Response to Possible Lives (Mike Rose)

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WRITING 115 Response to “Possible Lives” – Mike Rose In the text “Possible Lives: The Promise of Education in America”, Mike Rose spent extended periods of time on a journey across America, and visited good and bad classrooms in many diverse contexts from urban school to rural schools. After all, he was satisfied with the so-called democratic classrooms which could maintain hope for our public educational system. “These room were embodiments of the democratic ideal” (45). First, Rose affirmed that safety and respect were necessary components of a democratic classroom. The teachers had to be responsible for students’ physical safety, safety from insult and diminishment, and even “there was safety to take risks, to push beyond what you can comfortably do at present” (46). Only such a guarantee could bring students psychological and spiritual comfort in their studies. Beside safety, the respect of people toward others was also important in a democratic classroom, especially toward students of different ethnicities. “From what I could tell, it meant many things, operated on many levels: fair treatment, decency, an absence of intimidation, and, beyond the realm of individual civility, a respect for the history, the language and culture of the peoples represented in the classroom” (46). They had to respect each other’s background, language and history. So they could maintain peacefulness in the class. Moreover, “even the curriculum has to convey respect” (47). Rose clearly expressed that respect was not only politeness, but also an intellectual dimension in schooling environment. Generally, safety and respect created a healthy environment for students to study. Second, authority was distributed in democratic classrooms from expectation and responsibility. Teachers took students seriously to help them reach their limits. And students learned and worked hard under

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