Monday, November 16, 2015

Appropriate Parent Involvement in Education: A Research Proposal

Nicholas Fiedler
Dr. Shutkin
ED 100
9 November 2015

Appropriate Parent Involvement in Education: A Research Proposal 

I believe that parents play a very important role in the education of their children. Without parental involvement, many children would not have the opportunity to become educated in the first place. The abiding influence a parent can have leads students to achieve great things in the classroom, and even later in life. Especially as children grow older and become more independent, their need for someone to be a guide indicates a need for parental involvement in their lives. While I do believe parents should be involved in their children’s lives, I do not believe that parents should control their lives. 
In the field of education this particular subject warrants some disagreement as to the appropriate amount of parental involvement. Many times teachers often feel as though they are not free to do their jobs because parents are overly involved in the system. Between emails, phone calls, meetings, and conferences, where can a teacher feel open to instructing students in such a way that guarantees no parental roadblocks? This conversation is one worth having sooner rather than later. What is an appropriate amount of parental involvement? I believe that parents should be involved to some extent throughout primary and secondary school, but with specific limitations. 
The few instances of intense, unwelcome parental involvement certainly makes the topic of appropriate parent involvement problematic for teachers everywhere. How involved should parents be in their child’s education? What limitation should be placed on their relationship to the school? How should this be communicated to the parents? 
In an ideal world, parents and teachers will be able to communicate openly, and effectively regarding what is best for the students. This is only complicated by the general imbalance of current parental participation in schools. If it were not for my parents constant reminders to do my homework and give my classes by best self, then I would not be where I am today academically. On the other hand, if it were not for some certain parents, many teachers would not have a disdain for parental communication. 

In order to guarantee a healthy learning environment for students, a conversation must be held in order to strike a balance between parental involvement and teacher discretion. Furthermore, and appropriate means of communication must be established in order for transparency amongst all members of the educational community. I plan to examine these things in the analysis of my research. 

FieldBlogPost: Gearity Elementary

Before entering Gearity Elementary School, Mrs.Sugar told us that we need to "be flexible" both on that day, and in all of our teaching experience. This reigned true for our visit to this school. I was assigned to the Art room. Upon arriving, myself and another student waited for the teacher to arrive. After a considerable amount of time, we moved to the gym. Here I was able to answer the question...What characteristics make this a good school?

What I was able to glean from my time in the gym was that Gearity is all about the kids. This was perhaps the defining characteristic that distinguished it as a good school in my mind. It was apparent in the attitudes of the teachers, and in the kids that this is a place where students enjoy being. The kids were participating in a cup stacking activity in their gym time, and the sheer joy radiating from their faces indicated that they loved what they were doing. Another thing that stood out to me was the use of student ambassadors that showed us around the building. Although the art teacher never showed up, the young lady that showed me to the art room gave me the lowdown on everything and anything in the art room. I could tell by the way she was talking about crayons and paint that she enjoyed coming to school at Gearity.

Hathaway Brown Pt. 5- The Final Visit

This past Veterans Day (11/11/15) I walked to Hathaway Brown for the fifth and final time this semester. What waited for me there was a day full of observations with three different teachers, in three different classes. Overall, this visit put a fitting cap on my field observation experience.

I started the day in third period American History with Mr. Hoffman. Seeing as it was Veterans Day, he started the class by passing around a picture of one of his family members that served in World War I. This created a very personal, and pertinent connection between history and present. After talking briefly about the history of Veterans Day, the class proceeded to begin their discussion of their newly begun chapter: Slavery and the South. A large part of discussing historical topics is providing students with a considerable amount of contextual information necessary to understand how people of the time period thought and reasoned. That is what the majority of the class entailed. Mr. Hoffman spent time talking about the different types of farming, and the rise of agriculture before the Civil War. One thing that Mr. Hoffman did was make jokes or humorous comments regarding some of the information. This effectively made students seemingly interested in an otherwise antiquated, and boring topic. Another method Mr. Hoffman used that made the information relevant to students was the use of videos.We viewed a "Crash Course" video by John Green about the antebellum South, and Mr. Hoffman plans to show Lincoln, the new film starring Daniel Day Lewis, and Gone With the Wind. 

Next period I attended Mr. Ciuni's English class. I entered into a discussion of the students first reading of The Arabian Nights by Muhsin Mahdi. The discussion started with a review of vocabulary terms, and an understanding of how they connected to the reading. Next they moved in to a discussion aimed at solidifying characters and their roles in the reading. The final portion of the class included a group activity where the girls were asked to identify things in the text they found disturbing and "fantastic." What particularly struck me about this class was how eager and open each student was to share their opinion on the assigned reading. The conversation never fell to a lull, and the opinions and points made by each student were not misplaced, and always revolved around the topic of discussion. I feel as though it is apparent that Mr. Ciuni cares deeply for each of his students, and as a result the girls feel comfortable in his classroom. I hope to be able to create a similar classroom atmosphere.

