Lily Melendez

Weekly Response #1: Attending to School

  1. Rose highlights the need for schooling to attend to impartiality and the human experience. Education should not only provide students with basic fundamentals and tools to succeed but also offer opportunities for the less privileged to grow as self-reliant and motivated learners. It is possible he sees the purpose of education as one that accounts for “the many faces of intelligence” (Rose 2009, 5). In other words, education should be varied and allow for self-exploration and the pursuit of inquiry for every type of learner. 
  2. Rose envisions schooling to be more inclusive, interactive, and flexible in order to create critical thinkers who are both independent and intellectually curious. In calling upon his time in a first-grade classroom, he points to the “intellectual spontaneity” of teacher, Stephanie Terry, as she “creates [an] opportunity for students to observe closely–to form [their own] hypotheses”(41). Terry captures the attention of her class by facilitating a hands-on experiment, a visual and interactive activity, instead of merely reciting facts to her students. As a result, the students are inclined to reach out for their own answers, rely on their observations, and ultimately, develop integral critical thinking skills. Rose vouches for this notion that students should be given a “free play of inquiry,” a space to apply the tools they learn in school to something of their own meaning (41). He believes schooling should attend to these more intimate and stimulating techniques to shape individuals who are unafraid to advocate for themselves and their right to learn and thrive in the world. 
  3. In terms of the strengths of the current education system, Rose shares how schooling has attended to the idea of setting individuals on the path of economic prosperity through equipping students with the means to overcome traditional social class differences. Particularly, Rose speaks upon this idea of schooling making more active efforts to alleviate disadvantages as a gift of hope. A well-managed education grants people the opportunity to restart and explore new ways to find purpose in their life. To illustrate this idea, Rose pulls from his own hardships in school life and how certain practices helped him find his own rhythm to learn and grow. Despite his poor circumstances, Rose was able to hone in on his own pursuit of knowledge through teachers who gave him the chance to explore different fields and build upon them in a cohesive way. For instance, taking classes on both literature and psychology, Rose could not only step into other people’s stories and understand their behaviors but also have a “system, a vocabulary to think about [them]” (35). This interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on layering concepts helped Rose ultimately “develop a sense of [him]self” (37). 
  4. Both Rose and Vilson speak upon the schooling process as one involving much subjectivity; Vilson captures this subjectivity by depicting school as a body that is never neutral. The two authors agree that educators and policymakers alike hold the power to decide what is prioritized and “what gets taught and tested” and funded in schools (Rose 2009, 5). In particular, Vilson argues we need to “critically analyze the game..[and] how the game gets played” in terms of the education system which varies across cultures and even classrooms. Altogether, both wish to direct more attention toward reshaping the ‘canon’ of education: what should be learned, how we learn it, and most importantly, why we learn certain concepts. 
  5. One question I have revolves around the idea of layering one’s learning. Rose mentions how in his English class, the professor manages the course in a way that reflects a continuation of knowledge rather than learning a topic and never returning to it again. Rose feels a “confirmation of ability…with each written assignment building on the other”(Rose 2009, 14-15). In my personal experience, my AP English Literature teacher would also layer topics and hold discussion days in which we would build upon themes from different works we had previously read to trace frequent patterns and symbols. I think this way of learning was engaging and truly helped me understand the continuity and complexity of language in a cohesive way. I wonder if this technique is beneficial for all types of learners and if standardized testing procedures take away the chance to engage in this kind of free discussion and layering.