Posts Tagged 'Aditi Narayan'

Blog Post 5: Can the elite population help to save their world?: 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

It is important for these children to learn about the good and the bad aspects of the place where they live. This gives them the opportunity to learn about the problems that people in their world face and create solutions to help the people that need it.

Hello Interwebbers!

One thing that I have learned and witnessed over the course of my stay here in Peru, is that there is an unequal society, where the wealthy have more money than the poor combined and the poor have to struggle greatly to make ends meet. There are people here in Lima alone that, technically and legally, do not own the land that they are living on. In regions like El Agustino and Pamplona Alta, people decades ago set up their homes there in the hope of eventually owning their own land so that they can move out of the impoverished area. Living in these hills where they don’t have running water and very little means of sufficient help for medical emergencies was always supposed to be a temporary plan. There are schools, like Colegio Roosevelt, which teaches children that come from very rich families. It is important for these children to learn about the good and the bad aspects of the place where they live. This gives them the opportunity to learn about the problems that people in their world face and create solutions to help the people that need it.

Hooks wrote in his book that, “To educate as a way of practice is a way of teaching that everyone can learn…a classroom [is] diminished if students and professors regarded one another as “whole” human beings, striving not just for knowledge in books, but knowledge about how to live in the world” (pages 1–3). Every school should, ideally, teach the students using this holistic approach to education. It is important for students to understand right from a young age that, despite our differences, we have a responsibility to do what we can to create and implement solutions to problems in their community, society and world. It does seem easy, when living in a more privileged environment, to simply forget about the world outside the bubble around you and your elite community. However, with the right education, with conversations about the more tricky and controversial subjects, and with discussions on how to solve the problems in our world, the privileged students in schools are able to use their abundance of resources to create a better world for themselves and for those around them.

“Faced with the facts of economic inequality, the wealthy are confronted with a particular set of moral, social, and political questions, not least of which is the question of how to preserve a sense of being a “good” human being. … being good and having moral standing is a social outcome that is premised on the unequally distributed ability to do certain things, to enact certain roles, and to mobilize particular discourses. … the complicated ways in which privileged students understand what it means to have a commitment to social justice, … the possibility of as well as the potential for educating students with economic privilege toward social justice commitments… the important symbolic role that economically disadvantaged groups play in the imaginary of students who attend elite private schools and what this illustrates about the ways in which they are complicit in sustaining social inequality” (Fernandez, Abstract). Fernandez describes the economic inequality on a general level.

From the view as a student studying abroad here in Peru, I have been able to see how there is a general disparity between the various educational systems in the different economic levels. I spoke to my host mother’s granddaughter who is in the fifth grade at a school in Miraflores. She talked to me about her English education at the school(s) that she has been attending since Pre-Kinder. She was telling me about how students start their english education from Pre-Kinder and continue through their schooling. They learn British english, as the rest of the world does, and they study english in a very formal level with various grammatical patterns and plenty of vocabulary to make anyone’s head spin. In comparison to what I have seen, the students in Las Casitas did not know English, as far as I could tell. The main priority is to teach them the various subjects that they need to know in order to help them get good jobs in the Spanish-speaking Peru. The las Casitas program, along with the other partnering programs in the El Agustino area teach various ideals that will help build up their faith and hope in life. The students from elite districts can help create ideas to help the various physical problems happening in the environment: Building new roads, new ways to have running water, raise money for a bus service to pick up the students for school, etc. There are so many ways that we can help each other. We just need to look within ourselves and understand the world around us.

Until Next Time,
Aditi Narayan

Blog Post #4: Education beliefs and experiences → Perú vs. USA: 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

This project was so much more than creating a video to present to the class. It has become a tool for the students to address the problems in their communities and present their various solutions to the problems they posed.

