network of Fe y Alegria schools throughout South America, which are publicly funded, but run by a private organization. The closest comparable type of school in the United States is a charter school. The working paper titled “Default Privatization of Public Schools” by Maria Balarin explores some of the complicated issues surrounding the rise of the privatization of schools in Peru, including unregulated low-fee schools, and why parents are choosing to send their students to these schools. While Fe y Alegria is not one of these low-fee schools, I imagine that some of the reasons parents want their children to attend these privately-run schools is similar: smaller class sizes, more advanced academics, and English classes. Many parents send their children to low-fee schools because they see these schools as “better,” meaning they provide a higher quality education. Most of the parents said that since private school students are taking more courses at a higher level than their public-school counterparts, private education is better. This shows that within this context, parents believe that challenging academics, especially in math and English classes, is what makes education “high quality.” This is not what Wagner or Kantor and Lowe argue, further showing the ambiguity of the phrase “high quality education.” Based on our tour of Fe y Alegria, the schedules seem to not only emphasize traditional content areas, but also art and physical education classes. Fe y Alegria’s idea of “quality education” is probably different also. As I spend more time in Fe y Alegria, I hope to gain a better understanding of their educational mission and curricular goals and determine how it compares to some of the other ideas of quality education we have explored so far.

On Tuesday, we toured one of the top Peruvian private schools, Colegio Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “the American school of Lima,” located in the La Molina district. Most of the students who attend this school are from families that are at the top of the Peruvian socioeconomic hierarchy or are international students. Colegio Roosevelt is one of the nicest school that I have ever been to. The 27-acre campus has a swimming pool, multiple gymnasiums, a beautiful auditorium, an “idea lab” with 3D printers, plenty of study spaces and greenery, and a new elementary facility under construction. I was excited by what I was seeing and hearing while touring Colegio Roosevelt. Students spend extended periods of time working on a single inquiry-based project, attend week-long trips into the country, and participate in both extra-curricular and service learning activities. I think Tony Wagner would be excited by this school too. Colegio Roosevelt is giving students the skills that Wagner says they will need to compete in today’s workforce. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate their own opinions, collaborate with each other, and adapt to new situations. Based on what Wagner thinks schools should be doing, this curriculum is high quality. However, this school is not the type of “quality education” that Kantor and Lowe were discussing; only the wealthiest families can afford the entrance fee and tuition, which is comparable to the cost of state universities in the United States. The students who attend this school are already free from the oppression that comes with poverty, so this school’s curriculum is not working towards liberation, as Kantor and Lowe argue education should. And while the students do volunteer in the surrounding communities, Colegio Roosevelt’s goal is focused on its students, and not necessarily on helping poorer children. Even within an incredible school like Colegio Roosevelt, its “quality” can be questioned because of the differing ideas regarding “quality education.”

From our first couple of first-hand experiences with educational contexts in Peru, I have noticed that, just like in the United States, there is variation between what people believe is a “high quality education.” In low-fee schools, a quality education is based on the students’ academics, while at Colegio Roosevelt, their idea of a quality education includes the shaping of students’ character and integrity. As we spend more time in Peru’s schools, I look forward to exploring more ideas regarding “high-quality education” and the goal of education.

Better Schools for Some, Quality Education for All: Emily Chang

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Emily Chang

It does not help to make equal changes for every school since every community is different depending on the context they are placed in and the backgrounds their students are coming from, so it is important to understand what each school may need depending on their students.

My first hand experiences with educational contexts in Peru today have been comparing to what we’ve been reading and within our seminar discussions. Today we visited one of the schools we would be working in while in Lima. The school is called Fe y Alegria which translates to Faith and Happiness (cutest name for a school award goes to them!), and reminded me of my old elementary school days. It is similar to a charter school in the U.S. in that it is a public administration/school but it is privately funded. There are various Fe y Alegria schools around Latin America and there is one even in Cusco. The students all wear uniforms and the preschool and kindergarten classes are in a separate but close building to the school. We also had the opportunity to meet with the teachers that we would be working with which was super exciting! We organized ourselves into groups, so my friend Gabrielle and I will be working in a couple of science classes with an older male teacher named Rolando who teaches Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. We will also be working in English classrooms with 2 female teachers named Maria and Nancy. Most of the grade levels we will be working with are 3rd, 5th, and 6th graders and the school itself is structured nicely with a large open play area in the middle and classrooms surrounding it. A lot of the students seemed very friendly as the smiled and waved at the awkward American college students who would be coming into their classrooms for a week.

