Mr. Yagelski, if you have time to read my post, let me begin by saying that it is an honor to have your thoughts appearing on our class blog. Thank you for taking the time to share with us, and I certainly wish you a quick recovery from your illness.In response to your essay statement, “Address the question of why students should be required to study English,” I have been reflecting very seriously about my personal answer. I am particularly struck by your belief that educators are shapers of students as beings-in-the-world, which makes perfect sense and also casts a feeling of extreme importance to the art of teaching. The more I ponder this, the more I feel that creating status-quo beings-in-the-world is a real failure on our part as educators. As you say, it is unexpected that we student teachers will graduate and become “change agents” in our school systems. Yet it seems imperative that we do just that. As teachers, we should create change in conventional English classrooms so that our students will also become “beings” who actively change their world. So, if I were taking your class and was asked to create a statement of purpose on why students should be required to study English, I might include a few of these ideas:
- Students should study English because language is the key to understanding ourselves and those around us, as we are all beings-in-the-world. More than this, the development of a student’s reading and writing skills extends far beyond standardized testing.
- Outside of Regents examinations, students use reading and writing skills to communicate with their peers across our flat world through email, wikis, blogs, internet surfing, text messaging and more. These modes of communication demand that we are able to share our ideas and emotions not only clearly, but creatively.
- Students should be required to study English in order to foster this creative knowledge sharing through their communication skills outside of school exams. While examinations are mandatory inside the classroom, language arts skills are also mandatory outside of the classroom in this era of technology. Students have a greater venue of sharing thoughts, expressing ideas, and conversing with peers than ever before. This platform, propelled by the internet, is where their reading and writing can change the world.
- Students should be required to study English so that they can realize their reading and writing potential in a creative setting, and so that they can reach this potential and simultaneously change the world.
-Posted by Sofia Penna