Posts Tagged 'Gabrielle Wroblewski'

Philosophy of Education: 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

Setting students up for success is the main goal of teachers and education in general. However, in order for this to happen, the idea of education needs to be expanded by first looking at who the teacher really is.

Ever since I was little, it has always been my dream to be a teacher. Now of course, I am in the process of living my dream because I am almost done with school. However, my reasons for why I want to be a teacher and for why I feel such a connection to and am in such support of education has changed throughout the years, after I have been exposed to literature, experiences, and relationships. I no longer want to be a teacher just so I can draw on the chalkboard, like I wanted when I was a child. I now of course my desire and beliefs about education come from a much deeper source. I have been exposed to many different education literature and many different school settings, throughout Peru, throughout Milwaukee, and throughout my own years in school. In accordance with these school experiences, I also have been exposed to many different theories and philosophies about education. With all of these experiences and knowledge combined, I am now able to have my own philosophy of education.

The teacher. The person who stands in the front of a classroom and is in charge. The teacher. The adult who is responsible for teaching students content that they need in order to move on to the next grade or pass the next test. The teacher. The person who has all the knowledge and figures out ways to feed this knowledge to his/ her students. These claims about who the teacher is are very basic, traditional, and incorrect. Many would disagree with my claim about these statements being incorrect, but I am here to write about why “the teacher” is a much more broad and flexible term that encompasses more than one person and more than one thing.

A lot of people underestimate the power and knowledge of children. Children are capable of having their own opinions of things, they are very curious in nature, so they ask a lot of questions. They are hungry for new information and new experiences. Children are always moving, whether that be mentally or physically. This movement that children have is what allows them to be teachers. Now, this may sound silly, since it is “common sense” that in order to be a teacher, one must of course be an adult and go through some sort of schooling or training. However, this is not always the case. A teacher is someone who both learns and teaches. A teacher is someone who is learns new information from books, others, the outside world, etc. and then relays that information to others. Children definitely represent this statement of who a teacher is. Like stated before, children are curious, questioning creatures who are always excited to share new information with whoever they run into. Children also come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, so when all of those children are put into a classroom, they all come with knowledge that others may not have, including the traditional teacher.

Seeing that children bring new information into the classroom, this also means that the teacher is learning from the students. Of course, the teacher is tasked with giving the students new information that is required that they know, in all content areas, but the teacher is not the only one who can teach during a unit or lesson. Students may have additional information about a topic that can be shared to the class. Students may raise new questions or ways to think about a topic, that the teacher hadn’t previously thought about before. With this mindset about the students’ role in a classroom, it is clear that the traditional teacher also goes through a learning process while simultaneously teaching. This is the same for students. This idea of the teacher- students relationship and roles within the classroom is greatly supported by Freire’s theory of education. In Freire’s work, such as Pedagogy of the Oppressedhe talks about the importance of the student- teacher relationship and emphasizes the idea that “there is no teaching without learning… one requires the other” (Freire). Because of this relationship between the students and teacher and learning and teaching, the idea of what education really is, starts to be the process of learning and teaching, for all those who are involved. Education is the process of individuals taking previously known information and expanding upon it, revising it, questioning it, sharing it, in order to grow as individuals and become positive contributors to society. The traditional teacher is not someone who has all the information that needs to be given to the children, the students. The teacher is the person who aids children in their learning process, by steering them and prompting them in ways to get them to advance their understandings of things and expand their knowledge in general. John Dewey’s view on education would support this claim. Dewey states in his work, “School and Society,” that “the child is already intensely active, and the question of education is the question of taking hold of his activities of giving them direction.” This statement also goes back to my claim that children are always moving- mentally and physically. Because children have this instinct to want to learn new information and question and share new information, then they play a large role in the teaching aspect. Dewey explains here that education is what reins in the activeness and point it in the right direction, and this is very similar to my claim that the traditional teacher’s role is to take the students’ knowledge and steer it in the right direction. The traditional teacher also is not someone who has all the information that then gives it to the students. The students learn from other things as well- research, books, the internet, other people, experiences, etc. When thinking about who is the teacher here, one couldn’t really say that these resources are teachers, but they are tools that allow the students to become teachers themselves; students use these resources, sometimes guided by the traditional teacher, to learn more and new information.

