I thought I’d share some of my materials I use in my classes to place students into groups. I use very similar kinds of prompts almost every class, so while these won’t show everything we do in class, they at least point to the kinds of things I’m asking students to take up with me.
Based on your group’s article, please cover the following information in your poster:
· Name of Author and Article
· 3 main points they want us to think about regarding grading
· 2 critiques of their proposed grading strategy/ideology
Lastly, reserve the bottom 1/4th or so of your poster to make this chart:
Once all groups have completed their posters, we will move around the room and mark whether we give the article, in light of the main concepts and critiques, a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Tensions in Ladson-Billings’ Yes But How Do We Do It?
Teacher as Savior
Beliefs About Students
“I can’t tell you how to do this”
Thinking about your group’s tension, please do the following:
First, come up with an understanding of what the two sides of the debate are. What are the logical reasons behind either notion? Which of these things feels the best? The Hardest? The Easiest? Why?
Then, come up with a strategy to help others understand the tension, and how it is possible for it to be resolved. If we face these challenges in classrooms, what will we do with them?
Finally, discuss other reactions to Ladson-Billings that your group has. We will share out our work in these groups to kick off a larger conversation about “doing” versus “being.”
Anyon Discussion Questions
First: What should be the relationship between social class and schooling?
Then, based on school type (Working-Class, Middle-Class, Affluent Professional, and Executive Elite)…
1) How would you characterize the school setting? What kinds of things are in the school? In the classroom? What do students bring with them (in a material sense) to school?
2) What sorts of teaching practices sound like they fit with Anyon’s depiction of this school?
3) Can we think of local examples of this kind of school?
a. What are these schools like?
b. How do we talk/hear about them?
- These questions are always only a part of the conversations students have in groups, as I always encourage them to bring their own questions with them to class and to discuss those with their groups and with the large group as well – I also believe that teachers from different schools/districts/grade levels/disciplines rarely get the chance to talk seriously with one another, and so while the groups often finish their tasks at different times, I like to think of these times as solidarity building activities.
Framing our discussion around these kinds of questions also frames the direction the class will go in the larger discussion that we have at the end of every class. By posing questions (or problems) to students, and then centering everything on what students do with these questions, I’m able to shape the direction of the class without controlling it, thus enabling students to self-appropriate what is meaningful for them without running into me banking the answer to any of the above questions.