Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Misc. post #2

Well it's the end of the journey through these readings and this course. I have to say I'm overwhelmed! There were too many connections in my journal writing my last couple of entries to even mention them all.

This class has really opened my eyes to a lot of issues and ideas surrounding social justice and teaching. The combination of the readings with the experience of the service learning enriched this experience even more. The discussions in class and reflecting in the journal really made some of the points come across even more.

But were do I go from here? I really appreciate the last two readings and how they tied most of the others together. The Ira Shor reading incorporate many of the other readings and delivered a message on how to develop them all into a teaching strategy. Again…Overwhelming when you think of all the aspects that go into teaching – obviously good intentions are not enough.

I know as teachers we will need to plan ahead with lesson and unit plans. We will need to consider the learning, physical, and mental abilities of all out students. We need to consider their safety. We need to incorporate the teachings of the “codes of power”, don’t alienate others, and be politically aware.

I was poking around on-line again trying to relate social justice education to elementary education specifically. I found a magazine called Rethinking Schools. It is endorsed by Jonathan Kozol and has advertisements for Linda Christensen’s books among others. It’s primary message is Equity but covers problems facing urban school and issues of race. The web-site gives access to a number of articles and a recommended book list. I found it interesting and certainly related to this class.

Another site that was related to our class was a post site titled A Liberal Education. It is written by Brigitte Knudson. I read a few which are all listed on the right. One post titled On Social Justice and Education really spoke to some of the points of our class.

That’s all I have to share -

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ira Shor – Empowering Education

1. “All forms of education are political because they can enable or inhibit the questioning habits of students, thus developing or disabling their critical relation to knowledge, schooling and society. Education can socialize students into critical thought or into dependence on authority…” (p 13)

This reminded me of our readings a couple weeks ago, Anyon and Oakes. If you have the education that inhibits questioning and disables the critical relation to knowledge etc…you become dependant on authority. If you have an education that enables questioning and develops critical thinking and knowledge you will be socialized. Delpit is alive and well in this reading also. Presenting the benefits of a democratic, student centered, multicultural classroom. Which I believe Delpit would want over needing to teach the codes of power because society dictates it.

2. “Politics reside not only in subject matter but in the discourse of the classroom; in the way teachers and students speak to each other. The rules for talking are a key mechanism for empowering or disempowering students. How much open discussion is there in class? How much one-way “teacher-talk?” (p 14)

I understand the classroom they are presenting in this reading and it sounds wonderful and I can see many of the recommendations working. I personally would have had trouble in grade school in disagreeing with my teacher as it states in this article. It’s a matter of respect and confidence at that age no matter how much “empowering” I was given. I have difficulty with it now. There are also people that are more competitive or assertive than others and those that just don’t care to participate as much. The management of the classroom in elementary school seems odd to me and this reading provided plenty of examples.

3. “Education is more than facts and skills. It is a socializing experience that helps make the people who make society.” (p 15)

I certainly agree with this statement. Students are certainly in school to gain knowledge but more importantly with that knowledge comes the learning of social skills. Students are learning to work together with others. This reading certainly goes much further to state that it is the schools responsibility to provide students an education that develops them into “critical citizens who can think, challenge, take risks, and believe that their actions will make a difference in the larger society”

This reading reminded me a lot of Anyon and Oakes in comparing curriculums and discussing teacher directed / lecture style classrooms to the student-teacher centered style of Empowerment and participation and critical thinking classrooms. It was very long and gave more than enough examples of problem-posting - I get it already. I agree with the whole concept and many of the ideas in this reading. Participation is important to knowledge and encourages achievement, creating positive relationships between feelings and thoughts increases learning, problem posting presents subject matter as questions to be discussed and analyzed not knowledge to be memorized. It sounds good. I just can’t imagine the time in elementary or grade school that this type of teaching would take. I found a cool student democratic web-site you can check out, includes lots of info - great quotes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Social Justice Event – The Vagina Monologues

On February 12th I went to see the Vagina Monologues for my Social Justice Event here at RIC. It is a play that was written by Eve Ensler and originally starred her alone running in an off-Broadway production in 1996. Three celebrities replaced Eve when she left the play and since that time it has been on HBO, there has been a book written and there is now a “V-Day”. V-Day is a non-profit stop the violence against women global group that has risen over $50 million for women’s anti-violence groups through benefits raised from The Vagina Monologues and other benefits that take place around the world to increase awareness and raise money to help end violence against women. The performance of The Vagina Monologues is performed on many stages throughout the world in February and March to now celebrate V-Day, which is also Valentines Day, as it was here on the RIC campus by talented, fun, inspiring, and brave young women.

