Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Social Justice Event: Youth Pride Inc. LGBTQ Advocacy

When I first entered the room where this event was taking place I thought that I was going to be the only straight person there and that it was going to be all about LGBTQ youth talking about their experiences and saying how the school wasn't tolerant. Once, I sat down I saw a lot of people I know there and I realized that I was judging the event based on it's title. Most of the people there were from FNED classes and picked this as their event.

So the event was held and put together by Youth Pride Inc. and the schools HOPE group for LGBTQ youth at RIC. The woman that spoke started off by telling us her story and that on the outside it looks like she is a straight woman because she is married. The truth is that she is bisexual and used to date women before she married her husband. As I was looking at her I couldn't tell at all and that was the cool part about it. The speaker used a lot of the things we learned in class this semester (she even had the same line graph that Dr. Bogad put on the board to show gender, sex, and sexual orientation). I thought it was amazing how closely our class and the speaker put the information.

The speaker told us about Youth Pride Inc. and that it was here to provide support and advocate for LGBTQ youth. They have been doing it since 1992 and have drop-in spaces where people can go to do homework or anything. They also have GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) networks and support groups that youth can go to. In 2012 Youth Pride Inc. had 726 youth members and 30% of them were straight allies.

During the event members of HOPE were sitting at each table so they could have a conversation with us about how to create safe spaces. All I could think of was Gerri August and the article we read about safe spaces. My group came up with using gender neutral language, using preferred names/pronouns, and using visual cues to help us think about what we are saying so we don't hurt anyone's feelings.

Overall I really enjoyed the event because I felt like it brought everything we learned in class together and gave some real world examples to use. Also, it definitely made me think about how safe my schools were and how safe RIC is.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Empowering Education: Shor

While reading Shor I made a million connections (not really a million) to, not only the reading that we do, but also to real life examples.

My biggest real life example came to me with in the first page of reading Shor. When I read, "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important to begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school. Why does the government force us to go to school? This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough, at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers".

This quote is was made me think of how my teachers used to begin the school year in the past. When my teachers used to ask this to the class I just thought that they expected students to say because we want to come to school and learn, but most of the time we all say because we have to. No teacher has ever asked why we have to or who makes us but we all know that we are forced to go to school until we graduate or drop out.

I my first semester here at RIC one of my teachers asked us why we chose to go to college. I always knew that once I graduated high school that college was the next step. So if I knew that from the time I was little why is a teacher asking me? Then I realized that college didn't have to be the next step, in so many people's lives that I know they didn't go to college this year. We are told from our first day of school to graduation day that we should go to college. The link shows what is drilled into us from the start. I think that if more people, not just teachers, question why we are forced to go to school then maybe we would be more willing to learn.

 Piaget said, "The deficiency is the curriculum in schools, which he saw as a one-way transmission of rules and knowledge from teacher to students, stifling their curiosity". This reminds me of how my high school was all curriculum based and if a teacher started to stray from the curriculum was they were in trouble with the principle. I had a history teacher who like to show pictures of what she was teaching and spent more time on one subject than another because of how well she knew the information. I hated the idea that they would tell her that she could no longer do that. I think that if a teacher knows one topic better than another and has a lot of information on that topic they should be able to spend more time on it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Schooling Children With Down Syndrome

This week I am going to do a reflection because the reading made me think of a lot of things I have noticed in the past.

    While I was reading all I thought about was how my high school would put kids with learning disabilities in separate classrooms. I think this idea can relate completely to Brown vs. the Board of Education article that we read. Separate is not equal with race, but also with disabilities. I don't believe classrooms should be separated by that because it takes students with disabilities away from their peers. Also, at my high school the only time students with learning disabilities went to classes with the rest of their peers is when they were in the specials like gym and photography. Even in those classes the learning disabled students were separated by the activities they did and what work they were given.

   This article also relates to what we read last week about tracking. Tracking students is the reason that in so many schools students with disabilities are separated from their peers and they are seen as different because of it. In my middle school if a student had a disability they stayed in the same classes as everyone else. They had any special help they needed but the students weren't dragged away from their friends or peers in any way. I didn't even hear of special education classes until high school because in middle and elementary school everyone was together and we were all fine with that. I personally have no clue why it all changes in high school. My best guess is because of tracking, the system tracks students throughout their schooling and if they show any differences from the norm then they are separated in high school.

