Education and Despair BY katana747 DESPAIR IN EDUCATION TASK 2??”1WT1 Despair in Todays Educational System Despair is a major problem in todays educational system. Sadly, this is not a new problem. Students feel despair in having to deal with teachers that are unable or unwilling to teach as they should. Their lives are fraught with personal issues that affect their ability to study and learn. Parents feel despair because they want the best education for their children. Sometimes they must fght against teachers, administrators, legislatures, etc. and are still unable to accomplish this.
Teachers feel despair because students do not apply themselves or they see bad teachers not removed from the system. They experience despair because educational boards and school administrations turn a deaf ear to their plight. School Boards and administrators are despaired because they do not have the funding or support of state and federal bureaucrats. Where does it end? When does it end? Let’s examine three works which show this problem and a possible solution. (Baldwin, 1985; Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010) James Baldwin: A Talk to Teachers Originally delivered as a speech on Oct. 16, 1963 as “The Negro Child-His Self-Image”
Originally published as a literary work in The Saturday Review on Dec. 21, 1963 Reprinted in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-fiction 1948-1985 Literary work Song of Despair-Shadegrown Self-published work Appears in a collection called Songs of Despair This song composed between 1998 and 2002 Collection released in May 2007 Song (Shadegrown, 2007) Waiting on Superman-Davis Guggenheim 2010 Children profiled: Anthony, Daisy, Francisco, Bianca, & Emily Educators profiled: Geoffrey Canada, Bill Strickland, Michelle Rhee, David Levin, & Mike Feinberg Public/Parochial School Districts profiled: Washington, D.
C. , East L. A. , Bronx NYC, Harlem Catholic, & Silicon Valley, CA. Charter Schools profiled: SEED Charter, KIPP LA, Harlem Success Academy, & Summit Preparatory Charter High School This film documents the struggles of five young children wanting to succeed. It chronicles the struggles of the parents to acquire a quality education for their children. While the problem is shown as a huge problem in poor, inner-city schools; it also shows that schools in affluent neighborhoods are not immune to the same problems. Finally it offers what the director says is a solution. Film (Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010)
An Objective Analysis of “A Talk to Teachers” This speech was turned into an essay and eventually added to a collection of essays in 1985. This essay is about the plight of the African-American students in public schools in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. It details how the educational system is designed to serve the aims of the society at large; right or wrong. (Baldwin, 1985) An Objective Summary of “A Talk to Teachers” and How James Baldwin Presents His Subject Baldwin begins by stating that they lived in a dangerous time and the enemy was from within our own society.
The author then shows that education and society gives conflicting data; especially where it involved the “negro’ students of his day. They are told they are a part of a free society. But they do not experience that freedom. Even though the child may not know what to make of all the input he receives; he knows there are reasons behind every action. Baldwin shows how this affects the child, usually negatively, as they mature and make their way through academia. He shows how the history of the African-Americans plays a vital role in the psyche of the student.
Baldwin shows how not accepting your pre-assigned position in life creates a crisis or society. In concluding, Baldwin states that we must decide who we are and what our worth and the worth of all students are to society at large. Baldwin (1985) An Objective Analysis of Song of Despair Song of Despair is a song of the Gothic/Heavy Metal genre. The lyrics of the song center around the hopelessness of life. It is the title song in a collection of nine songs. This song is five minutes long. It starts with an instrumental section before going into the verses and chorus of the song.
It ends with another instrumental section. The Artist’s use of Musical Elements in Song of Despair The artist makes use of drums, guitar, electronic ynthesizer, and lyrics to set the tone for this song. The tempo of the song varies. Especially between parts with lyrics and instrumental sections. The dynamics starts out a bit slow and then increases once the lyrics begins. During the instrumental segments in the song, the tempo and dynamics both decrease. They increase again during the lyrical sections. The texture of this piece is polyphonic.
An Objective Analysis of Waiting on “Superman” The topic of the film is the problems with the educational system in America today. In this film, Guggenheim shows how broken the educational system is, especially in the nner city, poor neighborhoods. But not exclusively. It was produced by L. Chilcott and D. Guggenheim Guggenheim is also the main narrator. Guggenheim’s use of the Elements of Film in Waiting on “Superman” The director uses varies shots and viewpoints to set the tone of the separate scenes. The use of Jump cuts is the primary method of transitioning from scene to scene.
There is a wide variety of viewpoints from extreme close ups to master shots. Music is used quite limitedly but the sounds of despair and excitement are sometimes accentuated for a particular scene. My Thoughts on A Talk to Teachers My first impression with this work was that the author was quite angry with the situation he is addressing. And understandably so. Baldwin (1985) draws heavily on the emotions of any sensible person to pull them into the circumstances. I believe it is a well written work that shows how difficult it can be for students to overcome the limitations placed upon them by society. tereotypes to make his point. Baldwin makes the valid argument that if we have a problem with another’s race or status in life; it is our problem instead of theirs. While disturbing in tone at times, I found myself identifying with the message. Even though I am a white male. My Thoughts on Song of Despair Shadegrown uses the elements of music found in this song to exhibit his despair and hopelessness with the world. The lyrics paint a rather dismal portrait of how overwhelming life is for him. His use of slow, strong chords on the electric guitar set the stage.