The play
The Vagina Monologues is just that – monologues…but they are not ordinary! I come in and pick my seat; I choose to come alone to pay attention to my assignment and not be distracted by friends or family and later realized they could have come. The audience is mainly women but there are quite a few men, probably 1:20 and still today I’m surprised. I would advise against it men…it’s just my opinion (but after researching on the web it is a shared one) but this is definite woman bonding at it’s best and unless you want to come experience that and appreciate it, and don’t get me wrong men need to appreciate it, but this performance is anti-men. In the 90 minutes there is one monologue that describes a good experience with a man and the majority of the audience laughs when the performer makes that comment.

Otherwise, the monologues, which are all performed by different women who rotate from their seats, at RIC approximately 12 range from the hilariously funny My Angry Vagina – when the performer is ranting and raving about all the injustice brought about her vagina such as: dry tampons, cleaning products, cold tools at the ob/gyn’s office to a story titled My Vagina Was My Village(Not so happy vagina fact) in which the performers read off testimonies of women from rape camps in Bosnia.

To relate this experience to our readings I automatically think of Johnson, Carlson and the researching on Gender and Education. Johnson stands out because of the words used through out the whole play. There was a monologue called Reclaiming C--- and describing how it is a lovely word and lists several words starting with each “c”, “u”, “n”, and “t” to prove it. Talk about a Johnson moment and reclaiming words. But it was also true of more serious monologues and more serious words, such as: rape, incest, genital mutilation and sexual slavery, which were used in monologues and “not so happy fact” statements shared with the audience throughout the play regarding violence toward women. Words Johnson would claim need to be used to aide in stopping the violence along with all the great work V-Day is doing.

Carlson is seen often but certainly in They Beat the Girl out of my Boy. This monologue is performed by several of the women on stage presenting themselves as little boys at first and telling stories of being picked on or beaten for dressing or acting in a certain “girlish” way and so they hide (marginalize). They act boyish – they grow a beard, join the military, talk like a man. (They were marginalized) Until there comes a day when they can be themselves and have a sex change …or so they think…people still think they are “different”, and a boyfriend gets killed – because others are terrified of their kind of love.

Every monologue was compelling. During the My Short Skirt monologue the performer is very sassy and has this attitude telling everyone (men) that her short skirt is: not and invitation, not begging for it, not asking for rape, and has nothing to do with you! She made you want to just stand up and say “YAH!” It was a “proud to be a woman” moment for all in the theatre. I can relate this monologue and the My Angry Vagina and Reclaiming C--- monologues I mentioned earlier to Gender and Education. I view these three monologues as the more “I am woman, hear me roar” monologues. I’m relating them to Carlson to just say it is more of what I hope we see in girls attitudes in education. Why title nine is there and why we need teachers that view men and women, girls and boys as equal. Why woman need to stand up for themselves and tell people what they want and what they mean. Girls need to be taught to be confident. Girls need to know that their opinions are as valid as any Boys. They need to know when they say no…its no, it not let’s negotiate…it NO! Just like when a man says no.

I enjoyed all the monologues… Except for one…
At RIC, there was one performance for me that disturbed me. The performance by the young women was good, great even, but the end of the story didn’t sit well with me. It was The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could. It’s based on a true story, as are all the monologues, and was kept as the true story is told. It’s a set of memories a young girl has of her vagina that are awful: 5years old – mother tells her to stop scratching her vagina, 7 y/o boy punchers her vagina, 9 y/o bouncing on bed hurt vagina on bedpost and needs stitches, 10 y/o raped at parents house party by fathers best friend , father shoots friend, doesn’t see father for 7 years, 13 y/o vagina is a “red”, she calls it a“bad luck zone”, 16 y/o (this story is true but in the original version she is 13 in later versions she is 16??) meets a gorgeous 24 y/o women that lives down the street. The woman invites her into her car, ask her if she likes boys and she tells her no. The woman kisses her and sticks her tongue in her mouth and tells her to relax and feel it. Woman asks her Mother if she can have a sleep over and she can because the woman is young and successful and beautiful. It goes on to describe how the woman gives her alcohol, gives her a nightgown and seduces her for the night. For many this is finally a positive experience for this girl and her vagina. For me it’s an adult seducing and raping a child. How would this story play out for everyone if the woman was an attractive man? Would it be different? It’s all the same only a man did this to her…took her home, gave her alcohol, a nightgown, and had sex with her…how do you feel about it? It’s against the law people! You feel for this little girl and her bad experiences but there are other ways to make her feel better about herself and her vagina, there are other stories that could be shared. I thought about my daughter and if this happened to her - positive experience or not – she is 13 or 16 the person is 24 basically a stranger – a one night stand – they’re going to jail! I researched this monologue on line after and I was happy to find others that feel the same - I have support.