     I don't think that it is right at all. If I went to school in all the same classes with the students that in high school are separated out then why does it have to change? Most of the students that in high school got separated out were then seen as 'weirdos' or 'freeks' because they weren't with their peers. Students with down syndrome should be given just as much of a chance as everyone else in the school.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literacy with an Attitude: Connections

Okay, so this week's article was super long and hard to get through, but I did it. While reading this article I kept thinking about Delpit, and Rodriguez.

There are more examples for Delpit than Rodriguez, but one quote in particular stood out to me:
         "The discourse (ways of communication and the beliefs, attitudes, values, habits, and behaviors that underlie them-especially attitudes related to authority, conformity, and power) of working class communities is at odds with the discourse of the schools. This makes acquisition of school discourse and powerful literacy difficult for working class children".
This quote reminds me of Rodriguez in the way that he describes "private identity" and "public identity" because if the discourse at home is that school isn't very important and what is important is being able to work without knowing a lot, then students won't try as hard at school. I have known many people who Rodriguez would describe as having two identities because they act a certain way outside of their house and the complete opposite once they are home. I feel like when students think they must keep their private lives a secret from their public lives then one of their lives will overpower the other. 

The next quote which I absolutely love is one that has Delpit written all over it,"
          "I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument". 
This is such a great example of what Delpit was saying in her entire article. The fact that Finn strictly tells the students the rules and codes of power without asking useless questions is exactly what Delpit wants all teachers to do. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brown vs. Board of Education Free Response

 Let me start by saying that usually I can't stand politics and I get so bored listening to people talk about them. This made watching the first clip difficult because they started by talking about politics, but I watched it twice and got through it.

In the beginning of the first clip Tim Wise, the author of the book being discussed, says that he isn't very optimistic about the progress we've made with Obama as our president because there is still "evidence of racism against the average, everyday black and brown community". I think that from that first part of the interview I can see what Tim is saying is true and I think there are still signs of it. I mean I've seen people think that someone who is black is obnoxious and rude because they state their opinions even if people don't agree with them. Then the same person who thought it was obnoxious of the black person stating their opinion can be completely fine with a white person being rude when stating their opinion. I view that as a sign that people haven't really changed as much as we hoped because it means that a white person can say whatever they want how they want and that a black person can't say what they think if it isn't of popular opinion.

The next comment the interviewer and Tim Wise say is that "racism 1.0 was defeated this time but will it be defeated every time". Tim defines racism 1.0 as the type of blind hatred that has been seen less but it is still seen today. He then goes on to talk about "racism 2.0 the enlightened exceptionalism", which many people who support Obama have because he is different from the black or brown norm which is still seen in a bad light. Tim describes polls that prove that many whites today still think that most blacks are lazy, don't want to work, and cannot be successful. Many of the points that were brought up by the Tim Wise interview are seen in the history of the Brown vs Board of Education website.

I found this fact to be very cool I never knew that they had made a movie about the case of separate but equal. It bothers me greatly that people can still hate someone just because of how they look. I wish I could believe that it takes more than appearance to make someone hate you, but I know first hand that it is not true. I just don't understand how people can hate someone when they don't know one thing about that person except the color of their skin.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In The Service Of What? Hyperlinks

This week's article, "In The Service of What?" by Joseph Khane and Joel Westheimer made me think about where else I have seen projects such as the ones described in the article, but also like the one we are currently doing for our class.

The author's main question is in the service of what?, and I think it is a good question. The website that the link brings you to is all about the service learning requirements in Wisconsin and why they use it. While Wisconsin isn't Rhode Island the ideas can be transferred over into our own state. When you click on the other links on the website you can see the standards that the state has for service learning projects and also the research that the state has done in order to decide if they will use these projects. The second website link brings you to a website from Carlton College and tells you why they use service learning projects in their classrooms.

When the authors began describing the two cases that they studied when writing this article the first one immediately made me think of something my high school had us do. In our US Democracy class the students put on a Democracy night at the end of the quarter in which everyone in the community is welcome to come and see the students projects. While our democracy night is different from what the authors were describing it is related in that it gets the students involved in problems in the community and makes them think of ways to bring about change.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us

This week my blog post will be an extended comment based on Brandy's blog.

