Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Connecting Shor with other essays

In this blog I will be discussing the essay Empowering Education; CriticalTeaching for Social Change by Ira Shor. This essay was a long read for me. To be honest at times I was very engage and interested in the text and then there were times that some of the information was just looking like “blah, blah, blah, blah.” While reading the text I picked up on many things that made me think about the other authors our class was assigned to read their essay. In this blog I will be connecting Shor’s essay to a couple of other essays that I have read for class. In the essay, Shor wrote,

“However, it is the students who decided to what extent they will take part in the Syllabus and allow it to form them. Many students do not like the knowledge, process, or roles set out for them in class. In reaction, they drop out or withdraw into passivity or silence in the classroom. Some become self-educated; some sabotage the curriculum by misbehaving,” (Pg 14).

Here this quote reminds me of the essay I Won’t Learn From You! Thoughts on the Role of Assent Learning by Herbert Kohl. In his essay he speaks about the difference between failure and not-learning. Failure is where students do not care, they are not trying and they are not there to gain the knowledge. Kohl says, “Not-learning tends to take place when someone has to deal with unavoidable challenges to her or his personal and family loyalties, integrity, and identity.” How this ties back to Shor’s quote because Kohl goes on and talks about a student name Akmir who was a part of a militant separatist group that was an offshoot of the Nation of Islam. Akmir spent “a semester in junior high school social studies class no merely not-learning the subject but actively trying to destroy the teacher’s and text book’s credibility.” Akmir and one of his classmates challenge the teacher and curriculum and the teacher try to silence them.Another quote I pick from Shor’s essay is,

“Neither does it mean that students reinvent subject matter each time they study it or that the academic expertise of the teacher has no role in the classroom. Formal bodies of knowledge, standard usage, and the teacher’s academic background all belong in critical classrooms. As long as existing knowledge is not presented as facts and doctrines to be absorbed without question. As long as existing bodies of knowledge are critiqued and balanced from a multicultural perspective, and as long as the students own themes and idioms are valued along with standard usage, existing canons are part of critical education. What students and teachers reinvent in problem posing is their relationship to learning and authority. They redefine their relationships to each other, to education, and to expertise. They re-perceive knowledge and power. As allies for learning and for democracy in school and society, they stop being adversaries divided by unilateral authority and fixed canons.”

I connected this quote with the essay Other People’s Children; Cultural Conflict in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit. In her essay Delpit writes about the “culture of power.” There are five aspects of power and I connected Shor’s quote to her first aspect, which is

“Issues of power are enacted in classrooms. These issues include: the power of the teacher over the students; the power of the publishers of textbooks and of the developers of the curriculum to determine the view of the world presented; the power of the state in enforcing compulsory schooling; and the power of an individual or group to determine another’s intelligence or ‘normalcy.’ Finally, if schooling prepares people for jobs, and the kind of job a person has determines her or his economic status and, therefore, power, then schooling is intimately related to that power,” (Pg 24-25)
I connected both of these quotes together because they both talk about understanding the authority and relationship between the teacher and student. They also talk about the importance of the context that the student is learning. What the student is learning shouldn’t only be facts or something that is lecture and should be learn. What the students learn should be carefully comprehended and students should be able to question what they are learning.

Reflection on Citizenship in School

            In this Blog I would be reflecting on the essay Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer. I found this essay to be very interesting. Reading this essay reminded me of my high school. I attended a high school that had a birch vocational. The ground floor on one sided was known as the birch side. Compare to that section it was basically empty than all the other sections in school. To me the students seem isolated from everybody else then I started to realize the students who were in birch did had the opportunity to be in the so called regular classes. Usually when the birch students are in a regular class they have an assistant with them. I am glad my high school gave the birch students the opportunity to be involved with the whole school community, like Kliewer stresses the importance of citizenship. When I read this,

“Many of the projects that emerged from the stories, however, involved fine motor abilities that proved frustrating for Isaac. For instance, the children had made panoramas of the Night’s Kitchen using recycled garbage or had constructed bulletin boards depicting personal interpretations of Max’s dream through drawings, paintings, and cutting and pasting.” (Pg 76)