Hey Interwebbers!
The seven of us, after travelling to Peru, have experienced a series of educational contexts. In La Inmaculada, the logistical aspects of the school differs from other schools that I have volunteered in. The students switch classrooms from the primary grades onwards, whereas students in primary grades only switch classrooms for other, non-core subjects such as music, art, physical education, and other programs that the school may provide. The students are encouraged to learn through the inquiry-based activities the teacher provides for them. I am with the second graders during their English class. Throughout the week so far, I have noticed how the teacher allows the students to work on the activities at their own pace. While she does warn the students to ‘hurry up’ when she feels that some have become distracted by a side conversation, she maintains the idea that, as long as the students are working, they can work at their own speed. Dewey and Freire would both agree with this, since every student learns at their own pace and, therefore, does work at their own pace. Dewey says in his book The School and Society, that “…You want something at which the children may work; these [materials] are all for listening…That tells the story of traditional education” (page 9 of 41). You may take a look at the copy that I have here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4YrkLKx4DUzcUhxcC1LTEF1SjA/view).
The traditional education that I grew up with as a child seemed quite unlike what I have seen here. Of course, the lessons are different since the students are learning English as a second language. Despite going to speech therapy, I had to adjust to the speed of the majority of the class, in terms of the speed at which I should learn and complete the tasks given to me. Learn for the test and then move on. This was school. At home, I was told to learn for the sake of learning new things. This idea would help me understand what I am studying long after the test is over. Of course, that was much easier said than done as I had already acclimated to the system of how “Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor” (Freire, page 7 of 14). You can check out what Freire has to say about education systems here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4YrkLKx4DUzbzNrSUtSaENIdzA/view).
At schools like Colegio Roosevelt, an American-based International school in Lima, the teachers follow the same common core and next generation science standards that teachers back home are using for their lessons. I did not get to see a class in action, unfortunately, but I can imagine that the students use their innovation and creativity to produce a completed product worthy of presentation. We were told about how a middle school class were instructed to create a short documentary based on a topic about Lima that they care about. Each student picked a different topic, each of those ranging from the pollution to the separation of status in Lima. The students took a full two months to gain the knowledge that they need, based on their research, to create and perfect their small documentaries. These videos were first presented to the class in a common area. Then the students presented their videos to the heads of various organizations that aim to fix the problems that the students researched. This project was so much more than creating a video to present to the class. It has become a tool for the students to address the problems in their communities and present their various solutions to the problems they posed.
The education beliefs that I have encountered here in Lima very much align with my own: education is one of the most important tools to a happy and successful present and future. Each student is going to grow up to be someone important in their community and society someday. They need the tools in order to grow and thrive in the world that they live in. School is not just a thing that everyone does just to say that they have been educated. While the government here in Lima would be the first to cut public funding for schools, like the US, many of the public schools are privately funded by families of students and alumni of the school. However, I have never heard any one student complain that they did not want to be at school. For many, school is a safe place where the students can be happy, play, and be children. The world outside of the walls of the school campus is a different story altogether.

Until next time,
Aditi Narayan

Educational and Social Change: 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

These ten lessons can help all of us teachers understand how to create a more wholesome, home-like comfort in the classroom where the students are comfortable with asking new and unusual questions and exploring more.

Hey Interwebbers!
The conversation about educational and social change has been a long-lasting and seemingly never-ending conversation littered with contradictions and different arguments and opinions. We all have our different ideas and beliefs as to how we can make education as equitable and as engaging/relatable for everyone. The authors from our readings from the past week have many different views about what constitutes good and/or just education for children of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses.

I could see a great difference between the schools that we have been to over the course of the week. We have visited Colegio Roosevelt, Las Casitas in El Agustino, MLK Socio Deportivo, and Fé y Alegría (#2). Colegio Roosevelt is the school of every child’s wildest dreams. There are big spacious buildings with so many classrooms and innovative spaces for any child’s creativity to run wild. Las Casitas allows the students to be occupied with a variety of activities and games where they have fun and learn basic skills such as cleaning and arts and crafts. When we visited MLK Socio Deportivo, we played soccer (or fútbol) with the students, but they had created their own rules that they review before every game to ensure that no one forgets. They get points for following the rules and lose points for breaking them. These rules created by the students help them feel motivated to play fairly and have fun!

