Sunday, April 25, 2010

Education is Politics by Ira Shor

1. "A school year that begins by questioning school could be a remarkably democratic and critical learning experience for students."

This quote struck me as a great thing to do as a teacher. This would set up trust with students and have them understand why they are in school. I do not remember any of my teachers asking us why are we in school. If my teacher asked us to brianstorm why we were in school I think it would make things better for all of the students to focus from day one.

2. "Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn."

When I read this statement I did not think too much into it. But I think I did this because education developed my inclination to learn and I took it for granted. So as I read the sentence again I thought like a kid who did not like to learn and what education did mentally to them. Since kids start education so early in life they grow to either hate or love school. This does not vary through out their lives. I do not know the statistics but my assumption is that kids who do not like school at the beginning will not like school when they age as well. Education is important but kids can be shut off by learning and it is hard to turn them around.

3. "Eucation is more than facts and skills. It is a socializing experience that helps make the people who make society."

I related this quote to the article that Delpit wrote. It is kind of like her teaching the rules and codes of power to develop the people of the future. Yes, students learn facts and knowledge but there is a whole other side to school that involves relationships and socialization. I like the fact that Shor recognizes this and tells her audience. Teachers often tell students that you are not here to socialize but to learn. I never did like those teachers because it was impossible for kids not to socialize.

I did not like this piece by Shor because I just could not get through the whole article. It just seemed so wordy and as I read I had to go back and say what in the world did I just read. I found this piece to be the most difficult to understand. I got her point somewhat but I know I will have to read more blogs in order to get the point. But what I did get out of the article was that education molds a person. If a student is turned off my learning then they will be the troubled students and not want to learn. These are the kids who become labeled as problemed and never see success in school.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Post 2

I know it is a week later but I keep comming across the ditto sheet that Dr. Bogad handed out to us. I remember the feeling I got when she handed them out and started to explain what to do. The more and more she explained and the more and more I read the sheet I thought it was a test. It seemed like she did not think we read the article like we were suppost to and now wanted to show us that we better do what she tells us. My nerves were sky high and I am not usually like that. I mean I read the article but was certainly not ready to take a test on it. I was ready to count off and get into groups and explain bits and pieces of it. When we were told to stop I still had two questions that I had yet to answer. Then Dr. Bogad asked us how we felt about the hand out and I knew something was up.

She told us that we should never put up with worksheets as classwork. Dr. Bogad crinkled the paper up into a ball and tossed it away and said that is what we should do when we are handed one of those. We should stick up for ourselves and say that we are offended by the worksheet. As college students we are more intelligent than doing worksheets and we should not have to do them. When Dr. Bogad crinkled the paper up and threw it to the side I was taken back a little by her reaction to the ditto sheet. But, as I kept listening to her reasoning I thought "Wow! that is so true." Who wants to do worksheets every day and feel like how I felt.

I can not imagine being given worksheets every single day. I do not think I would be able to put up with that. Some kids actually are given these ditto sheets every or most of the days. Can you imagine how that class must be? Wouldn't you dread going to that period every single day? Is that a good learning environment when each student knows that they are just going to be given a worksheet? I feel bad for those kids who are given worksheets for every lesson they have. That ditto sheet really affected me and made me think about every worksheet I am given.

Social Justice Post

I attended "Healthy Kids Day 2010" at my local YMCA in Seekonk, Ma. The Newman Y is part of the Greater Providence YMCA district and I happen to belong to it. Last Saturday they ran an informational session about keeping kids healthy throughout their lives. There were all sorts of tables set up with pamphlets and information about everything and anything. I stopped by after going to the gym to check things out. I noticed a huge diverse crowd and tons of activities going on. I checked out each station and talked with the person who was running them. I asked what their station was about and what information was being passed on to the parents of the kids. The most relatable table to our class was the table on disabilities. I read over some of the pamphlets and was shocked at the similarities to the things we talked about. There was a pamphlet on schooling and the disabled which told a parent to fight for equality at school. There were all sorts of articles about learning disabilities and how to cope with and help your child through their young lives. I stayed at this table for a while reading and understanding the views of this particular group.

Along with the Healthy Kids Day, the YMCA put on a show that their dance camp created. The girls and boys danced for a large crowd a dance they had been working on since last summer. My sister works at the YMCA camp and sees the dance camp so she informed me of them. She gave me background on the kids and how they come from underprivileged parts of East Providence and Providence. She told me about some of their families and about how some grow up without a father or mother. After the show she introduced me to one of her favorite campers who just happens to not have a father. The boy is eight years old and as I approach him me smiles at my sister. When she introduced me he reached out to shake my hand and looked me in the eye and asked how I was doing. I was taken back by the greeting but smiled happily and said good. This reminded me of Delpit and teaching the rules and codes of power. Somewhere this kid without his father was taught to shake a persons hand and greet them. I thought this was fascinating and I wondered where he had learned this. I did not want to ask him and my sister said she did not know either. Here is this boy at eight years old, underprivileged and without a father in his life shaking my hand and asking me how I am doing. I was impressed by him just by that moment and spoke with him for a few minutes. Without knowledge he was using the rules and codes of power to gain my respect and acceptance right away.

Finally, I noticed a great deal of languages being spoken at the event. The pamphlets and papers were there in both English and Spanish but I also heard other languages being spoken as well. This just shows the population of the particular YMCA as being very diverse. I really enjoyed the event and was so happy that I stopped by to check it out. The YMCA is a great place to enjoy movement with a variety of different people. Healthy Kids Day 2010 was a great success and really a diverse event.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Citizenship in School by Kliewer

1. "Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside community acceptance."

