Sunday, November 29, 2009


Education is Politics

Ira Shor

“People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stille their inclination to ask why and to learn.”
-I feel like teachers need to make classrooms a welcoming environment in order for students to feel comfortable asking questions in front of their peers. Teachers should have a challenging curriculum in order for students to receive a better education. Although I do believe that in order for students to ask questions teachers do need to make their material interesting to the class. Without catching student’s interest I believe they won’t care to ask more. They have to want to feel open to learning.
“Participatory learning also opens the possibility of transforming the student’s powers of thought”
-I believe participation is a big key in learning. For one it shows that students are involved in the subject but it also allows them to give their own voice. I believe group discussions are a great way to learn involving students own outlooks as well.
“The good school is the one in which in studying I also get the pleasure of playing”
-I liked this quote because I hope to teach in a way which is fun/interesting but yet students learn from it as well. I tend to think of our class now. We don’t just sit there and listen to a lecture. We all interact with one another, forming friendships but yet were learning.
I had a hard time understanding this article. I wasn’t sure if I comprehended what Shor was trying to get across. I think maybe it’s because the article didn’t interest me that much. Overall I do agree that we need to push students to ask questions and help them feel comfortable in participating.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christopher Kliewer

Christopher Kliewer

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

1.) “It’s not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We’re all here-kids, teachers, parents, whoever- it’s about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that’s what learning is. Don’t tell me any of these kids are being set up to fail.”

I really liked this quote from Shayne. She did not see or label any of her students as defective. I think that’s a great thing because separating children with disabilities from the other students technically does not help them. I believe it’s best for teachers to include students in all activities no matter if a child has a disability or not. This is exactly what Shayne did. She realized that segregation from the other students in the long run sets them up to “fail.” I believe having every student needs to participate because even the children with disabilities will get some type of positive feedback from the lesson or activity. We need to look past their disabilities.

2.) “If you come into the room and were told there was a retarded child in the class, a child with special needs, I don’t think you would pick Lee out. The kids really agree that he’s as capable as they are. Intellectually the same."

This is a quote from Colleen Madison a teacher of 27 students, 3 were defined as disabled. I found it interesting when Kliewer kind of questions this quote because he mentions that when Lee was 7 he was at a 2 year old level. He finds it to be obvious that an outsider would defiantly realize that Lee has a disability. I agree with Kliewer in the sense that it would be obvious but Colleen has learned to look past it. It like she sees her entire class as equally capable, which I believe is an awesome quality for a teacher to posses. This is Colleen’s response to Kliewer:

3.) “Lee is in a way he’s branded. People see him. They see Down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. That’s why they see, but wouldn’t be seeing him.”

I found this response to be a great way of looking at this. If we generally see children with disabilities as incapable then we wouldn’t be giving them a chance. We “wouldn’t be seeing them” but if we look past these labels then children with disabilities will have a better opportunity in their future.

I really liked this article, although it was a little lengthy. I feel like I would have been able to relate to it more if I was going for special education but this piece truly opened my eyes. I loved the examples he gives throughout the article. I feel like this article can defiantly help me in the future because I now know how much children with disabilities can benefit as long as teachers look past their “labels.” I feel like teachers think there doing students a favor by not including them in activities or lessons. They feel they are not capable of but in reality it’s hurting them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Promising Practices

Promising Practices

The first session I went to was with Marco McWilliams, The media made me do it. His presentation was based on a slide show. He started off the presentation with a slide based up statistics. A few things I found interesting were:

97% of American children 6 & under own products based on characters from TV shows or movies.

Also children aged 2-5 watch an average of 32 hours of television a week.

I found this to be interesting because it shows how much the media impacts children as well as adults. The amount of television children watch is equivalent to almost a full time job. He explored throughout the presentation how media constructs reality. It shapes our attitudes and behaviors about the world. Media messages are given to gain power and the sell products. In reality the commodity bought and sold is the audience because media presents the products to relate to the consumer.

Another thing McWilliams said that really caught my attention was when he said representation truly means re-present because advertisements do not shape what is real but what the audience sees is real. One example that was shown was a model before and after a photo shoot. You could not even recognize her after with the computer enhancements.

Media also gives messages which often portray women as objects. It shows male dominance. McWilliams showed us an advertisement for Dolche and Gabbana. The picture was basically portrayed the woman as a sex object. She was being straddled by a shirtless guy with other males half naked in the background. It reduces the woman to the object because they made the woman the object.

One of the last topics shown was the incident with Taylor Swift and Kanye West. McWilliams shows us several tweets from Twitter. Every tweet shown related to Kayne West as a “nigger.” Somehow the media turned this incident into racism.

This session reminded me of Christensen because there are hidden messages behind media much similar to the Disney movies. Overall, I was not aware of how much the media influences us. It’s interesting to me to see how the media sends us messages throughout pretty much everything.

The next session I went to was A.L.L.I.E.D. I only picked this because of Tara. I found out that A.L.L.I.E.D stands for advanced learning and leadership initiative for educational diversity. It is a group that provides academic support and advising. They develop identities around a difference.

