Monday, November 16, 2009

Social class and the hidden curriculum of work

I really liked this article, I read it a little late because I had a lot going on but I'm really glad that I did decide to read it rather then just skip posting about it. There were a few lines right off the bat on page three that really caught my eye and have been making me uneasy about the way some teachers teach.

"The teachers rarely explain why the work is being assigned, how it might connect to other assignments, or what the idea is that lies behind the procedure or gives it coherence and perhaps meaning or significance."

"Work is often evaluated not according to whether it is right or wrong but according to whether the children followed the right steps."

- I think the first quote really upset me because if a student doesn't know why they are doing something than why should they bother doing it in the first place? Students need to get the respect that they deserve, they have the right to know why they are doing something and how it connects to a lesson. That is what teaching is about, making connections to the outside world as well as in the walls of the classroom. Students need to have things explained to them more than once in order for them to learn and keep something with them. I'm in my second year of college and I know that I still need things repeated several times until I fully understand, for younger students this is more critical.

- The second quote is a little disturbing to me as well, just because a student doesn't follow instructions word for word even though their work is proven to be good should they be punished? I don't think so, you can not follow some of the right steps and still have a great outcome. For students they need a little leeway so they can do trial and error for what works best for them.

"In the middle-class school. work is getting the right answer. If one accumulates enough right answers, one gets a good grade. One must follow the directions in order to get the right answers, but the directions often call for some figuring, some choice, some decision making."

- I don't believe that it is always about getting the right answer, its about trial and error and seeing which method works best for you and your learning style. Yes getting good grades is about getting the right answers and doing well but I believe that it is also about the effort that you put in. Someone who tries with all they have and gets the wrong answer in my book should get just as much credit as someone who put in little or no effort and got the right answer.

"I want to make sure you understand what you're doing so you get it right"; and, when they go over the homework, she asks the children to tell how they did the problem and what answers they got."

-I personally think is is a great way to teach. You are letting the students tell you how they got an answer and if they happen to get the wrong one then you can go through it with them and see where they might have gone wrong rather then not paying attention to it.


This article was a little difficult for me to read, it took a few pages for me to get into it but ended up being good. I found it really interesting the way that people look at children that have disabilities and having them in your normal everyday classrooms.

"Colleen Madison agreed with Shayne that no child was inherently an intellectual burden to a classroom; in fact, she argues, each student contributed a unique and potentially valuable dimension to the web of relationships that formed a school community"

I have to agree with this, in order for students to really learn things other than what is being taught they need the opportunity to work with other students that might be different from them. Just because a child might have some set backs that aren't like the rest of his classmates that doesn't mean they should be excluded or feel like they are anything less than anyone else. Students with disabilities may not have all the same functions to speak or explain what they need to but they can contribute to a classroom just like anyone else could.

"I don't tend to see down syndrome as something. If you look at those 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 communicated, 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."

A few sentences after this it says "... down syndrome often obscures our ability to recognize the child as a child." which I believe is very true. Everyone is so worried about them being behind or causing disruption in the classroom that they forget that these students are still children. They don't want to be excluded because they are different, it could help them more to be in a normal classroom.

"Through citizenship they came to be recognized as thinking, creative individuals who added unique and valuable dimensions to the group."

I really like this quote because it is important for all types of students to be included. They give the classroom different learning experiences as well as challenges that can help students grow and learn to accept other children that might be different from them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Promising Practices

My day started out pretty bad going out to the promising practices conference, kids in my neighborhood thought it would be funny to egg cars the night before. At 7:30 am I was washing tons of egg off my car and it took everything in me to not turn around and get back into bed I mean I didn't even have time to get coffee from dunkin donuts I didn't know how I was going to get through the day. I’m happy I didn't go back to bed though because of one thing during the conference – the A.L.L.I.E.D. workshop.

"Maybe the deepest part of who we are is what scares us or breaks our hearts, and we don't want to share that with anyone. And when we do, we don't want to lose those people."

My first work shop was for service learning projects, I didn’t really enjoy this one, I had a teacher with a heavy accent that was hard to understand, and it being so early in the morning I admit I may have not made the best effort of it. Although, it was informative I believe that it was stuff that I already knew and or we have gone over in class. It was a lot of group stuff and making up examples of project that we could do to help students as well as give back to the community. This reminded me of the reading we did by Westheimer and Kahne, “The the service of what? The politics of service learning.” In the article it talks about a child that goes and distributes "daily life kits" to the homeless, but the student failed to connect with the homeless and do any research before about what they might need. My professor at the workshop said a lot about this, that it is easier to help people when you know what they need and how it will make an impact rather then taking a guess about it.

"Because through love we feel the intensity of our connection to everything and everyone. And at the core, we are all the same. We're all one."

The first workshop really couldn't have ended fast enough for me, after that I went and walked around and looked at all the booths that they had set up around the dining area. I thought that was really great it gave me time to explore all the different things that people could offer and the materials they were handing out. I believe that I got something from every table which was nice because I can start a collection to look back on when I start to teach. There was one booth that was all about geography and those sorts that I found very interesting and they had worksheets for kids as well as a ton of maps for you to take so that was nice.