I automatically thought about one of the class day when Prof. Bogad talk about how it would be nice to see something or have something that represented who or what you are. For example, when students are reading a book it is the norm to see a family with a mom, dad, brother, and sister. It would be nice for the child who has two moms or two fathers to be represented in the book. For this quote I just automatically thought if they found a different way to do something for a book he loves so much that can work. It is representing him and understands his abilities. I connected with another quote,

“Shayne also focused attention on one of her classroom associates, Anne, who, as described in Chapter 3, had been left out of her high school transi­tion planning conference. In this meeting, her committee had decided that Anne, who has Down syndrome, would become a preschool aide. Anne did not particularly care for young children and was unhappy with the prospect of spending her life working with them. As Shayne explained, "Anne wants to be a Hollywood director. Period." Shayne realized this desire grew out of Anne's love of movies and so took it upon herself to find a video rental store that would hire Anne. Shayne noted, "At least it's a move in the right direction. I mean, it's not Hollywood, but it's movie-related. That's what she loves, and she knows every movie that's ever been made." (Pg 78)

I personally related to this because I when I was in high school I was on the student government committee. My advisor for student government was the autistic teacher. This gave me the opportunity to work with autistic students. One of the things they do is operate a school store in the morning. This gave the students the opportunity to apply life and working skills and they enjoy it. I am glad Anne had a teacher like Shayne to help her find that opportunity. That teacher never gave up and pushes forward for her.

While reading the story I kept thinking that birch, disable, or students with Down syndrome should be incorporated into regular classes. Reading these stories and from experience incorporating and making everybody a part of each other community makes each other grow. Everybody can learn from each other. I think everybody should know and realize by now that everybody is different in their own way. People would like to argue and say teachers should see every child as the same and teach them without any judgment and the same. I say no a teacher should see every child different and in a unique way. Everybody is different and they learn differently, so teachers should be able to see their students like that but do not make bad judgments about it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Is Everything really equal; Talking point #7

In this blog I will be discussing a video that highlights Tim Wise work about “Between Barack and a Hard Place,” an article called Separate and Unequal by Bob Herbert, and The Brown vs. Board of Education. I did not get a chance to read the book by Tim Wise, but listening to the conversation Wise had, I found many interesting thing. I made a connection in what Wise said to what Herbert said in his article. Herbert said, “Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality.” I connected this with Wise conversation because during the conversation the guy that Wise was speaking with said that people are saying race is not an excuse. Wise goes and talks about how it is not that race is not an excuse it has been a reason and an obstacle. Wise also goes on and talks about how race historically play a role how things get distribute in this country. I connected that back with Herbert Quote because to me it is basically saying “Okay, we are no longer separated by are race in our schools but because of are condition it seems like race is a factor.” To me it seems like there is a separation still. In Herbert article he also said,
The current obsession with firing teachers, attacking unions and creating ever more charter schools has done very little to improve the academic outcomes of poor black and Latino students. Nothing has brought about gains on the scale that is needed.
If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty. This is being done in some places, with impressive results. An important study conducted by the Century Foundation in Montgomery County, Md., showed that low-income students who happened to be enrolled in affluent elementary schools did much better than similarly low-income students in higher-poverty schools in the county.”
I feel like even though the Brown vs. Board of Education got the schools to have an equal opportunity in education and not be segregated by race, I feel like our society make it seems like are education system is still the same before they made that law. Because of some of their situations people of color are not getting the same education as the middle or upper class whites. Schools still seem separated because it seems like in a middle or upper class area the schools are pre-dominantly white and then in a low-come area the schools a pre-dominantly with people of color. Reading that quote by Herbert also reminded about the conversation Wise was having. I believe people are still discriminating by race because ever since Obama became president people believe only people of color that can become successful are people just like Obama. Wise said something like there are people of color who work as hard and successful but have a different style than Obama. Just because they did not go to Harvard like Obama does not mean that they cannot make it. Then he goes on about how if it was a white man, he could go to any college and be less intelligent than that person of color and still make it. The point is race is still a factor.

Quotes from In The Service Of What? Kahne & Westhemier

            In this blog I will be discussing three quotes from the essay In The Service Of What? The Polities of Service Learning By Joseph Kahne and Joel Westhemier. I found this essay to be very interesting because it talks about the two different types of Service Learning. This essay also reminds me a lot of what we are doing for the FNED 346 course. The first quote I want to discuss is,

“These two service learning projects have much in common. Both provide authentic learning experiences. Reflection on matters of social concern, and opportunities for interdisciplinary study linked to curricular goals. Moreover, the goals of both projects have broad-based appeal. They stress the importance of compassion for those in need, and they encourage children and young adults to find ways to help.”