This blog is getting way too long and there are many other monologues so take a look at this link if you’re reading this and have an interest.

V-Day has been created through the interest in the Vagina Monologues and there are tremendous amounts of money raised to support the ending of violence against women. I happen to DVR and watch a segment on Oprah last week regarding violence against woman that I feel really talks to this topic. The guest on the show was Gavin de Becker and he has written a book titled The Gift of Fear. Oprah’s website has a lot of information from the show that is amazing for anyone that may need this information to aide them in identifying if they are in a relationship with someone that is possibly violent.

Gavin de Becker talked a lot about signs to look out for that maybe weren’t obvious ones for some women because your boyfriend, fiancé or husband may not hit them, but really fall under intuition and instinct. For example: a man being persistent, blaming others, symbolic violence – rips pictures, gets rid of things from your past relationships. Women are victims of violence every 4 minutes in the United States - please don’t be one of them or let someone you know be one of them. This mosaic is a list of questions that will help you or someone you know determine if they are in a potential abusive relationship – please link to it if you need to or want to learn more. You can’t do it alone – get help.

I enjoyed my night at the Vagina Monologues and watching those young, confident and brave women perform on stage. I really enjoyed reaching this online and learning all the work V-Day does for the fight against violence against women. What a fight we all still have.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Misc. post 1

I’ve been away from this environment for a long time but this feeling is back again. The end of the semester, and all this knowledge and experience from the courses buzzing around in your mind is now trying to come out on paper and in presentations and exams.
I’m re-reading Delpit and Rodriguez for our service learning project and then the readings this past week; Anyon and Oakes. They all apply so well to the experience I’m having in my service learning time at Asa Messer Elementary Annex and for some reason it still surprises and upsets me. And am I suppose to feel this way?
The Jean Anyon article really got me mad. And if you think about it – She begins at Working class - can we think that there should be a class below that? What kind of education are those children receiving and how is it being delivered? I feel really naïve about a lot in a profession I am excited about entering.
Realizing we didn’t spend a lot of time on Anyon and Oakes in class and I feel my comments always seem to be against the grain or not fully explained - In our class I talk quite a bit but my comments don’t fully express my values, beliefs and ideals and I’m not certain how they are perceived at times. I wanted to post.
From Anyon’s article I had a Middle Class School experience at a public school in Cumberland, RI. It was typical of her description which really kind of proved to me that if she has that pegged so well she can’t be so off base with the others. The quote “the research proves…” we’ve been hearing a lot in class lately. I don’t always want to agree with what the research proves. If I did I wouldn’t have a daughter for one, or a niece or nephew. My grandmother would have died two times by now and my 2nd cousin would have died approximately 1 year after her birth and she is now 7. I could bore you with many more personal examples but I won’t…So much for research.
But… again my experience at Asa Messer has really been a great one for me in the way of culture, privilege, and power in how it relates to the readings of Delpit, Anyon and Rodriguez.
I have only experienced morning lessons in this class for 9 mornings and it is always the same lesson. There is obviously a routine that is followed everyday and a structure that is followed. I know I have no real stance to comment other than to say when I read Anyon’s research findings that apply to the working class schools it was exactly what I was experiencing each and every morning at Asa Messer. Direct Instruction by the teacher. No asking of questions to check for understanding and no questions from the students either. They were given steps and procedures. They were passed out materials they needed only. When they sat at they groups at tables it was obviously by ability. Certain tables sat quietly together and were doing their work. Other tables needed assistance with everything they did. I was directed to assist with two tables and they were the same two table and same students every week.
Anyon hit it right on the nose…I’m very sorry to say.
Christopher Kliewer – Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