After a satisfying lunch of chicken and waffles and a brief planning period, I attended Mr. Frazier's English class. This was my third, and final class of the day. Lucky for me the class was continuing their discussion of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. In this class, however, they were really digging into the text. Although they were offered the chance to break into small groups, the class decided to engage in a full class discussion of the reading. The only other thing that they did that I found effective and fun was an "Around the World" review of vocabulary terms for the test the next day. It was both a great way to review the terms, and was fun for all involved.

I am so incredibly thankful that I was given the opportunity to shadow the teachers at HB. I have observed many different teaching styles that have allowed me to reflect on my own intended style. Thank you to all of the teachers that made my experience possible!

Monday, November 9, 2015

BlogPost10: The End is Near...So Summarize!

Over the course of this class I have had many opportunities to reflect on my feelings and opinions on a number of topics within the field of education. In doing so, I have had the ability to grow my understanding of the issues currently facing the field, and more fully comprehend my own personal beliefs as a pre-service teacher.

I have taken notice of my natural tendency to agree with the claims being made by each author we have worked with this semester. Whether it be Delpit and her ideas of seeing through beliefs and the importance of accepting language, or Rofes and his thoughts on sexuality, or Rofes and his methods of educating students, or even Ayers and his instructions to build bridges. Each and every time we have discussed the work of these authors, I have found myself supporting their arguments.

As a result of this, I have been able to identify my own beliefs, and the concerns I have in becoming an educator. For example, I know that I am deeply concerned about the well being of my future students. I feel as though creating a safe environment for them is essential to being a great teacher;another idea with which I am interested. Great teaching is a semi-subjective label. What, then, must I do as a teacher to be labeled as such? Through this course I now know that I must care about my students, promote activity, know what I am teaching well, and many other things (all of which I can never be certain).

Teaching is a constantly changing, and developing art. As a pre-service teacher I can try my best to refine my practice, but nothing can prepare me for what I will actually be met with upon entering the classroom. Lucky for me, this course has provided me with a groundwork with which I may move on in my studies; more aware of the ever changing, demanding, amazing field of education.

Appropriate Parental Involvement in Education: A Selected Annotated Bibliography

Nicholas Fiedler
Dr. Shutkin
ED 100
November 3 2015

Appropriate Parent Involvement in Education: A Selected Annotated Bibliography

Hollifield, J. H., Center on Families, C. L., & Johns Hopkins Univ., B. M. (1994). High Schools Gear Up To Create Effective School and Family Partnerships. Research And Development Report, (5)
This article talks on a number of different studies and analyses of parent involvement in elementary, middle, and high schools. The commentary on parental involvement in high schools proved to be very informational. The author included an in depth look at ways to include parents at the high school level, and interspersed data from surveys throughout. As the article goes on it talks about other topics that are seemingly unrelated to my topic, however there are other facts I found to be helpful when the authors mentions “parent centers.” 
I intend to use this source to back up some of my claims with the statistical evidence provided, and with some of the facts and opinions stated in the piece. I will admit that the war is a bit dated. However, I will use this to my advantage by showing how attitudes expressing a desire for parent involvement have been satisfied over time. 

Kremer-Sadlik, T., & Fatigante, M. (2015). Investing in children’s future: Cross-cultural perspectives and ideologies on parental involvement in education. Childhood: A Global Journal Of Child Research, 22(1), 67-84. doi:10.1177/0907568213513307
This study offers a look at cross-cultural differences in parental involvement in a child’s education. Middle class families with students in elementary school were observed in Los Angeles and Rome, Italy. The distinguishing differences were declared, and discussed within the piece. This study was critical of both American and Italian standards of parental involvement. 
This piece will be particularly useful in offering a naysayer opinion to my thesis. The evidence presented in this article can be used to argue that parents should be very involved in their children’s education, as the opposing attitudes in Rome seem to restrict the future career opportunities of students. Furthermore, the idea that the involvement of parents in homework is perhaps the greatest way in which parents are involved in education is one that merits some discussion in my paper. 

Lloyd-Smith, L., & Baron, M. (2010). Beyond Conferences: Attitudes of High School Administrators Toward Parental Involvement in One Small Midwestern State. School Community Journal, 20(2), 23-44.
This source is a study of the attitudes regarding parental involvement of principals and principal figures at secondary schools in South Dakota. The study claims that the attitudes of administrators, in relation to family involvement, ultimately has an affect on the ways in which the family is involved. Through studying the opinions of these principals on a small scale, we can perhaps identify some of the issues in the topic of parental involvement at the high school level on a large scale. 
I will use this source to support the claim that parents need to be actively involved in their children’s education throughout all grades, K-12. I will also include some of the methods these principals offered as ways to involve parents in an attempt to elaborate, and support the claim further. Some of the statistical data can also be used to support this claim. 

Robbins, C., & Searby, L. (2013). Exploring Parental Involvement Strategies Utilized by Middle School Interdisciplinary Teams. School Community Journal, 23(2), 113-136.
This study examines the different ways in which middle school interdisciplinary teams are promoting parent involvement. Three different middle schools were examined, as were the sentiments of many teachers and parents from these middle schools. A great emphasis is placed in keeping parents involved throughout the years in which parental involvement begins to dwindle. 
I will use this study to express support for the claim that parents should remain involved in their child’s education throughout their time in primary and secondary school. The study will also be used to provide healthy ways in which parents can remain involved actively in the schooling system. 