I choose this quote because I can agree with it. Either service learning a person decides to do there is something they can learn from it. Neither the “charity” nor “change” method for service learning is wrong. I favor the “change” method of service learning more because I feel like that is more depth to it. Sometimes I feel like both techniques from each method should be apply because then you can get the fully experience and see the difference between those two and which one you like better. I am also glad that both of the methods stress the importance about helping others.

Quote # 2

“In the intellectual domain, a service learning curriculum can further a number of goals. The ability of service learning curriculum to foster authentic, experience-based learning opportunities, to motivate students, to help students engage in higher-order thinking in contextually varied environments, and to promote interdisciplinary studies has led some, such as John Brisco, a leader in the field, to label service learning ‘the Trojan horse of school reform.’ The service component may help use get the support needed for implementation, he argues but its real impact is seen in its ability to promote powerful learning environments.”

I choose this quote because it related back to the first quote I discussed. Here I believe it goes into more and break down what service learning can do for students. I also think it stresses the fact of how service learning gives an “authentic and real experience. I like that Brisco said “promote powerful learning environments,” because I agree with that. I feel like service learning gives students the opportunity to kind of experience firsthand. I am the type of person who likes to learn things that’s hands-on. I also feel that the quote continue to stress that in service learning there will be some learning done.

Quote # 3

“Some of the middle school parents objected, saying that they were concerned for their children’s safety. In a written evaluation, the students said that they had imagined ‘horrifying children running around on a dirty campus.’ They had expected them to be ‘rude, tough noisy, and very unfriendly,’ and they even thought they would be ‘mean, gang-related blacks.’ One of the students wrote, ‘I was scared because my mom had told me it was a bad neighborhood and to be careful.’ After they returned, the students’ perspectives on these elementary school children had changed. They were ‘surprised at the children’s responsiveness and the attentiveness,’ they found the children to be ‘extremely polite and surprisingly friendly,’ and they discovered that they ‘listened well and had excellent behavior.’ One student wrote, ‘Everyone at the school had good manners, and I think more highly of [the neighborhood] now.’ 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.”

I choose this quote because I am glad that the students from the middle school had the opportunity to see for themselves how the so called “bad” elementary school is. It also reminded me about my FNED 346 course because for our service learning project we had to go to a Providence Public School. The Providence Public School District has some very diverse schools. I can recall when we had a class discussion people in the class kind of had the same reaction as the quote. From what they heard the schools were not good, the neighborhood is bad, and they thought the students were not going to behave. Then when they had a chance to go to the schools their thoughts had change about it. I also related and connected with this quote because I am a graduate of the Providence School System. I always went to the schools that people consider bad, scary or dangerous. Always being judge before somebody gets to know us or me in general. When I read this quote I just automatically thought to myself, “Don’t judge a book by it cover.” Reading this quote also reminded me about another essay I read in class, which is Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. The children did not choose to grow up in that type of environment. Just because the neighborhood they are growing up in is bad does not mean they are bad. I thought about Kozol essay because here the students are being judge for the place they are attending school. It is like the students cannot pick and choose what school they go to.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Promising Practices

