Making Connections

I have never been a fan of making connections.  I like to observe one thing at a time because I tend to easily confuse information.  I easily mix concepts together, and it usually tends to lead to frustration. This year, however, making connections is almost impossible to avoid.  Although my classes seem to have nothing to do with each other on the surface, their content often meshes together. The classes that tend to connect to each other are English 203, INTD 203, and History 250.  The connection I would like to focus most on is and English and INTD connection that came about this last week. In English 203 we talked about the alphabet, the use of the alphabet, and what the alphabet promises.  We discussed these topics in groups and my group came to the conclusion the alphabet is not a useful model of organization, and students at the collegiate level have little need for the alphabet. The only way I thought the alphabet could be useful is for children’s use.  The alphabet helps children learn the letters, and prepares them to read and write. For adults, however, it has little organizational value. This was proven when Beth assigned the class to stand up and start an activity. We organized ourselves in alphabetical order based on last name, then the first name.  Both were completely different orders of people, but I personally don’t believe there was any meaning behind the organization. My peers came up with meaning behind names, but I don’t think there was a true meaning. We then were asked if there was a meaning behind the way we were organized. My peers discovered meanings for the organization, but I didn’t think it correlated with alphabetical order.  A name is just a name that is given to a child by their parents at birth. The letters within the name don’t give a meaningful characteristic to the child. Therefore, I don’t believe organizing anything alphabetically is meaningful as an adult, but as a child, the tool can be useful for learning.

For INTD 203, we have homework assignments every week from the textbook, The American School From the Puritans to the Trump Era by Joel Spring.  It goes into the history of the American school system from the Puritan era to the Trump presidency.  It describes certain tactics used by educators throughout the history of education. The educational tactics described in the most recent readings are some of the same tactics educators use in current times.  In one of the most recent readings, Joel Spring describes the use of Sesame Street as an education method for the lower class children of the United States.  The show used many methods of education to help lower-class children prepare for kindergarten.  Most of the educational methods in the beginning of Sesame Street were controversial among parents and educators.  They weren’t sure of which methods were necessary for poor children to be learning before their entrance to kindergarten.  One of the tactics discussed was the use of the alphabet in the years before education within school begins. Spring even goes as far as to say that it “was the most controversial decision regarding preparation for school” (428).  Parents and educators frequently debated the use of the alphabet. Some thought it was completely arbitrary, and some thought it was a necessary skill children need to acquire before entrance into the school system. Parents wanted their children to learn the necessary skills for school, but most considered the alphabet to not fall into this category.  The chapter then continues to describe the educational side of the argument. It describes the importance of the alphabet as a tool in early childhood education. It helps children learn the basics of reading and writing and gives them a general educational foundation before entering school. It was an easy skill to teach and thought to be beneficial to children whose families could not afford to put them in a daycare program.  Referring back to the discussion in English 203, I have come to the conclusion that the alphabet is arbitrary for older students and adults, but crucial for young children. The alphabet should not be used as a meaningful organizational method, because there is no real meaning behind it.

This connection made between English 203 and INTD has been and crucial discovery within my education journey.  Taking information only as it presents itself can be harmful to a student. The student could possibly never find a deeper meaning within their learning.  Making connections between classes or literary works is almost always beneficial to the learner. If we had not had the alphabet discussion in English class, then I would not have unpacked the reading in INTD 203.  As a future teacher, understanding these concepts in-depth helps me to develop my own opinion on educational tactics.  

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