Tag Archives: social class

Required Reading: Follow Up

The speech went over pretty well.  None of my students seemed overly enthused about taking home a copy of the Anyon piece, but who can blame them?  High school is hard and they have enough homework as it is.  But the results were evident in today’s class, which was probably one of the best we’ve had together.  For their exit task, I asked each student to write down one thing she or he did well as a student on the front of an index card, and then write down one thing one thing I did well as a teacher on the back.  Here are some responses: 

What students did well:

Today I supported my group members.

I focused on all my work.

I was supportive and cooperative.

I gave effort.

I participated a lot.

I focused and I tried my best.

I listened carefully.

What I did well in the students’ words [it’s important to recognize small victories, especially as a public school teacher]:

You were understanding.

You carefully listened to everyone.

As a teacher, it’s good that you push us.

You made a passionate argument.

You did a good job talking to us instead of just yelling like other teachers would have.

You connected to us.  Empathized in a way.

And in conclusion…an entirely different take on the stuff and substance of high school.

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Required Reading

I’ve read this article about three times now.  The Marxist ideal of transformation doesn’t obsess me as much as my conclusion that the differences in “school knowledge” that Anyon describes, as dictated by social class, are true, and have become more deeply entrenched each year since she wrote this piece (in 1981).

Tomorrow my students get an earful.  They have the (un?)fortunate fate of a teacher insistent on being honest with them about the state of the world and one who refuses to let them get away with any less thinking than the “Executive Elite Class” does, regardless of their situation of birth.  I can’t dictate the outcome of students’ lives, but I can insist on providing them with options.

Click here to read Jean Anyon’s “Social Class and School Knowledge.”

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