FORUM: "ED'S OASIS"--USE cosborne FOR NAME, suman FOR PASSWORD [This is a voluntary assignment.]
We begin with this topic because it is closest to where most of us are and to where we want to go. Our individual stories and "reports from the field" provide the substance for this exploration, begun in our first class. Two World Wide Web sites give us success stories from the field. The first, REFLECTIONS AND SUCCESS, relates about 25 such stories. The second, VIDEO CAPTIONING AND LANGUAGE LEARNING, tells of research supporting the use of this tecnique and technology. Follow directions given in class for reading and reporting on these success stories.
Few states or cities have a bilingual curriculum with Standards, Benchmarks and Frameworks. Neither Worcester or Massachusetts do, and that correlates with the neglect and hosility to Bilingual Education shown in other ways. Perhaps the best strategy is for Worcester's Bilingual Education Program teachers to fill this void themselves, and use structures such as this course to develop STANDARDS of what your students should know and be able to do--perhaps based on work done in other states, such as Florida. Follow the Web links on Curriculum Development in IN-SITES for BILINGUAL EDUCATION, discuss with your partner, and summarize your thoughts and learnings in your K-W-L Journal.
One of the ways to seek answers to this question is to look closely at some early teachers. As you read the sites in this inquiry, think about similarities and differences between them and yourself. The two major teachers to consider are
PLATO'S CAVE is the best known of Socrates teaching. Read the allegory and Simone Weil's interpretation. Talk with your partner and in your journal about what the allegory means to you. Make a chart of the methods these master teachers used. How do they compare with methods through which you've been taught? How do they compare to the kinds of teaching you'd like to do? Talk about your findings with your partner, and write impressions in your JOURNAL.
Read closely, and either copy and mark or take notes from, TEACHING THROUGH THE CENTURIES, a synopsis of changes in teaching, with a particular and perhaps surprising emphasis on how religion and education have intertwined. Be sure you read and perhaps reprint the links included in this synopsis.
First, read THE MAKING OF A SKINHEAD.
Then look thoughtfully through the unit, THE BEAST WITHIN.
Third, take some of the "Implicit Attitude Tests". Be careful not to overreact to this "test." To the extent your experiences have been with white, younger people, and you came from a family with "traditional" man/woman roles--you can expect your "implicit" attitudes to favor these groups over black, older, and non-traditional roles. This is not bad. But awareness of our implicit attitudes allows us to compensate, and thus overcome bias.
Fourth, read articles in this special issue of TEACHER TALK, print and reflect on insights with your partner and in your journal.
Fifth, print, read, discuss and reflect on in your Journal your thoughts on DISLIKING OTHERS WITHOUT VALID REASONS: PREJUDICE and HOW PREJUDICE IS LEARNED AND UNLEARNED. Then, as a final step, pick sites on TOLERANCE IN-SITES, and spend at least one hour of a focused search for answers to questions such as What is Racism? How do people develop it? What are some teachers doing to combat it. How does it figure into your curriculum? What are possible "blind spots" you see in yourself (particulary after doing step 3 above)? Write your answers and reflections in your Journal, as well.
Read the brief essay WHY BILINGUAL EDUCATION. Print it and discuss it with your partner and in your JOURNAL.
An opposing view reported in TEACHER MAGAZINE come from a 1996 report called "Bilingual Education in Massachusetts: The Emperor Has No Clothes". Other sources of this viewpoint opposing bilingual education are also noted, with references to other expressions of concern which have had an impact on Dr. John Silber and the Board of Education's decision to limit bilingual education to a transitional status. "MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION" and THE CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY are sites showing the strength of the political and theoretical opposition to Bilingual Education. BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN MASSACHUSETTS: THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES is the report by an Anglo political science professor at Boston University, published by the conservative "think tank" Pioneer Institute. This report was a strong basis for Dr. Silber and the Board of Education's taking a stand against bilingual education, calling it a "failure" and moving to limit the time any child could be in a bilingual program. This issue deserves to be a hot topic in our course, in class discussion and in your JOURNAL writings.
A balanced discussion of this issue in a somewhat larger context is in EDUCATION WEEK. Another resource with writings disproving the anti-biligual lobby is Jim Crawford's LANGUAGE POLICY WEB SITE. We will assign these readings in a Division-of-Labor of "Pool Reporters" for class discussion.