Our visit to Fe y Alegria led my classmates and I into a discussion in our seminar afterwards with our professor. We had previous readings from the night before that focused on the privatization of schools, the seemingly lack of quality in public-school systems, and discussing whether or not one school system was more just over another. This also led us to discuss interesting comparisons that we observed between school systems in the U.S. and Peru. Noticeably in Lima, there has been a growth in private schools not only for the upper, wealthier class, but it has expanded into the middle and lower level classes as well. It was interesting to look at various perspectives that seemed to surround private and charter schools, especially in Peru.

On one hand, privatization is demonized for its lack of regulations due to the approval of a legal decree in Peru in 1998 which allowed for a rise and expansion of public education, but with no means of regulation on the quality of education that students would receive. This was also due to the fact that many parents living in lower SES levels lacked knowledge of what should be regulated in schools and what they should expect. Looking past the practical concerns, there are also problems within public schools such as teachers frequently going on strikes, less commitment from teachers due to their low salaries and other jobs to make ends meet, and difficulty with availability for help after school. But statistics also show that academic performances in private schools were not better than in public schools around the same area. This context though provides outlooks on what is considered a high-quality education and shows that when equity and social relations are brought together along with serving the needs in relation to the community that schools are located in, they can improve outcomes for students’ performance in academic abilities. It does not help to make equal changes for every school since every community is different depending on the context they are placed in and the backgrounds their students are coming from, so it is important to understand what each school may need depending on their students.

After our visit with Fe y Alegria, we had the opportunity to visit an international school called Colegio Roosevelt. This school went from kindergarten through high school as well but was the most extra school I have ever stepped foot on, and had a campus that was 100x nicer than Marquette’s. Just the entrance fee itself to send in an application is $20,000 and then tuition is $16,000 per year! The international school actually also holds approximately 90% of Lima’s wealth which is INSANE. The campus had miles of greenery and palm trees and open areas. This school was so different compared to ones in the U.S. because it promoted a collaborative environment where students were free to work in creative spaces, had state-of-the art technology (including 3-D machines!), and had mandatory after-school activities for all students such as swimming and gymnastics. I was in awe as the set-up of the school was very modern and updated, and they recently had begun construction for their new elementary school as well. Colegio Roosevelt’s mission statement focused on having their students pursue a passion for learning, lead lives with integrity, and encouraging them to form socially responsible solutions for real world applications. Although the school was over the top and appeared to be perfect to the outsider, we discussed in our seminar the philosophy behind what actually constitutes a quality education regardless of the school setting students were placed in. Keeping these 2 schools in mind, we talked about how education is effective when learning is meaningful and applicable to the real world, when there are culturally relevant teachers who simulate students’ imagination and encourage working collaboratively, and teachers teach students to be curious and inquire about the world around them, regardless of the school setting. We talked about the global achievement gap which is the gap between what the best public schools seem to offer and are teaching vs the actual, useful knowledge that students will need to function as human beings in the real world. It was interesting to see the comparisons of this between schools in Peru and the US. and in general, the international school and Fe y Alegria.

Give Your Writing A Dash—of Creativity

writing-675083_960_720By Elizabeth Jorgensen

Earlier today, a student raised his hand and said, “You commented on my paper that I should be using the dash, but I’m actually using a hyphen. But I don’t know how to make the dash.”

I said, “I know Google Docs is not set up to make it, so you will need to modify your settings so you can turn — into — .”

Although an en (word-space-hyphen-space-word) dash and em (word-hyphen-hyphen-word) dash are automatically created in Word, they’re not in Google Docs (where my students craft and submit drafts). At this point, I paused class and asked each student to set up the em dash on his or her Google Doc preferences.

A student Googled how to do this. He said, “Go to tools, then preferences, then add the two hyphens in the left column that says ‘replace’ and paste the em dash into the right side that says ‘with’.”

LJ1

 

To paste the em dash, students went to “insert” and then “special characters” and typed “em dash” where it says “search.” This allowed them to copy and paste the em dash into the “with” column. I told students they could also paste the em dash from a different document or from a website that used the dash. I reminded students they needed to select “save” in order for the changes to update.

After updating Google Doc preferences, students went into a Google Doc, keyed in two hyphens and saw the dash automatically created. When some students couldn’t make the dash, others commented they needed to “hit the spacebar.”