They are a group that is not the majority but prefer not to be presented as the minority but as underrepresented. My favorite part of this session was the identity poems. Each student in A.L.L.I.E.D. wrote a poem based on who they are and who they are not. Throughout these poems I literally had tears in my eyes. I seriously felt for every one of the group members. I was shocked to hear about stories even from our school’s professors. Some students even had to drop classes because they were uncomfortable with the terms the other students in the class were using.

I thought throughout this entire session how wonderful it is that RIC has a group like this. I learned so much from this meeting that I can’t even describe. I have even thought about how it would be if I was in A.L.L.I.E.D. I think that it’s great that they all support one another and don’t just “feel bad for each other.” They go beyond just listening, they take action and “have each other’s backs.” This session defiantly related to Carlson because many of the gay and lesbian students had dealt with segregation.

The last part of the conference was the speech by Tricia Rose. I felt she had several good points which related to practically everything in class. One part that stuck with me was when she told the story about how her student could not get her laptop to work. In a nervous moment she said “my computer’s acting so gay!” This was said in a class on gender and sexuality. She mentioned how she didn’t ignore it. She made it part of a lesson the following week.

I believe that Tricia Rose had a good presentation. She defiantly knows her stuff although I did find the other sessions to be far more interesting.

This was my first conference so I had no idea what to expect. Everything corresponded well with class and I learned a lot. Overall, I left with a better expectation then I thought coming in there. I’m actually glad that I did take part in this.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jean Anyon: Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work

Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work
By:Jean Anyon

I found that these different schools differed tremendously. It seems that the increase in the family income influences the child and school’s system academic excellence.

“The four fifth grade teachers observed in the working-class schools attempted to control classroom time and space by making decisions without consulting the children and without explaining the basis for their decisions. The teacher's control thus often seemed capricious. Teachers, for instance, very often ignored the bells to switch classes - deciding among themselves to keep the children after the period was officially over to continue with the work or for disciplinary reasons or so they (the teachers) could stand in the hall and talk. There were no clocks in the rooms in either school, and the children often asked, "What period is this?" "When do we go to gym?" The children had no access to materials. These were handed out by teachers and closely guarded. Things in the room "belonged" to the teacher: "Bob, bring me my garbage can." The Working Class Schools

-I believe that the working class schools are the least effective way for children to learn. In order for a child to learn they need to feel comfortable in their learning environment. In these schools it seems somewhat impossible, especially if the teacher claims ownership to everything in the classroom. It seems like they have an unorganized way of teaching. I believe this is all due to the family’s income. These issues would not occur in upper class schools.

“The style of control of the three fifth-grade teachers observed in this school varied from somewhat easygoing to strict, but in contrast to the working-class schools, the teachers' decisions were usually based on external rules and regulations--for example, on criteria that were known or available to the children. Thus, the teachers always honor the bells for changing classes, and they usually evaluate children's work by what is in the textbooks and answer booklets.” Middle-Class School

-The middle class differs from the working class because there are some teachers who are easygoing. The teachers did not ignore the bells as working class teachers would. It seems like the middle class could be a little more effective to learning in comparison to the working class schools.

“One of the few rules governing the children's movement is that no more than three children may be out of the room at once. There is a school rule that anyone can go to the library at any time to get a book. In the fifth grade I observed, they sign their name on the chalkboard and leave. There are no passes. Finally, the children have a fair amount of officially sanctioned say over what happens in the class. For example, they often negotiate what work is to be done. If the teacher wants to move on to the next subject, but the children say they are not ready, they want to work on their present projects some more, she very often lets them do it.” Affluent Professional School

-I believe this social class of schooling is in my opinion the best one because it is important for the students to have say in things. If they do not understand something the teacher should be aware because how can they progress and move on to a tougher material if they do not fully understand what they are doing. Also, it seems like the teachers have authority but is not too lenient.

“In the classroom, the children could get materials when they needed them and took what they needed from closets and from the teacher's desk. They were in charge of the office at lunchtime. During class they did not have to sign out or ask permission to leave the room; they just got up and left. Because of the pressure to get work done, however, they did not leave the room very often. The teachers were very polite to the children, and the investigator heard no sarcasm, no nasty remarks, and few direct orders. The teachers never called the children "honey" or "dear" but always called them by name. The teachers were expected to be available before school, after school, and for part of their lunchtime to provide extra help if needed. “Executive Elite School

-This seems to be too lenient. Also, I believe there is a lot of pressure on the students and teachers to excel. As far as the materials I believe that students should be able to access materials if it helps them but there should be some type of rules or regulations for them. I also, think it’s not responsible on the teacher’s part to let the kids leave whenever. What if a child goes missing? They should have more authority over their class.

