Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Additional Post - Speaking Out

I think most people have seen Jonah Mowry's youtube video called "Whats going on?" This video is Johnny Robinson's response to his video. It's like a support message to Jonah that there are other people in the world who has been and are going through the same situation. It's to show that he is not alone and there are people who will be there to support him. In Jonah's video, he starts out that he had been bullied and had thought about suicide, but by the end of the video, he promises that he is stronger than that and that he matters. It was moving to see how strong he is. It really had moved me after I watched the video.


Those two men are examples of many in the world that bullying and unfair treatment still exists. People who do not experience bullying will tend to do nothing about supporting awareness because they just feel like it's not their problem. Who knows that in the future, one can have family or friends who experience bullying or unfair treatment. That is why it is essentially everybody's problem. Because it does not happen to themselves, they automatically think it's none of their business. The same idea can be applied to being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. This is also what Lisa Delpit talked about in her article. She said that white educators believed that it's not their problem that black students don't understand their teachers. Instead they blame their parents. The problem does involve the white educators. They should be teaching students the rules and codes of power because students may not have learned it at home. It is possible that the students' parents have not been taught the rules and codes of power either.

I feel that our society is very limited from the start. We have created what we call normal as something to live by: SCWAAMP: Straightness, christianity, whiteness, able-bodiedness, americanness and property ownership. It was created by someone who is no smarter than another. What we call normal becomes a tradition. It becomes something like Johnathan Kozol talks about. The cycle where people who lived in the area with the incinerator that was put by the institution, became a like a tradition that becomes difficult to get out of. Normal in our society becomes valued and things that are not normal become unaccepted. People who say that being gay is wrong really does not know what they are talking about. It is only wrong because it does not fit into the society that someone created. Everyone has their own idea of what is right. Everyone is different. Our society should be not be limited and more accepting of differences. People need to start thinking about themselves in others shoes. We need to think about what it feels and what it is like to be in someone place and how you would like to be treated while in their place. We need to think about how wrong it would feel if you were treated unfairly.

This brings me to what Linda Christensen said about how our media creates secret education. Children as they grow up follow literacy and cartoons. Literacy and cartoons portray our society. Which is what we call as what's normal. It teaches children exactly what our society wants us to be. Men who marry women. The beautiful and handsome succeed while ugly people are mean and miserable with miserable jobs. It sets the stereotypes in our society. If we are only limited to how things should be according to our society through the media, it causes the problems we face everyday. It's like what Shor believes: questioning authority. We need to question the status quo. Why is gay marriage not right? Because the bible says so and because we've been doing straight marriages for a long time. That's not very reasonable if you ask me.

People like Jonah Mowry and Johnny Robinson does exactly what Shor wants us to do. They believe in who they are. They believe in what they do. They know why they do. What they are doing is right. For someone else to say that they are wrong is absurd. They are as "right" as what our society says what's "right" They question the status quo by being who they are.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Talking Points #10 Education Is Politics by Ira Shor


I have been reminded many times of the past teachers I have had while reading this article. Shor talks about the traditional style of teaching where students tend to be cynical because there is resistance that is caused by the teacher being the dominant power in the classroom. I have been through what Shor had described. When power only comes from one side, it creates an urge to resist and to only get by with work in school. This encourages students to feel that education is not important and therefore participation and engagement are often  not acted upon. In high school I was in a math class where the teacher was the only one who talked. She was very strict and joy did not exist in that class. I've always felt like I was silenced during every minute of lecture and fear was felt everyday. Students never asked questions because according to Shor the teacher could have done their part in creating an environment that encourages students to question authority. When there was a "fun" activity, it was very difficult to connect with classmates since it had become awkward without the initial connection to everyone including the teacher at the very beginning of the course. I did not recall learning anything in that class because all we did was read, remember formulas and applying the formulas to problems. If we had the ability to question what we learned, the content that was taught would've had a meaningful purpose and that is one of Shor's claims.