One student with a Mac said she uses “shift-option-dash” to create the em dash in both Google and Word. I said, “Depending on your device, you might need a different keystroke.” I told my students to Google “How to make the em dash on [insert your device/program here]” if they still struggled to create the em or en dash on their device and/or document.

Then, I spent time reviewing the different dashes. I projected examples so the students could visually see the difference as well as the dashes and hyphen in context. I said, “The em (—) dash is the longest; en dash (–) is slightly shorter; even shorter is the hyphen (-). Remember, the dashes are different from a hyphen which connects compounded words like Wi-Fi or e-mail. And an en dash is used with numbers or dates (as in July–October 2010 or 1999–2002) while the em dash is what you’re frequently using in sentences.” Students then wrote sentences that used the em dash, en dash and the hyphen.

The em dash is what I primarily focus on in my classroom. At the beginning of each semester, my students read excerpts from On Writing Well by William Zinsser. In his “Bits & Pieces” chapter, he discusses the dash:

Somehow this invaluable tool is widely regarded as not quite proper—a bumpkin at the genteel dinner table of good English. But it has full membership and will get you out of many tight corners. The dash is used in two ways. One is to amplify or justify in the second part of the sentence a thought you stated in the first part. “We decided to keep going—it was only 100 miles more and we could get there in time for dinner.” By its very shape the dash pushes the sentence ahead and explains why they decided to keep going. The other use involves two dashes, which set apart a parenthetical thought within a longer sentence. “She told me to get in the car—she had been after me all summer to have a haircut—and we drive silently into town.” An explanatory detail that might otherwise have required a separate sentence is dispatched along the way.

My students and I discuss how and why a writer might use dashes instead of commas, parentheses, or colons. We discuss the value of varied punctuation and the effect each piece of punctuation can have on readers. And on this particular day, I reviewed the differences in the em and en dash as well as the hyphen. I am hoping this mini, impromptu lesson will inspire students to dash into drafting with a greater understanding of punctuation—and how to both make and use it correctly.

 

Quality Education: Alli Bernard

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here. 

Alli Bernard

Students need to be exposed to all different skills, and school is the place where that should occur. While Fé y Alegría seems to focus more on academics, Colegio Roosevelt focuses on building a socially just person. Both are equally important, but the question that I wonder about is how would a student from each school function together, with the possible lack of information.

Sunday was a very touristy day. We walked around the center of Lima, learning about the history and culture of Peru. The tour was given to us by a history professor at UARM, which was nice because he was able to tell us what everything was, in addition to the history behind it. We also witnessed a Peruvian parade, complete with traditional clothes, music and dancing. It was an unexpected but amazing experience.

The tour was brief, as we ended in the Catacombs of San Francisco, which reminded me of the Sedlac Ossuary in Prague. The historical art tour was boring, but once we went underground and saw the bones it got much more interesting. We were not able to take pictures, but the organization of the bones was very distinct and meticulously ordered. After the tour, we walked to a chicken restaurant, where we essentially ate fried chicken and French fries. Apparently this is also typical of Peru, which I was not expecting.

From the center of Lima we ventured to Barranco, which is an upper class city in Lima. We had a brief tour from Marisol, who works with organizing all our activities and events. Barranco is a very artsy district, which has been compared to SoHo. We walked along the Pacific Ocean and took pictures along the coast. We also had gelato, which was refreshing as we were all sweaty and hot from walking. It was a good way to cool off and enjoy a cool dessert. We came across a bookstore that I wanted to go in; however it was not as exciting as I thought. There was one wall devoted to English books, and the rest were in Spanish which I thought was cool. The selection was very small, but the views were amazing.

Our tour guide and professor left after this, but we all decided to stay in Barranco and explore. We went into a very touristy, souvenir store which was mostly commercial items and not as much devoted to Peru. We then went to Barbarian, which is a local brewery while we waited for time to pass before dinner. Because Peruvians eat dinner so late, it did not make sense for us to walk over at 5:30, but rather closer to 6:30.

We went to a restaurant called Javier for dinner, which was right on the ocean. Most people had lomo saltado, which is a typical dish consisting of beef, peppers, and onions in a stir fry. I had pasta with crabmeat instead. After dinner, we went to a bar for a little while before heading home. Something that I found interesting is how inexpensive Peru is. Dinner cost 33 soles, including tip, which is only $10. After an exhausting day of touring, I was excited to put on my pajamas and go to bed.

