I believe that this chapter from Shor's book is a good conglomeration everything that we have learned in FNED. To me, the reading was like a channelling of all the things we've talked about into the perspective of a teacher.
"The teacher leads and directs the curriculum, but does so democratically with the participation of he students, balancing the need for structure with the need for openness (pg. 16)."
I love this quote. It brings into question one of the the main challenges of being a teacher: working the curriculum into our agenda as teachers. As much as we talk about it in class, we don't know what kind of teachers we are going to be until we enter the classroom. Though we had strong opinions and ideals now about what a classroom is and how it should be run, I believe that conforming to the curriculums of different school systems could hinder these ideals. Thus it is really the struggle of the teacher to make their lessons fit to the curriculum, as well as their own standards. I also really like the how this quote talks about democratic participation because the two are one in the same. Democracy means nothing without participation. Student participation is essential to lessons and a overall successful learning environment.
"Non participatory institutions depress the performance levels of the people working in them. Mass education has become notorious for the low motivation of many students (and the burn out of many teachers)(pg.20)."
This quote also shows the importance of student participation to the overall success of a classroom but focuses more on the individual scale. I really like this quote because I am a strong believer that everybody learns differently and it is the teachers job to try to assign work that can be accessed by different learning styles. A super specific, district disseminated curriculum is bull shit. It allows no room for innovation or creativity. It limits the teachers, therefore limiting the students, showing them that there is only one way to be successful, when in life there are many ways. No curriculum created by anyone other than the teacher, can accent the individual personalities and dynamics of each individual classroom.
"The teacher plays a key role in the critical classroom. Student participation and positive emotions are influenced by the teacher's commitment to both (pg. 26)."
Teacher enthusiasm has always been a key way to keep students interested. If the teacher is enjoying what he/she is doing, odds are that the student will have a better chance at enjoying it as well. This quote reminded me of Kohn's "What to look for in a classroom," the teacher can do a lot to help create a positive learning space for students with physical features of their classroom. This will hopefully domino effect into the positive emotions and student participation. I believe that positive emotions are critical to the success of the classroom and the individual student, especially in the stressful, cram time, save all the assignments for the end of the semester that we are in now. I personally feel as though i learn a lot more when I am less stressed and feeling good about school.