I have seen students taking initiative in their learning in a number of schooling experiences. At the Fe y Alegria school in Lima, I was put in an English class where the students had to report on the different regions of Peru. The students did all the researching themselves and put the presentation together as well. Because the students live in Peru, they had background knowledge of the different regions to a certain extent, depending on the student and the students’ experiences. The “teacher” then assigned the students to different regions and guided the students in their research by giving them things to look for while researching. This learning shows how the students taught themselves in the process of researching their own region. When it came time for presentations, each group taught the class about their assigned region, so the other students learned from them (their peers). The students in the highlands and jungle group got creative and added a song in Quechua and a traditional dance. The teacher did not already know all of the information the students presented on for their presentation, so this means that the teacher also learned new information during this project. All the students seemed to really enjoy the project because they became experts on a region of their country and were then able to inform others on the information that they learned, including myself and Emily. The fact that the students found this project to be fun and interesting was beneficial to them in the way that a lot of the students were nervous to present in English because they of course were still learning English, this was an English class to begin with. The fact that they found this project enjoyable is what helped them get through the nerves of presenting in English. This is what makes education work. It is the process of getting the students to take initiative in the classroom in the form of research, asking questions, presenting/ sharing information, thinking critically about information, while having the students guide the students during this process, and as a result, the teachers learn from their students as well. The different aspects of education should all be interconnected- teaching is connected to learning, the students are connected to the teacher, all that is learned and taught in the classroom is connected to each other, such as students learning/ practicing English while they are learning about and teaching others the different regions of their own country.

Education, or being educated about something does not always happen in the classroom. Experiences play a huge role in teaching and educating people about things. Experiences are where students get their background knowledge which is then built upon by creating more experiences in school, whether that be in the classroom or outside of it. These learning experiences must be relatable and meaningful to the students, in order for the students to make sense of them and use them to build and expand their knowledge. These experiences also need to be ones in which the students are actively engaged and participating. They can not just be the teacher lecturing to the students, the students need to be really involved by sharing their own ideas, formulating and asking their own questions, and acting to reach a goal. Because it has been determined that students teach while learning, and teachers learn while also teaching, the students’ voices are just as important as the teacher’s voice in the classroom. The students should have a say in how they are being taught, and what is important for them to learn. Now, of course the students can’t always dictate what the teacher is going to teach them everyday because is content that the teacher just is required to teach the students, but HOW that content is taught can be greatly influences by the students. It is important for teachers to start where their students are and who their students are, and structure teaching strategies around that. Education involves students being active members of the classroom, so they can be active members of society, and being active members of the classroom happens through giving feedback on what’s working and not working, voicing opinions during discussions on different topics, and just having the feeling that they are not being ruled by a teacher, and instead their teacher is their partner in their learning. Dewy states in “School and Society,” that “school is traditionally all made for listening.” In other words, school is traditionally lecture-based. “The language instinct is the simplest form of the social expression of the child. Hence it is a great perhaps the greatest of all educational resources.” Dewey’s statements directly support my claim that students need to be actively participating in the classroom by voicing their opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc.

In the school La Inmaculada, in Lima, I was placed in an English classroom of 5th graders. The teacher Kathia, was excellent and used a very beneficial teaching strategy. She had her students write a reflection each week about specific activities or topics that were used/ taught during the week. The students had to state if they liked or didn’t like it and why. Kathia would then post the reflections in the classroom, in order to show the students that she didn’t just read them and throw them away, she really did care about what the students had to say, because the students should be n charge of their learning. This relationship and respect that Kathia has for her students and her students have for her is what makes her classroom run smoothly and sets her students up for success.

