Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shor, Empowering Education

While reading this article, it made me think a lot about many pieces we have read and discussed in class, such as Oakes and Christense.  Shor, talks about the three R’s concept of education and how we must teach children that there is more to be learn.
“If the student’s task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted.”
 I agree with Shor, we must question “the subject matter” in order for students to learn.  We must encourage them to think about school because that will motive them to learn and develop their academic knowledge, which is what an empowering education consists.
“A curriculum that does not challenge the standard syllabus and conditions in society informs students that knowledge and the word are fixed and fine the way they are, with no role for students to play in transforming them, and no need for change.”
If students feel that change, it’s not necessary they willnot learn as much as they are supposed to. However, some of them don’t even learn at all.  Some students don’t agree or feel comfortable
with their classroom environment and the way the curriculum is set up.  On the other hand, a curriculum that does not challenge them, discourage students from learning which sometimes leads them to not participate or misbehave in class.
“Participation is the most important place to begin because student’s involvement is low in traditional classroom and because action is essential to gain knowledge and develop intelligence.”
Many people believe that participation is class is essential but in my opinion, I believe a person can learn in a lot of different ways, such as listening, taking notes etc. Not everyone has the same learning ability, a quantity of people have different ways of learning than others do, but not
participating doesn’t mean that the student it’s not acquiring any knowledge, like I mentioned before it means that most of us have a different way of learning.
I found an interesting video that shows some ways we could use to maintain students engage in the classroom.  In class, I would like to talk more about empowering education and see if we can come out with different ideas to keep the students involve in the classroom.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promising Practices


It was my first time in a conference therefore, I didn’t know what to expect.  After checking
in, I receive my folder and found out that I receive my first to choices. I didn’t know where to sit or where to go, but I saw some of my classmates and I quickly sat right next to them. I was so excited for everything to start and when it finally started, I found everything interesting and helpful.
My first workshop was A.L.L.I.E.D: Across Our Differences.  A.L.L.I.E.D is a group that focuses on trying to prevent those differences around the classrooms, such as discrimination between people of different races and also on how to make them feel protected around the classroom.  After they introduced themselves to us, they gave us index card, which we had to stand up and read aloud with stories of students who had been through many challenges during their education journey because they have been single out and judged by their appearance.  Then, they asked us for ideas of what us, as
future teachers can do to prevent those injustices. Everyone had different ideas of how to prevent this issue, some of them where;
•Don’t single anyone out.
•Don’t assume that students know everything.
•Use the media to open minds.
•Break the silence.
I enjoyed this workshop a lot.  I think it was very interesting to see how, even college student’s face adversities through their education journey.  All the stories each one of us real made me think about Delpit and “the culture of power.”
My second workshop was Lawrence: Universal Design for Learning.  I was so confused during
the presentation and I did not get much out of it.  Universal design for learning is “a new conceptual
framework in education that makes instructions really accessible for the widest range of learners.” This workshop wasn’t as interesting us the first one, because we didn’t get much chance to participate and hear different ideas of what people thought about this concept. Pretty much she just talked and talked the entire presentation therefore we didn’t get to participate much.  While she was talking, I took some notes from the slide show she was presenting, which, were;
• Lets fix the curriculum instead of the child.
• The recognition networks
-         The recognition network
-         The affective network
-         Strategic network
I still really confuse about this workshop.  I decided to checkout their website to see if I could get a better understanding of “Universal Design for Learning” and it was helpful.

I think that the keynote speaker made really good points that will help us to become better teachers. However, I didn’t like that he seemed to be more focused on most of the professors that were basically in front of him, than us, who were in the back. But, while he was giving his speech I took some notes, but what I think was one of the most important points he made was the five dimensions of multicultural education, which are;
•Content integration
•Knowledge construction process
•Prejudice reduction
•An equity pedagogy
• An empowering school culture
I think these five dimensions of multicultural education were very useful, because it informed us about the obstacles we will face as future teachers and how to solve them.  After all, I found that the conference was very interesting and I know all the information I got, will be useful in the future.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome


“People without disabilities are judging us.”  I cannot believe that there’s people out there that single out students because of their disabilities.  It made me so upset, because those people don’t even realize how much people with disabilities struggle.  After all, they just want to be seemed as a normal person, fit in, they just seek for love not discrimination, which in most cases that’s what the majority of people does, discriminate them. 
As teacher’s separate students with disabilities from the others it prevent them from learning, because since they don’t interact with others students, they don’t acquire as much knowledge as the other students.  I believe that if instead of separating them from one another it will be more helpful if they stay together in the same classroom because it let those people with disabilities feel that they’re being appreciated for who they are and let them build trust between those around them.
“Each students contribute a unique and potentially valuable dimension to the wed of relationships that formed a school community.” It’s true, all of us have a unique talent to contribute to the community. However people with disabilities don’t get as much chances are the others, people believe that because they have a learning disability they are not going to do the job as good as a person
without disabilities. They might not be intelligent as others but as a I said before, they have their own talent they just need the opportunity to put that talent in practices, but in some of the cases ignorant people don’t seem to take them seriously or capable to do the job.
  While reading the article, I found the word “retard” which made me so upset.  It is so ridiculous the way some people think.  No one should be characterized as retard; people don’t seem to realize that they have feelings just the way we do.  Being discriminated discourages them from going to school, which also prevent them from learning. Our society needs to realize that individuals with disabilities can be as, successful as those without disabilities.
In class, I would like to talk more about this issue, and discuss how we as future teachers can help those kids around the classroom.  I found a very interesting website that talk about lots of different disabilities and how to learn to work with those students.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oakes and Finn


“Why schools need to take another route” was easy to fallow and I enjoyed a lot.  The second reading, which was literacy with an attitude, I thought it was a little confusing and I didn’t understand most of it.  Oakes discuss the how students get placed in the “low-ability” group and separated from the others, which prevent them from learning as the way they should.  While the students placed in the “high-ability” group get have more benefits, when it comes to opportunities, and success.  Finn, talks about how we as future teachers, have to learn to teach students this “powerful literacy” to each student equally.    
“Growing numbers of school professionals and parents oppose tracking because they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotype as “less able,” and where they have fewer opportunities to learn.” 
I totally agree that if students are, placed in different categories, according to abilities, achievements, or needs prevent them from opportunities to learn. It is so unfair that most students a treated differently because they are not as forward as the others are, because as you separate them from the others, “high ability group” learn less.  They seem the class, less encouraging, which prevent them from getting a good education.
“Most teachers realize that for students, feeling comfortable in class is more than just a nice addition to learning.  They also know that when teachers trust one another, class time and energy are freed up for teaching and learning.”
It’s fundamental to feel comfortable around your teacher and the classroom.  As you feel comfortable, it helps you and motivates you to do better in class.  From my own experience, I have to say, that it is easier to learn and pay attention to a subject, when you feel comfortable around the teacher and the classroom.  It is always, very important for students to
be able to trust teacher because it helps then to learn easier and talk to them about any issue that they might be going through.   
“We have come so far in our democracy that we have nothing to fear from the have-nots. We worry instead that the low levels of literacy among them make them a liability for the rest of us.  The idea is that if we could raise their level of literacy they would join the haves.”
I did not understand this quote much.  I chose it, because I would like to discuss in class, the meaning of it or see if anyone can help me to figure out.  
The effect of tracking students.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gender and Education


Discrimination continues to be present in the classrooms.  Studies have shown that gender discrimination in the classroom can lead to affect children’s learning abilities.  Sometimes teachers
tend to used gender to discipline children; they classify girls as being neat, and boys of being tough and strong.  There is stereotype of how boys and girls do in school, according to people girls are more likely to do well in school than boys, which is a stereotype that people still use today.
After reading so many articles about gender and education, I found very interesting stuff that made me think a lot about how we as future teachers have to learn so much about how to treat students in the classroom in a way that we don’t make students feel as different from the others. I found an article that talks about the common types of gender inequality, the effects of gender inequality, and how to prevent gender inequality in the classroom.
I found another article that talks about efforts to create a better environment for girls in the
education system, and why gender inequality continues to flourish. This article shows interesting researches that define who gets more attention in the classroom, according to gender.  All these
issues of gender inequality affect students abilities and how well they do in class.  Since they don’t get motivation from teachers, they tend to not take school seriously.  

I never thought gender inequality could affect children so badly.  I believe everyone should be treated equally because at one point or another we are all the same.  In class, I would like to discuss ways of how to prevent gender inequality in the classroom. I found every interesting video about “school gender gap.”  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brown vs. Board of Education and Tim Wise video

The Brown vs. Board of education website, talks about how people of color had to fight back in the days for equal rights.  Back then, there was racism all over the place, pretty much the same way as there is in today’s society. However, educational resources were denied to children’s, but parents were brave enough to stand up and fight for their children’s rights.  They just wanted equal opportunities regardless of race, but injustices and discrimination dominated the society.
According to Tim Wise, racism still present and will never end if we don’t work together and try to ended.  As he discussed, there still evidence of racism and discrimination.  He talks about how a person of color can be as wise, intelligent, and capable to do certain jobs, as Barack Obama, but because they didn’t graduated from a prestigious university or have the ways to show their intelligence, there’s no way they will be taken seriously by others.  Racism is one of the mayor ways, why people of color face challenges, some people thought
that because Barack Obama was elected president, racism would end but as Tim Wise said, “there is a lot of work to be done.”
 He also gives examples of stereotype between people of color.  According to a survey, in 2008, most people characterized black individuals as just wanting to live from welfare.  “Between Barack and the hard place” is related to “The Brown vs. Board of education” because both of them stressed the importance of equal opportunity and the consequences of racism.
In class, I would like to get to talk more about this issue, because racism is something that’s around us, every single day of our lives. I found this video that shows how people of color were treated back then and everything they went through.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In The Service Of What? The Politics Of Service Learning By Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Response to Alicia’s blog
Alicia said,

