Archive for September, 2012

The importance of morality and identity

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Identity and morality are two issues that swirl around in my mind quite often. Perhaps it is due to my conservative upbringing, or the fact that that I lived in a country(China) for two years that placed high value on morality but not a whole lot of value on individual identity. As Americans we place a lot of emphasis on identity, we encourage people to pursue the American dream, company’s urge, be who you want to be. Americans have struggled with issues of morality and identity for decades, perhaps even centuries if we look back to the founding Father’s and their inner turmoil over the slavery issue and loyalty to England or the newly colonized continent of North America.

Let’s first look at the issue of morality and how it develops which is one of the primary areas and that Bronfenbrenner studied. He focused mainly on the social context on which morality develops in, as a history and political science content endorsement candidate I chose to take a different spin on things. I wanted to focus on how the state(which is also a social entity) shapes the morality of an individual which is the focus of Sam A. Hardy and Gustavo Carlo’s article Moral Identity: What Is It, How Does It Develop, and Is It Linked to Moral Action? In their article they discuss the implications of moral decisions and how they impact the individual as well as the state. They argue that the schemas that are involved in a person developing a moral code are important but also that situational development of one’s moral code have a lasting impact.

 

The issue of morality and citizenship which therefore lead to identity is addressed in Laurance Splitter’s article Identity, Citizenship, and Moral Education. He makes a case that as wonderful as citizenship in establishing group morality often individualism is lost in this(p. 4). I think this was something I observed strongly in China for two years. Chinese students often display various forms of Nationalism and pride for their country but it in this display of Nationalism and citizenship that could be described as “good morality” that their individualism was often lost. No longer were they Michelle or Jack, they were a member of the student union. They could not express their individual opinions only that of the group. I think that some students find it ideal to blend into the crowd, to not have their own identity. But for the student who wants to excel and be at the top of their class they must have their own identity, they must establish themselves as an individual and stand out in some way.

Identity and morality are essential tools that students must have as they go about their lives. Though I think their incorporation into the hidden curriculum is important I also think that emphasis on character education throughout Kindergarten-12th grade is important since we are training future leaders in our classrooms. I think that many might find my view pretty controversial and they may argue that it is not a teacher’s place to teach students character education but as Woolfolk (2012) states, “Because they(teachers) are the main adults in students’ lives for many hours each week, teachers have opportunities to play a significant role in students’ personal and social development”(p. 83). I think that quote alone puts emphasis on the importance of teachers in students future roles in society.

Woolfolk, A. (2012). Educational psychology. (12th ed.). Pearson.

Hardy, S. A. Carlos, Gustavo(2011). Child Development Perspectives; Sep2011, Vol. 5 Issue 3, p212-218, 7p

Splitter, Laurance. (2011). Educational Philosophy & Theory; Jul2011, Vol. 43 Issue 5, p484-505, 22p

NCLB Act and its effects on teachers

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Much media hype and attention has been given to the No Child Left Behind Act for the last decade. It has been a topic of political and educational debate. Having studied it some in college as well as reading about it on my own, I have developed some strong opinions about it. The two articles I chose to write about this week are entitled, Innovation in Education: So what else is new? Reaching the individual student by Valerie Maxwell and Improving Student Attendance With School, Family, and Community Partnerships by Steven Sheldon. The first article focuses on the importance of the individual learner and how difficult that is to achieve with the NCLB Act. I agreed with it because it talked a lot about early intervention and managing the classroom, while still focusing on individual students. The second article the importance of family and community involvement in regards to student success. “Although the NCLB spotlight has shined brightest on standardized testing, NCLB also holds schools accountable for high levels of student attendance. The latter benchmark of school performance, however, has received far less attention from educators and researchers”(Sheldon, 2007).

I agreed with the articles because I appreciated the fact that they did not place all of the responsibility on educators and they recognized that individual students are important. One of the biggest issues for me is that often individual students are not given enough attention. Teachers who stick out to me in my memory are the ones that treated me as an individual, the ones that recognized that I was unique and an individual. I was at a conference this past weekend and even though it was a conference focused on ministry we were talking about adolescents. I want to be a high school history teacher so the information regarding adolescents really stuck with me. This does tie back to the NCLB Act in the fact that it is incredibly important that we acknowledge adolescents as individuals. Adolescents are on a tight rope between childhood and adulthood. Many of them feel a major sense of abandonment by adults, yet they are supposed to be turning into adults. This does not fare well for us as educators if we are not identifying them as individuals. Therefore, the necessity of seeing students as individuals as opposed to a standardized test score.

I feel that if we focus more on the individual student then that will make us better educators. Also to be good educators we must stay current on research that has been conducted and is even now being collected. To be good educators we ourselves must be lifelong learners, never settling for what we knew, or know but what we can know. Education is not a dull profession or one for the faint of heart. It is a profession that is in constant need of being further developed and held to a higher standards. It is for these reasons that I have loved being a teacher and am excited to improve myself in this field.

Not only should teachers be reading others research, they should be conducting their own. They are the “scientists” on the cutting edge, because daily they are in the classroom with students. Teachers are the ones that are realizing what does and does not work in the classroom. Someone who has never taught before is going to have a lot of trouble interpreting educational research data. Whereas teachers and administrative support staff have the inside look into what is going on in education on a moment by moment basis. We live in an exciting time for education, even though it can be discouraging with the NCLB Act and other standards at times, it is exciting to know that we can still make an impact on individual students.

 

Maxwell, Valerie. (2010). Innovation in education: So what else is new? reaching the individual student. International Journal of Organizational Innovation (Online), 3(2), 21-34. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/docview/763161588/139078C1EDD2A95EBDD/191?accountid=12299

Sheldon, Steven B. (2007). Improving student attendance with school, family, and community partnerships. The Journal of Educational Research, 100(5), 267-275,328. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.umw.edu:2048/docview/204201413/139078C1EDD2A95EBDD/222?accountid=12299

stickyfaith.org

 

Hello world!

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Welcome to UMW Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! If you need some help getting started with UMW Blogs please refer to the support documentation here.