Then the fast, strong beats of the drum, performed by beautiful life) (Shadegrown, 2007) and the underlying music of the synthesizer lends to the idea that life can be fast and furious at times. Strangely, this song is pleasant to listen to regardless of its gothic overtones. I found the overall beat, instrumentation, and texture of this song pleasing. It somehow got into my being and I found myself moving to the beat. My Thoughts on Waiting For “Superman” This is one of those documentaries that gets into your heart and head and makes you look at yourself as a part of the movie. It will cause you to make a choice.
Either you will choose to remain the same or choose to find ways in which you can make a difference. There are moments of hope interspersed with the stark reality that our educational system is seriously flawed in America and few want to change it. There were two scenes in the movie which seriously nfuriated me. One was when Guggenheim talks about teachers in New York State who are awaiting disciplinary hearings. Some 600 teachers sit for seven hours a day, sometimes for as long as three years. While awaiting discipline, they draw full pay and accrue benefits (Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010).
My Thoughts on Waiting For “Superman”-2 The other scene which infuriated me was when Michelle Rhee, Washington DC school administrator, made a good faith effort to reach out to the Teacher’s Union to work on fixing some of the problems. Her proposal was to allow the rewarding of effective teachers and the removal of ineffective ones. The union was so intimidated by this offer that they did not allow proposal (Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010). I feel that the movie was very effective in portraying the problems facing todays students in America. And I felt that it offered a viable solution to the problem.
How do These Works fit Together? The theme that runs through these three individual works is despair. Two of these works, those by Baldwin and Guggenheim, deal directly with the educational field and the problems we are experiencing. Both of these works deal primarily with students who come from poor, inner-city neighborhoods and or minorities. The exception being Emily in Searching For “Superman” who lives in an affluent neighborhood (Baldwin, 1985; Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010). The “negro child” of Baldwin’s essay (1985) is much like four of the children in Waiting For “Superman”.
They have a station in life that they are expected to fill. Society has set boundaries for them. And to reject those boundaries oftentimes brings strong rebuke. They must constantly shed the preconceived ideas that society places upon them. 2 However, unlike Baldwin’s subjects, those in Chilcott and Guggenheim’s documentary film have a real expectation of hope. Even if it is very slim at times. We see this in the fact that the parents can search for other schools to equip their children in overcoming many obstacles. The students of Baldwin’s essay did not have that opportunity in any real form.
There were no alternative schools for African American students (Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010). 3 While Baldwin’s work is not replete with hope, it does offer a glimmer of hope. Baldwin’s essay is much like Shadegrown’s song in this sense. Song of Despair stands by itself in many ways in this trio of works. Examining the lyrics, we see no real sense of hope. We see that Shadegrown presents a picture of how we become overwhelmed with despair, even to the point that we become one of those who made us feel helpless in our situation, bringing despair to others. As he says, this is not a pleasant situation.
The only solution offered is that we muddle through and make it in life before we die. Even (Shadegrown, 2007). 4 The lack of hope in Song of Despair and A Talk to Teachers teaches us how deep those emotions of despair can affect our lives (Baldwin, 1985; Shadegrown, 2007). It also enforces the idea of how important hope really is in our lives. Without hope, we really do want to throw up our ands and quit trying to get out of our situation in life. Yet, even the smallest glimmer of hope in Baldwin’s essay and the hope presented in Chilcott and Guggenheim’s documentary show us that there is hope for us.
There is hope in overcoming the problems in todays education field. This glimmer of hope will allow, even cause, us to fight against the odds we face (Baldwin, 1985; Chilcott & Guggenheim, 2010). What Applications Does This Have for Us? We see within these works the need for hope in our lives We also see that sometimes it takes the feelings of deep despair and helplessness before the problems are dentified and the needed changes are made. Sadly, when we become too overwhelmed with despair, we can be like Shadegrown and be tempted to give up.
Or actually do so. People need to feel that they have some control over their lives and the direction they choose to travel or the profession they choose in life. Parents want to know that their child will have opportunities to succeed in areas that they didn’t. Feelings of despair are very prevalent in todays educational arena. We all know students who have fallen behind in early grades only to drop out of school later. We all know students who have given up and simply show up or classes because they see no future rewards in applying themselves in school.
We all know parents who have fought for their child(ren) to have the opportunity to learn in a non-hostile environment. We all know parents who have come to the point that they can no longer fight against the establishment of education. We all know teachers who have fought against the system which hinders them from truly teaching the students what they need to know. We all know teachers who have labored to bring hope to their students only to have those efforts undermined by teachers who have given up or didn’t care to begin with.