Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Talking Points #9

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
By: Christopher Kliewer

Quote #1: "Society itself is hurt when schools act as cultural sorting machines - locations that 'justify a competitive ethic that marginalizes certain students or groups of students... [that] legitimizes discrimination and devaluation on the basis of the dominant society's preferences in matters of ability, gender, ethnicity, and race... and [that] endorse an elaborate process of sorting by perceived ability and behavior'..."

Schools just like the United States of America should be melting pots of all different children... including teachers.  but it is hard to fit into a society that your discriminated against...

Quote #2: "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 choose this quote because it kind of popped out at me.  Volunteering in the VIPS program I have experienced a whole different world of schooling... And honestly I feel as if some of the students are set up to fail.  The classroom that I am in is the lowest 2nd class and over half the class has behavior issues.  Now I understand that behavioral issues are not necessarily learning disabilities but what the school is saying is here take all these kids that struggle and just teach them whatever you can... If it sticks, it sticks... If not they may make it to middle school.  But these kids are intelligent! They just need to be pushed enough to realize their own potential... Even the genius kids didn't realize they were a genius on their own.  As much as we want to get rid of labeling I don't foresee that in our near future and its a shame.  

Quote #3: "Along with recognizing an individual's ability to think, Bogdan and Taylor (1989) suggest that respect and citizenship require a realization of the person's individuality. This is as true as in school relationships as it is in our wider community relationships.

"I don't tend to see Down syndrome as something. If you look at those three kids running around the room, they're incredibly different from each other. They're different in terms of what their bodies are like, how they best communicate, what they're like socially, their interests. And with those three kids in the room it would be hard to say, 'This is how you should teach kids with Down syndrome.' They are not all alike."  

Everyone is unique in their own special way and uniqueness should be embraced especially in the classroom.  You will never have two kids that are alike. Schools need to intermingle all children on race, ethnicity, and/or disabilities.  This is an opportunity for students to embrace their individuality and learn from others that are too learning about themselves.

Conclusion: Overall I really enjoyed this article and feel really strongly about what Kliewer was trying to portray.  Just because you have a disability it doesn't make you a bad person nor should it make you a social outcast. Everyone should be given the same opportunities regardless.... Yes I understand special privileges... but they should only be given to those who are in desperate need.  No one is perfect regardless what they think of themselves and disabilities should be a topic that it easily discussed in class.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Promising Practices

I woke up, my alarm set for 6:30 am. This is the earliest I have been up all school year and it wasn’t even for class. As you can tell I was not excited.  Not only did I have to take the whole day off of work, when I have bills to pay, pay for the conference, wake up early but I also now have to write this paper or supposedly blog it.  The day couldn’t get any better.  

It takes me about forty-five minutes or so to get to RIC from home so I realized at 7:10 that I should probably head out the door.  Stopping a Dunkin on my way to school I got my regular: a medium ice coffee and a ham, egg and cheese on a croissant.  Breakfast had already made my day seem not so bad.  I arrived at school about ten of eight and waited around in the parking lot for Kristyn cause she had asked me to wait for her.  Finally she arrived and we headed to Don.  As we walked in I felt a sudden rush of chaos and honestly had no clue where to go. Great, this just proved my point of why I didn’t want to be here.

After finding the sign in table the individual working it told me that I wasn’t signed up, when clearly I was cause I had printed proof that I was registrant number fourteen.  Turns out my name was spelt wrong on my folder and that’s why she couldn’t find me.  Kristyn and I then compared what workshops we were in and realized that we would have to split for the second one.  Now we just had to wait around for a half an hour.


On the way to workshop number one, “yoga in the classroom,” we were located in the last room in Alger.  This was actually my favorite activity all day! When everyone first sat down they played some calming music and read a five minute relaxing piece telling us to close our eyes and to breathe.  After the five minutes were up I didn't want to stop. They explained how they have  implemented yoga in a third grade classroom at HBS and have been tracking the progress of the students. At first they explained how this was difficult to accomplish because almost all parents were skeptical. I then thought of a quote from Johnson, "People can't help fearing the unfamiliar, " and it occurred to me.  The parents didn't understand what yoga was or how their children could benefit from it.  Now many parents have told the third grade teacher that they have even seen improvement in their child at home.  Yoga helps to relieve stress and helps the students to focus.  There are about 13% of children diagnosed with a clinical form of anxiety and most of this anxiety might not even be from school. So you can only image how hard it can be for a child.

