Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Update to "Empowering Education"

Talking Points

Empowered students making meaning and act from reflection, instead of memorizing fact and value, handed to them. This statement questions learning because what is the point of learning when we are told to memorize something? We are not learning anything so what are we gaining from this? It will not provoke any questions which is the stem of learning. We are born learners so we cannot help our curiosity are meant to ask questions, that is the nature of learning.

This statement above makes me think of tests and quizzes because when we are tested we are meant to memorize facts, dates and statements. We are not learning anything, how are we showing what we know by taking a test?

Empowering Education
Critical Teaching for Social Change
Ira Shor

In Empowering Education, Ira Shor states that child are called upon to receive from outside the already perfected products of adult knowledge and morality; the educational relationship consists of pressure on one side and receptiveness on the other. Shor means to say that when we attend school we are forced to learn certain concepts because we simply can learn things and because its there.

Shor continues by stating that "from such a point of view, even the most individual kinds of tasks performed by students partake less of genuine activity of spontaneous and individual research than of copying a external model. The students inmost mortality remains fundamentally directed toward obedience rather than autonomy." Ira Shor thinks that what children perform in school is memorizing and note taking based, cut and dry. Teaching the idea of "you have to learn this because i said so." Shor  attempts to show the beauty of teaching with more autonomy or independence. To teach in a more fun and creative way will cause children to be interested to learn. We are human so come into the world as learners and we are naturally curious from day one. Why should education be taught in a way that we just learn but not ask why. Asking "why" or "how" is how we learn. For example it can be seen everyday, such as when we ask someone "did the egg come before the chicken or did the chicken come before the egg?"Sometimes someone else's question plants an answer in your train of thought, even if you may be wrong you gain a new way of thinking.

A curriculum that avoids questioning schools and society cuts of the student's development as a critical thinker about the world they live in. Students will not understand why they are suppose to learn so what they learn will not be cherished. We learn things in life for a purpose not simply to learn it because if a student is given a task to memorize rules instead of analyzing a book will keep the students from importance of the learning process. From our learning experiences we gain the ability to criticaly think about everything, the things we learn in school and outside school walls. In my past i learned how to critically think about books, specifically reading between the lines. I learned that books explain life in some instances. For example, I read the book "To kill a Mockingbird" in high school where i gained the lesson of people, that we are not bad but we are not perfect. We all have traits we would like to change about ourselves. If we did not analyze the book with questions and discussions i never would have gained this knowledge. 

In my personal opinion i do not want to be taught a unit because i have to learn it. Rather i would like to learn about something because i am curious about the topic. If i was taught something simply to learn values and facts i would not feel knowledgeable because i would not have the opportunity to reflect upon what i learned. Numbers and facts only show a minuscule piece of knowledge. When i reflect or think about why i did that or how this happened i gain insight from the answers as well as the opinions of others.

Asking questions can lead to great outcomes such as making students think about their own thoughts, it can cause students to pay more attention and it can help students think in different perspectives. Sometimes we answer questions incorrectly however we learn from our answers and sometimes it allows us to think about something in a completely different light.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Citizenship in School
Cheistopher Kliewer

The word "sped" stands for Special Education, however the acronym can be used negatively as well as positively. I admit that i have not been diagnosed with Down Syndrome but i have been called a "sped kid" before, It tugged at my heart strings. This questions the morals being a good citizen in life especially at school, schools are supposed to have a comfortable atmosphere.

Shayne Robinson, a teacher at Shoshone School where they accept children with disabilities and without  disabilities. Robinson said, "Its not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We're all here- kids, teachers, parents, whoever- its about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's what learning is. I agree with Robinson because  my experience as a special education student shed a vast amount of light on the treatment of students with disabilities. There was a boy a grade below who went to school with me was paralyzed from the waist down. He was made fun of constantly in elementary and middle school as he would wheel down the hallway, I always felt awkward because these people did not think of the effect it had on him. I did not say anything to them however i wish i had. At one point I realized how alike this person and i were even though he had a physical disability while i had a learning disability. It did not always work but i felt better because i knew to look beneath the surface of my past peer. I feel that Nelsy's comment, "we tend to focus more on their apparent differences instead of their similarities to us which then leads to the creation of these dominant barries which disables us to see that we are all humans" connects because there is a wall between students with and without disabilities because the simple fact that only some suffer from it. That wall is thickened as students who find humor in someone else's pain because they could not pronouce a word or play basketball on two feet.