The article by Kahne and Westtheimer made me really think about the classrooms that I have worked in, and the class that I am working in at the present time. This article is about service learning, how we go about doing it, who's responsible for the education that is taught, and different ways that we can go about teaching the process.  While reading the example that is given by this article about Mr. Johnson's class, I related to the students, and the parents. They explain that the school that the students are going to be working in are in a poor neighborhood. The students that are doing this service learning project are from a middle-class area.Some of the parents were upset, and
worried for their child's safety. The students were beginning this project, with stereotypes already at play in their minds.
I related to the parents for a number of reasons. Myself, as a parent, worry about my
child in all that he is doing, daily. If he told me that he was involved in this assignment, would I be upset and concerned, I say probably yes! I think that the parents that were really against this should have done their research on the school and the area before coming to a conclusion. I feel that the phrase, "You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover", relates to this topic. They could have even visited the school to check it out, and then make a decision.
 I can relate to the students in the same sense that I felt when I began my VIPS assignment. It is in an urban, low income neighborhood. I was not quite sue what to expect. I worried that some of the
children would not want to give me a chance and try to expand their knowledge in Music, because they may not care about school at all. I also worried about their behavior, and how that would affect my interaction with them during class time. The students from this article came to a realization that they were wrong about their assumption on the School, and the children they were working with. They found the pupils to be very polite and interested in them and the learning that the student teachers had planned to teach them. There pre-notion of the environment was entirely wrong, and they realized that. I found this to be true in the VIPS, service learning program that I have been working in. The children are sweet, well mannered, and love having me come to their class. I came to the conclusion that for now on, I will try my best not to stereotype a situation, before I have the 'hard facts' to which I would be dealing with. Diversity is not a problem, it is a just a different environment that I was not use to. It has been a great experience for me this far, and I have become much more open mind to new adventures.
This is a great example of the article in the discussing of 'Charity vs Change'. We need to realize that we have to be open minded, and not pity the youth that we work with, but try to help and understand were they are coming from.We need to help in the 'change' of their lives, and realize the positive things we can do to help improve and fulfill their lives. Sometimes change is a great thing in our lives, or that's what my Grandmother always tell me. some people have a difficult time with change, in any form of the word, myself included. How can we move forward and better ourselves if we do not evolve. I think that is what the authors of this article are trying to express.
           Which is a better way to provide service learning in a meaningful way? In the examples given in this article, I feel that each student took some form of knowledge with them after the project, just
in different ways. They discuss  "Serving Those In Need", which the student worked in a community service project. This project was for a government class, and they state that it was surrounding democracy and citizenship. They help out in different areas of the community, to provide a 'service'
that would help people.
The other example was a form of service learning program 'Homeless Here and
Elsewhere", which the authors describe the form of social, legal, and political standpoint. These students did a great amount of research while in fact helping those who are in need. They actually investigated, write articles, and really try do understand the cause, not just use a "band-aid', as we
read about in Jon Kozol Article. I really feel that this is a wonderful form of helping out the community. I also feel that any act in any form that a person provides to help and care about others is spectacular! I found myself wanting to volunteer and help an organization, to better them , and better myself. I have helped out in the cause for the fight for leukemia for children in the past years. Did I visually see an impact, no, but I knew that I was a 'dent in the glass of the foundation.

I totally agree that the student’s were already beginning the project with stereotypes.  I know that parents always worry about their child safety, but there’s no reason to be judging people from a lower class neighborhood, just because you have never experienced their life style.  Sometimes we let ourselves get influence by what other’s say around you, but at least when you don’t know somebody you should give them the benefit of the doubt or like Alicia said, the parents should at least visited the school and then make a decision.

It’s true! We have to be open minded, and not judge most part of our society, just because they seem different from us.  We just need realize that they come from a different place and try to help them as much as we can, because those people are the ones that need help the most.  We should get involved in the community in order to move forward.  There’s people that need help desperately, but sometimes we don’t try to help them, because of how people talk about them and the reputation they have gain from those who don’t even know where they
come from.
I think that it’s a great idea that educators continue to get their students involved in service learning. We as students, get experience about how our jobs as future teachers, will be, and issues that we will confront later on.  By service learning we not only get involved in the community, but we also learn about ourselves and how by doing little things, we can change the lives of others.

 I found this article that talks about the impact of service learning in the classroom and the community.  I would like talk more, about this issue in class, because is something that most of our community is go through and we don’t even realize it.