Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog #10 (final)

Shor: Education is Politics

1. “No curriculum can be neutral.”

Shor here discusses how students need to question to understand the world around them. Leaving out certain “controversial” topics from the curriculum is not playing it safe but denying you students vital information, and the opportunity to examine their world. This can be compared to all the rest of the things we have been learning in this class because it sounds to me a lot like Johnston. Johnston said we need to talk about “controversial” topics to make them less controversial, to enable students to understand them and be comfortable with them. The foundation of school should be socialization, and to do that a teacher needs to bring all societal topics into the classroom so that they can be examined in a secure and educational environment. I like how she mentions that if these topics are not brought up in the classroom it just teaches students to follow the herd that the way things are should not and can not be changed. “The future of society is at stake.”

2. “To know an object is to act upon it and to transform it.”

This quote is actually by Piaget, but it is important. This quote is used to demonstrate the importance of student participation in the classroom, allow the students to teach themselves. The teacher is a resource and guide for the students to use as they learn about themselves and their environment. Preaching at kids and not allowing any vocalization on their part would be inhibiting them, they should be the ones steering the class. Abstract theories rarely work, and lets face it are only good at killing a students interest in the subject, these theories need to be applied, students need to see them at work. In an elementary school, if a teacher lectures at the students for a week about photosynthesis, at the end of the week they still are not going to care. If a teacher lectures and brings in plants one put in the sun, one in a closet, and doesn’t water one now it is kind of interesting students can assess for themselves why which one is growing and the other not. Let the kids teach themselves they are capable of absorbing the world around them just give them the opportunity to do so. This got me thinking about a developmental psychology class I was in, the teacher said that playing the work of toddlers. Why can’t playing be the work of all students? What taught you most about love? Hearing your friends describe their relationships, or getting your heart broken?

Okay I did not get a chance to finish this because, well, I couldn't find it at first so i procrastinated and now it is almost midnight the day before it is due... Go me! lol but i will finish it I really enjoyed this article i look forward to writing more about it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Promising Practices

I know that it has been awhile but I am finally going to blog about Promising Practices, I have just been really busy, but I really did have a good time. Now to be quite honest I was kind of dreading this, I am not a morning person and I convinced myself it was going to be really boring just getting lectured at for like 7 straight hours, but it wasn’t it was informative, interesting, it was absolutely a good time.

The first session I went to was Neglected Histories, Neglected Stories

This was good because it was all about secondary ed history, which is why I am here.

Honestly due to this session I think I now, finally, know my concentration. There was 5 women there presenting on topics related to the Atlantic, and the relationships such as the slave trade. These women talked about going a little deeper into the subject with the students such as thinking about the goods and products that were produced at the time of the slave trade and due to the slave trade. Inviting students to look into the primary families that were involved, such as the Brown family, of Brown University, maybe have students write a biography, or obituary of theses families. Choosing specific stories for the students to look into and discuss, this way its not just theory, the specific stories are easier to remember anyway, and lets face it more interesting. One of the main focuses of this session was complicity, for instance how does Rhode Island’s history fit into the greater scheme of the U.S.? Just because Rhode Island didn’t necessarily have any slaves it did benefit from slave labor, for example where was Samuel Slater getting his raw material.

This was absolutely fascinating I really enjoyed myself, which is saying something, because it was 7 o’clock in the morning, and I didn’t even know we had one of those in the morning too.

The second session I went to was the A.L.L.I.E.D. This was really interesting too, this group talked about providing allies for people who feel underrepresented. This doesn’t just mean minorities, which has a historically negative connotation, using the term underrepresented it a bit more hopeful. So what does it mean to be an ally? It is the difference between sympathy and empathy, feeling bad for someone and uniting with someone, the difference is passive listening, or aggressive action. Individual vs. Community. Tara and Ms. Bogad did an awesome job !!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movie Poster Racism

this is intersting...

U.S.A version U.K. Image

While Love and Hawk aren't generally as well known as the film's other six stars, it's still a questionable motive. As noted in a 2007 New York Times article, American films with black stars typically struggle in the overseas market. According to the article, Will Smith, the undisputed king of the American box office, ranks no better than twelfth when it comes to ticket sales internationally. Simply put, said industry watcher James Ulmer, "The international marketplace is still fairly racist."
However, there's good news for those who believe the removal of Love and Hawk from the UK poster was racist: Universal issued a statement regretting any offense it caused, and the studio has scrapped all plans to use the modified poster in other overseas markets.
This is all copied from the Yahoo web page, but i thought it was interesting to add on here. The yahoo writers comments that internation markets are still racist, this puts an interesting spin on racism considering whenever i have heard of racism it has been here in the states. Actually i dont think i have ever heard of racsim outside.... and it begs the questiojn are these writeras telling the truth, is this racism only in the "international market" or did they just get caught being racist in the us and they are trying to cover their tracks... it wouldnt be wholly unbelievable....


Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

To be honest I personally have no experience with any developmental disabilities.
1. Such a model may meet bureaucratic organization needs (Skrtic, 1995a), but it teaches little about the complexity of community membership and carries with it a tremendous intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and economic cost (Kozol, 1991).

This sentence packs so much, the model that was mentioned was how schools continue to segregate students. Meaning that if you are sitting in a classroom surrounded by other kids who look like you, come from the same neighborhood, learn the same way, and have been taught the same things, you are being denied a vital education. The education of your peers, the lecture of the teacher is only half the lesson, being segregated denies kids the right to learn about their entire community, and not just that little piece.

2. Instead of picking a quote here I want to comment broadly on, Broading the Definition of Valued Intellect.

This part reminds me of what we were talking about last class, about those dittos and how that’s not really the best way to test the intellect of students. In the article the quote by Howard Gardner talks about how some kids can pass the test but they miss the deeper understanding. It is one thing to be smart enough to read through a text book and be able to pick out the things that need to be memorized, or what your teacher will probably quiz you on, but it is completely another to really understand the concept. “What constitutes valued patterns of learning” I love that he mentions this, this also goes back to everything that we have been talking about in class. All students learn differently, some excel at mathematics, some a the civics courses, but there are others as well, here he mentions spatial-representation, musical, kinesthetic intelligence. All of these are valid ways of expressing ones self, and they all need to be recognized in the schooling system. If a student is bad at test taking, that doesn’t mean that they are any less capable they any other student in the school, they would probably ace the test if given the opportunity to orally present the material. And that is just one example. I remember in my high school, the special ed. Kids were not in our regular classes but they were in our physical education courses. P.E. at least where I attended wasn’t about being in shape it was about trying new things and playing around seeing what you were good at, what your body was capable of, seeing what you liked. But the special ed. Kids did not participate they just watched, which I always thought was ridiculous. They could walk around the track but that was it. Here again they were denied an opportunity to learn, about their classmates, and themselves. Because, going back to our last class discussion, people just assumed that they were not capable.

3. I have to stop here because I am sick L and I need to get to bed, I will try to add more before next class though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blog #8

Okay, I am so completely exhausted right now… so I am going to take this paper on a different track I am not going to divide up one article into three pieces, because I want to comment on Anyon, Oakes and Tara’s blog regarding homosexuality so there’s 3 subsections right there. But anyway I mentioned that I was tired before to warn anyone reading this that it might get rambling or just not make sense at times lol.

First the Anyon piece, this article resonates with everything we have already been doing in class. Here Anyon talks about the “hidden curriculum”, which I think goes hand and hand with the Culture of Power. Kids from higher classes learn the skills that they will need in graduate school to become a doctor, or other positions of power. While working class kids learn how to be obedient and subservient. Which I don’t think anyone can completely deny, this is the reason why there are still stereotypes regarding poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer, so much of this class conflict still survives today. This isn’t just how much money and resources do these schools have but the fact that the curriculums are different, as Anyon points out working class schools lean toward the vocational education, while the wealthier kids learn critical analysis. This might seem to be the practical approach, however it is never practical to tell children they are not capable and deny them of even putting in the effort to become something more than your corner mechanic. Maybe this is why people end up hating their jobs. I know kids personally who became mechanics and hate it, these are really smart, driven people and if provided the opportunity could have “been all that they could be”. But not once did someone of authority ever tell them, you have a shot, you could get out, you could do that, because that’s not “practical”.

Now onto the Oakes piece. I have actually mentioned this idea in my journals as well how kids should be allowed to learn by ability and not simply age level. In my VIPs classroom I have noticed that the kids who “act out” do so because they finished their work and they understand the material and now they are bored waiting for the other kids to catch up. Now they are “problem kids”. I really glad that this article was assigned to us because this allows me to flip the coin over and have a good look. To be honest I never even considered the flip side of the argument, where students would be labeled less able. I mean that sounds incredible, I cant image what I child would feel like in that position. However in my high school, and I know that in most high schools, there is a certain amount of “tracking” going on. There were different levels of education being taught, outside of age group. Nobody cared though, I was in lower level math courses, but higher level history courses, and no body really even cared, I would joke and say I was in the “dumb math class” but it never really bothered me. But again I cant speak for the masses, I would image this would bother some people. I mean I didn’t even know my school offered college prep course until well after I had graduated and my friend told he was offered them, (he turned them down, dropped out and became a carpenter). Here Oakes mentions that kids in the lowering performing classes have no chance to move up because they are taught a different way, see now I did not realize this, these kids would be deemed: not headed to college, and so they would be taught the basics and pushed out the door. That sounds bad, but it sounds like an easy fix to me. But now that just melts right into the quality of the teachers. Oakes mentions, that teachers in low-ability classrooms spend more time on discipline, while high-ability classrooms spend more time on class work. This still seems like a teacher quality problem.

