Thursday, April 28, 2016

Service Learning Event

Sex Positivity, Feminism, and Health Implications

Deirdre O'Donnell

     This social justice event was a lot more interesting than I thought it was going to be. O'Donnell was very friendly and made her presentation flow very nicely. We could definitely tell that she was passionate about the topics. One activity we did really stood out. She had us all write down what outrĂ© definition of sex it. We would then crumple it up and throw it into a bag and then randomly chose one so we all had someone else's. Although this was kind of uncomfortable because some definitions were much more explicit, it really drove one her point that there are all different types of people and how thing hunk may differ from out own opinion. 
     She also went over the definitions of transgender, transsexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and pan sexual just as we did in class the week before. O'Donnell also explained how these related to the idea of intersectionality. There was also the conversation about pro-life vs. pro-choice. Pro-life was people who were against abortion; while pro-choice was the choice to have an abortion if the mother chose to. Taking about this we talking about who this is effecting and there was a lot more than I thought. Some groups in particular she highlighted were people of poverty, children, elderly, people of color, and the southern states. 
Questions-Comments-Points to share:
     I was hesitant to go to this event because I was afraid that my opinions were going to be extremely different than what she was teaching us. However I found that she wasn't there to push her beliefs on us; but instead to inform us about the history behind this issue and who it is effecting. While also defining the different types of people and their beliefs and who they are so we could better understand what we were learning. This social event very closely related to the lesson we did in class the week before which really helped reinforce the information. Overall I thought this was a really great event and I learned a lot from it. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

"Empowering Education" by: Ira Shor

"Empowering Education

By: Ira Shor 

Extended Comments on Kamryn's blog

     In Kamryn's blog she highlighted a lot of great points from the Shor article. Shor is talking about education in school systems and how it is important for students to feel challenged and have the opportunity to question what they are being taught. Kamryn also brings out the idea of standardized tests and how a rigid system often times doesn't agree wit students, causing them to drop out. For example she states, "...students should be able to research anything that becomes interesting to them." I really liked that Kamryn pointed this out because people have different interests and with such a rigid system that is based around standardized tests, it isn't making for an empowering education in the classroom. Take for example if a teacher was to give an assignment about the theater; their instruction could be to know the history of it as well as the types of plays there are. However, a student who really hates the subject of history but loves the arts may find it more interesting to learn about the making of the costumes and scripts. Both students could be receiving knowledge about the theater but in ways that peaks they interests. This also allows for the students to be challenged and ask questions about their topics. 
     Kamryn also talked about the part with teacher involvement in a students education. She mentioned about a teacher taking into account every student as a person so no one feels like an outcast or like their interests aren't important. Relating to Lisa Delpit's "codes and rules of power" Kamryn wrote about the rules and codes of standardized tests on teachers concerning curriculum; while also talking about the rules and codes for the students in the classroom. There certainly has to be a happy medium which is a huge task to handle when a lot of students learn in different ways. 

     I really enjoyed this reading because I think it took into account a lot of the other readings that we have completed for class. Kamryn's blog was super helpful at organizing the main idea's of the reading as well as summarizing them.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Citizenship in Schools: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by: Christopher Kliewer

Citizenship in Schools: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

By: Christopher Kliewer


"...legitimize discrimination and devaluation on the basis of the dominant society's preferences in matters of ability, gender, ethnicity, and race..." (73). 

     When reading this quote I immediately thought of the class we had when we talked about SCHWAAMP and the dominant ideologies of society. "Abled-bodieness" was one portion of this that really stood out. In class we talked about how the idea of having a slim, muscular, and strong body are what is valued in society. This excludes thinner people, larger people, people in wheel chairs, and many other "less desirable" attributes. These types of people are given a label. This is the same idea as people with mental disabilities including down syndrome. School systems are labeling people with mental disabilities as handicapped; and they are placed in special courses. This can be a great tool in helping these students receive a better education; but it also limits their learning as well as their social interactions. 

"Such acceptance is the aim when children with Down syndrome join their non disabled peers in classrooms, and many schools and individual teachers have entered into this effort, which seeks and finds community value in all children." (74). 

     This section focuses a lot on the idea of community in schools between children with Down syndrome and non disabled children. Having the separate classes for special needs students sometimes can limit their social interaction. One example given was about a boy named Isaac Johnson who went to a school that was run by parents. In his classroom there were six students who has severe disabled students and ten who did not have any disability. While the classroom still kept the guidelines of a public school in mind, they allowed the children to learn in very different ways. Isaac had a lot of trouble with verbal communication but he was able to get his point across through physical movements. The teacher of this class used this as a tool in the classroom by designing an assignment that would benefit all the children. They were to put on a play about Isaac's favorite book. This would incorporate all the children with the many different aspects of the play, and still allowed for Isaac to contribute and learn but in his own way. I think that this is an incredibly important part of education. Just like in Collier's piece, it's like letting Isaac use his first language so he is more successful in the classroom. 

"It's not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We're al kids here- kids, teachers, parents, whoever- it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's all learning is." (75). 

     Labeling children and expressing to the child that they will only be as good at their label is not a way to create a successful learning environment. Having a very relaxed feel in the classroom where it seems fun to the children rather than busy work will create a better path of learning. If they are given the chance to explore and express themselves in an open, yet structured environment, the idea of "disabled" vs. "normal" would be less prominent and possibly nonexistent. 

   The article talked a lot about having all children be on the same level and I think that is a very good way to have a classroom. However, I still believe that having special classes for special education students is beneficial to them as well as the students who are not mentally challenged as long as there still is social interaction with others. For example, in my high school there was a boy with Down syndrome and he was like a movie star. All the sports teams would high five him in the halls and everyone would cheer him, and the other members of the unified basketball team on when they played. 

One of the senior football players catching CJ for a hug after he was announced homecoming king. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Literacy With an Attitude" by: Patrick J. Finn

"Literacy With an Attitude"

By: Patrick J. Finn

Extended Comments 

     This weeks reading I found a little confused; so I chose to do an extended comment post on Katherine's blog. Katherine connected the article to Lisa Delpit's reading we did. Looking back on Finn's piece, there was a lot of Delpit coming through. For instance, he states, "'good students' were obedient students, who followed orders." (Finn 4) In most school systems children who are "told explicitly the codes and rules of power" are the most successful (Delpit). Katherine also related the text to how different children will respond to different speech patterns. This is why students need to have an adaptive teacher in a classroom. 

     In Finn's piece he uses terms like executive elite, affluent professional, middle class, and working class to talk about how a child's family effects their education. He gives the example of how five schools all in New Jersey, and predominately white, all share the same text books and other class room materials. Upon interviewing the teachers, we find that the "working class" teachers often times will skip pages because they are "too hard." So although all these classrooms have the same requirements and materials, the working class students are receiving a lesser education. There are many factors in a students education and Finn is focusing a lot on what's happening within, as well as outside of the classroom. 

This is why students need a flexible, understanding teaching to help them deal with t
heir feelings and who they are so there is more success in the classroom. 

Questions-Comments-Points to share:
     I think Finn's article was kind of all over the place. I didn't really didn't start to understand until a few paragraphs in, and even then I was still unsure of his main point. I relied a lot of reading other people's blogs this week.