"I'm gonna show the world the strength in me that sometimes they can't see."

My second workshop I didn't really know what to expect, I only signed up for it because I knew that Tara and Dr. Bogad would probably be there. It was the A.L.L.I.E.D. workshop. I can't even explain how happy I am that this is what I went to this particular one. Starting off in this workshop was everyone that was involved said a poem about themselves. I couldn't believe what kind of inspiration you could get from just a few sentences and how much you could learn about people in matter of minutes. Later you learned that they created the poems because of Chris, she didn't know how she was going to express herself to the group and needed a way to feel comfortable. It was great to see that everyone came around her and supported the fact that she did need help and came up with a solution to fix it. I believe that you should feel comfortable in your own skin no matter what race, gender, or sexual preference you have. You are you and no one else can take that away from you.

"If there is no passion in your life, then have you ever really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you, and you will find that great things will happen for you, to you, and because of you."-T. Alan Armstrong

Society has such "norms" that they expect and it's time that gays, lesbians, transgenders, and unrepresented people feel like they have a part it "our world." During the whole presentation I'm pretty sure that I had tears in my eyes, it was so heart wrenching as well as I could connect it to my everyday life. A big message that they were trying to get out is sympathy vs. empathy. When you have sympathy for someone yes you feel bad but it's more of in a way you are like "you're life sucks, I get that but it's time to move on" without really addressing the problem. When you show empathy it is more of helping and devising a solution to the problem at hand. Having someones back when they feel like they are all alone and that they have a hand to hold no matter what. There was one student, Erik that made a great point that I have to share, you don't have to believe in something and think its right to be someones ally. You have your own values and beliefs, and they will understand but it's saying I may not believe what you believe but I don't think the way you are being treated is right and taking a stand against that.

I would love the opportunity to have the opportunity to go to an A.L.L.I.E.D. meeting, there was a lot of people that are transfer students and that might be right up my ally. I moved here this semester because last year I hate the school I was at. I have a twin sister and she goes to Johnson and Wales and I figured what would be better than moving to where she is so I did. We now live together on Pembroke so I don't have the dorms experience or that help to meet new people. I don't really have friends at RIC because the people I spend most my time with are from JWU. I mean don't get me wrong I love my friends from JWU and they are some of my best but when I'm on campus I always feel so alone. I never eat lunch here because I don't want to eat alone so I usually drive home and have something before I have to go to my next class. I think that A.L.L.I.E.D. would be a great way for me to meet people and have a better experience here.

I had to post this video because it reminded me of the book that Dr. Bogad brought into class about the two kings and I think that it's time more people accept things like this and let other find the love that they have been looking for without being judged. The whole presentation from this group was really just so moving for me it was great to see so many people that felt safe and open with their friends. They can be the support that you need when you might not have anyone else.

"I am who I feel like being today. For every day opens another chapter to the endless book of metaphors I've created for identity."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gender and Education


UNICEF works for the equality of every student that is out there, and to bring about essential changes in their lifestyles that are necessary to achieve social justice and equality for everyone that is a part of it.

I found these bullets very interesting:
  • Male students receive more of the teacher's attention (acceptance, praise, criticism, and remediation) and are given more time to talk in class from pre-school through college.8
  • Although differences among subject matter areas have not been well examined, recent research has found student-teacher interaction in science classes to be biased toward boys.9
  • Sex is a factor in the assignment of students to ability groups in mathematics, and males are more likely to be assigned to the high ability group.10
  • Males receive harsher punishment than girls even for the same or a similar offense.11
  • Teachers ask boys more higher order questions than they ask girls.12
I believe that a lot of people still do find women inferior to men, and that male students are often looked at being the smartest or are able to answer questions better then a women. There has been studies that show that if a male and female have their hands raised 9 out of 10 times the male is the one to be called on.

The fourth point is also very true, if a male is to do something wrong in a classroom setting it is almost always that a girl could have "gotten away" with it. Everyone has had these experiences before and it's terrible. Everyone should be treated equally and fair no matter what gender they are.

I think that this movie is terrible, saying how we shouldn't allow gay marriage because then kids would have to be taught about it in schools. That is like telling that that there is something wrong with being gay and that there is nothing right about it, it's making the whole general idea invisible. At a young age they should be taught about how to accept people that might be different from them, not to make it absent from their lives.

Watching this video literally gave me goosebumps. It is terrible that children can not go to school and feel safe or cared about, but even more terrible that some teachers have witnessed the acts of cruelty and just stood by and watched. If a student can not feel safe at school to the point where they kill themselves then something needs to be looked at and action needs to be taken. I think the worst part of this movie for me is that Megan was bullied by the myspace account of a MOTHER of a student in her class that lead to her killing herself. What kind of monster could do that to a poor kid. Under title XI all of these students could have sued saying that they were being forced to be in a hostile climate that was affecting their learning and safety, maybe then someone would have listened.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In the service of what?

