Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tracking and Equity in my SL Project (Reflection)

As I read through Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route Jeannie Oakes I was highly engaged. Just my last visit to my classroom I had the thought that my classroom might function better if all the lower level kids were separated from the upper level kids because then the distraction level would be a minimum. I felt bad for the upper level kids because I feel like they were being hindered. However now I understand this folly. Doing this prevents children from really advancing because the teacher styles and “day to day learning experience” differs. However, I feel that sometimes it ok if the learning style is different because some kids just learn. There are actually many different ways, seven to nine, see them in detail here. Teachers need to teach equity and establish learning plans that fit all kids needs right. That must be difficult, so I can see why some schools would want to separate kids from different levels of education in order to make it easier on the teacher.
Continuing on through the article, I noticed there are a lot of good things my teacher does with her kids that Oakes says teachers should do. She allows group work, however copying is an issue from time to time. There is a lot of time where the students feel rushed. Its kind of like they are already being prepared for today’s quick paced needed it yesterday life style, its sickening. There could be a lot more duel thinking going on, with reading and thinking, however they do do a lot of that when they have reading comprehension work. And not a lot of the material is based off the “real world” because these kids are still very young and just learning the basics of academics. Overall this article is really eye opening and shows me there is no easy way out, just reformation


  1. I totally agree with your assessment that there is no easy way out. I'm surprised that you notice there could be tracking in such young kids (are they first graders?). I think everyone agrees that groups should be heterogeneous, but as you point out, the problem is how do we keep the kids who are "getting it" really easily from becoming bored? Maybe they could be given a little training by the teacher to become "peer tutors". That way they could help their classmates. I think the secret to this would be the training though. You can't just send them out on their merry way to help others with no skills to do it. Otherwise they will just give their friends the answers. What do you think about this idea?

  2. I really enjoyed your link! I skimmed it honestly but I am going to go back after, re-read it and possibly print it out! It reminds me of the movie "I am Sam" where Sam explains that he is "retarted" at some things but other things he is really smart at like knowing how the public transportation and bus routes work, and not everyone is smart at that.
    As to Mary's comment I think peer tutoring with training is a great idea, I guess I would just worry that some kids would feel really bad if they were being taught by their peer. I would fear that they would think they were even worse because someone their own age is so much better than them that they could teach them. To try to fix that I would find what each student was good at so everyone had a chance to tutor and be taught + visa versa. This may be why most schools have peer tutors pairing older students with younger students, just because it feels okay to be taught by someone older. Or another way to prevent this would to just assign group work and make sure you mix up the abilties in the group so someone would naturally be a tutor figure of the group.