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.

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