Reflection Piece on Project

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To analyze the way that medium changes the way an argument is made in my final project I decided to do a blog series on the my chosen topic.  If you have been keeping up with blog you have seen that my topic for this project is the No Child Left Behind education policy and why and how it needs to be changed.  I wrote my first paper for my English 102 class about this topic and I decided to transfer this topic and the research I did into my project.  The basic requirements of the project were to use a different medium than writing a paper in order to re argue an argument.  We were required to also write a paper on the subject but by doing this project the paper got extended and re-argued until it was almost something completely different.  My medium of using an online blog series to argue my point was completely different than arguing my point a thought out research paper and I also used different techniques to argue my material.

The main way that my blog project was different than writing a paper was it allowed for language to be more casual.  A blog is by nature a more casual medium than writing a formal paper so my writing was way more casual to adhere to that than I was when I wrote the paper.  The other way that the medium changed my argument was it allowed others to respond to what I had to say.  I invited my class and my Introduction to Education class to check out my blog and comment on it and participate in discussions but it never really got off of the ground.  I had one student comment on a piece of the blog and I commented back and I hoped that was going to lead to a discussion but it didn’t.  If there would have been a collaborative discussion on the blog I think my project would have changed tremendously.  Another way the blog medium changed my argument is because I did video logs of myself and one of peer and one of an expert.  This allowed for what I had to say to be more personal and more entertaining.  Watching or listening to someone talk about an experience they had with something is a lot more interesting than reading the same information.  The comment made by a fellow student on my blog responded to that change of feel between reading a blog post and watching someone talk about their personal experience.  She said that she enjoyed the video so much better than reading even though it was just me talking to a camera about what I experienced.

I incorportated my research differently into this project by splitting posts up and putting in the research at the appropriate points.  I also used an interview that I used as a source in my paper as a video interview which meant I didn’t have to cite what was being said in that video.  I also used the information that I wrote in my paper and the sources used and said them before I said my information in one of my video experiences.  I was able to re alliterate the source without having to write it out and make a bulky sentence in my blog posts.

Ultimately, even though the blog posts were writing just like a paper is, I think the medium of being on a blog changed my argument a lot.  Writing in a different medium required different techniques and I responded to the information differently than I would have in a paper.

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Conclusion on No Child Left Behind Blog Series

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My two week blog series is on No Child Left Behind is coming to a close and I know that I haven’t even covered a tiny fraction of the issue with this policy.  There is so much more depth to the problems with our education system and the need we have to fix them.  I could never cover all of them and still get every issue with the education system right.  I covered for you what I think the three major problems with the system which are the lack of comparability between states, teachers changing their curriculum to “teach to the test” and too much pressure on students and educators to pass these tests.  I used examples from experts, my own personal life, and media to back up what I had to say about these problems.  I also proposed a solution on how the education system can be reformed in order to fix all of these little issues.  So basically in conclusion I leave with you a thought of how important a working education system is for the United States.  We need an efficient system for education because everything we do in this life revolves around having to learn about it either through experiences or someone telling us.  There is no way that we could suffice alone on our own experiences because we only have so many years to live on this earth.  However, we can learn these things from people telling them to us and teaching us new ideas and concepts.  This is why we have a need for education because without education our world would fall flat.

Proposed Solution for No Child Left Behind and the Governmental Educaiton System

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I have spent almost this entire blog series giving you information as to why the No Child Left Behind policy should be changed and as this series is coming to a close, I will now discuss possible solutions to this problem.  It should be apparent that the system needs to be changed with evidence I have presented or from experiences you have had in your own life but the big question is how it should be changed.  There are many perspectives on how the education system should work exactly and there is truly no right solution because no matter what education system is implemented, there will be some children getting a better education than others.  As hopeless as that sounds it is something that our federal government has been realizing recently or at least they should be coming to this realization.  I am going to propose a solution that I think would work best but that doesn’t mean mine will work best or that I have all the right answers.

