Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Social Justice Event

         The social justice event that I attended was the Vagina Monologues, and I went in February so I am being quite late with this post. I went to it here at Rhode Island College and had no idea what it was going to be like. All that I had heard about it before was that it is a feminist performance and that there would be a lot of swearing, strong language and powerful stories. Don't judge me but I may have also gone on wikipedia just to figure out what it actually was all about. I did not read much of what they had on there though because I had realized I should just figure it out myself.The information I got really did not prepare me for how many times those women said the word vagina, described vaginas, or told in depth stories involving vaginas. Not all of the stories had to do with just vaginas, but they were all true stories about women, and to say they were powerful would be an understatement.

          I made sure to keep the pamphlet  from the show not just for this post I knew I would be doing, but because I loved it and I learned more than I could have imagined. I learned how strong women really are, and I know more than ever now how much of a voice we truly have. My favorite monologue was called "My short skirt" which was about how women do not always wear their short skirts or clothing such as that just so that men can find them attractive. Also if a girl is wearing a short skirt or dress it does not usually mean they are "looking for a good time" or "were asking for it". We just want to wear what we think is cute or looks nice on us, and we do it for us not for someone else.
        One connection I can make is to August's "Safe spaces" and I can easily connect it to the monologue in the show called "They beat the Girl outta my Boy". It is a sad story about a boy who just wanted to be pretty like his mom and sister, and felt that he was just assigned a gender at birth; the wrong gender. He was beaten up all the time and almost decided to live a life that was a lie, but found a safe space when he moved away. Then she got hormone shots and got to be the woman she always wanted to be.
          The monologue named "My vagina was my village" actually reminds me a bit of Christensen, because the myths that we learned when we were young taught us in other ways that women are weak and that men are strong. Of course they would seem stronger because they were always the hero that had to save the woman and were portrayed as very buff and got what they usually wanted at the end of the story. Women always being portrayed as weak is not a good thing, especially not when it comes to men raping them and ruining their bodies, treating them as objects that can just be thrown away. This monologue was really upsetting and disturbing, I would never wish what happened to those poor women on anyone.
          That is why I can connect my favorite monologue that I wrong about before and that you may have watched to Christensen as well. It is the opposite where a woman does not listen to the myths. She is independent and will not be victimized by any men and will wear what she wants.
           If you ever get the chance to see it in person somewhere, please go. The Vagina Monologues were something I had been afraid to go see, but it was extremely liberating. Here you will find information about how it got started in the first place, maybe that will also convince you to go.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ira Shor's "Empowering Education"

        I would like to do a reflection on this text named "Empowering Education" by Ira Shor, because in my high school many teachers did not encourage asking a lot of questions and they would teach by having us just copy everything down and then have tests or quizzes. It definitely helps to do interesting activities that involve critical thinking, since kids will get bored or fed up with just copying information, then they will take the tests and have no problem forgetting everything from that class afterwards. 

        Personally I do not think that the education system should be showing students to be dependent on authority. Teaching them discipline and being obedient to their teachers is very important, but the students should be taught how to make the right decisions on their own and how to learn independently. This also effectively teaches them to be leaders which is certainly beneficial for their futures and in any jobs they will get.

        It is weird that I catch myself feeling uncomfortable every time Ira Shor states the word "social" or "socialize"? In school I have always been taught that socializing was bad and it meant that I wasn't being obedient in class. Socializing with friends outside of school was obviously alright, but it was not a good thing to be doing during class when you are meant to be paying attention. I understand that he is not using the word in those terms, but it still just seems like a strange word to use so much in an article about schooling. If I could guess, he might mean it as socializing with a teacher, as in asking good questions and keeping engaged with the material, is the best thing to do in the classroom because communication helps with better understanding of everything.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christopher Kliewer's "Citizenship in school: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrom"

             "In Dewey's tradition, Douglas Biklen (1985, 1992, 1993) has also described schools as potential locations of community connectedness. He and fellow educators have substantiated this vision with detailed accounts of actual educational arenas where all students are welcomed, no voice is silenced, and children come to realize their own self-worth through the unconditional acceptance of one another." (pg. 74).

     In this chapter, Christopher goes into great detail about a certain student with Down Syndrome's experience at Shoshone school which is run by parents and they do not have tracking, as discussed in Oakes's piece. The student's name is Isaac and all of the other kids like him and seem to learn things from him even though it is really hard to understand what he is saying. I think that kind of environment would help Isaac learn a lot more than being in special education classrooms where he is forced to learn certain things and is cut off from more capable students. It will also help the other children know how to accept those that are different from them and teach those around them as they grow up not to discriminate against special needs kids.

          "children are not mere receptacles of knowledge transmitted to them by teachers, nor do they go through biologically determined sets of stages that must emerge in linear fashion prior to acquisition of increasingly complex understanding." (pg. 82).

    I completely agree with Kliewer's point that it does not make sense to call any one person "intellectually defective" when every child's mind is different and it is completely normal for there to be all sorts of levels of learning. Who are we to determine that special needs kids are at the very bottom intellectually? I really enjoyed this video and I wanted to share the message it is trying to get across.

         " I don't tend to see Down Syndrome as something. If you look at those three kids running around the room, they're incredibly different from each other. They're different in terms of what their bodies are like, how they best communicate, what they're like socially, their interests. And with those three kids in the room it would be hard to say, 'This is how you should teach kids with Down Syndrome.'  They are not all alike." (pg. 85-86).