1. “The movement to merge the education of children with and without disabilities is based on the belief that to enter the dialogue of citizenship does not require spoken, or indeed outspoken, language. Rather, communication is built on one’s ability to listen deeply to others. It is an act through which each of our lives comes to be defined by those around us as “precious and irreplaceable”…the dialogic of democracy is ultimately a set of values based on respect, humility and creative listening” (p. 73)

This quote although in this reading is applied to those with down syndrome reminds me of our conversation in class last week while discussing Anyon and Oakes and the topics of tracking and ability grouping and the reasons against those choices. Having children together learning is beneficial. We are all different. We all look, talk, walk, think, eat, and sleep, on, and on, and on….different. I understand the concept and arguments presented and agree with them. But… there are also times you can understand the concepts and arguments for the other side too. I don’t mean to marginalize or segregate others but for individualized learning for the student or special schools like Meeting Street. If you connect to the link and watch the parent testimonial video on Sammie you will learn about my 2nd cousin. She doesn’t have Down Syndrome. She has a syndrome that hasn’t been identified yet. She is a special case study for Doctors throughout the country. Her parents moved to Seekonk from Cranston because the support to families and the way the children are selected for this school is based partially on where you live. They credit this school with much of her progress and accomplishments and don’t feel a public school would have ever come close to meeting the needs and making the progress she has to date even with inclusion.

2. “To value another is to recognize diversity as the norm. It establishes the equal worth of all schoolchildren, a sense that we all benefit from each other, and the fundamental right of every student to belong.” (p 79)

I like this quote and I think it applies to all. Just as I stated above…we are all different. On some it is more apparent upon looking at them due to a disability or handicap or some other reason but if people see that first and stereotype, just as it talks about later in this reading when referring to the young boy “Lee” They see Down syndrome they don’t see Lee. That can apply to anyone about any diversity or quirkiness or anything else somebody wants to see to point them out as different and not belonging. That isn't something wrong with the individual with the disability or quirkiness...that is a problem with the person who see that one aspect of the person and judges based on it. The other problem of course if the affect it can have on the other individual.

3. “Only getting to know a person in all his or her multifaceted individuality can cause the “huge” disability (spread) to magically shrink and assume its real proportion – only one small facet of a person. Only then will we find ourselves able to see and receive the variety and richness of possible gifts.” (p 87)

I think this is the same message as the previous quote but that is the message of this whole reading along with inclusion of children with down syndrome or I believe any disability can only add to the classroom by enriching and adding a new dimension to the learning of all that participate in the “community’ of that class.

Some parts of this reading dragged on forever…or I am just extremely tired. Overall it was of interest to me. Between this class and my Childhood Psychology class this semester there has been so much to think about in the way of teaching methods and theories my mind is spinning and overly confused. What is best for these children? How can we make the changes? What is going on now in my child’s class?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jean Anyon – Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work

1.“In the working class schools…The procedure is usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very little decision making or choice. The teachers rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might connect to other assignments, or what the idea is that lies behind the procedure or gives it coherence and perhaps meaning or significance.” (p. 3)

These are the beginning sentences of the working class schools results of their study and the whole section really disappointed, no really sickened me. I read this one section and said…these are bad teachers. Then you read on and start to think…is it bad teachers?, bad attitudes?, low expectations?….I don’t know. I witness this at my service learning every week. I have a new author for my service learning project!

2. “In the middle class schools…If one accumulates enough right answers, one gets a good grade. One must follow the directions in order to get the right answers, but the directions often call for some figuring, some choice, some decision making. (p. 5)

This seems like the average American school or maybe it seems that way to me because it seems like my school experience and I should say this seems like my average American school experience. I went to school, studied what I was taught to pass the test. Wasn’t really sure at this time how it all applied to my life, didn’t care was too busy having fun with my friends and caring about my social life and my parents were fine with my grades and didn’t seem to concerned about making more of a connection for me.

3. “ Differing curricular, pedagogical, and pupil evaluation practices emphasize different cognitive and behavioral skills in each social setting and thus contribute to the development in the children of certain potential relationships to physical and symbolic capital, to authority, and to the process of work.” (p. 11)

The information gathered during this study certainly supports this statement. If most of the learning in one school is by direct instruction only and the children are continually given orders and behavior is enforced through punishment compared to another school where learning is handled through a combination of cooperative, integrative, inquiry and concept based child directed approaches, and behavior is controlled through reminders of consequences of your own actions….sign my child up for school number 2. Who wouldn’t want that?