Setting students up for success is the main goal of teachers and education in general. However, in order for this to happen, the idea of education needs to be expanded by first looking at who the teacher really is. The teacher is both the students and the traditional teacher. The learners are both the students and the traditional teacher. Where one learns from, comes from experiences and from being actively engaged in the experiences both inside and outside the classroom. If the roles of the teacher and the students shouldn’t be thought of in the traditional sense, as the student only learns and the teacher only teaches, then perhaps a better way of viewing these roles is, the teacher is the person who sets up the students for success by being their partner in the learning process, and by giving them the responsibility and freedom to learn and teach at the same time.

Schooling in 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

Schooling and education in general, teaches students about so many other things besides just core content areas. Teaching the core content areas can even be influenced by other areas of life- politics, social, and culture.

While in Peru, we visited a variety of schools- Collegio Rooselvelt, the international school, Fe y Alegria in Lima and Andahuaylas, La Inmaculada, and a public school in Cusco. By being able to spend time in these schools and hear about them through administrators, teachers, and/ or students perspectives, it broadened my perspective on education. When people first hear the word schooling or school, they think about students learning content- math, reading, science, social studies, etc. from teachers in order for their knowledge to expand to help them advance in the school years and develop into positive members of society. However, schooling is not just an intellectual process, it is also a political, cultural, and social process. One of the biggest focuses for many of the schools was language. Language is a part of everyday life and it is something that either sets people ahead or behind. La Inmaculada and Collegio Roosevelt emphasized the importance of learning English. La Inmaculada had its schooling geared more towards teaching the students English, whereas Roosevelt, just expected their students to know English because all the classes were taught in English. This difference is because Roosevelt is an American international school, and La Inmaculada is a Peruvian school. Both of these schools however, host students that are considered to have a high socioeconomic status. The students at Fe y Alegria in Lima also learned English in school, but not nearly as much as Roosevelt and La Inmaculada. Another difference between this Fe y Alegria school and Roosevelt and La Inmaculada is that its students were from more middle- class backgrounds. There is pattern that can be seen from this observation- that the wealthier the school and the students/ families who attend, the more of a focus of English is presented in the school’s curriculum. This relates back to the article about English being equivalent to the American dollar. English will make one be higher in the social rankings and allow one access to better and more opportunities. This is how there is politics and social process involved in schooling. For Fe y Alegria school in Andahuaylas, the students are learning Spanish because their first language is Quechua, instead of them learning English because their first language is Spanish. This school makes sure to keep the culture of the Quechua language alive by teaching the students lessons in this language while also teaching them Spanish, so they can more easily be apart of all of Peruvian society. This school emphasizes the importance of self-worth by spreading the message, that the point of learning Spanish isn’t to get the students to stop using Quechua because it makes them “lesser” in society, but learning Spanish is just something that will help them in life. The idea of equity comes into play here. When looking at all of the schools, it is clear that the schools want their students to get ahead in life and participate effectively and positively in society. By learning a second language, this is what will help the students achieve this. Learning English is something that will get the students at Roosevelt and La Inmaculada ahead, even more so since they already are ahead based on their SES standing. The students at Fe y Alegria in Andahuaylas are learning Spanish to get them ahead in life, not English. The take-away point here is that in order to get students ahead in life, like each school wants, they must start where the students are; what the students’ backgrounds are and go from there. The students who speak Quechua as a first language would not benefit from learning English instead of Spanish because Spanish is the dominant language in Peru. However, the students who speak Spanish as a first language can continue their advancement by learning English. Politics can be thought of being apart of schooling in the form of the government. The government will give resources to different schools. Also, the privatization of schools affects schooling. Privatization is what makes a school have a better reputation, which as a result, makes the school have more funding because the is a higher want for children to go there. However, social aspects and politics are not the only processes involved in schooling.

