Contradiction Between the Published Walden University Goal of Producing "Practicing Scholars" and the Exemplar provided for Reflection Exercise II.
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 11:34:14 -0400
To: "janice siv" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Henry A. Giroux" <email@example.com> | This is Spam | Add to Address Book
Subject: Re: Low expectations in graduate teacher training (Not at Penn State)
[I signed as "Janice Tyler, nl, (Khoun Yok Siv)," my Cambodian name]
Dear Khoun Yok Siv:
Thanks for your note and kind words. I think your criticisms of this
humiliating and debasing program are perceptive and correct. Colleges
of education have precisely become "training" programs and in doing so
have no respect for any notion of critical thinking or what it might mean to
encourage teachers to expand the possibilities of what it might mean to
be engaged, democratic intellectuals.
You might write to the dean of the school that offers this program or
you might write an article for a journal such as Educational Researcher or
Sorry that I cannot respond in more detail, but this is a very busy
time of the year for me. Congratulations on your courage to challenges this
nonsense parading as viable knowledge for teachers.
At 12:54 AM 9/7/2002 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Professor Giroux,
> >This e-mail is a request for assistance from a middle
>school math teacher who has tried to keep faith with
>her students by striving to act as an intellectual
>(res inter alia) on their behalf.
>To be honest I must confess that as an adolescent I
>survived four years of life in a slave labor battalion
>in Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea and that experience
>left me with a deep skepticism of any paradigm
>remotely associated with utopian aspirations.
>However, despite my past I have come to admire your
>1988 work Teachers as Intellectuals, more than any of
>your books I've read, and hold it as a standard for
>myself as a teacher. My students are for the most
>part on free or reduced lunch programs because of
>their families’ limited financial resources and the
>overwhelming majority of my students’ families are
>recent immigrants and/or refugees whose first language
>is not English. I did my undergraduate studies in math
>and computer science in the United States and later
>returned to university to study to be a teacher.
>During my decade in the classroom I have found that my
>life experiences as a survivor of war and
>auto-genocide and as a refugee in a lands of foreign
>languages and cultures have provided me with insights
>into many of my students’ challenges.
>This problem may be small but I think it is important
>as it may illustrate a trend in graduate teacher
>training. I am currently enrolled in a masters degree
>program that focuses on integrating electronic
>technology into the classroom. This term (fall 2002)
>the program has provided us with an exemplar to
>demonstrate a “superior” response to a summary
>reflective exercise that is to be done at the end of
>the term. I am deeply disappointed at the low and
>limited expectations placed on us by the program, as
>demonstrated by the Exemplar.
>The following is a list of the shortcomings I identify
>in the program Exemplar of “superior” work. As we
>reflect on the material we are not encouraged to
> Consider the material in terms of its place in the
>current state of the field or its historical >development.
> Consider the material in terms of its societal
>implications e.g. the perpetuation of socio-economic
>structures and the integration of new arrivals into
>the lower strata of this structure.
 Consider the internal structural array of
relations among the components of the model or
>consider feedback loops and dynamic interplay among
>the elements of the model.
> Consider the construct validity of the presented >model.
>What the program Exemplar does expect of us is to
>simply accept the course materials without evaluating
>it, and then without question, personalize it, and
>integrate it into our professional practice. By my
>personal observation, this is a model of transmission
>that is closer to the expectations of Khmer Rouge
>Commissars at political indoctrination meetings than
>the graduate program’s published goal of producing
>“practicing scholars.” When a program of graduate
>study does not expect its “superior” participants to
>demonstrate a familiarity with the literature or even
>bother to substantiate their writing with citations of
>published works it becomes hard to believe that the
>university and its programs appreciate the role of the
>teacher as intellectual or even its published goal of
>turning out “practicing scholars.”
>Professor Giroux I realize I have no right to even
>think of requesting assistance from you and I realize
>the demands on your time and energy are tremendous.
>None the less I request it because of your passion for
>enhancing the training and role of teachers. If you
> Could you possibly review the attached copy of the
>Exemplar of “Superior” work and inform me whether I am
>even close to correct in my assessment of it low
> If my assessment is correct, could you inform me
>as to where might I write to plead the case that
>institutions offering graduate training for teachers
>ought to hold their teacher-students to higher
>standards than those exhibited in my program’s
>“Exemplar” and demand at least a modicum of critical
>thought in assigned reflective work?
>Thank you for your many works that have helped so many
>of us in the classrooms for so many years, and for
>taking time from your schedule to read these rants of
>this middle school teacher. I understand how busy you
>are and I will not be disappointed if you do not reply
>to this e-mail. Your picture will remain on my desk
>as a tool to help my students focus, by being an
>example (one of several) of a distant scholar who
>expects them to push the envelope of their abilities.
> (Khoun Yok Siv)
>Stone Mountain, GA