For this blog post I am going to focus on connections. While reading “Literacy with an Attitude” by Patrick Finn I was able to make connections to several different ideas that we have focused on in class.
I started making connections while first reading the preface. Finn states, “Over time, political, social, and economic forces have brought us to a place where the working class gets domesticating education and functional literacy, and the rich gets empowering education and powerful literacy. We don’t worry about a literate working class because the kind of literacy they get doesn’t make them dangerous”(X). I was able to relate this directly to Brown vs. Board of Education and Tim Wise’s thoughts. Although Brown vs. Board focus’ on race the connection is still clear. In Tim Wise’s interview he talks about the idea that in order for a black individual to be successful they need to be truly exceptional. They must attend an ivy league school and maintain a 4.0 GPA while a white individual can attend any school with any GPA and end up just as successful. To me, this relates to Finn’s idea stated in the article. He believes that because an individual is rich they have an upper hand to a middle class individual. Just because an individual is rich they seem to receive an empowering education that a middle class individual will never receive. With this being said, they have no opportunity to be as successful as a those in a higher class.
Along with my connection to Brown vs. Board of Education and Tim Wise, throughout the rest of the reading I was constantly connecting Finn’s experiences and ideas to Lisa Delpit. This connection first came to my mind when Finn stated, “I was from the working class and I knew how working-class and poor kids related to authority. They expected people in authority to be authoritarian, and I gave them what they expected” (3). These two sentences are Delpit’s main ideas. She believes that teachers needto explicitly teach students the rules and codes and Finn did this. He knows that they need this direct instruction so he is schooling them to “take orders” which will lead to future success. Along with this, Finn also didn’t give the students time to not be on task. He had them working at all times and the students knew what they should be doing. With this, Finn did not need to ask what a student was doing if they were off task but could simply tell them to stop that and get back to work. This too is an important aspect that Delpit focuses on. She believes that a teacher must be direct with a student rather than asking them what they are doing. This way the student knows that they are in the wrong. Although I was able to connect the entire article to Delpit I believe that these few points really show how Finn’s teaching style is similar to Delpit's ideas. Working in these ways results in a large amount of success in the classroom with students who may have difficulty following directions or doing what they are told.
Although I focused on connections in this blog I wanted to add an article on the grouping of different leveled students. In "Literacy with an Attitude" they talk about how students were put into different classes depending on their reading scores. This article talks about how grouping students by ability "regains" favor in the classroom. What are your thoughts on having students placed in different classes based on their abilities?