Sharing Ideas:

When Shor talked about questioning the status quo, it reminded me of the the article before this one by Kliewer. If we don't question it, it'll just go on a repeated cycle. It has come up in many articles and therefore I conclude that one of the key points of this course is somewhere along the idea of questioning authority. It seems like it would be hard to balance fun and seriousness in learning content material. I wonder what everyone else thinks about that.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Talking Points #9 Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer


This video is an example of our culture and stereotypes. We create a label for students with special needs. As a result, the labeling leads to segregation. That is what Christopher Kliewer mentioned in his article. When the segregation occurs students with special needs are restricted in their education. They can not attend schools or classes as the other students who are not labeled as disabled. This creates the need to filter students by intellectual capability level. Our culture creates these levels and because a student does not fit in a high intellectual level, they are considered as incapable of doing many things. Because of the existence of the stereotypes of mentally disabled people created by society, an event like the video I posted occurs where those students are ridiculed and bullied because of a stereotype. Often times, the definitions of a particular stereotype are conclusions of any action made by a person that had been labeled into a stereotype even though it's untrue like the situation in the video. In the article, Kliewer talks about how Shayne undoes this separation by connecting her students as a community where each student is valued and differences is normal. The experiences with Shayne and her students is a great example of how accepting students who are handicapped can benefit in regular classes in school, but the only way that it can happen is if the teacher allows it to happen. The teacher must help create the collective atmosphere in the classrooms while honoring differences and recognize what a student can be capable of by listening and not what they are incapable of.

Sharing Ideas:

After reading this article and coming across videos of unjust treatment to students with special needs, I thought of myself as a future teacher and how I can come up with ideas to make students feel that they belong in the community and that they are an important person even with differences. It would be interesting to share ideas on that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Promising Practices

The Workshop:

I was amazed to see so many students on a Saturday morning on campus. I believed we all thought at some point "Ugh, why am I here? It's so early."

I was assigned to workshop A which was my first choice. I did not know what informal education was and so it sparked my interest to find out more about it. My Statistics professor, Mary Sullivan, was one of the presenters for the first session. She asked everyone to introduce ourselves to make use of time since the tech crew was late. It was a great idea even though I did not remember names. I learned that informal education was education outside of the typical classroom. An example would be after school programs such as clubs and summer school. Teachers might want to consider informal education if a traditional classroom is just not their style and if they love to work with young people. It's something new to try with a lot of options that can expand the concept of teaching.

We had another presenter his name was Alex. He gave us information about the organization PASA (click here for web page). They help schools integrate the skills learned during the regular school hours with hands on applications. It gives students the opportunity to explore the world which undoubtedly will lead to career choices with those experiences. It's a chance for students to practice the skills they learned. I liked that Alex showed the video where math was being applied outside the classroom. It allows students to see that math is used everyday and it's all around us. Applying the sills learned to real world situations tells students why they are learning the content in their classrooms. Below is a PASA video of the AfterZone Summer program that shows an example of the applications of classroom skills.

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do and that made the second session fun to listen to. Foodies is an Americorps program that allow students to apply subjects taught in the classroom to food and cooking. Located in the Henry Barnard School, they create three course meals that reflect a very diverse population. It is a great experience for students to connect with each other through something that comforts us such as food. During their activities, differences such as IEP's and behavior issues seemed to go away. Cooking different recipes creates an exposure to culture. At times, they would play music according to the culture while making their recipes. The presenters told us how cooking involves science, language arts, history and math. I cook my meals daily and I've never realized all of those subjects were related to cooking. The connection amazed me.

The Expo, Personal Thought and Teen Empowerment:

I was only interested in getting information for the PASA AfterZone. I found a couple of friends when I looked around the expo and stayed with them throughout the rest of the conference. My friend Bill and I exchanged thoughts of the workshop we attended. It was nice to know that we both had similar goals as a teacher. Although his content major is English and mine is Math, we both had horrible teachers in high school for those subjects. That is why we want to be teachers. We want to make it a better experience for future students and that means making English and Math fun and interesting.

Teen empowerment is a very great organization. I liked the sharing of their stories. It was inspirational and I knew it had an impact because a friend of my friend went up to one of the speakers and shook her hand and told her to keep doing what she is doing. What teen empowerment taught us was skills to use within the classroom. Those skills are used to have some sort of connection in the classroom and to get an individual to feel that they matter in the class and that they do have a voice. I really would like to use the game they played using the chairs (almost like musical chairs except someone has to talk freely about a certain word) in my future classroom. Below is a picture of Teen Empowerments Theory of Change.

