Making Room by August
August argues in these chapters that there needs to be change in our classrooms so that every child feels safe and free to be themselves. Her main research question is : “What happens when a child with lesbian parents and children from other non-dominant family structures share their family stories (via oral narrative, artwork, or writing) in a classroom that is led by a teacher committed to democratic pedagogy?” Throughout these chapters she tries to find the answer to this question.
In these chapters August explains that for one school year she spent three to four mornings a week observing and participating in a kindergarten classroom. The focus of her study was on a child named Cody whom has two mothers (which is a non-dominant family). She was interesting in finding how this child was part of the classroom and how the teacher dealt with problems that arose in his classroom. August provided dictations and analysis of interactions that Zeke ( the teacher) and the children had throughout the year. Within these analysis August interpreted what was being said and how the conflicts (“face-threats”) were resolved. August explains that her research was not a one sided data gathering experience. She was part of the classroom, interacted with the children, conferenced with the teacher, interview his aid and other colleagues. August explains that Zeke was a democratic teacher whom employed many methods to promote this democratic ideal. Many of August examples of face threats and their resolutions occurred in “morning meeting”. In this meeting many topics arose that Zeke had to intervene or guide the children in order to come to a solution that was fair and just for all of the children in the class. August also examined situations were Zeke did not wait for face threats to happen to address aspects of a democratic classroom but he created curriculum that focused on these things. In these chapters August tries to examine how a working democratic operates and how a child like Cody fits in that classroom.
While I was reading these chapters I really tried to put myself in Zeke’s shoes. I had an easy time relating to some of the situations because I work with preschoolers and a lot of the conflicts that arose during the year are similar to what occurs in my classroom. It was interesting to me to see how August interpreted the conflict and solution because on a couple of occasions I interpreted them differently. I just makes me think that I have to be cognizant in how I view things in my classroom and how I handle them to make all of my students feel like they belong and are free to be themselves. I wonder how many classrooms have a truly democratic philosophy that they employ?