"As is commonly the case with new policy initiatives, however, more attention is being focused on moving forward than on asking where we are headed"

I believe that this quote sums up the whole article. People in today's world are looking for a "quick fix" weather it is getting fast food, driving faster to get to a place, or putting a "band aide" on things like the homeless. It's great that people want to help the poor and less fortunate but the question they need to ask themselves is "What I did to help, will it help them a year from now?" We need to look for solutions to help these people in the long run rather then what we can do right now. We need to teach them how to survive and make it on their own rather then giving them a "quick fix" to their problems.

"They call for a curriculum that emphasizes critical reflection about social policies and conditions, the acquisition of skills of political participation, and the formation of social bonds"

To me this quote means that people need to look at the critical reflection, that with all the money that is in the world their are people that go days without eating. We need to have a plan that can get these people what they need whether it is to make more shelters to help them and get them back on their feet. Is the government helping at all? Do they even acknowledge that their is a problem, I don't think so. We need to form a social bond that helps everyone.

"...which he then distributed to the homeless in San Francisco, determined the kits contents without ever talking with the homeless individuals or with those what had knowledge on the subject"

If you don't know what someone needs then how can you make their lives better? You should be informed about something before you start to take action, it is important to help but know the best ways that you can.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us.

Christensen has so many great things to say and a lot of things that I have never thought about until reading her point of view and what she says.

  • “Kenneth noticed that people of color and poor people are either absent or servants to the rich, white, pretty people.”
The youtube video that I posted (if you click on the word servants) is from the movie Fantasia. The character's name is Sunflower. Sunflowers features are all distorted and made bigger. This is just not right, and it doesn't teach anything to kids other then cruilaty. If you have ever seen the movie they also have characters that are blue and pink as well as other colors but when they are "falling in love" it is always with the same color and not any of the other ones.
  • "Happiness means getting a man and transformation from wretched conditions can be achieved through consumption--in [Cinderella's] case, through new clothes and a new hairstyle."
It shows girls that if they aren't spitting image of beautiful then they will not have a great life. Until Cinderella was visited by her fairy godmother she was leading an ordinary life. As soon as she was "transformed" she got a Prince and everything should could have dreamed of. I think that this teaches kids that it doesn't matter what is on the inside but the out. I don't think that it could send a worse message, you need to not judge a book by its cover and what is inside of a person makes them who they are not what they look like.

  • "Women who aren't white begin to feel left out and ugly because they never get to play the princess."
If you just take a look at this picture you can see what this quote says. Although Princess Jasmine is not white, you can see that her skin is just a few shades darker then the other princesses which wouldn't be the real case if she were Indian or whatever her background is. All the princess characters always look so beautiful; perfect hair, make-up, skin, clothes. It shows a false sense of what the world is like when little kids are young. I mean don't get me wrong I think that "fairytale" like these stories are important, I would have been the first one to dress up like Cinderella when I was little. Although, are we putting too many false hopes into our kids lives. This also makes me think about the show Ugly Betty. If you have ever seen it Betty is this ordinary, plain looking Mexican girl. She has braces and not a great sense of fashion and she works for a fashion magazine. Every other person except for one main lady, are white. They are all very beautiful and done up. You can see what some of this things that Christensen talks about are not just in the shows our kids watch but everywhere.

Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community.

It took me a while to write what I thought about Carlson's piece. It made me think long and hard about what if I was in a situation of having the opportunity to teach about gays and lesbians in my classroom and what would I do. I think it is important to include everything about this, even in a classroom of second graders which is what I want to teach. The more that kids learn at a younger age and the different views that they see can sometimes keep them from being "bias" and only having the opinion that their parents were raised on or what the TV and news has shown them.

  • "... gay people have for the most part been made absent, invisible, and silent within this community..."

Carlson is talking about the community of the classroom and how they are so over looked. He even goes on to say that some teachers have been fired because they are gay and have some how brought it into the classroom which is just not right. Every person no matter what they believe in or who they choose to love should ever be punished. Yes, it is said that a "normal" relationship is a man and women but who says that a women and women or man and man can't be normal? What makes man and women relationships so special, some may argue that is it against religion or that god wouldn't approve. Love is love, there is no reason to deny someone that right. If you brought this subject up more in the classroom then maybe we could change the problem that is arising against LGBT's and what people think about this specific group.

  • "Early in this century, the dismissal of gay teachers was legitimates as a way of keeping young people from being exposed to improper role models, lechery, and child molestation."
So now all of the sudden because a teacher is gay they are going to hit on their students and molest them? No. If this is an argument that someone is trying to make then it is not logical. It could be said for a female teacher and male students, it doesn't have to be because you are gay. There is no way that if this is what people are trying to say that it should be legitimate because then the same thing could be said about every teacher in the school systems.

  • "selective tradition"
People don't want to include the subject of gays and lesbians because it is not the "normal culture" that they are used to. A lot of older people don't like change and it is hard to sway them from anything other then what they grew up with.