Monday, June 21, 2010

August: Questions

The reading of this week is about the descriptions of Zeke's (what August calls) "dynamic dialogicality" that pursues a democratic learning community. While chapter five focuses on spontaneous dynamic dialogicality in his classroom, chapter six is an observation of Zeke's designed dealogicality promoting democratic classroom such as News Share, Greeting, and Questions of the Day. To provide opportunities for his students to explore experiences of non-dominant group, Zeke developed a unit that teaches about families.

In attempt to explain about Robin's family consisting of two fathers, Robin, and a cat, Zeke not only explains the structure of the family, but he also mentions the romantic relationship between the fathers saying "It happens a lot" (p.191). The usage of the phrase "a lot" is highly questionable and can be misleading and inappropriate.

Another questionable guidance during the family unit is how Zeke distorts the meaning of Grace's statement as seen on page 193. Zeke compels his students to talk about "different" types of families after she simply said that families are special.

However, the most questionable instruction in sharing students' family experience is how Zeke pairs up his students to share stories and forces students to speak what the partner said. He deliberately creates a situation in which a student cannot avoid speaking and shared stories cannot be unrevealed. Moreover, Zeke demands that Cody share family stories in class saying "We want you to share really loud...Nice and loud" even when Cody clearly displays his refusal to talk (p.195). Yet, Zeke insists even more by saying "I know you can do it" and influences other students to say "You can share it" " Cody, Cody, Cody" (p.196). Zeke's demand still persists even after Cody "shakes his head vigorously" and finally he reads Cody's story after saying "...he's feeling a little shy" (p.197).

Such a forceful approach is highly questionable when students clearly resist speaking. Empowering students does not mean forcing students to speak aloud. Real empowering education is to provide opportunities that help students achieve greater self-awareness and to create the best possible learning environment in which students can speak freely if students are ready and wish to express their thoughts.


  1. Kiyomi, I totally agree with your point that Zeke was pressuring Cody to share about his family when clearly Cody didn't want to, at least not in a whole group setting. Teachers need to provide a safe environment in which children take risks, which I think Zeke did most of the time except for during this unit on families where he took his role of power too far.

  2. Kiyomi, this is a very compelling and well-written blog. I like how you took a stand in your writing and really expressed your thoughts so clearly. It is evident that you wanted justice here.