The Connections:

I think in general everything I have learned throughout the conference can be sorted into one theme, change. It's kind of like Delpit's rules, codes and conducts of power. When you realize what you posses and what you are capable of in a set of rules and conducts, you can create change just like how Teen Empowerment does. After the first session there was a discussion about our society's education system and how there should be more hands on experience in a typical school day. Our traditional environment of teaching has been the way it is for years and implementing a new system would be difficult. It's like the cycle Johnathan Kozol talked about in his article. People get used to the system and when there comes change, it's like tradition. Language is a part of culture and culture is a part of cooking. Collier says that for success in another language, first language skills should be embraced. I see that being applied to the Foodies program. Students are very diverse and cooking that involves honoring the culture helps embrace that first language diverse students may have.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Talking Points #8 Literacy With an Attitude by Patrick Finn


In the article, Finn describes the two kinds of education. One is powerful literacy that builds power and authority and the second is functional literacy that develops productivity. The working class does not get that powerful literacy since Finn described; the ones who have access to it are the rich. We can see a cycle that repeats constantly as access to both types of literacy are still limited to one class. It's hard for change since the working class does not have the literacy that provides power and those with power are too comfortable with the way things are to make changes. This reminded me of "Amazing Grace" by Johnathan Kozol. There was a similar cycle that he mentioned where the people were doing what they can to live a better life but without the people with power striving to also make the change, they got stuck with the poor living conditions in their area.

I believe that students should be able to question authority in school and that teachers should encourage and emphasize that action. Finn also supports this when he gave the many examples of the working class school's classrooms. Work consisted of procedural styles. Teachers rarely gave explanations on things that were taught in class. There were not many connections to real life experiences and little in depth discussions on a particular subject. By questioning their teachers, students can understand why they are learning and why it is important. Linda Christensen had the same thoughts. She knew that teachers needed to provide the tools for students to interpret the media. It's the same as giving the tools to students to obtain powerful literacy in Finn's argument.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Funny Video

I love math and this video was funny to watch hahaha. It's not real though.

Keep Wall Street Occupied

I thought this was interesting since we mentioned the occupy stuff in class.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Talking Points #7 Educating Students About Gender Diversity

Everyone should be taught or at least become aware that confusion of one's gender exists. One can feel like like they are a male, a female, both or even neither. Gender also has it's stereotypes and that affects the learning environment. That leads to bullying in schools. An example would be a male who is feminine or a female who is masculine. They are made fun of in public because our society teaches us that male goes with masculinity and female with femininity. Because it's not what they perceive as what is normal in our society, it becomes something funny to make jokes about. In a way, what society teaches us is exactly the cause of the problems we face today. If we were taught in school that it is possible and accepted for each gender to have both or opposite gender identities, there would be none to less bullying in schools for being a feminine straight/gay, masculine straight/lesbian, and a transgender person. The video below talks about a elementary school that implements teaching gender diversity within the classroom. It's such a great idea for all schools to consider teaching children.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Talking Points #6 A Connection Between Brown vs. The Board of Education, Tim Wise and Bob Herbert


What Tim Wise mentioned in the Youtube video was that racial inequality is not over. Just because Barack Obama became president, it does not mean everyone can now sing kumbaya. It's like that band-aid on a broken leg. Obama becoming president could actually form a different kind of racism. For example, Obama sort of sets an example for black people and because of that, accepted black people would only be the ones who meet that standard or level of knowledge. There would be that racism between those who excel and those who don't. It takes time if we want to lessen the racism and that is what the website shows us. The history on how we got segregation to be illegal proves that it requires time in our society. Bob Herbert writes that there is still racial inequality in his article "Separate and Unequal". Education reforms try to separate schools for just the rich and for the poor and so expectations are lower for poor schools than rich schools. Brown vs. Board of Education, Tim Wise and Bob Herbert all have a connection and that is inequality never disappears without a fight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talking Points #5 In Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Extended Comments:

Ariel's Post:

Ariel discussed that service learning is a fundamental approach to help the improve a community. It serves as a backbone for future goals and builds character. I agree that service learning is a good experience and everyone should do it, but we have to also consider the types of service we do. Like the article mentioned, there are two levels, charity and change. I like to compare that to the band-aid on a broken leg and surgery. The charity work often times help cover the surface of the problem like donating food and to apply the Michel Foucault quote "We know what we do, we often know why we do what we do. But what we don't know is what we do does.", some people could really hate themselves for not being able to provide for their family and instead accepts donated food because there is no other option. To take a bigger step than that and potentially "perform the surgery", we could work on critical analysis of the cause and strategies to prevent the problem from happening.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Talking Points #4 Unlearning The Myths That Bind Us by Linda Christensen


Christensen argues that young children are being manipulated by society through the books and movies they grow up with. This secondhand experience is not the same as the firsthand experience people should get with children of different cultures. When children are shown only one side of a culture, they learn only that one side and it becomes an embedded knowledge. Christensen's students read an article by Dorfman that suggests that our lives are shaped by the industry and a secret education lies within these books and movies children read and watch.