Comparing these programs that we have seen throughout our stay so far to the experiences we have endured back home with readings and field placements, we can see how the differences in the schools align with the various types of schools in Milwaukee. By types of schools, I mean the various schools that are in different regions of Milwaukee with different socioeconomic statuses. Bianca J. Baldridge writes in her publication called Relocating the Deficit: Reimagining Black Youth in Neoliberal Times, “Deficit rhetoric that suggests that Black youth and other students of color are broken and in need of saving has historical roots in political and educational discourse and is a widespread frame within neoliberal ideology… deficit labels have defined these youth and educational challenges they face for decades…” (page 2).

Lisa Delpit describes in her article, Lessons From Teachers, ten lessons that she has learned from teachers over the course of her career teaching new teachers. The first is to “see their brilliance: Do not teach less content to the poor, urban children but instead, teach more!” (page 2). Teachers should be able to continue teaching their lessons to children from low SES communities. The students are there in the school to be challenged in an intellectual and stimulating way. By giving them less challenging work to do, the path of students being bored of school and heading out to the streets to get some stimulation ensues. We as teachers should give students what they need to feel intellectually stimulated in the safe environment of our classrooms. The second lesson is, “ensure that all children gain access to “basic skills”- the conventions and strategies that are essential to success in American society” (page 3). Delpit refers to ‘basic skills’ as the typical ‘linguistic conventions of middle class society and the strategies successful people use to access new information” (page 3). This includes punctuation rules, grammar, vocabulary, writing five-paragraph essays, and more. The third lesson is, “whatever methodology or instructional program is being used, demand critical thinking” (4). Critical Thinking is a skill that is absolutely crucial to be able to problem-solve and think beyond what is set in front of someone. Children need to learn and maintain that ability to think outside the box in order to truly understand what they are learning. By demanding that critical thinking must play a part in the daily lessons, teachers wire the students brains to critically think for themselves, be confident about asking more questions, and exploring more about what they want to know. Lesson number four is all about how to “provide the emotional ego strength to challenge racist societal views of the competence and worthiness of the children and their families” (5). It is important for students to understand that we must all treat each other with kindness and respect in order to create a better environment for ourselves and for those around us. While children do soak up what they hear at any given time, they will ask questions and say certain comments that need to be addressed in a mature manner, that is not punishing them for their ignorance, but rather educating them on why certain things are not very nice things to say; especially if those ‘not so nice’ things are about other students and their families. The ability to “recognize and build on children’s strengths” (6) is the fifth lesson. Understanding the students’ strengths and intentions will help teachers guide their students on the right path as they juggle their education with understanding who they are as a person. The other five lessons are:
1. Sixth: “Use familiar metaphors, analogies, and experiences from the children’s world to connect what children already know to school knowledge” (7).
2. Seventh: “Create a sense of family and caring in the service of academic achievement” (7).
3. Eighth: “monitor and assess children’s needs and then address them with a wealth of diverse strategies” (8).
4. Ninth: “Honor and respect the children’s home culture” (10).
5. Tenth: “Foster a sense of children’s connection to community- to something greater than themselves” (11).

These ten lessons can help all of us teachers understand how to create a more wholesome, home-like comfort in the classroom where the students are comfortable with asking new and unusual questions and exploring more. Having that connection between teachers and students is ideal for setting a positive and stimulating environment for everyone involved in the learning process; this also includes the teachers, as teachers are lifelong learners by trade! Students generally learn best in the classes where they feel the most happy, excited, comfortable and stimulated. Those key ingredients are part of a great recipe for making us the ‘greatest teachers ever!’ to our students.

Until next time,

Aditi Narayan

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

 

Marquette Meets Peru: 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

I can’t help but feel grateful for everything that I have, including my experiences. I would be nothing without the experiences that have helped me grow as a person, as a citizen of this world.

