Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Opposite of Poverty

DrTony over at Thoughts from the Heart on the Left says that "the opposite of poverty is not wealth but rather community."

I have been meaning to blog about this for some time now - really, I guess, since the end of September. So it's "only" been a little over a month. Oh well!

But it has been nagging at me a little more insistently over the past few days - particularly since I began reading some of my students' homework responses. As we begin our unit on dystopian literature, they had prompts like "Describe a perfect world," "What is the greatest problem facing our community?" "What is the greatest problem facing our nation?" and "What is the greatest problem facing the world?"

My classes have already gone from 33ish to 28ish from students who've dropped out. But these kids aren't stupid in the least. The amount of clear thinking and stark honesty in their responses to the questions I offered is astonishing. While no one problem stood out (three of the most common responses were drugs, the environment, and war), most of their response highlighted the idea that the problem they chose to name as "the greatest" would not be solved unless people started caring for more than just themselves.

They see what's around them. They know what needs to be done about it. I don't think I need to teach them that. What we need to explore is how to go about DOING that.

(I did post a rough draft of my unit plan over at the UbDEducators wiki. I'll have to update it once I see what works and what doesn't.)


Mrs. Chili said...

I agree with that sentiment - the opposite of poverty IS NOT wealth in monetary terms, but the ability of people to work together for a common benefit. Hello? CITIZENSHIP and SERVICE - at least, that's what it means to me beyond the basics of human dignity and kindness....

Dr. Tony said...

Thanks for the comment and the link. In the interest of accuracy, the name of my blog is "Thoughts of the Heart on the Left." "The Good Life" was the title of my piece for the week.

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