Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Education In a Non-Traditional Classroom Setting

In Beth Frerking's article, titled Fine Tuning, an after-school program of South Bronx is shown a little limelight. However, I feel this school deserves more than an honorable mention. Going above and beyond the required basics of model after-school programs, this program provides economically disadvantaged students opportunities that may not have been readily available to them prior to this experience. On site, students are exposed to a vast number of arts and cultural activities, ranging from violin and Latin-percussion instruction to computer technology and sewing that reinforce lessons learned in a traditional classroom.
However, more important than exposure to these activities that students may not readily have access to is the effect that this additional attention has on a student. Above all things, this program creates yet another opportunity for teachers to give attention to students who may not be getting the necessary or preferred amount in a regular classroom setting. In most cases, schools in this particular situation are not too concerned with this matter but rather safety issues, increasing funds, and meeting academic standards. Moreover, it may be the case that such schools lack both teachers and support staff capable of catering to this need, in addition to involved parents—whose lack of involvement may arise due to a number of reasons which may or may not include parents who are both working or are the sole provider for their household, and/or the circumstances that might favor such a program. Although, not addressed in the article, I feel that these instructors and/or volunteers, in particular, should be applauded, for regardless of whether or not they realize it, these teachers are lifting up the self-images of these students and showing them they are not simply there to instruct, but rather inspire, support, and enlighten these students—that their presence in the classroom is not an authoritarian figure but an extended parent who wishes to see their students succeed, willingly offering help and providing that pat on the back no matter how insignificant it may appear to be. Every little bit helps and I truly admire how these instructors step out of their comfort zone and get personal!?


Anne Davis said...

I agree that evey little bit helps and when you step out of your comfort zone and take a risk you really get the opportunity to learn so much. I have found that to be true in technology and other aspects of my learning. How about you? I think this can occur both in the regular school setting as well as outside.

This was an interesting post. I hope you will make many more!


Anne said...

Hi Sharlene,

I just wanted to take the opportunity to wish you the very best. I have enjoyed reading your blog and hope you will think about continuing to blog.

Anne Davis