Before my second workshop began, "disability in the classroom," we had about a fifty minute break to roam around Don collecting pamphlets and all sorts. I didn't really find this helpful because I'm not a teacher yet and by the time I am a teacher and needing this material I honestly will have no clue where I placed it several years ago.  Plus most of the materials were books with book ideas in them.  Like a list of great books teachers should use when teaching that subject.  So we walked around and grabbed a few things including a drink and just chilled at a table waiting to move on to the next workshop. 

Sitting through disability in the classroom made me come to more of a realization that you can't always tell if a child has a learning disability.  Also that most kids that are called lazy really aren't lazy and usually have a hard time comprehending something that they have learned. It was interesting. We were given a block with nine different shapes and several colors and then we were also given those nine shapes cut out and we had to listen to a clip where the woman told us to put certain shapes on other shapes and she was allowed to repeat so we really had to listen. Well one thing led to another and everyone else on the classroom clip started talking and the rest of the class couldn't comprehend anything the teacher was saying. That is what it is like to have a learning disability we were told. My favorite line from this class was, "Imagine going to work and not being able to do your job. Now imagine that you can't leave your job. Now imagine having to do that everyday. This is what it is like to be a child with disabilities." It's like this quote put things into perspective.  I can't imagine going through all of that especially if know one knew I had the disorder and had to do it all on my own.

Finally, Lunch! Although it really wasn't that tasty.

I absolutely loved Tricia Rose besides the fact that we had to sit in uncomfortable Don to listen to her, she was amazing.  She basically summed up all the articles that we have been reading on gender and race inequality throughout the semester.  One line that she said really stuck with me and it was the only line I had written down through her whole speech. "Being colorblind we sometimes see more." This made me think. What does she mean? Then I thought about all the pictures I have taken and edited and printed. When I love a photo I turn it into black and white. I feel as if when in black and white you are able to see more details and emotions that were not visable when in color and even if they were visible they were masked. She had so much to say and it was so insightful.

My overall experience of the conference was good but most definitely my favorite and most meaningful part was our keynote speaker Tricia Rose.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Talking Points #8

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

Quote #1: "I'm more - just interested in how you set up the problem as in what answer you find.  If you set up a problem in a good way, the answer is easy to find."

Why can't all teachers be this accepting? And yes i understand that you can really only hold true to this statement in certain class like math and maybe some sciences but this makes the student feel better and may help to relieve some stress.  Having the right answer proves to the teacher that they have taught their class well but letting the students get partial work tells the teacher that they are on the right track and may just need a little more practice... Are more middle class and elite schools like this have more time to spend on education where as less privileged schools the teacher constantly finds herself repeating the same thing over and over again?

Quote #2: "One teacher said in some exasperation to a boy who was fooling around in class, 'if you don't know the answers to the questions I ask, then you can't stay in this class! [pause] You never know the answers to the questions I ask, and it's not fair to me and certainly not to you!"

I believe that no matter how frustrated you are with a student you should never exclude them or basically tell them that their stupid in front of the class... In all actuality he may be one of the smarter students in the class and may just have a fear of being called on or maybe a disability that the teacher has not taken enough time to notice... And if it's not fair to this teacher than maybe she isn't doing her job very well.  Asking a student to leave just puts them farther behind which than in return puts more pressure on the teacher...

Quote #3: The teacher's attempt to control the class involves constant negotiation. She does not give direct orders unless she is angry because the children have been too noisy. Normally, she tries to get them to foresee the consequences of their actions and to decide accordingly. For example, lining them up to go see a play written by the sixth graders, she says, "I presume you're lined up by someone with whom you want to sit. I hope you're lined up by someone you won't get in trouble with."

Children don't always know what consequences will be brought when they have done something that they shouldn't have... being direct would have gotten the point across a lot quicker, to the point and the teacher most likely could have moved on already. Tell the students to line up with someone who won't cause them to get into trouble...