Schooling and education in general, teaches students about so many other things besides just core content areas. Teaching the core content areas can even be influenced by other areas of life- politics, social, and culture. Culture can definitely be celebrated in school. At Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, every Thursday, traditional Peruvian culture is celebrated in the form of dances. At the public school in Cusco, there is a dance team that performs traditional Peruvian dances, which we saw while in Cusco because the time we went, was during the month of June, which just so happens to be the month that Cusco celebrates its culture by having parades and dance competitions. The material that was taught in the science class that I observed at Fe y Alegria in Lima related back to the highlands because the students were learning about diseases, specifically malaria. The English class I observed at the same school, had the students present a project about the different regions of Peru. Finally, the Fe y Alegria school of course celebrates its culture by teaching lessons in Quechua. The cultural process is something that is seen in schools because it is what forms the connection between content and the students’ backgrounds. It is always a goal of schooling and education to have the content be relatable and meaningful to its students, so when teachers incorporate Peruvian culture into the lessons, then the students are able to form these connections. In all the schools, I saw social, cultural, and political processes that were apart of the schooling, whether that be the language that the students were learning, the way in which traditional Peruvian culture is incorporated in the classroom, or resources given or not given by the government affects the schools’ quality.

Inequality and Indigeneity: 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

There was not an emphasis on self-worth or self-identity, so if one thinks about it, is that because it is thought that the students already have high self-worth since they come from a higher SES. Inequality is embedded in the purpose and potential of education for all schools, but inequality is also what makes schools different form each other.

Education cannot be philosophized without addressing race because race is apart of everyday life. In the United States there is major focus on race and inequalities that are in accordance with it, with one of them being education. Education in a way can be tied to race because of geography and socioeconomic status, for example. In Peru, there is not as big of an emphasis on race as there is in the United States, instead it is the focus on social standings. In the “Reconstructing Race” article, it talks about how in Peru, it is not the biological features that are looked at and discriminated against, it is instead the ethnicity. Looking at the connection between race and education in the United States, it is evident that socioeconomic status is greatly involved. A lot of times, it is minorities who have a lower socioeconomic status compared to white people. When one has a lower socioeconomic status, that is tied to education opportunities. More often than not, people from a lower socioeconomic status have a more difficult time going to a school that is deemed as high quality. They might end up in a school that doesn’t have as good of quantity or quality of resources, the educational experience of teachers might not be as good, the inclusion of differentiation might not exist, etc. This is obviously a problem because if SES and race are so closely related, then it is setting up the minority students for having a harder time in school or even for getting into a “good” school. There is such an importance of being aware of the demographics of the students in the classroom and their background. It should always be the goal of the teacher and the school to set their students up for success, but a lot of times the minority students are set up for failure for a number of reasons such as standardized testing, discrimination, language, etc. There is such a focus on standardized testing in schools that it becomes the main goal for many schools. The problem with standardized tests, is that they include concepts that are not relatable or recognizable to all students of all backgrounds. They are geared towards white students and usually those that are privileged. When thinking about the students’ backgrounds this includes making sure the material taught in class is relevant and meaningful to the students’ lives. What is relevant and meaningful will not be the same for all students.

The question, what is education’s purpose and potential, is affected by inequality. Many would agree that education is one of the main factors in trying to end inequality between race, SES, etc. In Peru there is a lot of inequality between cultures and ethnic backgrounds. For instance, people who live in the highlands are more likely to have a lower SES background and not have as many or as good of opportunities as those in Lima. In accordance with this, those in the highlands usually are Indigenous, so this ends up making the Indigenous peoples have a lower SES and not as good opportunities than people along the coast, in Lima, with higher SES, for example. When we visited Fe y Alegria in Andahuaylas, the representative explained to us that the focus of the school was to make sure the students had high self-worth and didn’t feel inferior because of their Indigenous background, or the fact that their first language was Quechua. Fe y Alegria makes sure to teach its students about self-worth, self-identity, while teaching the students in both Quechua and Spanish. Schools with students coming from a higher SES background, such as Rooselvelt, had a focus on being positive and influential members of society. They wanted to make sure the students learned through experience because that would set them up to be active and socially beneficial members to society. There was not an emphasis on self-worth or self-identity, so if one thinks about it, is that because it is thought that the students already have high self-worth since they come from a higher SES. Inequality is embedded in the purpose and potential of education for all schools, but inequality is also what makes schools different form each other.

