My name is Jackasha-Janaee Wiley. I have a Masters of Education with a social studies certification from Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. I have a Bachelors of Art in History and Women and Gender Studies. I am currectly teaching two Social Science classes for the Rutgers Upward Bound program. I am looking forward to becoming a social studies teacher in an urban school district that is very warm and friendly with goals of educating their students to become successful professionals through student and educator mentorship to ensure further growth and development.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog 4-Due April 13.

It is extremely important for there to be positive teacher mentor ships and relationships available. I think it is extremely important for teachers not to fall short inside or outside of the classroom. Teachers must be provided with the necessary resources: professional development as well as enough class books, spaces and other educational resources needed to ensure that all students are learning and are actively engaged in school.
Keith Barton and Linda Levstik (2004) made the claim that teachers graduate programs that promote and engage multiple viewpoints and active student learning, however, “even when they clearly understand and accept [those] principles, their instruction bears little relationship to such knowledge” (37). It is believed that this occurs for authority purposes: to control students’ behaviors and covering content. While in some aspects, it is definitely tasks that most teachers constantly think of, I do not believe that it is the primary reason teachers abandon the content and pedagogical knowledge learned in school while they are teaching. Teachers are dealing with the teaching dilemmas and a new form of professional practice, constrained professionalism. The major issue is combining “progressive” education (learned in today’s graduate schools) and the education climate that occurs in school. Most schools still practice the repetition, rote-learning process and differentiated instruction and performance-based units and assessments aren’t as focused as they should be. In most cases, “novice teachers and their veteran peers feel pressured to undercut their pedagogical goals in reaction to state test process … it is hard to ignore the conclusion that state-level tests produce a crazy quilt of responses... that influence teachers’ content, instructional, and assessment decisions differently” (Grant 44).
Teachers must make reasoned judgments in determining how to make content and ideas more accessible to students by drawing on their specialized expertise in making independent decisions about their work (Williams & Sandholtz, pg. 3). Historical empathy and perspective provide the opportunity to expand one’s capacity of difference (Brooks, 2008; Barton & Levstik, 2004); Foster & Yeager, 1998; Ashby, 2001). Empathy allows the process of understanding people in the past by contextualizing their actions” (Books, 2008 pg, 130) Barton & Levstik, 2004). With this process Brooks (2004) reemphasizes Foster (1999) declaration that historical empathy must be carefully distinguished from identification, imagination and sympathy” (130). While our students should have the opportunity to participate in various educational exercises, including simulations, that gives them access to different viewpoints so they can recognize the value of understanding multiple perspectives. Through historical empathy and perspectives, our students must understand and acknowledge that the past (and others) are different in unimaginable ways. This enables our students’ understanding that everyone experience things differently, especially thoughts and feelings (Seixas & Peck, 2004). My primary goal is to work with students’ images and thoughts about history so they can have a better basis understanding of their national past so they can have a better sense of their own lives (Colby, 2008; Seixas & Peck, 2004). This allows us to reconstruct what happened and why and what it all means, especially when things change over time. It is important for our students to have the ability to see that the “past shapes everything we are, everything we do” (110).


  1. I definitely agree that teachers must be provided with all they need to help students be engaged in lessons. I also think, however, that teachers also must take the initiative in some cases to find the resources and materials that they need.

    I love your view of teaching history. I agree with you that it is very important for students to understand their pasts in order to understand themselves. Students should definitely come to understand that the past shapes the present and the future, and they should understand that what they do in the present has an effect on the future. I also think it is very important for students to understand that people experience events and view them in different ways. Using 21st century tools can definitely help students see this better.

  2. Hi Tiffany,

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. I defintiely agree that students must understand people experience events. That's the ultimate achievement! When students better understand themselves, they are eager to learn about various people and their experienced events. My students (Latino) were excited to read slave narratives to better understand their experiences and significant events in history.

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  4. I really liked your viewpoint on History education. Looking back on my experiences in History class, I remember learning about various people, places and events from the past. Although each year the information that I learned was different, the way in which the information was presented was often times the same. Each year, I was required to memorize endless dates and timelines for future tests and assessments. I would learn about the civil war, the Underground Railroad, and other facts and events typically discussed in the average history class. While I understood how these events shaped our existence in this world, I never fully grasped the overall significance of learning these facts; the lessons never actually generated a personal connection to my life that interested me. Perhaps I would have had a more engaging learning experience in history class if my teachers had taught it differently. Essentially, I needed a more interactive environment rather than just listening to facts and narratives about the past. Maybe if my teachers had spent more time encouraging me to make connections and think critically about history, I would have a greater body of knowledge to draw on instead of simply remembering the names of the first twenty presidents.

  5. Hi Tawana,

    Thank you for comment. I definitely understand where you are coming from. I think that it is very important for all students to be actively engaged in the classes. I too thought history was boring and uninteresting. It was not until I had a social studies teacher expose me to different things that I never knew. I felt more connected and culturally aware to the lesson at hand. I would also recommend reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. It is an excellent book that look at various issues and events learned in history.

  6. Jackasha,

    You make very good points. Sometimes it is difficult for young teachers to carry out what they have learned in graduate school, especially if it is at odds with what is generally done in their schools. In addition, they may be getting pressure from supervisors (and possibly other teachers) to carry out instruction in a particular way. Even some professors I have had at the GSE say that their student teachers express their frustrations that despite what they have learned, they have to follow the "program" in the textbooks used in their schools, even if they know the instructional method is not as good. I fear this is a result of the emphasis on testing, but that is an enormous pressure in schools right now.