Within the special education students, none of them were diagnosed with down syndrome. I never felt I understood fully of what it was until I attend Youth Leadership Forum. YLF is a forum that is comprised of students who excel in school that deal with a learning or physical. These students are brought together so they can feel accepted in a judgement free zone. We work on volunteer work to help an organization in need. I met this guy named Joey. I slowly figured out he had been diagnosed with down syndrome. He does have to deal with outer disadvantages such as physical features with a flat face, small ears, and slanted eyes. Despite that it did not seem to bother him as he happily greeted me on the first day. I noticed he was a social butterfly as he talked to almost everyone every chance he was handed. During my encounters with him he was always kind and caring, he would ask how i was doing and if i was having fun. Joey meant no harm at all, he was simply being himself living life. By the end of the week I was able to better pick away all of the exteriors of people because i knew there is something valuable underneath.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Update to Promising Practices Reflection

I found it difficult to connect any of the theories we have discussed in class to the opening speech between the panel of the six judges. I thought there was too much content discussed to figure out if there were Delpit or Johnson or any other theories because it was very difficult to pay attention for length of this speech. The language they had used in certain sections was hard to decipher while listening as they continued on. 

However one of the sessions i attended was about Anti Bullying, reflecting back on the content stated i
 realized it had a Delpit basis. The importance to explicitly explain the rules and codes of power. Both of the speakers explicitly stated that bullying needs to stop because of the emotional and physical affect it has on young people. For example these speakers took the time within their teaching schedule to make time so they could teach their students how bullying hurts. These teachers used their advisory time on a weekly basis. Where they first started small by gavin each student around the room stating a personal aspect about themselves. Over time the students could explicitly state that "I like the color pink" or I think i like girls" and feel a little more comfortable saying that in a public space. 

Another session i attended was about the geared towards the importance of having arts in schools. The speaker spoke about her personal story of incorporating art in school systems. I believe that Rodriguez's theory of sacrificing private identity for public identity shone through because because the speaker stated that all students have a story to tell through an artistic way such as dancing or painting or even writing. The students that lose out on these artistic opportunities to use their  use their creative juices is cut so it forces those students to lose a part of their private identity to only a gain a public identity. The percentage of elementary schools that offer artistic classes had dropped from 87% to 83%. It is horrible because no children should be told they do not have an opportunity to dance or sing because that could be a significant part of themselves. No has a right to shut down someone's artistic ability because it is always a part of them so why should they suffer by lacking any artistic opportunities. If someone told me that they were going to try to cut a dance class i was taking i would make a stand because i simply cannot go out with dance. It affects my whole life because through dance i gained self confidence and discipline which has pushed so far in my life. Art does more than paint beautiful dances or pretty pictures it even can save people from dangerous paths in life.  For example, the president of the National Art Education Association said that "I found out who i was because i was able to explore my identity in the visual arts."

If there was more Deplit and Rodriguez moments in our world it would be much more colorful. The atmosphere would drastically alter  because people would be able to be comfortable being themselves.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Promising Practices Reflection
Week 10

Before the speakers reached the content of the topic, each speaker was introduced. Their name, where they came from, where they went to school and how they are affiliated with Promising Practices. I felt that is was almost too much because the more i heard the more challenging it became to remember each speaker. I believe that each person could have been announced with their name, their degree and how they work with promising practices.One introduction of a speaker was not correct. After the speech an official came back to fix this person’s introduction despite the effort I did not think anyone was paying much attention because after a certain time span your attention span gives out. It stated that an adult’s attention span is about 20 minutes The speeches should have been more geared around that aspect because any speaker would hope the audience would listen to their speech. If the speakers stopped for questions in between instead of at the end
the audience would be more interested since they would hear a conversation instead of one voice. In my personal opinion i love when speakers allow questions during their speech because it becomes more interactive so i become more focused. 