Like stated before, inequality is seen in Peru when looking at those who speak Quechua and Amyra in the highlands, compared to those who speak Spanish in Lima, along the coast. Cusco is in the highlands, so there is a large population of people who still speak Quechua, however it is not as noticeable as it was in the Andes, in the town Andahuaylas. Cusco is very touristy which I think also makes it hard to see indigeneity in this city. However, the month of June is when Cusco celebrates itself, so there are parades with people wearing traditional dress and there are traditional dances that are performed. These activities show that the indigenous culture of the highlands is still celebrated and kept alive in the Cusco region. The biggest difference I saw between Andahuaylas and Lima was that in Lima, everyone basically speaks Spanish, and English is taught in schools. This relates to the article about English being equivalent to the American dollar. People in Lima generally have a higher SES than people in the highlands, and one of the ways to have a higher social standing is to not only speak Spanish, but also speak English, so that seemed to be the goal in Lima, schools in particular. In Andahuaylas, the focus of learning English was not as prevalent. What I saw more of was keeping the Quechua language alive, and not being ashamed by it, and alongside it, learning Spanish, so people can participate more easily in society. Another difference between Lima and the Andes region is that in Lima, I didn’t get a strong impression of “indigenous culture.” What I mean by this is that when comparing Lima and Cusco, Cusco still celebrates its traditions in food, music, dance, dress, whereas in Lima, there is a more striving towards a Western image, it seemed like. My thought is that this is because of the negative connotation Quechua and being indigenous has as being of lower status. Inequality is seen everywhere in the United States and in Peru, educationally, racially, geographically, and culturally. Education has traditionally been the answer for the first step towards ended inequality, but when there is inequality in education, then a new answer needs to be thought of.

Who is the Teacher?: 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

The ways in which one is taught and the ways in which one learns is as important, or even more important than the topics/ content. This is because if the process of learning and teaching isn’t successful or beneficial to the students, then the content is useless.

Traditionally thinking, the teacher is the adult in the classroom that communicates new information to the students and makes sure that the students understand and retain the information for future situations, inside and outside the classroom. This explanation of the teacher is just the surface, easy answer to the question though. In one sense, yes this is who the teacher is, but when really analyzing the dynamics of a classroom, is the “teacher” the only one who has new information that can be taught to others? Can the students be teachers too? One of Freire’s strongest arguments is that teachers don’t just teach, they also learn, and that students don’t just learn, they also teach. Freire states, in his Pedagogy of Freedom, that “there is no teaching without learning. One requires the other.” This statement argues that teaching and learning go hand- in- hand, you cannot have one without the other. If this tied relationship is true, then it makes the “teacher” not just the adult in the classroom, it makes the students and the teacher both teachers. An argument against this, however, might be that if anyone can be a teacher, even students, then why is there a teacher career path? Why are the adults in the classroom necessary? Well, the adult is the support for the students’ learning. “To teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge” (Freire). The “traditional teacher” has a responsibility to not relay information to students for the sole purpose of them absorbing the information but instead help them in figuring out the first steps in learning a certain topic; they must steer the students in the right direction but allow the students to be independent and in charge of a lot of their learning. In this way, they are simultaneously teaching themselves and learning. The ways in which one is taught and the ways in which one learns is as important, or even more important than the topics/ content. This is because if the process of learning and teaching isn’t successful or beneficial to the students, then the content is useless. A lot of times there is a problem with this with the teachers doing a lot of lecture- based teaching, and the students not taking initiative in their learning, they are only taking in what the teacher is saying, and not really thinking about it. When the question “who is the teacher” is posed, and the answer includes both the traditional teacher and the students, then that is a step towards being in the right mindset when it comes to having the students be teachers themselves and have them research, analyze and question content. Also, the outcomes of having the students take more initiative in the learning AND teaching process is what allows the traditional teacher to learn from their students. The traditional teacher also learns from their students in that every student brings something unique into the classroom, whether that be their background, their answers to questions, or questions themselves. The traditional teacher can learn from his/ her students additionally, by reflecting on what works for the students, what the students like, what is most useful in helping the students understand concepts, and what teaching strategies the students find interesting. The traditional teacher can also ask his/ her students directly about these things, not just as engaging in a personal reflection.