      In Brandy's blog she focuses on other articles she found that relate to our article for the week. In her post she talks about the cartoons that most of us grew up watching or have at least heard of before. One of her hyperlinks from the website Cracked tells all the dark sides of some of my old favorite cartoons. As Brandy points out that Dora trusts her life to a bunch of random strangers, what are the kids learning from that? We spend years telling the kids in our lives that they shouldn't talk to strangers or trust them, but when we let them watch something like Dora (or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) they are learning that maybe it is okay to talk to strangers to help them out. No wonder so many kids are confused about what to do when they are put into a situation where a stranger is trying to talk to them or ask for their help.

      Brandy's next link discusses the effects cartoons and TV in general has on children. The article states that many of the children shows and cartoons that are on now feature violence and have become addicting to children. I have seen that first hand when my friend puts her daughter down for a nap they must watch one episode of one of her favorite shows. I know that when I was young I was allowed to watch The Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, and Rugrats. After reading this weeks article and the article Brandy posted I can see how these "innocent" cartoons can be seen as violent or teaching kids how to get into trouble. In Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo there is violence and some inappropriate ideas being discussed. In Rugrats the babies sneak out of their playpen and go on "dangerous" adventures that, in the end tell a moral, can seem to teach kids the wrong things to do.

      In the last link Brandy posts, the hard truth about Disney movies comes out and breaks all of our fairy tales. As many YouTube videos and news articles show, Disney has hidden messages in their movies but all seem harmless to little children and the rest of us may choose not to believe it.

After reading this article and Brandy's post I am upset that the dreamland of Disney had to be broken down, but everything that I read makes sense and is, I think, in a way true. I completely agree with Brandy's post and the article, even though I wish I didn't.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Safe Spaces Quotes

Safe Spaces, by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy talks about what the LGBT community goes through during their time at school and how teachers can make their school careers better. I really liked reading this selection because I feel like it touched on a different issue than the rest of the articles we have read so far. In the selection there are several quotes that reminded me of things I heard in the news, saw in a movie, or read in a book.

One such quote was, "Tammy Aaberg spoke to this challenge in the aftermath of her 15-year-old son's suicide. Justin, a promising musician, was bullied because of his sexual orientation" (p.84).
     This quote reminded me of a story I heard while watching a movie in my AP Psychology class. The movie was the Bully Project and one of the stories about the children was a girl who was bullied about her sexual orientation and how she felt like it would be easier to just not live anymore. When I watched the movie it hit me so hard because I hate when people are being bullied and I felt so bad that she was pushed to the point that she was feeling like the only way out was to end her life.

Another quote was, "She got her test back with a red mark next to her response to this question: 'Do you have a sweetheart?' Her answer,'Si, yo tengo una novia' was crossed out. In its place was 'novio' the masculine form of the Spanish word for sweetheart" (p 88).
        This quote annoyed me because it brought a reality to my mind. A lot of teachers, when a student is learning a second language, assume that the student has made a mistake instead of maybe thinking that the student was just answering the question honestly. This story is seen a lot in movies when a student learning another language is trying to say one thing and the teacher corrects the student before trying to understand what the student wanted to say.

Lastly, this quote reminds me of what happened at my old school, "Even teachers who describe themselves as social justice advocated fail to challenge homophobic language and images in many early childhood settings" (p.86).
     Recently I heard that my old school district was sending its teachers through an educational day in which the teachers had to learn how to make the school a safer place for the LGBT community. At first I couldn't understand why the teachers would need such training, but after reading this selection I am so glad that my district did this for their students. I hope that since the training many LGBT students now feel more comfortable at school and are not bullied any more because of their sexual orientation. I am very happy with my district for doing that and I can't wait to hear what will come of the new training the teachers received at the meeting.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Aria" Argument

Richard Rodriguez argues that many bilingual teachers think that if students don’t learn in their native language that they are missing out on something. However, the author gives us the perspective of a child that speaks one language at home and another at school. Rodriguez says that as a child he felt like he needed to be taught that he was allowed to speak the “public language” instead of being taught in his home language. The author shows us what happened to his family because of their need to learn English in order to please his teachers, but I feel that his argument is the complete opposite. He mainly argues against bilingual education in his opening statement when he says that people think children like him miss out by not learning in their language. Right after that sentence he says that he thinks of his first language as a private one.

