Sunday, November 8, 2015

Literacy With an Attitude: Argument

In ""Literacy With an Atitude", Patrick Finn argues that there are two different types of education. Domesticating Education provides students with skills to become literate and dependable; skills that will make them hard-working and functional contributors to society. Empowering education, on the other hand, gives students skills that will allow them to obtain positions of authority and power. Finn says that those who have access to more money or are well off (higher class) are the ones who can get an empowering education. Working class students are subjected to Domesticating education. Finn says that when poor children get access to an empowering education, they "get literacy with an attitude". Unlike upper class people, these people grow up with more challenges and therefore use their empowering education to fight for justice and equality.

There are many connections to Delpit throughout this piece. Delpit says that it is fvery important to express rules and codes of power clearly to maximize a student's potential. Finn shows us how critical it is to do this:

All of us-teachers and students-were locked into a system of rules and roles that none of us understood and that did not allow for much in the way of education.

It is very hard to learn and interact when you don't understand rules and codes of power. Throughout the rest of this piece Finn gives examples of how clearly stating rules and regulations improves the quality of a child's education and the way the classroom is run.

He did circle activities where each student was asked to share a personal fact or opinion and he insisted on the following ground rules. No put-downs. Listen. Don't interrupt. Everyone gets a turn (including the teacher). Everyone gets equal time. Everyone has the right to pass. Once they were understood, these ground rules became classroom rules for the entire school day-for the teacher as well as the students.


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