In Peru, I have now experienced two field placements at two different schools- La Inmaculada and Fe y Alegria. My experience at La Inmaculada was more than incredible. The staff was very welcoming and nice, especially my cooperating teacher. The students were welcoming as well and really showed interest in learning whether that be about me, English, or topics of content. I also felt that there was a lot of trust and care among the staff and students. My cooperating teacher Kathia introduced the new teaching strategy of stations. She said that the students had never experienced learning in that way, and they were not used to the sense of independence that came along with having to complete the tasks at each of the centers on their own. They were used to the teacher lecturing and always telling them what to do. She said that this strategy of teaching is really connected to the focus of education being on the test scores. Kathia does not believe that this should be the sole goal of education, she says that education should put the students first and not the test scores. This is directly in line with what philosophers of education are saying. Kathia’s strategy of using stations as a learning strategy is just a small example of the students being teachers, in the way that they have a responsibility to teach themselves what they are supposed to be learning from each of the stations. Another awesome classroom activity that Kathia has the students do is, on every Friday, she has the students write an exit ticket, reflecting on what activities they liked and didn’t like during the week. Kathia then takes the reflections and adjusts her learning/ teaching strategies appropriately. She also posts the students’ reflections on a poster as a way to show that the students’ opinions on how the class is run really does matter. This relationship that Kathia has with her students is a relationship that definitely has her not only teaching her students but also learning from them, and having her students not only learning from her, but also teaching her and themselves.

Privileged Schools: 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

There is one important point that needs to be made, and that is that the students should never be made to feel bad about being in a privileged school, because they can’t help that their parents chose to send them to there.

A privileged school community should take advantage of the fact that they have a pedestal in the way that they are more likely to have an influence of their community. What these schools should be doing is focusing their missions on the improvement and betterment of society since that is what should be a main goal for education in general- educating students for the sake of learning knew knowledge in the classroom that will help them progress through school and educating students in order for them to take the knowledge they learn in class to the help them be positive, successful members of society, in the hopes of them making society itself better. Another action privileged schools should take is to use their platform as a way to inform the public about social injustices in their community or society as a whole.

There is one important point that needs to be made, and that is that the students should never be made to feel bad about being in a privileged school, because they can’t help that their parents chose to send them to there. These schools also shouldn’t make it seem like because the students go to a privileged school they have an obligation to give back to the community or improve the society. This in a way goes directly against Swalwell’s belief that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Instead, these schools should have the students still think about how to improve society, help others, etc., but have them do so because that is what everyone in society should be doing. Students can think critically and take action whether they go to a privileged school or not.

Stepping away from the taking action aspect that schools should be doing, it is also crucial for the privileged schools to stress the idea to their students that even though they are privileged, it doesn’t make them better than others who are not. In Peru there is already a divide between different social classes, so if privileged schools made it seem like they are better than everyone else then it would just increase the issue. Once students see themselves as on the same level as everyone else, then teachers can take their lessons and put the focus on critical thinking and questioning, (inquiry). Because they are privileged, it probably means that they have access to a variety and abundant number of resources, compared to non-privileged schools. With these resources, the students may have a better opportunity to first research problems in their community/ society and then actually take action. All students are capable of asking questions and brainstorming solutions, no matter the socioeconomic status of the school, but more privileged schools may have better technology or access to more resources that can aid them in the deep research on a certain topic. Privileged students having better opportunities to actually take action is in the sense that they may have more funds that allow them to take action farther away from their school, take action on a certain topic for a longer period of time, etc. The idea stated before, that privileged students should feel as they are on the same level as everyone else, is in the perspective that they shouldn’t be made to feel better, that is not to say that they shouldn’t realize and be grateful for the position they are in, or realize the privilege they have over other students, so I guess the idea that privileged schools should be relaying to their students is that privilege does not equal better. Privilege instead is related more to “ease.” It is easy in the resources that the students have, and with that ease comes better opportunities.

