Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Pedagogy of Poverty

I think that this article spoke directly about the myths and beliefs that people in general have about urban education, namely that teachers must spend most of their time simply monitoring and disciplining their classrooms, rather than teaching. It referred to the pedagogy of poverty as appealing people who “did not do well in schools,” to “those who fear minorities and the poor,” and to “those who have low expectations for minorities and the poor.”* Though it provided these examples, I don’t see it as helping to dispel these incorrect notions. Additionally it contributes to the notion of urban students as incapable of learning, of reading for themselves, of willing to improve. It was interesting to note that the article described commonplace activities such as parent conferences, not as opportunities to share positive elements about the school and children, but rather as another way to tell parents about how poorly their children are doing, behaving, etc.
The ideas about the reform of the pedagogy of poverty were a bit confusing. There are always those who hope to improve education, those who say they have a method that will work. On the other hand are those who feel helpless and powerless to effect changes and those who make a change and are pushed back into the norm by students themselves. As such, according to the article, it is always the teacher who is held to blame for the students not learning. But what student involvement and interest? The issues of learning critical thinking without knowledge of the basic skills are also part of what should be added to the pedagogy of poverty. But I agree with the article in that all students should know basic skills prior to or simultaneously with learning more complex process that will be essential to their growth, development and well being outside of the school environment. Finally I agree with the statements that good teaching can only occur with student involvement. What is the point of providing a great lesson when students are not listening, paying attention or interested?
*Martin Haberman "The Pedagogy of Poverty Versus Good Teaching"

No comments: