Monday, April 25, 2011

Social Justice Event

        The social justice event I attended was the Lesley Grinner's speech on Twilight and SCWAMP. This speech was very interesting to me even though I have not seen the movie I was able to follow along and understand her points. She explained challenges in women studies classrooms. how it is hard to have a straight forward conversation because males think they might say the wrong things. or women will get offended off little things. there is fear of the man, fear of reverse racism, fear of left wing agenda. i never realized people could be afraid of so many things beyond their limits of control.
      First an obvious connection, we discussed, in depth,is the idea of SCWAMP. this stands for Straight, Christian, White[ness], Able-bodied, Male, Property owners. i feel she picked the right characteristics to focus on, she was very smart in her studies, i agree with all six categories, unfortunately. these large aspects of our culture were cleverly broken down into understandable terms that i know everyone can understand. she then continued to open everyones eyes and ears as she related all this to a very popular movie Twilight. in this film the directors created a very multicultural cast. but SCWAMP is visible. we see the wealthy white family with obvious power and the darker skinned family who is clearly living on the other side of life. 
        People should be able to discuss race, class, gender and sexuality without worrying if they will offend the person sitting next to them. this entitles them knowing which words are the right words to be using to discuss these matters. Grinner's talk relates to this idea and this idea was taken from an author of a piece we read, Johnson. He said efforts need to be made to talk about these things in classes, with teachers and students, without judgement.
        Because her talk revolved around a movie, i feel it is appropriate to relate her to Christensen. movies today and in the past touch on subjects about race, culture, gender and sexuality. children learn from TV shows, movies and computers. my parents were always cautious of what my sisters and i watched when we were growing up. there was a time my mom didn't want us to watch 3 stooges because she was afraid we wouldn't catch on to the fact they are "professionals" and that we would start hitting each other. children model their idols after actors and athletes, anyone who gets publicity and they see this publicity on the TV. many young children have seen the movie Twilight and have therefore been exposed to issues of diversity, maybe without even recognizing it. 
        There is a little bit of Deplit in her presentation and some McIntosh. The movie Twilight has the code of power in it, the white family has power and money. the other main family is a different ethnicity and they are less powerful. i have not seen the movie to have taken note on the way the different families speak but i think that would be interesting to do, to see if they speak in the Delpit voice. do they ask questions or give direct orders? The McIntosh aspect comes out of the same things. the white family having power over the other families. even though the vampire family is having affairs within its own house hold that seems to be overlooked by all because they have money.
        the men in this film [Twilight] are strong powerful, muscular, smart men. they seem all powerful. a goal they share is to protect Bella's pure body. this is also showing men are more powerful and have more self control. although i feel this can be debated in real life. women can be powerful, controlling and strong but men always feel they have the upper hand.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education Is Politics


        I believe that an enthusiastic teacher makes for an enthusiastic classroom. students who are eager to learn will learn better because they feel more comfortable with their teacher and classmates and therefore will ask more questions and help themselves understand the material better.  students learn better when the process is creative. i know this is true from personal experience. i like to do hands on activities and prefer to be in a group or at least allowed to be up and walking around while i learn. i feel this helps take care of my ancyness [?] it also is just more interesting, i am an athlete and have always been use to constantly moving around and having a busy schedule. a classroom that is active but controlled is ideal for me and probably will be how my future classroom will be.
        there is a comment in this article about the star charts and how competition is a good aspect in a classroom. but out of competition is a winner and a loser and soon we being to learn how to categorize other people and judge them for things that do not need to be judged such as a persons pace of learning. i feel that the only competition in a classroom should be friendly competition with no immediate winner or loser. children can be praised for their work and know that their hard work paid off. in the real world their are winners and losers. there will always be someone else competing against you for a job, a spot on a team, a dorm room, a college acceptance, maybe even a significant other. to be oblivious and completely protected from the thought of winners and losers will only hurt the children. i feel there is a happy medium for this situation. i disagree with the statistics about females not being as good in math and other things. anyone can beat the norm. and not just one person but many people can beat the norms. challenging statements and theories is the part of growing and learning. a baby naturally challenges gravity as they try to walk. they challenge their bodies without even knowing it when they start to roll over and crawl. toddlers challenge parents orders and discover good and bad consequences. this continues all through peoples lives and should be occurring naturally in classrooms.

this was a long read, i was getting annoyed with some statements that were being said and ideas being brought up. i feel people think into life too much, maybe i think this way because i try not to let things get to me and have always been very easy going, so statements about not being excited for classes and trying to figure out what was wrong was not so interesting for me because it is different in every class room and up to the teacher to figure out what they need to fix and work within that school to make their learning/teaching environment better for all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kliewer-Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

        This article was interesting to me because I am focusing on Special Education. One of my good friends sister has down syndrome and in knowing her I feel I can make a connection with the stories shared. My friends sister is enrolled in the public school system. She goes to classes with everyone else but there is a special room for her and others with learning disabilities to go when they are having a rough day or when it is time for them to practice the work they need extra help with. She is expected to meet the class requirements and the same graduation requirements that the rest of the school is expected to meet. She is not a dumb kid, she knows whats up. She has some social problems yes but she has a great sense of humor. She will pick on you and when you do it back to her she is quick with the comebacks. You just need to be careful of what you say because sometimes she does not understand.
        In my senior year I became a member of our schools "Best Buddies" program. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a organization put together by students to help the students who are dealing with down syndrome, social awkwardness or any other special need, have a fun place to go after school. this helps them make friends with more people in school so they do not feel out of place or threatened. a couple non sped students are assigned a sped student to become "buddies" with. this sounds like it is a chore but it is all volunteer work and the students that participate really do care so it makes for the best experiences. I feel all schools should take part in this.
        "Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptance." the students in best buddies are accepted for who they are, the accept the other students for who they are too, it is a judgment, worry free zone. when one person shows they care and want to make a difference it can spread through a community.  i think the first teacher in this reading who puts on the "where the wild things are" play, is making a good move. engaging the whole class and a large part of the community. students are students. people are people. no one plans how they are born and what events will happen in their lives. so we should all make the effort to keep everyone happy and learning.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Teaching Techniques [based on readings from Finn and Oakes]

Connections: Use the reading to make connections to two other readings we have done in class. discuss the texts in relation to one another.

        In Patrick Flin's, Literacy With An Attitude, he makes several observations and points about how being illiterate has a different impact on society today than it did several years ago. He makes a few comments that reminded me of statements made in other works we have read.
        Finn comments on classroom structure. He talks about having different classrooms. There was a school where there were 400 8th graders and they were put into classes based on their reading levels. the "lower" classes got smaller as the year went on because this was filled with many "trouble students who got in trouble and ended up leaving the class or school all together. the classes for the lower students were harder to learn in because they were made up of all the distracted kids who need to much assistance and guidance. this is a factor that contributed to making it hard for a lower student to do well in school and get moved into the higher room. he says "it is a touchy subject to talk about poverty stricken children about the numbers gathered about how poor children are not being educated like they should." this statement made me think of Johnson. this is definitely an issue of privilege, power and difference.
        There was a quote i took from Oakes piece concerning the common result of society's actions, which goes hand in hand with Finns work. " Rich get richer, poor get poorer." "Tracking is a response to significant differences among students and an ongoing contribution to those differences." the schools "fix" to the problems seem to be hurting the issue more.
Also at the end of chapter 2 Finn shows and example from a "executive elite school", the students here have almost no limits. it seems to me that the teachers are more friends and supervisors than instructers and disipline enforcers. the students can run the office, leave class without a pass, they are in charge of their own school day. this to me seems like Johnson because these children are children who have more  money therefore this becomes an issue of class.
        I also found relations to Delpit while reading through these pieces this week. Finn tells the audience about when he was working in a school district that had students with many personal problems and were struggling in the classroom. it went by seniority [for teachers] to decide who would tackle the more challenging students to control. Finn was given a tough classroom, in fact 4 tough classes. He brags about the assistant principle walking by and showing off his classroom because for the most part the students were all quiet and working. this was a big improvement for that school. Finn told us he was very direct with his words and directions. there was no room for discussion. when someone was off task and talking he didn't speak in question form because that can be used as a chance for the student to be further distracted as they would try to out smart the teacher. instead he would say something like get back to work and stop talking, this way the student did not have the oppurtunity to talk back to him. this is a Deplit connection. there can be no communication here. the students always have work to do and the teacher is very direct with them and clearly in charge. he is using a direct style and enforcing the code of power.
        There was also evidence of Kohn's theory in chapter 2 of Finn's work. in the working class schools, teachers in social studies rooms prepare their own notes that the students copy, the teachers then have the students answer questions from the textbook. they do less discussions , especially of controversial topics. these teachers literally teach from the book. According to Kohn it is a bad sign, if the teacher is heard the loudest, there is no hum of discussion and the teacher seems to have total control of a seemingly boring classroom.

i think Oakes piece was very interesting, it kept my attention a little more than the first reading. at my high school we had honors classes which remind me of the "low ability" and "high ability" classes but to a slightly different level. in my high school there were definitely times where some students in my classes were behind on work or way a head and sometimes this did affect the way our teacher was able to conduct class for that section. i also dislike when grades are made public, my physics teacher used to post the grades but instead of your name it would be your date of birth, no one really knew anyones birthday by heart so i feel this is a good strategy if the teachers feel the need to post grades publicly.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Extended Comments on Title IX [focusing on athletics]

        Sarah's blog post for this week stood out the most to me because i can relate to her stories and connections. i also agreed with the statements made in the article she choose. It states that the most popular activities for females to take part in were dancing [square-dancing] and cheerleading. personally i would dislike doing both for an extended period of time but would want to do something because i enjoy being active. since i was little my attitude has always been, i can do anything a boy can do and no one can tell me different. and i feel this is true for anyone, a job or sport can be done by any person no matter what gender they are. men and women should have he same pay for the same jobs and same amount of attention available, even if the audience still prefers to pay more attention to the men.
        As Sarah states, athletics are a good alternative from drugs and other troublesome activities. they have less time to sit around and think of better ways to entertain themselves. being active makes your body healthier which in turn usually makes one think about making healthier choices all around and carrying out these thoughts.  which can decrease the chances of getting certain diseases in life. i am a runner, i was a member of my high school track team for all four years and am currently on the track team here. whenever i go a couple days without running my body feels weird. i feel like i have been making unhealthy choices. i use running as a way to have personal time and get my mind off of daily problems and dilemmas. by being allowed to compete against other schools and other girls i can test my personal limits and satisfy my competitive personality. I am even competitive when it comes to how much attentions girls get compared to boys and the lack of recognition women receive everywhere.
        In an article from Dr. Bogad's blog [] there were several examples of women's personal privacy getting invaded and nothing being done to remedy the situation. This article made me upset. college students do not take rape and sex seriously, i would expect this behavior from high schoolers or middle schoolers but maybe i set my expectations of people too high. soem statements said by these students were disgusting and very rude. it seems that they just constantly taunt women. they women complain but nothing gets done. this is extremely wrong in my eyes and even though Title IX has made some drastic, positive changes, i am not fully satisfied with todays gender controversies. i feel that if men were to realize the issue and try to make a change then things would happen, if women keep trying we may just keep hitting the same wall.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brown Takes on Board of Education

Question: What is the relationship between the historical issues you see in the website on Brown vs. Board of Education and the contemporary issues of race that Bob Herbert and Tim Wise raise here?

        The website informs viewers of the events that took place from 1954 to today. It has all been a battle to change the way the "law of the land" affected blacks. Americans of color were condemned to second-class citizenship in the 1900's even though the end of the Civil War was suppose to bring racial equality. The website informs us that they rose to "dismantle constitutionally- sanctioned segregation." The exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History was only open for one year because of the 50th anniversary of the major turing point in history.
        Tim Wise discusses the bias in school regarding racism in schools. He feels that if we work equally hard then you should have the same opportunities. A quote from him about this is if we are " a truly equal society then we should have a truly equal society." The second video clip discussed civil rights, and voting. He kept saying that the whites are in denial. He backed this up with the fact 2/3 of whites said more blacks want to live off of welfare but only 1 out of 7 African Americans in the country received any kind of public assistance.
        Bob Herbert discusses the topic of children growing up in a poor community and how this affects how they do in school. The best teachers try to avoid these areas. The students are already behind because they do not have much assistance at home and now they are stuck with teachers who are not as qualified as they should be. His argument was that if a poor student is taken and placed in an environment with people in the middle class they tend to begin to do better in school. But depending on their race there may be racial and ethnic integration.
     In Brown v. Board of Education, a final statement was "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The website, video and article all focus on an issue that has been affecting society for a very long time. There have been several attempts to gain equality for all no matter what race or ethnicity. Some have been successful and some have failed. Although the issues in the historical article are not as intense and terrible as they are today. I feel that teachers all need to be educated in the same way and not be afraid to take a risk and go into a poor community and make a difference.  The students are already struggling and need help and positive guidance.