D&D - 1 Democracy and Dialogue If you were to walk into...

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Democracy and Dialogue If you were to walk into a classroom at a public school today, the general assumption may be that the teachers are not in charge when they should be. This may or may not be the teacher’s fault. A lot of time clear rules are not established within the schooling systems and kids cross boundaries which disrupt classrooms and student’s learning. In the Urban Review article, Mr. Walsh’s class is a perfect example of this. It talks about how a girl is asking a question that Mr. Walsh thinks challenges his authority. Mean while, another kid is throwing things across the room and other children are calling out (Vavrus/Cole, 2002, 97-98). This is not to show that challenging a teacher is considered to be a disciplinary action while the others are not, but that the positions of power in a classroom setting need to be changed so that the teacher is in charge and respected as a figure of authority. Also, when being disciplined in the classroom, it should be constructive and used as a learning mechanism and model for what is expected in democratic society, such as ours. In Mr. Walsh’s case, he needed to be more firm in his class. The students attempted to allow him to be in charge; but by not asserting each child’s question in its own, Mr. Walsh gave up that position. Once the children realized they were in control, it was then a competition between students of who was in charge. The cause of this was stated in the article, “…Mr. Walsh did not respond directly to students’ bids for attention. Instead he responded with general comments.” (Vavrus/Cole, 2002, 97). In allowing this to happen, Mr. Walsh gave up all of the power that our society perceives teachers to have (being in charge and teaching the class). “In Mr. Walsh’s class, the students may have 1
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felt ignored or may have wondered whether the teacher cared about what they were doing.” (Vavrus/Cole, 2002, 98). A lot of times teachers are thought to be caring and helpful. Once a teacher has lost that bond with their students, they loose control of their classroom and disruptions occur. That bond, between teacher and student, lies in parallel with American society and our respect for our political and economical leaders as people of power. Society as we know it shapes and forms everything we do and think. Schools are especially criticized when it comes down to how they should teach children to have and form a democratic voice within society’s values. Horace Mann was an advocate for free public schooling and universal schooling (Mann, 2006, 313). In a democratic schooling system, this is just not possible. Different areas receive different levels of funding from the community and/or government. In impoverished neighborhoods, schools are less likely to receive any or consistent funding from the community and surrounding areas. In the article about Seattle, it talks about how broken black homes produce the children with the most problems (Phillips, 2006).
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