Sunday, April 10, 2011

An Attitude Can Change Everything!


Patrick J. Finn's "Literacy with an Attitude" is a powerful article that relates to many of the pieces we have read this semester. Within the first few pages, Patrick Finn had a Delpit moment about three times! Way to go Mr. Finn! I was definitely not expecting to like this article too much but it kept getting better as I read. There was also a reference to Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities. As I looked up this book, I first put the title into Google. I found a very interesting presentation. (I know it has little to do with "Literacy with an Attitude", but I was hooked. I also do not know how much credit this project should be given but it is from the Fordham University website. It can't be that bad.)

So anyways, Finn starts by showing us the different types of schools. In the working class schools, teachers would frequently tell the students to stop fooling around and do their work. Middle class school children were given a little bit more leeway and the affluent professional school children were given space to "negotiate" what they would do. The students would probably be asked if what they were doing was acceptable instead of being told that what the student was doing was unacceptable. This brings in the culture of power because the working class students were explicitly told, whereas the affluent professional students were not. Interesting. I wonder if Finn does shows this correlation on purpose. He must have been doing his research!

I also think that this article relates to Alan Johnson. 'Just say it' is how Johnson feels we should deal with controversial issues. With Finn's article, I feel that this is the same thing. We should 'JUST SAY IT!' There should be less separation between the social classes and more talking about it. If we just keep doing what we are doing we will never be able to fill the gap. Finn says "The idea is that if we could raise their level of literacy they would join the haves." Ok. So let's start by making sure that everyone understands the issue and THEN we can make sure everyone has the same amount of literacy.

In class we should discuss how we can tell what types of classrooms we are in now or how do we make sure that where ever we go, we, as teachers, can teach to the fullest.

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