If I were to change the No Child Left Behind system I would start with a completely new program in which the current policy would be thrown out the window and the eduction reform would start from scratch.  Trying to fix and tweak an already broken policy is incredibly difficult and poses many challenges so I think that starting completely new would be the best.  I would keep standardized testing as a way to measure a student’s progress because I feel that even though standardized testing has it faults and can be annoying at times, it is the best way to truly assess the children on a national level.  With that being said, the standardized test needs to be implemented on a national level instead of the tests being made up by the state.  If the federal government were to make the tests and distribute them, the system would be more fair and easier to compare state to state because all the students across the nation would essentially be taking the same test.  I also would shift the focus of the standardized testing scores away from passing a certain benchmark to having individual children progress sin their test scores from year to year.  The school will be then be judged on whether or not their students are improving and what percentage are instead of how many are passing.  A state’s education system will then be judged on how many schools have students improving.  I haven’t able to come up with any realistic consequences for not having enough students improving but then again there is no consequence now with the current NAEP.

Like I said before this is just a proposed solution and I know it’s not perfect and there will still be many problems and flaws with this system but at least it addresses the main issues that I currently see with the No Child Left Behind policy.  It fixes the issue of comparability by making one national test and it reduces “teaching to the test” and pressure on students and educators by requiring improvement and not passing.  Let me know what your thoughts are on this!

Peer Reflections on No Child Left Behind

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So for today’s blog post I interviewed a good friend of mine on her thoughts on the current education system.  She went to a school in my area and is also a student at SIUE.  Recently in her English 101 class they discussed standardized testing and she also has gone through the system herself and has frustrations with what she had to go through.

 

 

Pressure Caused by No Child Left Behind

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My third point as to why the No Child Left Behind policy needs to be changed is because of the large amounts of pressure it places on students and educators.  By conforming all students in a particular state to one standard creates a heavy pressure for ALL students to perform well and for the educators to see to it.  Educators are required to have so much of their school pass their tests even though some students with learning disabilities may never be able to pass these tests.  Students with a learning or developmental disability are expected to take the same test that all of the other kids are taking which is hard for educators to make sure those kids are at the same level.  The kids who know they struggle with testing especially standardized testing feel the extra pressure from the educators to pass the tests.  Sometimes this extra pressure on students backfires when you are trying to motivate them to do their best.  Depending on the student the more you push them the less likely they are to try and get better.

I used an example while giving a speech on this particular subject that explained why children should not all be compared on the same level.  It was right after the Cardinals won the World Series ( I live 20 minutes from St. Louis so this was a HUGE deal for me and others in my area) and I used an analogy involving baseball.  I said do you expect to compare all twenty five year old men who play baseball on the same level?  This includes people who play Major League baseball, Minor league, club leagues, church leagues and those who play pick up games in the back yard with their friends.  Do you think that all of these man should be compared together just because they are all the same age and play baseball?  Obviously not because those  who play Major League baseball are far more developed in their skills than one who plays baseball in the backyard.  I think that this is the same for children.  Just because a group of students are enrolled in school and are of the same age does not mean they should be compared together.  Children develop differently and all children are gifted in different ways so we cannot expect them to all be at the same level.  This is the main reason why I disagree with standardized testing in general because it treats the children as a number instead of an individual.

In the next two blog posts I will be featuring two interviews one of a good friend of mine and a personal interview.  In both of these we will be talking about our experiences with standardized testing and the pressure we felt to do well on these.

Expert Opinion on No Child Left Behind

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I got the chance to interview Mr. Porzukowiak who is a professor in the School of Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  He is considered in his department to be an expert on all things No Child Left Behind and has done extensive research on the policy and what exactly it says.  The video that I have recorded below is the interview that I had with him in which I asked him to just give me his thoughts on two questions that would sum up the major problems and solutions to No Child Left Behind.  The first question I asked was “If you could propose a solution to the No Child Left Behind policy what would it be? Or at least what problems would it address?”  And the second question I asked was “What do you think are the biggest problems of the current No Child Left Behind policy?”