Now about Tara’s blog… Ellen Degenerous was on the Oprah Show and I watched because Ellen was going to appear with her wife and discuss what it is like to be an openly gay woman on television… so I had to watch. Now at first Ellen says that people were against her being on tv and having her own show because what do housewives at home at this time have in common with a lesbian? They didn’t think anyone would watch. Her show is now extremely popular, but to begin with the night show she had had been cancelled a year after she came out. Ellen knew that her career might be over she came out. But she came out because she wanted to be out and happy with it even though she knew there would be some opposition. The greatest success for her came when she came out, because once she was out she was totally happy and satisfied, because she was out she was free to be happy and work hard at what she wants. “I wanted everyone to like me.” Portia De Rossi the sister on Arrested Development (funniest show ever) is Ellen’s wife. Was it important to you to be married? Legal stamp of validity, that you have the right to do so. Anyone who is married knows that there is a comfort and a safety that feeling of “home”. (They showed some pictures from their wedding and these women are so beautiful and so special, and I know it sounds weird and none of my business really but I am so proud of them, they really obtained happiness through oppression). They are not going to like me, no matter how good of a person I am, if they find out my secret they wont accept me. A sense of peace. The love overcame the fear.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog #6

Gender Diversity in the Classroom

I started by reading Beyond Title IX: Gender Equity Issues In Schools, this was a study done by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, and it was funded by the Department of Education. To summarize, boys are provided with more opportunities in the classroom than girls are. However, this is mostly de facto, “Title IX of The Education Amendments of 1972 mandates that schools not deny any student participation in any educational program or activity on the basis of sex.” This article brings up that girls, generally speaking, are still not enrolling in certain programs that have been deemed a “man’s field” by society; such as auto mechanics. So there is still the spilt, and what could this be blamed on, maybe on subliminal messages in the classroom on men’s and women’s roles. This reminds me of, Carlson, by way of normalizing girls into “male roles”, just take way the whole idea of roles. This could be anything from pictures in a book of a woman in the kitchen and a man in the garage; children will eventually grow accustomed to seeing that and assume that that’s the way it is supposed to be. Also I see a bit of Johnston in this, telling girls explicitly that they are able to handle an auto mechanics class, it could be that girls want to take these classes but they are just too nervous about being the only girl. This isn’t in America, but I want to bring it up because it is an interesting topic.

This next article I read is an issue in Turkey, where women have to choose between their female identity and their education. In Gender Equality and Islamic headscarves; written by Joan Wallach Scott, discusses the issue in Turkey about secularism versus an Islamic state. “When, in 2004, France outlawed the wearing of headscarves in public schools, for example, it was in the name of secularism and gender equality.” So, now, the issue is allow the headscarves and risk incorporating religion into the school system, or ban it and have women feel as though their right to choose is being stripped. So there is a choice here, I am thinking Collier fits here, change the topic from first language to first model and it’s the same story. Turkey needs to find the middle ground, the compromise where women can still honor their first ideas of who they are as women, and what they want to become within society.

“‘Across the world, assumptions about what is appropriate for boys and girls to learn can undermine equality in learning.’ Power is related to certain types of knowledge, Oxfam stresses, and assumptions that girls are not good at mathematics, for instance, can result in girls being channeled into "lower-status" subjects.” This quote is from Gender Equality in Schools written by Oxfam in December of 2005. I, honestly, can not I have see any gender discrimination in my own experience, however I am fully capable of believing that it is a prevalent problem. Assumptions have been made that girls are not as smart, or as able as boys for a variety of reasons, most probably stem from outdated stereotypes of women. Maybe from that girls do not need as much attention in schools because they are only going to grow to be housewives, which can only be described now as being ludicrous.  

I don’t know if we were supposed to choose three different sources of information but I did. Lol. I feel as though I have already incorporated all I need to say above, so I am going to skip my conclusion this time.
Okay so I did this on my other posts and i dont understand why it wouldnt work this time. But i did all the work... on my word processor... for some reason i cant copy and paste :( so im going to try to play around and see what i can do to make this work.