I found this article to be a little boring only because it didn’t catch my interest very much. Although it did make it clear that school systems academics differ between the different social classes. I think this is awful because all public schools should be at the same level with one another. Overall I think teachers need to look past their students social classes because the teaching environment can defiantly affect students learning.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gender in Education

This article gives some good points that I havent noticed. I found it to be informative toward gender roles in education. One qoute i found interesting was:

"Every time students are seated or lined up by gender, teachers are affirming that girls and boys should be treated differently. "

This makes you think, because practically every teacher does this. I thought of my class for service learning and theres only 5 girls in the class so theres a long line of like 15 boys and a short line of 5 girls. It really makes no sense to me why the teacher seprates them but i think its one of those things you never seem to think about. This teaches children at a young age how much female and male differ.

"Boys are taunted for throwing like a girl, or crying like a girl, which implies that being a girl is worse than being a boy."

This is something said practically all the time. It just like how guys dont like losing to girls. Theres some girls who are extremely athletic and could be a good competition to a guy, but if the guy lost it would be the end of the world because the fact that "they lost to a girl." This is a prime example of how men see women as unathletic and that sports are more for men then women.

"Sitting in the same classroom, reading the same textbook, listening to the same teacher, boys and girls receive very different educations."

This was the introduction sentence to the article. I found myself contiueously rereading this sentence. It truely makes you realise that gender can intervine in a childs education. The first thing that came to my mind was colors. Boys typically are symbolized with the color blue and girls usually are symblolized with pink. Little things like this made me realise that I segrigate gender all the time.

This article made me realize how boy and girls are steriotyped on a daily basis and in the classroom. Even with the seperate lines for boys and girls. As much as it symbolizes seperation I wonder how and if it actually does effect them.

Also when I was researching I came across this video on youtube it reminded me of the video we saw in class Thursday with the interveiwing of kids with the black and white doll. This is similar but with a female and male doll. It shows how kids learn gender rolls so young.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tim Wise

Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise

This video discusses Obama in relation to our countries racial issues. Wise states in the video that:

“What’s real is that we’re nowhere near a racial America.”

Basically he is saying that there is still racism in our society and people who think otherwise are being unrealistic. People are beginning to think that because Obama is the first African American president it will change people’s minds about racism. Although, this is not the case. It’s unfortunate that people still can’t look past someone’s skin color and more at what’s inside.

“We need to be on the lookout for racism 2.0 it allows people to accept Obama as transcending and as being different other then the black norm. “

I feel like he’s saying that Obama’s not a typical black man because he accomplished being president. I believe he is trying to make clear that not only white people are smart. There are just as many successful black people in the world as white. We just tend to look down at them because they are portrayed in a negative light.
“If they graduate 5th from the bottom of their class a black person wouldn’t have a shot being president.”

He is saying that black people are at the disadvantage. He mentions that a white person wouldn’t have to go to Harvard to be president. A white candidate could go to a normal university or state school but if a black person did it would be seen as negative. I disagree because I don’t take into interest where the presidential candidates go to school to decide on my vote. I look more at what they have to offer to our country.

I found this video to be interesting. I think that the purpose of this video is trying to make clear that there is still racism in the world although many people are still blind to it. Obama goes up in our nation’s history as being the first African American president. This video definitely helped me to make sense of these issues.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Politics of Service Learning

In Service of What?
The Politics of Service Learning

1.) “Service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students.”

- This quote describes the reason for service learning. It’s defiantly true because while service learning does help the community it also benefits the students. It makes me refer to VIPS because I defiantly think that I’m helping out lower academic students but it’s also giving me the opportunity to feel what it is like to work in the classroom. There is never a day where I don’t want to go, I learn so much from doing it. It even makes the class more interesting rather than just reading out of a text book which helps students to interact and participate more.
2.)”Everyone at the school had good manners, and I think more highly of [the neighborhood] now.” The experimental 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.”

-This is a quote from an upper class middle school student, who was given negative perceptions about the neighborhood where he would be volunteering. I felt like I related to this because I was worried about the neighborhood of my service learning project only because people told me how bad it was. I also wondered how it would affect the students in their school, but I actually had the same outcome. All the children in the classroom off my service learning acted the same as when I was in elementary school. Just because someone comes from a lower income home or neighborhood doesn’t mean they can’t be a good person.

3.)”While an additional emphasis on charity might lead to service learning activities that raise self-esteem, impel students into new experiences, and demonstrate the value of scholastic abilities in real-world contexts.”
-I believe that this is saying that service learning brings new ideas to students. It helps them to be more open minded. Also, I believe that all students benefit from this because they are learning from real life experiences rather than from a text book. This tends to be a more effective way of learning and is more hands on. I believe that what this quote means by “raise self-esteem” is that by volunteering in a place where we see the less fortunate, we tend to become more grateful for what we have no matter how much or little that may be. I believe that there is always someone out there who has it much worse than or is less fortunate than me and it’s a shame that sometimes I need real life experiences like this to remind me of this.

Overall I did like this article but it wasn’t my favorite. I believe that it had some good points but I feel like it was repetitive. This article made me realize how service learning can benefit me and the community. I also realized how it can make classes to be more hands on. I found it very interesting when the kids from the upper class middle school branched out to the community to find that it was not what they had anticipated.