Conclusion: I really didn't enjoy this reading... For the most part I feel like the readings repeat each other.  And this was by no doubt a short article... I think it would be easier and much more enjoyable to pick on article throughout the whole semester and write a paper on it then to have to blog about a different one every week...  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Talking Points #7 (Fixer Up)

Gender and Education

This video is really interesting to watch... Not only is the music selection awesome but this was some students sociology project. It makes you realize that more pressure is put on girls in school and they have higher expectations where boys are able to slack off.  Because more pressure is being put on girls their order of priorities have changed and many are getting higher educations.

I think all high-schools when learning about segregation should go through this activity. Students became frustrated but what about the people that live like this and have to go through these problems everyday.... There still are second class citizens.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Talking Points #7

Gender and Education 

Check this out!! 

“Too many of the world’s children are out of school or receive spotty, sub-par educations. Each one of 

these children has dreams that may never be fulfilled, potential that may never be realized. By ensuring that

every child has access to quality learning, we lay the foundation for growth, transformation, innovation, 

opportunity and equality.” www.unicef.org/girlseducation 

"Educated girls are likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to survive and 

be better nourished and educated. Educated girls are more productive at home and better paid in the 

workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision making.” www.unicef.org 


“Promote gender equality and empower women. Target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and 

secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015.” www.unicef.org 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Talking Points #6

After watching the interview with Tim Wise, author of Rings of Fire, and doing some research on the Brown vs Board of Education I’ve realized that there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to break the glass.  We have come so far as to have an African American president but as Tim Wise states, “Obama is the exception,” because racism is a reason, not an excuse and race will always be a problem among Americans.  

So many people are closed minded, in denial, and oblivious to racism. When was it ever ok? White people have a double standard... We can have a white president that graduated college in the lower half of his class or a president that has crashed several planes but we can’t have a Black president that has graduated top of his class and has become very successful.  

Brown vs Board of Education shows that there will always be issues. President day or in the past.  Everyone should have equal rights but that is not the case.  This case tapped the class... it allowed minorities to take a step forward but it is only a step when what they need is a leap.  Would today be the same if no one ever spoke up back then? If Rosa Parks never sat where she wasn’t supposed to? What are people doing today to push the process of equality into play?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Talking Points #5

In The Service Of What? 

The Politics Of Service Learning

Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Quote #1: “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.  In so doing, the potential to develop caring relationships is created.”

The only way to create a relationship is to repeatedly return to that act of kindness.  If schools are able to help students establish this bond at a young age then those students learn first hand how great it feels to help others in need.  If we can encourage the youth then our future will be greater... It may not be the biggest change but it is a step farther than any other generation.

Quote #2: “We attempt to “apprehend the reality of the other” and then to “struggle [for progress] together.” In doing so, we create opportunities for changing our understanding of the other and the context within which he or she lives.” 

“You never know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” Trying to make their reality yours is borderline impossible. You will never know the horrors or joys that someone feels but you may be able to understand why they are in the situation and what they need to overcome the battle.  This is when the struggle to become more is not just on their shoulders... By accomplishing such tasks, you yourself become a better person.  

Quote #3: “When I care, Noddings explains, a relationship develops in which ‘the others reality becomes a real possibility for me’.” 

Caring for something or someone changes the way you seem them or it.  You never really know a person until you enter into a special bond where they know that they can trust you.  I believe this quote means that the closer you get to someone the more you feel what they are feeling. If they hurt, you hurt for them. If they are happy, you feel joy for them.  And the closer you get to them the harder it is to let them fall because if you let them fall then it feels like a failure on your part.

Conclusion: I believe that all high schools should require a service learning project as a graduation requirement.  It enables adolescents to interact with the society that they live in.  It is an amazing experience which I have been able to witness first hand.  Many young adults and even adults are sheltered from what happens in the world on a daily basis: starvation, homelessness, abuse, murder.  The world really can be a cruel place and everyone needs a shoulder to lean on. It is really hard to go it alone in a world that judges you on sex, gender, race, ethnicity, weight, age and a countless amount of other aspects of human life.  No one is perfect and service learning allows the children to lend a helping hand.  Hopefully they will realize how good it feels to help and will want to continue their work in the community.  Like it states in the article, “Relationship” is the key word.  Building bonds makes the world stronger.