Monday we started our classes and seminars. We began the day with a two hour language class, led by a man named Pablo. We spent most of the time introducing ourselves and outlining our expectations. My hope for this time is to become more confident in my Spanish speaking abilities, which I have never been certain in. After class, we had a short snack break before heading to Fé y Alegría (Faith and Happiness) to meet with our cooperating teachers for placement. We are there for three days in our last week; I am in an English class, an art class, and an environmental class.

After visiting the school briefly, we took the tour bus to a Chinese-esque restaurant before heading back to the university. The restaurant was nothing special, but delicious none the less. We had seminar again tonight, which was centered around privatization of schools and the different types of schools in Milwaukee and Peru. I left seminar with my head spinning, trying to make sense of all the topics we discussed.

We all went to a café called Café Sorrie to work on some of the readings before we went home for dinner. Dinner was rice, beans, and a small hamburger patty. We had a nice conversation about tourism and different countries we have all visited.

Tuesday brought more language class, which was working with adjectives and what types of qualities we would like to see in our students and in teachers. We also played a matching game, which I failed quite miserably at. After language class we had an hour break where we ate lunch and sat outside.

Then it was time for our next school visit, which was to Colegio Roosevelt. This is an American school in Lima, and serves mostly the elite population. It is where many embassy families send their schools. The campus was very large and very modern, even bigger than OPRF! We talked with the man in charge of creating curriculum, and then met the superintendent- who is from Wisconsin! Our leader told us that the school holds 90% of Peru’s wealth, which makes me a little sick and uneasy to be quite honest.

Touring Roosevelt left a bit of a sour taste for me. It was very over the top and extravagant, which did not seem necessary. Student’s families pay around $16,000 a year to attend, and there are around 1,700 students, so you can see how much money the school makes in a year. In addition, there is a $20,000 entrance fee for every student. Although it makes sense that a privately funded school can charge what they want, I just did not see the need for a school to be as large and open as this was. They had everything from 3D printers to a green field of 26 acres. Regardless, it was a nice school- I just don’t see myself working or sending my kids to a school such as this.

Now for the more “boring” (sorry Dr. Gibson!) part of the blog, my reflection for class…

After our visit to Fé y Alegría, we engaged in a discussion about privatization and how we obtain a “just” school. We compared the schools in Milwaukee and Peru, and saw an expanse of private school to middle and lower classes. We wrestled with the ideas of private education vs. charter schools, among others, and went through the history behind them. I did Service Learning first sophomore year in a charter school coupled with my field experience which was at a public charter school (Windlake Academy and Milwaukee Academy of Science, respectively). The differences between the two schools did not seem different on surface level. Both provided a culturally relevant experience for the different populations they serve (Latinx/Hispanic and black). Both wanted the best for their students and clearly wanted each to succeed. I think this a very common theme among all schools, but it often comes across in different ways. MAS was a very rigorous course load with very high expectations- students were expected to raise higher than their perceived ability. Windlake worked more with meeting the children at their level, and helping them raise their abilities from there. Both models seem to work well, because the results from each are very strong.

This is different from Colegio Roosevelt, whose mission statement is focused on a passion for learning, integrity, and forming socially responsible people. This is more of an internal job, whereas MAS explicitly works on science and technology, to the point where it is the name.

This brings me to what we talked about on Tuesday’s seminar, which was about the philosophy behind a “quality education”. We discussed about how education should only work when the two ideas of internal qualities and the actual subjects learned/taught are combined a way that allows for creativity to grow. The authors we read for this seminar seemed to be in very different positions on this idea, with one thinking that social skills and relations among the school are more important, and the other thinking that what is actually learned in school is more important.

I think for a quality education to exist, there needs to be a combination of the two. Students need to be exposed to all different skills, and school is the place where that should occur. While Fé y Alegría seems to focus more on academics, Colegio Roosevelt focuses on building a socially just person. Both are equally important, but the question that I wonder about is how would a student from each school function together, with the possible lack of information.

The intense gaps among the two schools also touch on the achievement gap, which we also talked about. This is the gap between what public schools teach and what is perceived to be useful knowledge needed for the real world.

Sitting on my bed at 9:32pm after seeing both of these schools, I am still in awe of the differences. Both are quality schools, but one has the perception of being higher quality (even some of my classmates expressed this at the very start of seminar). Each school has its positives and negatives, and I don’t think we can discount one of the other because of what is perceived to be lacking.