She doesn’t share if these schools are public or private. My guess is the first three are public and the other two are private. No one should be experiencing the first example described in the working class schools. The low expectations expressed in the comments from teachers are appalling. Direct Instruction is one way to talk to a student but rude is another and the quotes they include are rude talking, not teaching. The middle class school I think is a typical representation of a public school today. If the others are private as I’m assuming…you certainly can get what you pay for at times.

This is a video I found that applies and I thought made a good point for this reading.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gender and Education

It was interesting to research Gender and Education and find what is current in regard to equity in 2010. Most of the current information was related to college level in the way of statistics. There were a number of sights to assist teachers with gender equity and books related to the matter. I found one current article from last week that reached national news regarding a wrestling coach that views Title IX as discriminate against men. (huh?)

In the Associated Press on March 23rd there was an article regarding a wrestling coach that viewed Title IX as being discriminate against men….explaining it’s a numbers game. Explaining the biggest problem with meeting gender equity is Football in College. At Vanderbilt they have 330 varsity athletes, 110 are on the football team, if it needs to be 50-50 that means 55 men other than football can be in other varsity sports. Otherwise they are forced to downgrade the sport to club level to participate and make cuts in funding.

The wrestling coach argued what he called “unintended consequences of men loosing teams at schools trying to meet Title IX” also stating that a law intending to not discriminate based on sex is doing so by cutting men’s programs to make things equal which isn’t true equality. This article goes on to discuss money deals with ESPN and the fact that Vanderbilt is a Division 1 school for Football and Men’s basketball and gets Millions of dollars for that so…????? Who knows how that factors?

Anyway, The American Council on Education with regard to higher education stated the gender gap has reached a plateau and females still hold the majority at 57-43 in colleges. There is a decline in the percentage of Hispanic male graduates from 45% in 1999-200 to 42% in 2007-2008. They also have the lowest Bachelor’s degree attainment at 10%. This is attributed to immigration, only 51% of Hispanic young adults born outside the US complete High School, compared to 81% of US born Hispanics. Hispanic woman born in the US are at the same rate as African American woman 18% obtain bachelor’s degrees.

"Despite progress by African Americans of both genders and Hispanic woman, the gaps in bachelor’s degree attainment rates between these groups and whites are larger today than they were in the 1960’s and 70’s." (American Council on Education Jan. 26, 2010)

I watched this video that I found interesting and is more relevant to gender bias in K-12. This web-site from the University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center has a lot of information that can be helpful related to gender equity in teaching.

There were other interesting articles regarding the possibility of a Men’s Studies Department at Wagner College in New York and the NCAA Gender Equity Planning Best Practices which I included here to take a look at.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tim Wise – Brown v. Board of Education
I found the website regarding Brown v. Board of Education interesting. I even took some time to watch the educational videos for Middle and High School Students and they were interesting. The teaching materials were interesting and looked very useful. Looking at the timeline in the history area you couldn’t help but think how much time passed to fight and struggle for something that is a basic right. To have equal opportunities in education should have been a promise kept at the end of the civil war with the promise of racial equality around the beginning of the 1900’s but it wasn’t passed for another 54 years until 1954. Today we have Tim Wise discussing racism and “whiteness” another 56 years after that. I liked the final post to the history page stating “most Americans believe that a racially integrated, ethnically diverse society and educational system is a worthy goal, though they may disagree deeply about how to achieve it. “

The videos were ok to listen to. I had watched his video before professor Bogad posted on Saturday so I had a good idea of the content. Tim Wise is a lot like Johnson and Christensen. White people are in denial and it is a big problem. His whole point about 1962 and 1963, if you ask people now if African Americans back then had equal opportunities they would say no. If you asked people back then in the years 1962, 1963 if people had equal opportunities in their neighborhood they would say yes. This is denial.

This is not “white people” it is “whiteness” It is not “who we are” it is “who we’ve been made into”. If you are white you don’t have to know black/brown reality - because nothing happens to you. If you are black/brown you have to know white – it is important - it is the test.

Tim Wise Doesn’t view Obama as bringing us to a post racial place. White people see Obama as transcending race, he is different from the Black/brown norm and this will not get us to racial equity. Obama has just resulted in moving us from a 1.0 to a 2.0 on the racism scale. He went on to say there are many black people that are just as bright as Obama but they don’t have his style. It is fine to aspire to be like Obama but they don’t have to “bring it on like Obama” I don’t know if Delpit would agree with this. We can respect culture but if you want to become President of the United States it come with a certain image.

