Sunday, April 7, 2013

"Literacy with an Attitude", Finn - Quotes

“The working-class children were learning to follow directions and do mechanical work, low-paying work, but at the same time they were learning to resist authority in ways sanctioned by their community. The middle class children were learning to follow orders and do the mental work that keeps society producing and running smoothly. They were learning that if they cooperated they would have the rewards that well-paid, middle-class work that makes possible outside the workplace (20)”.
            This quote reminds me of last weeks “separate and unequal” conversation. This book suggests that working-class families produce working class children because of the schools in their neighborhood. Typically, middle-class neighborhoods have “better” schools in the way that teachers believe the students are capable of more. If students of lower income families are already labeled as a lost cause, how are they supposed to succeed? This also reminds me of Delpit because working-class students are not taught the codes of power in their classroom, and do not understand why they are doing the work they are assigned. On the other hand, middle-class students typically understand that if they do their work and succeed in school, they will get a good job and do better financially in life.
“…Anyon observed what she called a ‘dominant theme.’ In the working-class schools the dominant these was resistance (12).”
            According to Anyon’s study, the working-class schools all have a few common themes. They are taught to just behave and get by. They are not pushed to think, reason or question. Basically, the policy of many teachers is for students to shut up and do their work when they are told. Many because the students do not feel heard, welcomed or valued, they do not value the teachers, property or work the school supplies. Honestly, if I were being taught in that manner, I think I would resist the school, too.
“When students begin school in such different systems, the odds are set for them (25)”.
            I think this statement sums up the whole argument. It is so unfair to hold students to the same standards when their quality of education is so unequal. It almost seems like a conspiracy theory to keep the poor, poor. Teachers need to realize that poor does NOT mean dumb. It means they need more attention, more explanation. Not more work, more structure.
Points to share: How do we as educators remind ourselves that everyone deserves the same quality of education if a school does not encourage it?


  1. Hi Marisa! I loved your blog! I agree with you 100% with everything you said! I used some of your ideas in my blog!

  2. Hi Marissa! I really liked your blog, and I also used some your ideas in my blog post this week. I liked the last quote you talked about how children who go to school in different systems have the odds already set against them.

  3. Great post! I really agree with everything you say.

  4. Hi Marisa, your blog is really organized! If teachers understand that their students' struggle with their home lives, they should try their best to make the students' school experience nurturing as well as educating. Little conversations with the students, making them feel wanted and listened to, really make a difference in the kids' attitude of school. If the kids feel like the teachers want them there, the kids will want to listen and learn. :)