Many people that I know that speak two languages prefer to keep their first language the one that they speak only at home. This one child that I babysit hates to speak his native language outside in front of his friends and other people, but when at home that is all they speak. I feel like most people now are just focused on being politically correct, which can be good, but is not always the best answer. Like Dr. Bogad said in class, we need to be less worried with what the public considers the correct way to say something but with talking about the uncomfortable things that people don’t want to talk about. I think that most people want those who do not speak English as a first language to feel as though that they do not have to learn English. However, most non-English speaking people I know want to speak English in public and keep their native language specific to their home life. 

Here is a link to a clip of an episode of Gilmore Girls in which there is an example of students of two worlds. While in the clip it isn't about being bilingual it does relate in the way that many students want a public life and a private life and would not like the two to mix:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Silenced Dialogue

So this article was definitely a difficult read. At first I was totally confused by what she was trying to say and point out.  I couldn’t figure out why she was telling us other people’s stories about how they are done talking to white people. It almost seemed like the author was using those people’s stories as why to get us upset with “those white people” so we would be more sympathetic with the point she was trying to make.

Many times throughout her article she says that the “rich liberal teachers are advocating for certain progressive programs that only help middle class children” while keeping the “children of color” behind. When she continued to say this I began to feel like this article was, in a way, more of an opinion piece than a research piece. As I continued to read I began to see the research that she put into the article.

There is one part of this article that reminds me of another article that we have read so far. On page 22 the author says,

            “You just have to stop talking to them, that’s what I do. I just keep smiling, but I won’t talk to them”.

This line reminds me of Johnson’s article about how when something uncomfortable or difficult comes up people will just shut down. The strange thing about this line compared to what he was talking about is that this was said by a person that has been defined by society as someone with no power or privilege.

I liked this article as a whole piece because, even though I may have disagreed with how the information was being presented, I thought that the author was articulate in the way she said certain things. In my years going through school I have always wondered about how teachers feel about another teacher’s methods and this article gave an interesting view on that topic even if it was more about the race differences.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Positive Privilege and Negative Privilege

Peggy McIntosh wrote and article called, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" about the unknown and unacknowledged privileges of white people. While reading this article I was thinking a lot about how we are taught in schools and who the materials are mainly directed to. I have always thought that many times during my years in school that some of the things we learn in our history classes are just one-sided and that they are directed mainly towards the white students. During lessons in history about slavery and topics similar are taught in a rushing manner that other topics like the American Revolution are not taught. I am not sure if this is because the teachers I have had in the past are uncomfortable talking about those acts committed during the time in history or if the books are written in that way on purpose.

In the article there is a part where the author writes a list of all the privileges that she and other whites have everyday that many other non-white people do not have. In the list she writes, "I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group". This line reminded me of the other day in class when we were discussing how we know Christianity is valued in our school system and Dr. Bogad spoke about being the only Jewish student in her third grade class. Sometimes it is almost as if there is one individual who is unlike the rest of the class they are asked to speak for the whole group that they belong to. This observation reminded me of the movie Freedom Writers and the scene in which there was a black student in an AP English class and the teacher asked what she thought the black community thought of the book they were reading. I could never understand why a teacher would call out on someone in that way especially when they really expect an answer from the student as if that student would be able to speak for everyone in their group. I wonder what other people's views on the question of whether it is acceptable for a teacher to ask a question like that or if it is a little bit rude?

Who I Am

Hey! My name is Cathy Pawlina. I am eighteen years old. I work at Dave's Marketplace is Quonset, RI and I also recently started working at Cumberland Farms in East Greenwich. I like my job at Dave's, but I would really like to work in a daycare soon so I have more experience with children. My mom ran a daycare in my house for most of my life so I always grew up around kids and that is what made me want to become a teacher. I took this class because it is a requirement and my friend Brandy signed us up for this particular section. I am really excited to see what this semester will bring but I am also nervous about volunteering at a school in Providence since I have never really spent much time in Providence and don't know much about the city.