Current Connection 4

Shaina Kuper

            For this week’s Current Connection LC2 prepared, it was based off the text of, “Wide Awakeness and the Moral life”, written by M. Greene. This topic is very interesting to me because of it is completely relatable for almost all students today.

            Throughout the assigned reading, there were many main themes that were developed throughout. One of the main themes of the reading was that school has diminished its “excitement” over time. Teachers are bored and students feed off of that. The term “wide-awakeness” is just a more complex word for deep engagement. Today, students are not as “awake” and alive as they were back in the day. Is this a question of the teacher’s ability to teach or students own engagement problems? Within the article of, “Wide Awakeness and the Moral Life”, there was a quote explaining how teachers don’t realize that the power that they hold as an authority figure in education can change student’s perceptiveness and engagement. The quote goes, “Suppose they (the teachers’) went out into the community to try to access the degree of pressure on the part of parents. Suppose that they investigated the kinds of materials dispatched from the city or the state. Pursuing such efforts, they would be keeping themselves awake”.

To add on, the article also goes onto talk about how many others agree that the testing amongst children in schools is dehumanizing and categorizing. Personally, I agree with the categorizing aspect of such statement. In my own experience in elementary school (which is such a young age to categorize students, in my opinion), there would be 3 reading groups and. 3 writing groups. The teacher would split us up into all-ready-pre-made groups and it was apparent of the level of group it was. Us students, who were 10/11 years old, were call them the “smart” group, the “dumb” group, and the “normal-kids” group. I think this system of education already sets children’s standard and goals for themselves in a negative connotation. The students put in the lower groups felt so bad about themselves and they also felt dumb. I feel as if this type of system would put the children’s schooling in the negative list of wide-awakeness.

I believe the political ideology comes from the teachers themselves. Throughout the article, it constantly reiterates the idea of teachers having to fully accept their moral selves which then reflects onto their students. From the reading itself, I really liked this saying that went, “I believe this can only be done if teachers can identify themselves as moral beings, concerned with defining their own life purposes in a way that arouses others to do the same. I believe, you see, that the young are most likely to be stirred to learn when they are challenged by teachers who themselves are learning, who are breaking with what they have too easily taken for granted, who are creating their own moral lives”.

            The article I picked to do my current connection with was entitled, “Bore Out of Their Minds”, which was written by Zachary Jason, a professor at Harvard graduate school of education. The article talks about his own experience being that he was, at a young age, extremely engaged in school and constantly had an open mind in learning. A quote from his article published goes, “For two weeks in third grade, I preached the gospel of the wild boar. My teacher, the sprightly Mrs. Dewilde, assigned my class an open-ended research presentation project: create a 5-minute presentation about any exotic animal. I devoted my free time before bedtime to capturing the wonders of the Sus Scrofa in a 200-minute sermon. I filled a poster as big as my 9-yesr-old self with photographs, facts, and charts, complete with a fold-out diagram of the snout”. He then goes on to talk about how then in his high school years, he couldn’t seem to ever pay attention. He explains that school wasn’t “fun” anymore because the teachers in the high school classrooms took the enjoyment out of learning. Why is that? Because it wasn’t fun for the teacher. They almost had no wiggle room for extra fun activities from the required curricula they had to fit in over the course of the school year. Without the teachers being happy, excited, or even engaged in the material that they are teaching, how do they expect students to want to learn? I think this connection between the article I chose and the assigned reading go hand-in-hand with the term “wide-awake” with the idea that teachers need to be liberated, even a little bit, from testing, curriculum, and other “boring” factors to keep students engaged throughout their schooling careers.

This subject was extremely interesting to me and I enjoyed reading my current connection article, especially since it was written by a person who works for Harvard, a prestigious ivy league college, who you would think wouldn’t necessarily write about something relatable to students across the United States. I think LC2 did a very nice job finding articles with great connections to the assigned reading and was a strong ending to our last Current Connection!

Google Slide

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kr_gQBOA5gljdyifvAp5AueMkCoLjqprqMsyXOEJqPg/edit#slide=id.gc6f75fceb_0_16

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