I chose this quote because I think it applies to every difference that people see. The quote is saying that without being accepted by the community a person who is seen as different has no chance to participate in a group. This quote really spoke out to me. I had to read it a few times but it really does make sence even beyond the context of the article.

2. "I started to notice that I didn't like the classes I was taking called special education."

This quote was taken from a girl who started to realize what these "special education" classes were all about. I chose the quote because I have always wondered if "special education" students hated being in different classes. I think I would hate it because I would just want to be in a regular classroom with all of my classmates.

3. "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 one another... 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 at all alike."

I chose this quote because I found it interesting that a person would say "This is how you shouls teach kids with Down syndrome." Not all kids without a disability learn alike so what makes this person think Down syndrome kids learn alike. Just because they share a disability does not mean they are totally alike.

This article was difficult for me to read. The beginning was hard to get through and I found myself skipping whole sections. Reading about the children's experiences was the only part I enjoyed. Kliewer is trying to say that students with Down syndrome should be treated just like any other student. They are thinking, creative individuals who have a lot to offer. These children should be welcomed into communities and groups just like kids without the disabilty. School citizenship only includes "normal kids" as part of their definition of diversity. This reminds me of SCWAAMP. It all goes back to this model and the different opportunities people get depending of what they are like. Able-bodied is one thing that is valued in life. What makes this the person's fault? I do not understand what people think the problem is with people who have a disability. I read some laws about disabilities in the school system.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work by Anyon

1. "While the teachers spend a lot of time explaining and expanding on what they textbooks say, there is little attempt to analyze how or why things happen, or to give thought to how pieces of a culture, or, say, a system of numbers or elements of language fit together or can be analyzed."

I chose this quote about the middle class schools because it is something that creates problems for kids. Kids are taught the basics and how to get the right answer without understanding why. Critical thinking is vital to school and it is not always easy but that is what makes kids learn.

2. "The teachers rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might be connected to other assignments, or what the idea is that lies behind the procedure or gives it coherence and perhaps meaning or signigicance."

I chose this quote because of the last few words in the sentance. How can teachers expect to get through to their students without the work being meaningful or significant. That shocked me because I know for a fact that in middle school, if work was not meaningful to me I would not do it.

3. "If one accumulates enough right answers, one gets a good grade."

I feel like this is how many teachers teach. It seems to me like it is the easy way out for them and it requires little effort. Difficult for students though because it does not allow for much error. Learning is the same thing over and over again for these kids.

I enjoyed reading this article but was not surprised by the information. I knew there were differences in teaching in different social classes. Higher social class schools prepare the kids for life and success. Meanwhile the lower social class schools prepare the kids for order and disapline. Some of the vocabulary used in the article was shocking however and the language the teachers used with the students was also surprising. Telling them to "Shut up" I know some people have experienced that but I do not think in fifth grade. I would have liked to read futher into this topic and seen some of the results of the students later in life.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gender and Education

I struggled to find information regarding gender and education issues that involved the United States and present day. A lot of the information was for other countries and from awhile back in time. There was also information about higher education and gender differences that pertained to that. On common theme I noticed was a difference in technology between boys and girls. The ratio of boys and girls using computers was 4 to 1. The website also explained that girls were less likely to be successful in math and science than boys. Many different websites also agreed with this information. I have heard this information repeated many times in the past. Boys excel in math and science. Girls excel in writing, English, and history. There are statistics that support these theories but I can not say that I agree with them. I have had more male history teachers and more female math teachers throughout my schooling.
"Title IX mandates that schools not deny any students participation in any educational program or activity on the basis of sex." The introduction of this website gives great information about how schools follow the legal rules of Title IX but not offer the same educational opportunities to girls. Also, it goes through gender issues in education like:
  • Girls at risk of dropping out of school.
  • Gender bias in teacher/student interactions.
  • Gender bias in standardized testing.
  • Gender difference in learning styles.
  • Teen pregnancy and parenting.
  • Self-esteem of girls in adolescence.

I found some of these to be interesting and read further into them within the website. I always wondered about college issues pertaining to gender differences. I know RIC is something like 60 percent women to only 40 percent men. I wondered if that was true with other institutions and if women were going to college more than men.

This chart shows that the gap is increasing between females and males over the years in college enrollment. I was not at all shocked to see this for many reasons. In the end I was not surprised by the information that I found during my search. There is most definitely a gender bias throughout education but not many people notice.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tim Wise and Brown v. Board of Education

Tim Wise explains that racism in America has not improved much since the decision of Brown v. Board of Education. He says that the United States took a large step towards equality when we voted Barack Obama as the president but there is a double standard when it comes to the views of whites towards people of color. People of color are compared to Obama and have to be as great as he is in order to accepted by the whites. Wise says that racism will be less significant when whites allow people of color to be as mediocre as other whites.
Denial is one of the points that Wise speaks of being a huge problem for whites in the US. Wise also talks about asking whites if they think racism is a problem in the United States today. He said this is not a credible question because even back in the 60's whites said that they thought blacks were treated equally as well as whites. It is not a question to ask whites because it is not affecting them. They are 0blivious to the racism like Johnson said. The real person to talk to is the people of color who are receiving the opression. Lastly, Wise talks of all the events in the history of race and opression. He says that each moment in time was important to history but there is still so much more to do.
I did not mind the video but I am more of a visul learner so I always like to have the piece in front of me to look at. The video was interesting and engaging but I just found it difficult to listen and take notes then get back into the conversation. Wise was making so many great points all in one sentance or in a few sentances so it was just difficult to remember it all. But in the end it was something different and I did enjoy that. I am really considering the picking up his book. He also has a blog which is pretty cool to read.