As I near the end of this course (EDUC 511- Politics of reading), I thought my last blog post should reflect a few key take aways that really stood out to me from this course. From the readings, videos, and class discussions there 5 topics that I really enjoyed talking about, that I connected with, or that I thought deserved more discussion. So, I found 5 articles that are well worth the read, as they reflect each of these 5 topics very well.
1. The Common Core State Standards: As we all know, there is much more to be said about the CCSS than one article. As I have already written an entire post about it. However, I could not write a post about the over arching themes of this class without including the CCSS. I particularly enjoyed this article, as it does a really good job of summarizing the background of the CCSS and how these standards have since affected the school system. The author outlines several of the outcomes that came from introducing the CCSS and what the future might hold.
2.Taking a Gap Year: During class, my peers and I had a really interesting yet brief conversation about students taking gap years. As a society, there is this pressure that feels as if we “have” to go to college as soon as we graduate college. It’s like this unwritten rule. While many students choose to take a gap year, there is still a stigma behind it. One of the students from this article, puts it perfectly. She explains, “By taking a gap year, you are making the brave decision to slow down.” I think she captured perfectly, the response our society has to taking a gap year. We are so used to getting things done as quickly as possible. Whether it’s driving somewhere or finishing school, people are always in a hurry. And if slowing down doesn’t seem like an option for you, I really recommend reading the article above and hearing some of the amazing stories of those who chose to slow down.
3. Graduating in 4 Years: This topic was also brought up in a class discussion we had this semester. Here at UNC, there is a very strict policy to graduate in 8 semesters, or 4 years. This poses a problem for several students, including myself. I am currently pursuing two degrees and found it very difficult to graduate on time. This is a result of transferring, classes filling up before I could enroll, and changing my major. Turns out I am far from alone. This article outlines 6 common reasons students do not graduate in 4 years. These include some of the problems I have faced. While out conversation in class was very in depth, this article raises some very interesting and relevant issues that more students should be aware of. With that being said, there needs to be more conversation by college administration regarding this policy and how it affects students college career.
4. Mental Health in School: I recently wrote a blog post about stress, anxiety, and mental health as it pertains to the pressures of education. We also had a brief discussion in class about the pressure that students are under and the impact the excess stress has on their school performance and overall health. I then came across this article, that I really loved. Lexington High School in Massachusetts is taking stride in making mental health a priority. Painting positive messages on rocks to give to peers, learning breathing exercises, and limiting homework, are among the several practices they have implemented. What this school is doing is incredible, and other schools should take notes.
5. It’s Okay to Fail: Using failure as an opportunity to foster children’s growth is a fascinating topic to me. As we discussed this in class I became more interested and found this article, that talks all about mistakes, failing, and how to use these experiences as a way to teach students and build their resilience. The author also expresses some really interesting ideas about using students talents to help around the classroom and using their unique traits as contributions to the classroom (i.e. using the student that moves around a lot as the point person to communicate things between classrooms). For those of you who are planning on going into education, or really anyone who plans on interacting with children, this article really opened my eyes to some amazing and innovative ideas.