I was not aware that we would listen to a panel of officials for an hour and half. I found it to be very difficult to digest because there were six different voices. It became difficult when on speaker would began to speak for only another speaker to take the floor. Which made it hard to follow along to the content. After the talk was completed, they allowed the floor to be open for questions. My head was so stuck on comprehending that I lost my train of thought to form a question. When questions were asked I feel that some of them were not answered as well as I expected, one speaker seemed to ramble on about his opinion instead of answering the question.
When i was in my first session it much easier to pay attention to the one speaker versus the previous six i listened to. I liked that it was promoting art in school because i am very artistic. The activity we were assigned was to paint either a flower or a bird. I found it to be very relaxing as i soon lost all attention for everything but the paint. I do however not like other elements of this speech, for example we did a drawing exercise. We began by folding the paper in half, then we drew a witch's silhouette on one side. As she was explaining this activity she said that people with disabilities cannot complete this activity successfully and continued on to say that we as teachers should not assign this to students under the special education umbrella. I was very offended by this statement because she said it like she knew what she was talking about.
This professional did not even quote where she discovered this statement. In my perspective i can say that what she said is not valid because i am dyslexic but i am very artistic. I have been dancing for 12 years and painting and mixing color schemes come naturally to me. From my dancing experience i have learned the concept of direction and sequences of dances as well as the musicality of dancing. This has helped me academically because sequences in a dance translates to a sequences of events in a essay and learning steps like the shuffle ball change helped me understand how to flow directions in all aspects of learning. I would have been a little less offended if she had quoted her source because you always need to have the "why" to back your belief.

The session on Anti Bullying was also a great example of showing "why" because the two speakers expressed their passion throughout the whole speech. They seemed so hopeful and proud of their goal as they kept the emphasis on making time to show how important anti bullying is so prevalent during this session. I believe that is true because they said they have made such progress with their students as they began by making small groups of people so it was inmate that allowed the students to see others for who they are. I began to also see how difficult this is to teach because many kids will not want to follow it because they might think its stupid so it might time for you to make this idea seem cool. This would be a great way to weave in a LGBT lesson because it could show how bullying hurts others. I began to think how complex this is because these speakers work with middle school age children so the content might be harder to teach. Children progress at different times so certain concepts might be comprehended as soon. one factor i did not enjoy was that one of the speakers took over the floor a lot, at one point i feel that she took the words the other speaker was about to say. As a result it became a little dull to listen to one voice for the majority of the time.

Overall this conference was beneficial in some ways, such as new ideas for teaching and treatment towards our peers and teachers as well as dealing with the emotions of diverse occurrences. Along with the exception of confusion of other speeches, but over time some of it might click in my thought process. It could even become a new tool for my "toolbox."
"Separate is Not Equal"
Brown v. Board of Education

The decision of the Supreme Court in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education marked a turning point for the history of race relations in the United States on the 17th of May. The court had stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education on the law of the land. Even though this was a significant stepping stone in our history, it did not end the vicious cycle of racism. In the article, "Separate and Unequal" Bob Herbert states that "long years of evidence shows that poor children of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent- that is middle class peers. However schools stay more segregated because of many patterns such as where residence of children. When colored student do transfer to a new school, some feel discrimination by others because students judge them by how different they might be. For example the economic inequalities between social classes affect the student body, one student might judge another student because of the finical background he comes from, the student might  not live in a huge house and wear top of the line clothing.

In my personal opinion, I think this unwritten segregation rule we follow is not right. If a young person, white or black or hispanic desires a quality education from a good school they should be given the opportunity without being looked upon as less than equal to other students. The article states a simple solution to this problem, which is these children should attend another more resourceful school. Despite that simple solution, the article, "Separate and Unequal" states there has been 80 instances where the economic segregation brings upon racial and ethnic integration that has caused bitterness. It is fusrating people are not giving others a fair chance, they are simply unwelcoming. It is exactly like when there was an uproar of anger when Barack Obama was elected president because some people believed that America cannot be controlled by a black man. I believe this questions the 13th amendment when i began to read Jocelyn's blog. She states that 13th amendment encompasses that "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  If we have a rule that states all people should be given equality why do we abuse it, its in our constitution for a reason.

