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.