The concept of just is sometimes debatable. Some may say that they are acting just when they are volunteering for a day or week, the problem with this belief is that a lot of times the outcome of the activity or volunteering experience is more of the volunteers raising their self-esteem and making them feel better about themselves, rather than doing it because it is the right thing to do and actually changes the way things were before, so that society was improved in some way. This also goes back to the idea of voluntourism. It is important to make the determination that the underlying outcome of the experience is not the improved image one has of her/himself. This idea is related to education because if students are taking action, especially privileged students, then they should continually be reminded that they are working towards improving society/ the community for the long-run not just for a short-term.

Beliefs About Education: 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

The language means that the students should have a voice in the classroom- whether that be asking questions, communicating ideas, collaborating with other classmates, etc.

So far, I have seen a total of 3 schools that each are quite different from each other. Colegio Roosevelt was top-notch, best of the best. What makes this school be this why, is because of the funds that are being given to the school, in order for it to be constantly improving. The resources and variety of resources is abundant, and the basis of learning is something that both Dewey and Freire would approve of. The focus of Roosevelt was to get students to learn skills in the classroom that can help them becomes better people socially, and positive members of society. The structure of the classes was also mostly project and experience- based, so this allowed the students to be more independent and in charge of their learning. This idea directly relates to Dewey and Freire’s philosophy of education. Freire proposed that education needs to step away from the banking concept and make the teacher and students equal. The banking concept is basically the idea that teachers are a higher power and hold all the information who them feed it to their students. The students as a result just absorb the information that teachers give them because they are treated as lesser than. This strategy of how to teach children is ineffective. The students won’t have a complete and deep understanding of something if they are just being spoon-fed information by the teacher, according to Freire. They need to be able to critically think about what they are learning and ask questions. When students are asking questions and seeking out further information about something, is when they are successfully learning. Freire also poses the crucial idea about students learning from and teaching the teacher, and teachers both teaching the students and learning from them. This relationship between the students and teacher is what is crucial in having a positive and effective education. I wasn’t able to see how the students and the teachers interact with each other at Roosevelt, so I cannot determine if they have this relationship, but I was able to see the interaction between teachers and students at the school La Inmaculada. Here the students and teacher do not really have that “equal relationship” between teacher and student that Freire talks about. Instead it is the teacher who has the power and the students are listeners. My teacher in particular, however, has stations in her classroom because she believes in the students having a learning experience that is more engaging, creative, and gives students more freedom. She was talking to me about the problem of having such a focus on standardized testing and how it is not always the best way to educate. The fact that she is having the students do stations instead of her lecturing to the students, is an example of learning that Freire would approve of.

When thinking about Dewey, Roosevelt definitely showcases that concept of experience-based learning, which is the main theory that Dewey poses. In summary, Dewey theory is “experience is valuable when it allows us to grow and develop which makes society grow and develop, and it is valuable if it makes us understand and make sense of our world.” This theory is basically saying that students should be learning through real life experiences, because that is what will allow them to grow and develop into positive members of society. Dewey also emphasizes four instincts of children- language, social, making, and expressive. These four instincts need to be encouraged in the classroom, Dewey believes. The language means that the students should have a voice in the classroom- whether that be asking questions, communicating ideas, collaborating with other classmates, etc. Dewey even goes to say, “the language instinct is the simplest form of the social expression of the child. Hence it is a great perhaps the greatest of all educational resources.” Students should have a say in how what they learn and how they learn it. I believe the students at Roosevelt are encouraged to speak their minds in the classroom. They have a lot of independence in the projects that they do, and there are a lot of opportunities for the students to work with each other and collaborate. There also are a lot of opportunities for experience- learning. The students do a lot of service work, they have resources that allow them to learn through experiences, and even go on trips that relate to what they are learning. The students at La Inmaculada have less of a voice in the classroom because they don’t have as much freedom and independence in the classroom. My teacher in the classroom I am in, just started the station learning. She said that it used to be just lecture based usually, which makes me think that a lot of the other classrooms at the school are used to using the lecture or banking concept as a way of teaching. In fact, the classrooms at La Inmaculada remind me a lot of the classrooms in the United States. Even though there seems to be the problem of banking-learning in Peru, as well as the United States, teachers recognize this problem, and there seems to be a step towards more experience- based learning.