Hello Interwebbers! I have had quite the experience so far in my study abroad trip. Upon arrival, I realized that the traffic is very much like the traffic in many Indian streets: road lines are suggestions with the weaving of cars in between cars and always on the verge of getting into an accident. The traffic was crazy, but the city was beautiful. The various signs and buildings indicated to me what part of Lima we were passing through. At one point, we passed by a series of Asian restaurants. Since it is autumn out here, it was dark by 7:00 pm. Twenty-four hours before, we were happily getting accustomed to the idea that the sun is still out at 7:00 pm. When I met my host mom, I realized that I would be speaking a lot more Spanish than I thought. That wasn’t a problem for me, but it came as a small surprise as to how much practice I’m going to get over the course of a month.
I have noticed many different aspects of the Peruvian social and economic hierarchies during my first days here. I realized the stark difference between the city of Lima where we live with our host families, and the parts of Lima that most tourists wouldn’t even think about seeing. The first day was dedicated to talking about the city of Lima as a whole, and the various ideas and problems that we are going to encounter during our stay here. I found it quite shocking that the government has set letter labels (A, B, C, D, and E) to categorize the various regions of Lima based on their states of overall wealth and prosperity, A being the upper class and E being extremely poor and living in the highlands. It seems to me that the government has no problem with this idea of neoliberalism by emphasizing on this inequality that’s taking place in their country. This stems from the history of terrorism and the lack of action from the government. The people need a place to live, and many people found the hilly highlands and set their homes there.
When I have conversations with my host mom, Balbina Chavez, she talks about how that time was dangerous for everybody– everybody was afraid for their lives, their lives as they knew it were very quickly descending into blood-stained chaos. While the government worked to defeat the terrorists called the Shining Path, the fight greatly affected the people who had little to no voice to share with their leaders. The Shining Path was creating, I’m guessing, basically to get the government’s attention. Félix, a member of the organization called SEA, gave us a saying, “Si cierre la puerta a la legalidad, vaya a abrir la Puerta por la violencia” which translates to, “If you close the door to legality, a door will open for violence.” While we all strive to listen with the best of our ability, in places like El Agustino where the people are living in poverty, listening is not enough. Some action needs to take place in order for change to occur. The government can declare that they have listened to their people and have created plans to make change, but without action people get desperate to survive in a place where they have very little hope of making their lives better.
I learn about the history through various meetings with wonderful people who know what it is like to live in such chaos and who are fighting to create better lives for themselves and the future generations. Meeting with many of the education students from UARM taught me that there are teachers all over the world are absolutely dedicated to the art of teaching. In the US, teachers are now being treated as underpaid, badly treated, overrated babysitters, which is funny because I am sure that babysitters would probably make more in a year. I joke about this, but if our government does not increase the funding for education, they are putting our children’s lives at stake. There is a saying that “Knowledge is power.” Without education, we would not have the knowledge to succeed in the future. There are politicians that claim that funding for schools should not be a priority, and that “those who can’t do, teach” but I know for a fact that they would not be where they are, with the money that they make, and the positions that they are in without their teachers molding their minds and helping them grow into the adult homo sapiens that they are.
The students here at UARM reminded me of what true passion looks like. Many of these students travel for hours just to get their education. The education students we met amazed us with their ideas of reforming their country’s ideas on education based on where they came from and their experiences with education in the past. This forces us to think about how passionate we are about being future teachers. I was especially impressed with Emerson who used his knowledge of the prejudice given to people who speak the language of Quechua to ask us a question that has somewhat plagued the idea of colonialism since the beginning: “How do you feel about someone forcing you to listen to them, while they speak a language you cannot understand? How do you feel about having to be forced to learn a new language to assimilate with others and feel ashamed of the language of your birth?” Emerson asked the first question. The second question was one that I came up with as I listened to his story.
As I write this post here in Perú where I am studying abroad for the second time as a college student at a great university in the United States of America, I can’t help but feel grateful for everything that I have, including my experiences. I would be nothing without the experiences that have helped me grow as a person, as a citizen of this world. I have experienced more in the last two days, in terms of meeting with people and being exposed, on a first-hand basis, to the varying degrees of poverty and being exposed to a new culture (for me), than I have ever dreamed of being exposed to. I am so happy for this opportunity to experience everything!

Until next time!

 


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