     My cousin actually has Down Syndrome so I have felt a big connection to this chapter of Kliewer's book. I never really looked at my cousin and see her as a girl with Down Syndrome, I look at her as someone who is just learning things at her own pace. When those teaching her use patience she starts to get better with reading, writing and speaking. Although it has been a slow improvement I can still see it and that should be all that matters. She is still a great person who teaches me things all the time so I wish that more classrooms could be mixed up with all types of children like in the woman Shayne's class. I believe that it could allow students to learn even more than they would being split up from children with special needs.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Finn's "Literacy with an Attitude"

          For this Blog post I would like to reflect on the beginning of Patrick Finn's book called Literacy with an Attitude, and connect it to some of the other pieces we have read so far.When Finn talked about teaching at one of his first schools and disciplined his students really well and kept them busy, but did not pay as much attention to if they were really learning anything it made a lot of sense. Many teachers today teach that way; getting your students to basically fear you and obey you and keep quiet can usually be considered a teacher's main goal but then they forget to make sure students are understanding the material and learning what they are being taught.  Finn eventually realized he was doing this when he noticed that any actions or punishments he made towards his students were depending on how "obedient or disobedient" they were in class. When he states, "All of us ----teachers and students---- were locked into a system of rules and roles that none of us understood and that did not allow for much in the way of education."
        I connect this with Delpit and when she talked about how knowing the rules and codes of power helps you attain power. Finn was basically told the code of power when he was told that his class showed parents what could be done with their students, the assistant principal was telling him that keeping the kids quiet and giving them busy work all the time was the right thing to do. So, this helped him acquire power because he was then feared by his students and was one of the assistant principles favorite classrooms to see. This is what taught him to be a better teacher and made him want to show other teachers the right way to communicate with students, to get them to really learn and listen to you, and to set up the right literacy and language in the class.
        In chapter two there was a study done on five public elementary schools and they basically varied from the richest to the poorest schools. This reminded me of Ullucci because it was showing how the kids in the poorest school were not challenged at all and treated like they were incapable of many things but actually had decent IQ's. It also told us where the teachers lived and in  the richest schools they lived pretty far away which meant that they were paid well to teach at that school, which meant that usually they would give better education. 
        Another connection I can make that may seem random is to Tim wise, because although comparing  those schools helped us learn a lot about how we should teach all students the same even if they live in poverty and have a tough home life, the fact that these schools were nearly all white was only slightly brought up. It is understandable that it was not talked about in depth because segregation or racism was not a factor for this book, but the fact that there are still so many schools segregated in this way shows that this country is not done making progress with integrating schools. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An update on my Pecha Kucha

         I have not quite finished my chart yet but I do know that I will be mainly focusing on Collier's piece, called "Teaching Multilingual Children", in my Pecha Kucha. Here is what I have gotten so far for the chart, and the only reason why I have not gotten it completely done is because I am still figuring out what other articles I can connect to Collier's piece.
         Delpit is one that I want to connect to it, because a lot of what she said is opposite from Collier's point of view, and I would like to show how what she thinks also connects to my Service Learning Project while some of what she said is the opposite of some things I have seen. I know that no one knows what my experiences have been in my Service learning project, but in your own opinions which other articles make interesting connections to Collier's "Teaching Multilingual Children"?
         Right now I am leaning towards Rodriguez's "Aria", but I do not know if it is okay that I would like to talk about how my Service Learning experience is quite different from what I learned from Rodriguez's piece. I would like to talk about how my classroom shows teachers improving on teaching children a second language.
                 Besides that speed bump, I will be doing my presentation alone and I am feeling quite nervous about it. I am hoping by our next class time I will finally have all of my questions figured out and be on the right path to work on my Pecha Kucha. Either way I have my index cards ready to go I will just need to really get started this weekend and next week.      

Sunday, March 22, 2015

From the 1950's to the present; Brown vs. Board of Ed. to us Now Having a Black President


I would like to start my blog post with a quote I wrote down from the video called "Between Barack and a Hard Place" which the author named Tim Wise stated,

         "The standard that I use, ultimately, if you want to know if a problem is still a problem it probably makes sense to talk to the ones who are the target of it, not the ones who don’t have to know because we are not………. I can be a good person, a decent person and remain oblivious and I think that is where white folks have been for a long time.”

         This quote from Wise was one of the only points he brought up that I agreed with. I thought that he did not give enough credit to how much progress has been made towards racism and having equality in this country throughout the many years, but when he said this quote I realized that maybe he is noticing things that I don't. Since he is an author who writes about these issues and wrote a book where he incorporated having our first black President into them, I figured he probably has gotten to speak to those who are targeted by discrimination and has much more insight than I do. 
            That may be a big reason why the first few times, such as in Briggs vs. Elliot, the courts did not sympathize and said that segregation was not unconstitutional. The court was made up of only white men back then, so like Tim Wise they could not understand what the colored people were going through back then because they were not the ones targeted. Not that I am justifying their decisions because I think segregation should have been gotten rid of the first time and during the first lawsuit.

"I just want to make sure that we don’t come to need black and brown folk to be like Obama"

        I thought it was strange when he described colored people in the way of called them "black and brown folk". It is comments like that which aren't helping us get any closer to eliminating racism and discrimination because everyone is from a different culture, I thought we were past just calling people things by the color that their skin is.  They were basically segregating all of us just by them separating people into different groups by the color of their skin just in their conversation. This video is also something that I found interesting because some schools still do seem a bit segregated today and it was nice to see people are still trying to keep changing things for the better.

"We are nowhere near a post-racial America....... So, to pretend or to act as though we are headed to this post-racial place would be no more logical than to say Pakistan was headed to a post-sexist place"

         I just thought this was a good quote, even though I think we are heading to a post-racial place. It may be a really slow process but we are getting there and I think we should all at least try to have faith in that because if we don't it may not work. When we all fight to make change that is when it actually happens. Like Tim Wise mentioned, that big events or when everyone got together to make a big change are what we actually still remember throughout history and what still makes a mark on everyone's lives.