Authentic Application

EDU 6120 Week 9 Reflection

Authentic Applications

Throughout this week of Thanksgiving I was reminded of many reasons I have to be thankful.  I am thankful for heat, for electricity, for an extra two days off with my children, for my family and my friends, for generosity of community, for candles, for a change in the weather, for the opportunity I have to be going back to school, for a job, for laughter and health and mostly for the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the importance of enjoying each day.  I have also been giving thought this week to other people’s perspective’s and what they may or may not be thankful for.  From a historical point of view Thanksgiving can be view from two very different perspectives; white man and non-white man perspective.  I have been exploring my role as an educator in examining and comparing these two distinctly opposite perspectives.  As teacher I think I need to take every opportunity to keep difficult and possibly uncomfortable perspectives in open view and to have conversations often and honestly in my classrooms.  I have said this before and I will continue to say this, that if we support and encourage these difficult conversations often and openly they will not feel so awkward or uncomfortable. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, as we do every year,  we are provided with a perfect time  to revisit what Thanksgiving really is about and some the more unpleasant and relative history…contrary to the light and happy version.  Don’t Drink The Water, by Dave Matthews Band is a powerful video and a contemporary way to start a dialogue in the classroom and add to the reality of history of the Native American people.

I also found a website that supports many different social justice sites and provides information for educators.  Through this website I found this social justice song index.  Since music is such a big part of my life I am sure that it will be a big part of my teaching.  This index provides lyrics to hundreds of songs that all share a common theme of social in/justice.  I feel that can be a really great way to introduce children to social justice without offering to many visuals.  For the younger children some of these images are harsh and downright frightening.  And while I don’t think that kids should be sheltered from these images there needs to be a filter. Songs can do just this; provide fantastic imagery that can lead to amazing discussions. Although, I have provided the video for you, I feel that this is a good example of how words alone, that are echoed throughout the song, can provide a starting point an excellent verbal imagery for a powerful conversation:

Don’t Drink the Water
performed by Dave Matthews Band
from the album Before these Crowded Streets
about European colonization of Native American lands:

“Away away
You have been banished
Your land is gone
And given me
And here I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home
What’s this you say
You feel a right to remain
Then stay and I will bury you
What’s that you say
Your father’s spirit still lives in this place
I will silence you”



5 thoughts on “Authentic Application

  1. Sarah,
    It is so great to hear you incorporating music into your blog post. I think using popular music is a great way to connect with your students. In my interview with a master teacher, one thing he said was to incorporate pop culture into your lessons as a way to reach out to your students, and this blog post is a great example of that. Thanks!

  2. I enjoyed your post! I think its great that your incorporating music into your classroom to help students dive into issues and subjects that they may otherwise find unappealing. With the issue of social justice and the Indians, what conclusion will you make about the history of Indian suppresion in North America? Will you use this story to establish the guilt of America for what its ancestors did? Or can you use these injustices to talk about bringing about justice today?
    As a history major, I find it extremely important to discuss the reasoning behind the injustices committed by people in the world so that students will not be apart of a society that will commit them again. What are your thoughts on how to inspire student motivation in learning the lessons of history?

    Matthew Kieswether

  3. Sarah,

    I find your idea very important: to be greatful for controversial issues in our society, and to be open about discussing them often and regularly with our students. These issues are a great educational opportunity. I think such attitude can serve many purposes simultaneously: it teaches children participation in important matters of the community, critical thinking skills, and enhances their ability to express their opinion which all are crucial for living in a democratic society; it creates and atmosphere of openness and trust in the classroom which is conducive for learning; it creates a curriculum link to real-world problems; it makes school “real” and meaningful for students; it helps the teacher to establish personal connections with students and win their hearts.

    I enjoy your sincere and thoughtful posts. Best regards,


  4. Sarah, I too agree that music is such a great medium to illustrate ideas and form connections in the brain. I applaud you for your heroic stance on having conversations and having them often about subjects that are hard and are often overlooked because of the inherent difficulty and uncomfortable nature that surrounds them. When we can talk openly we can learn to listen as compassionate people and honor the pain of others rather than sweep it under the rug. Thank you for being so bold!

  5. Sarah,
    I entirely agree with your perspective on using music as a form of positive instruction. It is very important that the students we teach have a way of relating to their teachers. By incorporating messages in popular music to lesson plans and everyday activities, students will become more involved in topics that they believe relate to their life. This will apply to any level of education, as popular music, movies, and literature. Excellent analysis of providing a compelling curriculum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s