Sarre, S. (2013). Time in reconstructing the (school) child. Childhood, 20(4), 521-534 14p. doi:10.1177/0907568212475100
This study observes the transition of power, and diminishment of parent responsibility as students grow older. This study claims that overall parental involvement grows less important as children become more autonomous. The is evident in things such as later bed times, and a general disinterest of parents regarding whether or not their children are doing their homework. The main focus of the author was to articulate the natural shift in responsibilities from parents to children. 
I will use this source to show how parental involvement does dwindle over time. By showing this, I can then more effectively argue that parents should be more involved in in the secondary education of their children. It will strengthen my argument to show that it is natural for this shift in responsibilities to take place. 

Walker, J. T., Shenker, S. S., & Hoover-Dempsey, K. V. (2010). Why Do Parents Become Involved in Their Children's Education? Implications for School Counselors. Professional School Counseling, (1). 27.
This article examines why and how parents can become involved in their children’s education from the understanding of a school counselor. The author claims that school counselors have an ongoing duty to involve the student’s family in his or her education. Outlined in the article are a number of ways in which counselors can promote an atmosphere where parents feel welcome, and students can see their parent’s involvement. The article also claims that increased parent involvement can have positive effects on students motivation and achievement in the classroom. 
I intend to use this article to support the claim that parents should maintain involvement in their children’s education. Also, I will use this article to argue that parental involvement is not only the responsibility of parents and teachers. Rather, involvement needs to be a collaborative effort between all parts of the educational system, perhaps even especially so from school counselors. 

FieldBlogPost: Hathaway Brown Pt. 4- The Awakening

This past Thursday I walked to Hathaway Brown yet again to view a junior English class. The instructor, Mr. Marty Frazier was very welcoming and accepted me into his class very openly. Upon being seated I was given a book and a worksheet so that I would be able to follow along in class. Class that day was centered around the discussion of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. The Awakening was written in the 1900's, but staged in the 1800's, so needless to say it is a bit dated in terms of age. However, its message is one that still resonates with women everywhere, and Mr. Frasier was able to make it relevant to the girls in his class.
Mr. Frasier made connections (one defining characteristic of great teaching) between themes that were perhaps a bit more advanced. For example, he related the entrapments of domesticity to a less than desirable homecoming experience. In doing this he created a class atmosphere in which students feel free to converse with one another, and the teacher, in regards to the topic being discussed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FieldBlogPost: Hathaway Brown Pt. 3- The Wicked Walk to the West

My walk to Hathaway Brown this morning was met with a rainstorm that would have made even Dorothy and Toto nervous. The sidewalk was spotted with puddles certain to soak my socks, and the wind continuously blew rain into my face. Unfortunately Dorothy and Toto most likely would have been more nervous upon arriving at the school, as I learned today that one HB alumna is known for being particularly wicked. Thats right, Margaret Hamilton, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West, was a previous student of Hathaway Brown. She is one among many of the HB alumni who has gone forward in life to achieve incredible things. I was able to observe the education of the future successful HB alumni today in a US Government, and ninth grade English class.

I once again fond a seat around the table in Mr. Hoffman's room; this time for US Government. For the first part of class he explained to his students the topics for a future essay on the information presented in the chapter. This included connections to modern day government, and topics through which students were able to freely respond, such as the call for a twenty-eighth Amendment. The class then moved into a review of important vocabulary and people for the upcoming test. This particular practice was not something new to me, but was executed in a different manner. Rather than Mr. Hoffman telling the students which words or people would be on the test, the students asked Mr. Hoffman whether or not specific terms would be included. The students directed the majority of the review session. Another observation I made during this time was that Mr. Hoffman has created a place where students feel more than comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions on what they are learning. These interjections are never misplaced, and always allow for class discussion. The remainder of the class consisted of the viewing of two pertinent School House Rock videos, and the discussion of more current events.

At the sound of the bell I was escorted downstairs to Mr. Ciuni's freshmen English class. I joined the class in the midst of the reading and analysis of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. After beginning with a few general "housekeeping" notes, Mr. Ciuni asked the class to break into groups and create tableaus (similar to a freeze frame) of scenes from the play. After every group was finished, they would present in front of the class. The rest of the students would have to guess who was playing who in the scene, and what was happening. With some minor glitches, the class guessed each scene correct. Mr. Ciuni had them do it a second time with a different scene, and made sure they emphasized that being "over the top" is the best way to ensure the audience would know what is happening. The girls did so, and each scene was able to be guessed almost immediately. This activity, and its two rounds, related to the focus the class had while reading Twelfth Night; staging and directing. The class discussed how to evoke a response from the audience with the way things are portrayed on stage. What was amazing to me was how enthusiastic each student was about doing something hands on in class. Mr. Ciuni also was very enthusiastic about the activity. I certainly want to emulate his level of enthusiasm in my teaching.

While I may not have observed any future Wicked Witches in my classes today, I am positive I have met the girls that will help to shape our future world. Backing each of these girls is a committed, passionate group of teachers that are determined to bring out the best in each student.