The two videos of Tim Wise continue to explain this point, as the first video's main point is all about rascim's existence, the idea that its easily seen, such as a teacher favoring a white student over a colored student. The idea of a African American who loves to play basketball and has trouble off the courts especially in school. "You have to be exceptional to break that glass ceiling (Tim) to be accepted."The continuation of this video states why accepting to the norm of being white or black. Tim states that being accepted as the black person who is not book smart but great on the basketball court is all based on stereotypes. Using race as an excuse which is not valid because there are many successful colored people as there are white people, for example Martin Luther King was successful just like Abrahma Lincoln was even though they made different accomplishments throughout their lives. In the video it stated that 75% of white people believe that black people live off welfare because they are lazy and unmotivated.

Talking Points
"What is the significance of the 13th amendment when no one seems to use it, people of color should be allowed anywhere whites are welcomed since we are all welcomed."
Tim Wise said "Why can't both black and white people be treated equally because all people are equal?" Can we break though this glass to see the reality of equality?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

In the Service of What?
The Politics of Service Learning
Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer
Week 9

If we did not reflect on our service learning i do not think i would be as knowledgeable as i am now. Reflecting helps analyze occurrences we might had to deal with, maybe a child refusing to learn or always expecting candy when they do a good job as described in "5 Reasons to stop saying Good Job." Johnson's students were given an assignment to help in the community so they could learn a lesson from helping another group. The only reflection his assigned his students was to write a one to two paragraph summary. Some students spoke of new insights while others did not. When there is some form of volunteering done there should be some kind of fulfilling reflection (Kahne 4).

Speaking about this with others gives us clarity to our confusion because everyone has an opinion and ideas that might differ from ours. In my perspective reflecting helps me significantly because i love to think about all i have seen so far at R.F. Kennedy since I am exposed to education in a whole new perspective. The idea of not reflecting mystifies my train of thought. How is it a bad thing? Growing up i was always told to reflect because i was going to gain a lesson from it. This reminded me of when i was in high school during my days as a honor student. One of our requirements we had to acquire before the end senior year was to accomplish 75 hours of community service. We did not have to write about it or talk about it during our meetings, looking back to that i feel like we could have done some much with it. The whole idea of being on the honor society was because you were a good citizen with the desire to improve the community of the school. 

Educators and politicians have discovered that  90% of teenagers from ages 14 to 17 give some of their time to people in need. I find it a little hard to believe because from personal experience i have learned that it does not necessarily make you a nice person, or some teens are forced to do it because it might be a graduation requirement. For example, high schools located in Maryland require students to accumulate 75 hours of community service and even schools in Vermont and New York are in the works of making that a new rule (Kahne4). I understand that it might be a requirement but ask yourself, "how many students actually want to give up some of their free time?" I mean the young adults who jump at the opportunity to help build a house with habitat for humanity or clean up trash at a state park, not the young adults who are dragged there by their parents.


Ernest Boyer stated that "altruism can best be appreciated as an experience rather than an abstraction."
Boyer is right because to genuinely appreciate volunteering you must experience what its like to help others instead of watching someone volunteering their time.

While reflecting helps academically it also helps emotionally throughout life. Personally i feel better when I reflect on the past it acts a therapy to control my emotions.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 7 Update

"What is the underlying reason students refuse to learn from their teachers?"