Tim Wise is dramatic but his points are good. People need to be agents for their own liberation. And the White people need to lead the road and be the allies and the role models. I believe these are his points. We can’t look for Obama or anyone one leader. Obama is the community Organizer. We are the agents.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kahne & Westheimer
In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning

1. “By engaging in meaningful service – whether tutoring children for whom English is a second language, helping patients in a hospital, doing difficult chores for the elderly, or supervising younger children’s recreational activities – students will have opportunities to experience what David Hornbeck, former Maryland state superintendent, referred to as “the joy of reaching out to others.”

In the reading they are discussing High School students and mandatory volunteer/charity work in their school or community as part of their graduation requirement referencing Mr. Johnson’s project and students who participated and were aware of their contributions toward helping others and eager to continue their work. I agree that service learning can be a rewarding requirement for students but it does need to be in combination with the reflection or analysis discussed later in the reading to develop to the “change” level goals they are looking for. To find the caring, social reconstruction, and transformative experience they are looking for.

2. “The experiential and interpersonal components of service learning activities can achieve the first crucial step toward diminishing the sense of “otherness” that often separates students - particularly privileged students– from those in need. In so doing, the potential to develop caring relationships is created.”

The reading is discussing the importance of service learning in decreasing “otherness” by creating interpersonal interactions and experiences which will encourage the development of altruism and caring. In the development of these caring relationships the “otherness” can diminish. The example given in the reading with the parents concern for the students going into a “bad neighborhood and …be careful” to students returning stating “Everyone at the school had good manners, and I think more highly of (the neighborhood) now” was a great example.

3. “it is the combination of service and critical analysis, not either by itself, that seems most likely to promote interest in and insight into these complex social issues.”

Again, the reading is clearly making the valid point; service learning alone can be a learning experience for students on a wide spectrum. Service learning can range from “I was charitable and participated in a civic duty and was giving” to “I care about these people and their rights and I’m going to do something about it” and act more politically than locally.

This was an interesting reading to me and relevant to our class. I was thinking of our service learning projects and the work we are doing with the students. I certainly see the benefits for myself in the service learning aspect of this class and in reflecting and writing the journal. Because we are working with young children we can’t have a conversation with them about their lives but, you certainly develop a caring relationship about them quickly. You want to see them develop and improve; you hope that you have contributed to that development.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Christensen & Karp
Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

1. “delivered by children's books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blueprints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart.” (p. 126)

Christensen, Karp and others in this article are making the point that if children have distorted views of people that are different from themselves, one area of factors contributing to this are the books that are read to them and T.V. shows and movies they watch which include “the messages or ‘secret education” creating these views. They claim there are values (not good ones) being gained as accepted knowledge as they watch their fairly tales. While they are read to sleep at night by their parents thinking the world is a safe, happy place they are being manipulated.

2. “I want students to critique portrayals of hierarchy and inequality in children’s movies and cartoons. Then I want to enlist them to imagine a better world, characterized by relationships of respect and equality.” (p.127)

The teacher is asking the High School students to now critique these movies and cartoons and learn more about respect and equality. This is a great lesson and project to give to students, very interesting and creative; I would thoroughly enjoy this class. It is important to teach respect and equality in school even beginning at the elementary level with age appropriate material. I appreciate the idea and the whole approach with the class on how the teacher goes about it.

3. “They were fueled by the opportunity to convince some parents of the long-lasting effects cartoons impose on their children, or to enlighten their peers about the roots of some of their insecurities. Instead of leaving students full of bile, standing around with their hands on their hips, shaking their heads about how bad the world is, I provided them the opportunity to make a difference.” (p.137)

The teacher realized the need to evolve the class. The students went from “ignorant and happy” to “factories of cynicism” and needed an outlet. Taking the knowledge they now gained from the “Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us” unit in their class and being able to apply it in real life gave them the outlet they needed to feel productive with their feelings.