Education and Social Change: 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

This lack of rich opportunities, makes people think that these disadvantaged students will struggle in life and won’t be successful, but this is far from the case.

The town Pamplona is situated in the hills of Lima. This area is rated a letter D, which makes it one if the poorest areas in Lima. Many people moved for various reasons, such as the price to live in other areas of Lima became too high, they wanted to move out of the highlands to becomes closer to Lima for more opportunities for jobs for example, etc. The problem with people living in the hills is that they are in danger of having their homes and towns destroyed, and they are even at risk for being killed because there are earthquakes in Peru. However, Lima is overpopulated, so there is not enough space for everyone, so people are “forced” to move to the hills. The overpopulation problem is not an easy problem to solve, so it will take a multitude of trials and errors and over a long period of time for this to be helped. Overpopulation is something that all of Lima deals with, and another problem is water supply. Lima in general has a water shortage, but towns in the hills, such as Pamplona is negatively impacted the most. Water supply is so little up there that a lot of people do not even have access to water, so water needs to be brought in by trucks, which ends up making the cost of water rise tremendously for the people of Pamplona and areas alike. There is social action that is being done to help with the water issue however.

One of the best has to do with toilets that do not use water. The ways these toilets work is by instead of flushing waste with water, the waste is mixed with sawdust, and then after a certain amount of time, (maybe 6 months), the bin of waste and sawdust gets turned into compost and is used to fertilize plants. This solution not only helps the people of Pamplona by allowing them to have actual toilets, but not use water, but this solution is also very eco-friendly. This is only one solution towards social change, and since there are many other problems that need solutions there is a lot of room for more brainstorming and implementing solutions.

A second action put towards social change in the hills, such as Pamplona is fog catchers. The article “Peru’s Fog Catchers Net Water Supplies,” it explains how these fog catchers are nets that catch moisture in the air in order to allow the people in the town to have access to more water. This water can’t be consumed however because of the pollution in the air, but it can be used for other things such as watering plants and washing dishes and clothes. Both the fog catchers and the no-water toilets are great solutions toward social change, but what about educational change?

In Pamplona the people say that education is the most important thing to have in one’s life, however in this town, there is only one school- Fe y Alegria, but that school has its own problems, with not having enough teachers, and not having access to many resources. Resources are not everything though. Students can receive education without having quality or a large quantity of resources. This is because the direction/ focus of the education is what matters. Neuman states that, “children who come from disadvantaged circumstances will often lack rich opportunities to learn, not the ability or motivation to learn.” This lack of rich opportunities, makes people think that these disadvantaged students will struggle in life and won’t be successful, but this is far from the case. Wagner says in his work, “The Global Achievement Gap,” that “Schools need to let kids be much more curious instead of learning to pass tests. They need to learn the inquiry process.” This is similar to Freire’s idea of problem-posing learning. Teachers should move away from banking learning to problem-posing learning in order to allow students to engage in the inquiry process. When this is the focus of education, it doesn’t require there to be a lot of resources. Kids are curious in nature, so teachers can encourage that and steer that curiosity into analyzing the world around them, but maybe first looking at their community. The big step towards educational change is to shift the focus from test scores to the ability to think critically and use that skill to help one personally and one’s community. This focus would impact the education and lives of students in Pamplona. Like states before, Pamplona has problems that need solutions for, so if students from the town are learning to think critically and using the context of their home to aid them in this, then both the students benefit, and the community benefits because there may actually be good ideas that come from kids. Many times, people underestimate children’s abilities to analyze and think critically about controversial topics, social justice problems, etc. but in reality, children are most definitely able to handle those topics. In addition to having the students think critically about ways to improve one’s community, there should also be a focus of pride. Children should never feel ashamed from where they come from, so if educators are able to teach the students about the great things about one’s community and then talk about ways to enhance, not fix the community, then the education becomes positive and meaningful. Social change and educational change can be connected in the way that when there is educational change, there can be social change. Social change involves first being educated about something by being curious and asking questions about the topic. This questioning is apart of the inquiry learning that is now starting to be the focus of education in schools.


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