Teaching is a difficult profession to do well in however learning is equally challenging because not every teacher works for every student's learning style. This brings up another important question, are there any important factors that determine a student's success? One important factor is how the teacher designs the class, such as the due dates, how tests are graded, how often homework is assigned. How piratical the projects are. The teachers also have to take into account the kind of students they have in their class, some students might read slow while others excel in reading between the lines and having to deal with the students that do not seem to care about his or her education. 
Update to Week 4: Hyperlinks

How many young children in America actually keep speaking their native language after they learn English? About one fifth of American children are bilingual. The popularity of this was far after i began school as well as the need to learn another language. Teachers pestered me to learn Spanish, i spoke to my mom about this. I was annoyed at my teachers because i have trouble the English language so how is learning Spanish going to help me? Learning a second language is something that should be done when your brain is forming with in the first 3 years of your life when you absorb information like a sponge. Some psychological studies have been done on people who are bilingual, they have discovered these people are smarter because they cognitive advantages because the are challenging their brain to recognize more words which improves your vocabulary and students score much better on standardized testing in math, reading and vocabulary compared to students who only speak one language. Some languages are easily learned through visuals that can be seen on restaurants, stores as well as other places of interest.
Week 8


What is the point of fairytales when they only lead to disappointment when we learn their actual meaning?

It is sad when you grow up to only discover how negative fairytales can be, a place such as Disney seems like such a magical place when you are young.

Blog Post
Week 8

“Flawed Fairytales and Toys”

            What fairytales mean to young child is far different than what an adult sees behind the glitz and glam. A young girl would conclude from a fairytale that if you dream to the fullest, your desires automatically come true. Which is stating that you are destined to find your “prince” or “princess” by simply waiting around. For example the tale of Cinderella, a story we all know where she loses her mother. Her father marries a vile women, who treat Cinderella as a servant the moment her father dies. She continues to suffer from her evil stepsisters. Then appears her fairy godmother, which builds up Cinderella’s confidence to attend the ball. Cinderella is sent off in a pumpkin carriage in a beautiful blue gown. She dances with the prince but as the clock strikes midnight she must be home so her stepmother will not know she snuck out. Later she realizes that she lost her sliver shoe. 43% of marriages will not makeit to their 50th anniversary. Cinderella also shows that wearing beautiful clothing and eating just enough so you can “look” appealing to the opposite sex is suppose to make your life worthwhile.
The prince remembered her by the glass slipper. In my opinion I would rather not be remembered by a shoe because what is the likelihood that a prince would find you. Then Cinderella lives happily ever after with prince. I would much rather be remembered by my personality or my laugh, something real not superficial. This story brainwashes young girls to think that life is all about finding your true love. Many marriages barely last a year, the idea of happily ever after is rare to find. My parents are one of the few parents I know that have been married well over 20 years.

These fairy tales such as Disney’s Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White have a much deeper significance. However we do not pick up on the “secret education” of these fairytale movies until we are past our childhood.
            The Disney Princesses continue to show young girls to think with only your heart but not with your heart and head. All of the princesses were at a very young age. Cinderella was 19 years old, Belle was 17, Aurora was only 16, and Ariel was 16 years old when they meet their prince charming. Ariel gave up her voice to Ursula because she saw a handsome man and could not control her emotions. She risked her chance of speaking simply because she wanted to marry someone she barely knew.
The only thing the handsome man knew about Ariel was that she could sing beautifully.  This could imply that you should be married young or be in a committed relationship in your teen years. Yet this implication is not true because there is not rule that states all girls should be dating or married when you are only a teenager. This is time where you figure out yourself and figure out what you want out of life.
            While movies such as Disney distort our reality, some toys have the same affect.
For example, Barbie, who was given the so called “perfect height”, perfect weight” and she always wears stylish clothes. Barbie always fashions her bright blue sparkly eye makeup. However Barbie is anything but perfect, she is made of plastic. Barbie comprised of very impractical body measurements, for example her neck is twice as long and six inches thinner than the average women as a result she would not be able to lift her head. Her waist is 16 inches, which is smaller than her head.
Barbie’s leg are 50% longer than her arms, the average women’s legs are only 20% longer than their arms. The world needs to be more realistic in the toys and movies that produced because it has such an affect on young girls. From these kind of pressures it causes so many issues for young girls. For example society believes that women are meant to look one way. Which consists of having long legs, long blonde hair and weight 125 pounds. When we do not look these way women criticize themselves  including girls as young as 10 and 11 years old and even myself.  Instead we should be seeing that there are many kinds of beauty and that it is beneath the skin as well.