I enjoyed this reading but I would be interested in reading more than the 12 pages to see more of what the authors advise people to do with regard to young children. Are there read and do not read lists of books? Are there the same for movies and Television shows? Is the information provided based on theories only or was there research and studies that found correlations between these claims. The books in my link I believe Dorfman, Christensen and others would approve of and also apply to many of the topics we have discussed in class to date.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dennis Carlson - Gayness, Multicultural Education and Community

1. “I want to suggest that public schools may play an important role in helping build a new democratic, multicultural community, one in which sexual identity (like other markers of difference including class, gender, and race) is recognized, in which inequities are challenged, and where dialogue across difference replaces silencing and invisibility practices” (p.233)

Ok, it’s just the first paragraph of the reading but I have to say I’m thinking…Just like Delpit and Rodriguez…another job for the Teachers. We need to deliver codes of culture of power for Delpit, English language for Rodriguez, and “democratic multicultural education…in which all voices are heard and truths are understood” for Carlson. Don’t forget…English, Reading, math, Social Studies…Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for the challenge…but it is a challenge right? Really, I believe this first quote is what motivates Carlson’s whole writing in this reading.

2. “One way to rupture the boundaries between groups is to emphasize the multiple subject positions (class, race, gender, sexuality, etc.) we all occupy. Thus, I am not merely a gay person, but rather a gay, white, male with a particular working –class background and middle-class status and occupation.”

I believe he is telling us how important it is as future teachers to instill in students that we are all individuals – with whatever characteristics make up that individual, and we all have many layers. But, it’s how we respond to others and how they respond to us that involve our cultural background, our personal experiences and beliefs and it’s within our ability to recognize this and make our own decisions on how we act upon our background and experience that is so important. He is looking for the same as Johnson in Privilege, Power and Difference p. 6 “you’d think we could treat one another with decency and respect and appreciate if not support the best we have in us”. In addition his message of young people building alliances to have a sense of community is also so important and I hope would contribute to much lower rates in dropout, drug abuse, and suicide

3. “The objective of classroom discourse is thus not so much to achieve consensus on one “true” or “objective” depiction of reality, but rather to clarify differences and agreements, work toward coalition-building across difference when possible, and build relationships based on caring and equity” (p. 252)

He wants Students to be educated as to the realities of all real relationships, marriages, families, and lifestyles in this world and to be open to talk freely about them, in an environment where everyone feels comfortable to have a “voice” to enable clarity of difference and to work toward equity. Again, like Johnson…you can’t fix it if you don’t talk about it.

Although this reading does seem dated on some of the information there are too many valid points and arguments for the need of multicultural education and building a “multicultural community” to not see Carlson’s point of view on this. I enjoyed this reading and all the information it made me aware of such as normalizing curriculum.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Richard Rodriguez – Aria

1. “What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right - and the obligation - to speak the public language of los gringos.

This quote is in the opening paragraph and supports the main point of this reading. Richard is resistant to learning the English language. He is viewing the English language as simply an instrument of words to communicate with the world outside his family. To Richard English is used to give answers in school or to communicate something of necessity to others. Spanish is for “self-expression”, feelings, and family. He is in first grade, and at such a young age to realize the importance of the “great lesson of school – that I had a public identity” This part of the reading reminded me so much of Delpit p.29 when she comments teachers ensuring that the school provides children “spoken and written language codes that will allow them success in the larger society” Richard was lucky to have teachers that understood his need to speak English but maybe not the way they went about it.

2. “The old Spanish words… I had used earlier – mama` and papa` - I couldn’t use anymore”

I kept referring back to Delpit in my mind in the reading. She would not approve of the teaching methods used here: demanding Richard to speak up to the entire class when he was unsure of himself and the English language, calling him Richard instead of Ricardo, and asking the Parents to use English at home to name a few. Now that Richard and his siblings are gaining more confidence in their use of the English language and perhaps the American culture or codes of power they are loosing their Family togetherness and culture. Are the examples of not being able to call his Parents “mama and papa”, the growing lack of conversation at dinner, and the lack of the father’s participation at family gatherings, the “cultural genocide” Delpit referred to in her reading? I think so.

3. “So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality.”

The importance of teaching children who do not speak English the English language is not just an issue of communication. You can see in how Richard tells how his story his confidence builds, identity strengthens as he becomes more confident in the “culture of power” ( Delpit / Johnson). He recognizes the loss within his family but also that we all go through this as we grow.

I enjoyed how this reading was written. How personal the story was and the importance of the message it delivered regarding “teaching the public language”. It does show some of the possible negative effects it can have on a family. I’m not quite sure why it seems like it was an all or nothing for Richard. Like he never spoke Spanish again, but Richard is happy.