One of the pieces we had to read this week was How Schools Structure Equality by Jeannie Oakes. In this piece Oakes discusses the problem of tracking in class rooms. Although some people think that separating the gifted students from the slower learners is necessary to provide more challenging material for the fast learners, Oakes argues that there are ways that work well to get the most out of each student by intergating fast and slow learners.
"students in high-ability English classes were more likely to be taught classic and modem literature, provided instruction in expository writing and library researcb, and expected to leam vocabulary that would eventually boost their scores on college entrance exams."
This quote is a great example that shows separating fast learners and slow learners create a huge disadvantage for those slower learners later on in their education. The teacher of the class will take time to teach the fast learners important vocabulary words and gives them challenging activities that will help them succeed in the future. . The students in the lower level classes may not get that information till later in there education and that is a huge disadvantage. The problem is that faster learners are getting more from school. The slower learners learn less just because it takes them longer to learn. That's not an equal education, especially when you think about the different ways that these students are being asked to learn. The faster learners are being challenge while the slower learners are just being asked to keep up.
"In low-ability classes, for example, teacbers seem to be less encouraging and more punitive, placing more emphasis on discipline and 'behavior and less on academic learning. Compared to teachers in high-ability classes, they seem to be more concerned about getting students to follow directions, be on time, and sit quietly."
I notice this occurring a lot in my VIPS tutoring. I am working with a lower level student, and the teacher just seems to ignore the fact that she is not learning as fast as the other students, and the student is left behind. The teacher seems to work more with the advanced students and is encouraging them to do more work. I feel like the student I am working with is at a complete disadvantage.
"In many classrooms the evidence
of students' capability is a matter of public record. Grades and progress are prominently posted: letters, numbers, stars, smiley faces, race horses, and halos - along with sad faces, zeros,and the ever present blanks."
Also, I see this a lot in my vips tutoring and I do not agree with it at all. For example there is a "We know our multiplication tables 100%" chart on the wall. Everyone in the class has stickers in every single column except 2-3 students. The student that i mostly work with does not have any stickers on her chart. I feel bad because it is praising the more advanced students, where as my student is left behind because she is a slower learner.
This weeks readings were very interested, and I am excited to hear everyones reactions about them in class on tuesday! (: