Monday, December 7, 2015


Here's my Pecha Kucha

Monday, November 30, 2015

Shor- Empowering Education


I picked this article from the Huffington Post because I found the ideas thatchy talked about related to "education and politics" to be rather interesting. The opening line of this article starts as 
"when you mix politics with religion, you get politics", stating the power that politics holds within out society". 
The article then goes on to states 
"His point was that while you may think that political power gives you leverage you need to engineer the social changes you want (in Carlson's case, conservative Christian changes), politics always ends up in the driver's seat."
As I was reading the blogs this week along with Shor's piece, Namita brought up a pretty interesting and important point, as she and Shor both went against this main idea brought up in my hyperlinked article. The truth is, in some areas...yes politics may take the front seat in deciding what is done educationally. However, in other far more democratic areas, education also has an effect on politics. Namita used a great quote from Tina, which was ""Shor and Freire are right because as they say, the teacher works in favor of something and against something.  Due to this, he or she will have a great question, how to be consistent in his or her teaching practice with his or her political choice."". When I was reading my article, I immediately thought back to this quote, which I later found on Namita's and Tina's blogs. This quote directly goes against my hyperlinked article, but Shor is showing that teachers have more of a say in the politics debate, and that politics and actually effect education as much as education can effect politics as long as people are willing to push for this.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Promising Practices

Promising Practices was an event that I found to have some beneficial messages and some parts that tended to be boring and confusing. The two workshops that I attended were improving and empowering health for elderly people with disabilities, and studies of literature around the world. In the workshop for empowering health for people with disabilities, I learned a lot of different ways that people who have disabilities can access help to get the most out of their lives. I also learned about different elderly helping areas in Rhode Island and Southeastern Mass. For the studies of literature around the world, I got to watch videos of Karen Castagno (the director of this workshop) communicating a workshop with people from China over Skype, which to me was very powerful because it really put an emphasis on how technology can connect different areas around the country to teach a lesson or communicate a workshop.

There were some part of Promising Practices that I did not find too interesting, such as the hour long keynote on health related topics. Granted as a Health and Physical Educator, I typically find health topics to be very interesting. However, the keynote speaker lost my attention within the first five minutes, and she just read off of her powerpoint the whole time. I feel as if this keynote speech was an Delpit moment where she held all the power throughout the hour, not allowing any interaction until the powerpoint was complete. I personally feel that it would have been more beneficial if the keynote was more interactive and the power of the presentation was evenly distributed between the audience and the speaker. 

My first workshop reminded me a lot about Jerry August, in the sense of promoting safe spaces not in schools but for people in the outside world. This workshop showed many places that advocate health empowerment for elderly people with disabilities. This relates a lot to Jerry August because this workshops was promoting safety, health, and equality for all people. I found a connection with my second workshop to Oakes in the sense that this is another route for students to connect with students across the world to learn and add a new aspect on learning. Oakes advocates for "curriculum with a rich meaning", and I feel by connection with other students across the world we could learn about different cultural norms and teaching ideas for students in a class. This whole concept or ORGA can be used as a future educator to promote learning in schools in new unique ways.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kliewer: Citizenship in School


"If you came into the room and were told there was a retarded child in the class, a child with special needs, I don't think you would have picked Lee out. The kids really agree that he's as capable as they are. Intellectually the same." P83

After reading Citizenship in School by Kliewer, there were certain parts of his stories that brought back very memorable flashbacks to myself. The story of Lee Larson rather is a story that personally hits home with me. 

"They see down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. Thats what they see, but they wouldn't be seeing him." P84

Throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years I attended school with a boy who was in my grade who had down syndrome and a touch of autism. In elementary school this boy was in my class every year from grade one to grade five. Consistently, he was the first one done on quizzes and tests, always receiving one of the highest marks in the class. He was the school spelling bee champion back to back years. However, as it was clear to see, his physical appearance was rather different than the rest of the class. He had full function of his body, but compared to the others in the class he looked different. When middle school and high school came along, this boy who I had known as one of the smartest kids in my class for years ended up being placed into an inclusion classroom, with other students who had disabilities. This class varied because it had some students with physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and learning disabilities. I had always known how smart this boy was, but as time went on I always wondered why he wasn't in any of the classes I was in.

This Kliewer piece brought this situation to light in my eyes. Why didn't he have the opportunity to advance with the people he went to elementary school with. Was having him in these inclusion classes holding him back from what he could have potentially been as a students? Did being inclusion hinder him rather than help him? Why was he not tested on his cognitive ability rather than his looks. Could all anyone see was down syndrome and autism?????

I think the main question that this Kliewer piece brings to me is by separating students with disabilities, are we really helping them or hurting them in the long run??

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Literacy With An Attitude- Finn


I found Finn to be one of the most informative pieces we have read all year. Specifically, I saw many connections to Finn with Lisa Delpit, Allan Johnson, and Kristof.

"The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make change are comfortable with the way things are". (Finn XI)
- I saw immediately before even reading this piece that is section was highlighted, and immediately I turned and thought of Allan Johnson and his whole idea of power in society. Finn states basically that the people with power do not feel the need to change the status quo because they're comfortable where they are at. This means the people without power can suffer due to the simple fact that they do not hold or control the power. Like Johnson says, we must learn to SAY the WORDS to make CHANGE.

"I made assignments so easy so that the least able students could do them. I gave "extra credit" assignments for the students that finished early....I corrected and graded and returned every paper next class so that students felt that completing assignments mattered" (Finn, 4).
- I saw this quote as almost an anti Kristof moment. Kristof argues in his piece that he was basically left behind by his teachers and principals due to his lack of caring. He saw schooling as Institutional and not Individual. Here with Finn, he is promoting that individuality and making sure he leaves no students behind. Finn is promoting the fact that schooling matters for all people.

Lisa Delpit also shined through onto Finns work on page 4. Finn was talking about his discipline within the classroom, and how he established his rules and codes of power early within his teacher. Finn has his own style of making sure the students obeyed him, as he always demanded respect from his students.

Finn's "Literacy With an Attitude" was actually very interesting to read, as it told a good story for me as a future teacher. The one main idea that I really took away as important from Finn's work is to always promote schooling as important to every students, and to make sure you can find a connection to every student within the classroom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Connection to Authors

August: Safe Spaces
- One moment that really stuck with me throughout service learning was when I was working in a small group with two boys and one girl. The conversation at the end of our work turned to the girls shirt, that had Elsa from Frozen on it. She asked me if I liked the shirt and if I had ever seen the movie. I responded with yes of course I like Frozen. After I said this, one of the boys faces lit up and shout out "I like Frozen too!". The second boy looked at the first boy after he said this and said "Only girls watch frozen, what are you gay?"

Collier: Honor students' first language
- There is this one girl who I have been working with at the end of class for the past several weeks on spelling her name. Granted, these students are only in 1st grade, however this girl comes from a Spanish speaking background and has trouble spelling her name in English. The teacher however sets aside a specific time at the end of class for her to simply work with English letters to spell her name. The teacher allows her to spell her name "any way she would like" when the other students are working on their letters in groups...with the hope that the English letters will catch on eventually. This connects to Collier because the teacher does not put down this student due to her language, rather she lets her work on getting a better understand of her English letters in hope that eventually soon she will fully understand them.

Delpit: Rules and Codes of Power
-Being first graders, the students tend to be very rowdy and hyper. The teacher consistently is reminding the students of how they need to "Listen when I clap my hands together" or "you are no longer Kindergartens". Both of these statements relate to the rules of power because the teacher is consistently trying to maintain order in the classroom by reminding students that she has the authority. She also uses this whole reverse psychology effect when students act up, remind them that it may have been okay to act like this when you were in Kindergarten, but as first graders you are expected to follow the "codes of power" more now since you're older.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Teaching After Brown v Board: Separate and Unequal

-Wow. There are so many powerful points, statistics, and research data that these two podcasts bring about. I would argue that the main point these two podcast are hinting at is to get back to our original roots of Brown v Board and eliminate separation. 
-I feel like the deepest and most powerful stats that were brought up throughout all of these podcasts was in podcast 562. This podcast talks about how since 1988 we have almost "segregated", and since this has happened the achievement gap has widen all over again. The United States Dept of Ed. put out information last year. This info showed that Black in Latino kids in segregated schools get the worst teachers, the worst course offerings, the least access to upper level courses, etc. On top of that, the students in these school typically come from backgrounds of poverty, which reflects a whole idea of stress levels and students being surrounded by people with the same struggling background as them. The whole idea of integration between privileged students and poverty students is that the bar will be raised   for these students stuck in poverty. They will finally have the opportunity to excel and reap the benefits of higher more qualified teachers, in schools that are more financially stable.
-What these podcasts really made me think about was the video we watched in class when Dr. Bogad was out, about the two students who lived in Long Island that were in two totally different school systems. It was clear to see in this video, just like it is touched upon in these podcasts, that the systems are to blame here. We saw one black student who lived in a wealthy neighborhood, therefore he got the opportunity to go to a better school in a better system. On the other side, the other black student lived in a more poverty struck area, so he was forced into a school with a teachers of lower experience, a school with low levels of technology, and a school with a lower graduation rate. These different factors that the students encountered were all due to the simple fact that the systems were different. The second podcast defined the fact that who you are in your environment ultimately ends up defining who you are. This podcast talked about examples of small sided integration, and how students ended up adapting to their environments that they were put into. This again has to do all with the system of the schools.
-The whole idea of separate and unequal lead to me the website of Brown v Board. This website basically laid out the information of what happened during that time, and the public programs that are more recent. My question that is brought to me is where did we loose touch with the whole idea of Brown v Board. Service learning has brought new light to my eyes, as I have began to see how there is very little/no integration within classrooms or school systems. This to me is shocking.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

In The Service of What? Kahne & Westheimer

Extended Comments- Namita's Blog

“To be critical thinkers, students must be able to consider arguments that justify conclusions that conflict with their own predispositions and self-interest.” 
Interestingly enough, I found this quote to be the most significant quote in the whole reading. I think it is interesting how Namita and I both found this quote to be significant, and also how we both have a similar feeling on this quote. Students MUST be able to understand what they are learning and why is is significant to their future lives. They also MUST be able to understand their beliefs on a certain topic and realize that these beliefs can conflict with that is best of their self-interest.
“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.” 
Namita makes a great point in this quote, bringing up how service learning teaches us the understand on what it is like to work with students in order to become future educators or youth workers. Personally, I agree with this idea totally, service learning provides the opportunity to really feel what it is like to work with students with different backgrounds of life. I can relate this to my current service learning project because in just three short weeks I have already gained some important knowledge of how to work with students of different backgrounds to make activities as successful as they can be.

Namita's blog felt like it could have been one of my own, I really loved her quote I feel like I would have personally hand picked some of these quotes from the text to use in my own blog. I loved how these large quotes were also broken down into simple terms by Namita, and I agree with all of the points she made. Service learning is a life changing experience as it helps students grasp an understand on working with students of different ages, backgrounds, and knowledge levels. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Christensen- Unlearning the Myth's That Bind Us


I believe that Christensen main argument in this piece is he is trying to bring light to a greater audience about the who are role models are as people, who we idolize, and how we portray our self image into the world in which we live. I feel like the most interesting piece that Christensen offers to this piece is the part about the perfect Disney princesses, which has causes much controversy over the past few years. These Disney movies portray the protagonist princess as 'the stereotypical' idea for beauty, which is a thin white female with long beautiful hair. These princesses typically meet a handsome prince and live "happily every after". However, as Christensen argues, is this sending the wrong message to young children watching this? Are we possibly making young children innocently accustomed to these stereotypes? A really powerful quote that struck me when talking about Christensen's' argument is "I don't want students believing that change can be bought at the mall"pg133. The power behind this quote shows how we want to look like the models in magazines, and we want to act like our idols. That is part of the reason why the United States is such a popular country for getting genetically modified!! However, these people that we idolize... do they really look like this? Are they really as perfect as we portray them too be?

The power behind this article was very deep. My question is will there ever be a "Black Cinderella"? Can we as society change our moral values and focus more on living life for ourselves than living life to look like our idols? Or will we always fall under the idea of SCWAAMP, and idolize the people that society idols?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Safe Spaces

So far, so good—until the family is two moms and their children or two dads and their adopted daughter. Such families rarely make the curricular cut—they are invisible. P.85
- Such a paralyzing quote. Within society we believe sometimes that we have made a difference as the years have went on, and are more accepting than we once were. While this is true, this quote makes me take a step back and realize that maybe we haven't come as far as we should have or as we thought we have as a society. Newman explained curriculum at the beginning of the chapter, but throughout the chapter she makes connections to curriculum that I personally would have never thought to make. This whole idea of how these families with lesbian or gay parents do not make the "curricular cut" and are "invisible" is why I chose the word paralyzing.

Students understand that classrooms are not neutral spaces—they are charged with emotion. Far from being beside the point, feeling of relief and dread are the point for young people. P.83
-After starting service learning, it is clear to see that even elementary classrooms are charged with emotions of students. As students progress these emotions shift into more intellectual emotions due to the increase in knowledge. That is the basic idea of life, the older you get the more knowledge you tend to attain. However the last sentence in this quote shows that students seek to use this charged up emotion to fit in or "relieve" their-selves. LGBT students, teachers, heterosexual students should all seek for the relief in the classroom as this is a place for growth an knowledge, and Newman shows throughout this piece that we need to seek to eliminate the "dread" factor.

LGBT students need to see themselves in a world of ideas and experiences offered up by their teachers if they are to become academically and socially connected in the classroom. Heterosexual students with LGBT family members or friends need to see their loved ones reflected in the images and stories that shape ideologies. Pgs.90-91
-I felt like this quote summed up the overall message that Newman we getting at in this piece. LGBT students are no different than a heterosexual students just because of their sexual orientation, and they shouldn't feel the need to feel as if they are different in the classroom or in life in general. Reversely, heterosexual individuals with LGBT family members or friends need to be able to see their family members or friends succeed in life and be a whole member of society.

While LGBT have been becoming well accepting inside schools, how much work must we still do until we ALL one day view all individuals as the same no matter their race, gender, or sexuality?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"Aria" - Richard Rodriguez

The short story of "Aria" is one that seems all too familiar to such stories that still take place in present day 2015. The constant pressure for all citizens or immigrants to fit into "American Culture" is evident everyday. Take for example, students in public schools pledge their allegiance to the American flag everyday before the school day begins.

With the background in mind, I personally have a similar connection to this story. Living in an area that is bilingual and full with people of different backgrounds, one day the house up the street from me went up for sale. Within the next three to four months, a Hispanic family had moved due to the relocation of the fathers job. There was a young girl, Sadie, who was a few years younger than me. One day her and I finally met. Although she could speak very good English, she had told me that she did not have much relation to her family. From the outside looking in, her father (who always talked to my father) could speak very good English. This man was typically always at work and never home. Her mother however knew very little of the English language and almost filled her sentences with half English and half Spanish.

After reading this short story I made the connection that maybe this is why Sadie was not very close to her family. With her father always working and her being an only child, the house was always just her and her mother. Sadie could not speak very good Spanish, but the mother could not speak very good English. This makes me think now that I'm older, how frequently does this happen? What are the effects of a bilingual family? Coming from a family where English is the first and only language spoken I tend to wonder are their many houses out there that are broken up due to a language barrier? 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Amazing Grace", Jonathan Kozol

Argument: Kozol argues that the circle of poverty is one that is near impossible to break out of, and from an outsider looking in it can be hard to understand
. In this reading, Kozol brings up many points that Kristof brought up in his "Land of Limitation". The difference is Kozol brings these points up in a manner where you can feel the connection based on the stories being told from his time in the South Bronx. The significance of Kozol's stories is that he was an outsider doing studies or LIVING in this totally different world, "I felt a long way from Manhattan". These outsider stories that Kozol provides to us shows the difference in cultures and the realization of the water in which different cultures swim. To Kozol, being in the South Bronx was a total culture shock to him. For others such as Ms. Washington or young Cliffie, this was their world. Many could recognize that this area full of drugs, illnesses, and deaths was not a desirable place. However, like Kristof argued, poverty was nothing more than a cycle or a system in which the poor have a hard time breaking out. It is clear to see this when Kozol explains the second time he visits Ms. Washington at her home, as he explain her welfare issues.

With Manhattan and the South Bronx being so closely connected with two different cultural lifestyles and poverty levels, I began to think and notice how many places there are in Rhode Island alone with different cultures and poverty levels. The question to me is do we as people all see this poverty breakdowns in our cities, states, and country? Or do we "swim in the water" ignoring what could be happening next door or down the street from us?

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nicholas Kristof-U.S.A., Land of Limitation?

Argument: This author Kristof argues that your social status and the environment that you grow up in has a direct effect on your success and well-being later on in life. Kristof uses a lot of different ideas and examples to explain his theory. The quantitative data from Kristof's research shows that his theory may indeed be correct, as "a child born in the bottom quintile of incomes in the United States has only a 4 percent chance of rising to the top quintile". Kristof also uses qualitative data in explaining his theory by reflecting on his late friend, Rick Goff. Kristof uses Goff as a qualitative example to show how he was born into this idea of a "lower system" and how it effected his life in schooling and his attitude towards discipline compared to people born into a "higher system" of living. This evidence showed Goff knew his limits whereas people who never are disciplined tend to not know their limits. Kristof's data overall brings up the theory that many tend to turn their eye to, which is are children born into some sort of social status? Based on the evidence shown in this piece, it is hard to not believe or feel this way, and as Kristof shows in his example with  Goff, this isn't an idea that was born over night, rather this has possibly been happening for decades or even centuries.

After diving into this piece of writing the question arose to me, is it possible that one day we can live in a society where people will not be pigeon holed into an economic sector of well-being? Is it possible to one day have children viewed as equal no matter what the upbringing?
About Me
My name is Austin Raposa. I am from Cranston, Rhode Island. This is my second year at RIC, as I am majoring in Physical and Health Education. Over the summer I worked for ADP Payroll Services, as I delivered payrolls all over the state of Rhode Island. Typically when I'm not in class I am at the gym, on the golf course, or working. I am looking forward to another great semester.

Over the summer my friends and I participated in a flag football league.
We fell short in the finals.

My favorite place to be during the summer.

Enjoying some Mexican food at midnight.

One of my favorite things to do, go off-roading with my jeep around Rhode Island.
This picture was taken in Exeter.

Some of my first trials with a GoPro.
It's very hard to keep your eyes open when you're looking into the sun.