I have had a hard time grappling with Colegio Roosevelt, especially in comparison to Fé y Alegría, because of the inequality. Fé y Alegría has 1,500 students and Roosevelt has 1,700, but the campus sizes and resources are very unequal. Fé y Alegría is probably the same size as my middle school, but much more open, while Roosevelt is more like a college campus. I am having a hard time putting into words what I am feeling, but it is not right.

When/if I begin to sort through my feelings, I would love to share them and hear from others as to what you all think.

Thanks for reading!

Marquette Meets Peru: Gabrielle Wroblewski

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Gabrielle Wroblewski

I really try to understand what is being said, and I can understand some words here and there, but nowhere near to having a full understanding. Needless to say, it has been a challenging and learning experience with the language barrier, but I hope to expand my knowledge of Spanish while I am here.

On the plane ride to Peru from Miami, I sat next to a woman who is from Lima, so I was able to learn a lot of tips about Lima from her. She told me about the social class in Lima and said that there is becoming more of a divide between the wealthy and the poor in Peru. She said that when one goes out at night to bars, for example, one has to dress to the nines otherwise they will be looked down upon by others and be thought of as not good enough. This was interesting to hear from her because one of the readings talked about the social hierarchy in Peru, so I liked being able to get an actual Peruvian’s perspective in person. This social hierarchy was not something that I had experienced the last time I was in Peru because when I was on vacation, I mostly only saw the first-class part of Peru. The trip catered to my family and the fact that my grandparents had the money to pay for the trip. Since it was known that my family was able to pay to come here and to travel five stars, then we were shown the best of the best parts of Peru. I even remember the tour guide talking about how there was no crime in Lima, and obviously that is a very inaccurate statement because there are very poor and crime-ridden areas in Lima. The tour guide just wanted to keep a “mask” over Lima, instead of showing what it really is like. My family knew that the tour guide was lying because it is impossible not to have crime in a city, especially with over 10 million people, so being on this education experience, I am able to actually see the different parts of Lima, and see what Lima truly is, without having a “mask” over it.

In Pueblo Libre, I was surprised to see how many green spaces and parks there are in the city. I had assumed that there wouldn’t be a lot of them, and that only the very wealthy areas had them, so it was a pleasant surprise to see all the parks. In addition to the parks, I also have noticed, of course, all of the traffic (that is in Lima in general), but also the advertisements have a lot of white people on them, such as models for hair. I thought this was interesting since the majority of people in Peru are not white. This was something that was talked about in the first orientation class. I also noticed that all of the people I have ran into do not speak English, or if they do, it’s only a little bit. This is also contrasting to when I went on vacation last summer, because those who are in the travel business and are associated with five-star places, must know English, or at least have a pretty good understanding of it and are able to communicate relatively well. Having to live in a house with the host parents not being able to speak English was very intimidating, and it still is challenging because I do not know a lot of Spanish. I really try to understand what is being said, and I can understand some words here and there, but nowhere near to having a full understanding. Needless to say, it has been a challenging and learning experience with the language barrier, but I hope to expand my knowledge of Spanish while I am here.

The food here is as good as I remember it! On the first day I was here, Caroline and I walked around Pueblo Libre to get a lay of the land, and during that time, we had lunch at a local restaurant. I was nervous eating there because when I am on vacation my family and I don’t eat at the local restaurants, so it was a new experience, but it was a great one. The food was great, and it was the first time that I had chicha! I wasn’t in love with it, but I didn’t hate it either. Every dish just has such good flavor it is impossible not to not like everything. The food isn’t the only thing that I love, I really enjoy just being able to see how the people of Peru live day-to-day because I never got to experience that while I was on my trip last year. Like I said before, it was a very one-sided, sugar-coated perspective of Lima that I was introduced to while on my trip, so I wasn’t able to see how people actually lived, or what Lima is really like. I think it is important that when one is on vacation they realize that they most likely do not “know” a country, they’ve only seen a certain side of it. During my family’s Peru trip, my sisters and I really wanted to just walk around a town to see what life was really like in Peru, and to get to know a town, but it is hard to do that when there is an itinerary, so finally being able to see a country from both perspectives is something that I have always wanted to do, which is why I am so thankful to be able to participate in this program.

 

 

 

 


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