Posts Tagged '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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