When we was told we had to go to a conference, Promising Practices, on a Saturday morning I was not to excited. I thought to myself, "wow, do I really want to get up early and listen to people talk." I am glad I attended the conference, overall it was an great experience. There were a lot of interesting topics and conversation brought up through out the whole day and then there were some that I zoned out on. Many of the things that I came across I connected to what I have learn in class. During the Plenary Session: Marshaling the Power of Civic and Community Engagement: Confronting Rhode Island's Greatest Challenges I really got engage when the topic about "poverty" came up. If I can recall Mayor Angel Taveras said something like, "Poverty doesn't mean you don't have a opportunity." Mayor Taveras was basically saying it was not an excuses. I understand were he was coming from but I got a little bit offended. I felt that he could of explain or word what he was trying to say in a better way. I respect him for being an Latino Mayor. I understand he had to come over hardship just to make it to where he is today. I heard his speech over and over at high school graduations. Everybody situation is different and not everybody has the same resources as each other. I connected this Delpit. Does Mayor Taveras knows now that he is up there with authority does he know about the privilege and power he has or its kind of like he ignorant about it. In Delpit's essay, Other People Children, she spoke about five aspects of power. I connected this to code 3-5;
3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power.
4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of- or least willing to acknowledge- its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
The first session I attended was called Undergraduate Engagement and Initiatives. During this one hour session different groups presented. The groups were students from Rhode Island College. For a course they were taking they had to do a project. One of the groups that presented there project was called, "Shadow me to Success." They work with public high school students in the Providence and Pawtucket. They wanted to show them what college is about and let them have an experience about what it is. They wanted to give student the accuracy and be honest with them. They did not want to push college on to them because college is not for everybody. Another group that presented their project was called, "Generation Y." This group purpose was to raise awareness about community involvement. The students they work with were already aware and involved so they shift there purpose into how to spark an interest to help others get involve. Another group that presented their project was called, "Democracy Wall." Rhode Island College is known as a commuter college. The purpose of this group was to get everybody in RIC engage. The Democracy Wall can be mad out of anything you can write on. The students put up this wall in one of the buildings that were known that a lot of people went to which was Gaige Hall. Somebody in a group would start of with a question and then people who randomly walk by can write their opinion and comment on it. The only rules was not to swear and be respectful. I really like going to this session. It show me and give me ideas in what I can do to give back to my community. How I can help out others and how I can make them feel a part of something.
The second session I attended was called Star Power and this was my favorite session. Star Power was "A Real-Life Simulation Game of Social Stratification." I was really engage and involved in the activity. When I first arrive at the room we were just told to pick out five different beads from a bag and it can be any color. There was no explanation in what we were doing and a lot of people had question. Because of FNED 346 I knew there had to be a purpose to this game. After everybody got their beads were just told that we can walk around and trade beads with each other to try to get the highest number. On the board showed how much each bead was worth. At the end of the first round people were split up in to three groups which were the Squares, Circles, and Triangles. Squares is for the people who had the highest points, Circles for the in between, and Triangles for the lowest. I ended up in the Square group and I felt that we kind of got special treatment. We got a bag full of Gold Beads and they were basically the highest points we can get. Other things were thrown into like bonus chips. People in the square group were trying to hold their position and people in the Circle and Triangle group was trying to move up. Then before we were going to play our last round I was still in the Square group and we had to make rules and we could make-up any rule we wanted. Circles and Triangles can send us over little notes in what they think we should do. I felt like some people in my group were kind of being unkind and cruel. I wanted to help the other groups but then there were people who was just looking out for themselves. Then I start to realize that this is just like the world. At the end of this session this is exactly what had happen;
"This game in which a low-mobility, three-tiered society is built through the distribution of wealth in the form of chips. Once established, the group with the most wealth is given the power to make the rules for the game. Almost without exception, they make rules which secure and enhance their position of power. The other two groups generally consider theses rules unfair and often label them 'dictatorial', 'fascist' or 'racist'. Sometimes there is open revolt against the Squares, other times the Circles and Triangles give up and drop out. when the frustration an conflict reaches a certain level, the director ends the game. The experience is then analyzed and discussed."
I connected this session with Delpit and Johnson. It is about the power and privilege that people have. Earlier I talked about the codes of power from Delpit's essay. In Johnson's essay, Privilege, Power, and Difference, he wrote;
"It's much harder, however, to do something about power and the unequal distribution of resources and rewards. This is why issues of conferred dominance an the stronger forms of unearned advantage get much less attention, and why, when they are raised, they often provoke hostile defensiveness, especially from those who struggle with a lack of class privilege."
 It is about the power and privilege that people have.
The third session I attended was called, The Central Fall School District and RIC Collaborative. The goal of the program is to have student achievement and engagement in the community. Currently there are three interns at Central Fall High School from RIC Social-Work Program. They are building relationships with the students, developing school-wide behavioral plans, and identifying programs/students needs and implementing strategies.
Going into this session I just thought it was going to be about how RIC is going to help students be aware with College. As I sit there and listen I realize it is more than that and I like the idea of it. Its giving RIC students a chance to be out in their career field and it is giving students in Central Fall to have more support.