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.