The students broke down and digested books and stories made by Disney and found the values, stereotypes and social roles. Many of these were very prevalent and obvious. By making her students work on the in depth critiquing, many of them realized how much they have accepted the inequality of power and economic relationships. Christensen gave them assignments which were solutions in how to go beyond the classroom and help the world realize the manipulation of society. One group had an interesting idea to create pamphlets that had ratings of children movies from A-F for parents to carefully consider what their children watch.

Sharing Ideas:

In the beginning of the article, Christensen mentioned how many of us don't get the interaction with culturally different families. It made me think of the video that we watched with the African woman who talked about people who hear only one side of a story, makes assumptions and stereotypes based on that one story.

Click Here for a youtube video that has someone explaining Prince Charmings in Disney movies. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Talking Points #3 2009 National School Climate Survey: Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT Students Experience Harassment in School by Daryl Presgraves

 Happy Couple


"An analysis of National School Climate Survey data over 10 years showed that since 1999 there has been a decreasing trend in the frequency of hearing homophobic remarks; however, LGBT students' experiences with more severe forms of bullying and harassment have remained relatively constant."
 In over ten years, the National School Climate Survey had collected data and had been analyzing it since 1999. Although it showed them how there had been a decrease in the offending remarks by those who were homophobic, LGBT students still deal with cruel harassment and bullying on a constant scale. This tells readers that there is still more to do to help keep LGBT students feel safe in their schools. The more awareness and sources of help students can get in school, the better it'll get.

"84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation. "
From the statistics of the survey, it seems that safety concerns were still a big issue in LGBT students. Almost 85 percent of LGBT students reported that they were verbally harassed in school. That is a huge percentage and is proof that harassment and bullying still occurred. Even though the percentage of physical harassment and assault is lower than 50 percent, it still is a concern to be noted. This data is reflective of the constant bullying and harassment.

"Having a Gay-Straight Alliance in school was related to more positive experiences for LGBT students, including: hearing fewer homophobic remarks, less victimization because of sexual orientation and gender expression, less absenteeism because of safety concerns and a greater sense of belonging to the school community."
Implementing a Gay-Straight Alliance in schools will help reduce the amount of  homophobic remarks, harassment and assault than a school without a related organization. It indeed helps LGBT students feel safe and connected within the school. They won't feel as if they are an outsider who don't belong. It creates a positive outlook for LGBT students and students around them. When LGBT students have this connection and safe environment for them, they can enjoy their learning journey in the school environment with further success.

Sharing Ideas:

As I read this article, I was reminded of how great it is that RIC has a couple of organizations for LGBT students. I know from experience and from friends that it truly does help when a community has some sort of support area or organization for people who are LGBT. It creates a home-like feeling that you are not alone and everyone should be able to have that feeling.

Click here and this link will bring you to the homepage of Youth Pride Inc. of Rhode Island. They provides support, advocacy, and education for youth and young adults throughout Rhode Island who are impacted by sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Talking Points #2 Aria by Richard Rodriguez

Shades of sand specs


The author Rodriguez argues that bilingual children such as him go through a long process that shapes their individuality by assimilating into public society while bilingual educators disagree with assimilation into the public society. The main point of the argument is that one must lose a sense of how one speaks at home in order to become comfortable in speaking in public with a second language.

In Rodriguez's childhood years, he was scared of speaking English in his classroom and did not realize that this second language was his to use until the teachers spoke to his parents about using English at home. Over time he became more comfortable speaking English at home and in the classroom. It is here where he loses his sense of individuality in his private home in order to utilize English in public. It became his primary language and sees himself as an individual of public society.

Rodriguez believes that he did not miss out on anything. He would've been happier about his achievement if recalling what it was like before wasn't so prevalent. What he had gone through to finally be able to be comfortable with a second language is that assimilation that had to be experienced to gain his individuality in the public society.

Sharing Ideas:

I think reading both of these articles about education in a bilingual and multilingual setting is a great way to help us students become aware and educated about issues we wouldn't have realized exists. It is true for me because while reading both articles and the articles we've all read previously, they all gave me a heads up of how and what a classroom would be like. It makes me realize how very diverse we are and teaching multilingual children is a challenge because if effective strategies are not being applied in the classroom, children may be left out of important guidelines for success in their second language.

Click here to see a video that also supports borrowing words from another language like Collier mentioned in her article.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Talking Points #1 Amazing Grace byJohnathan Kozol


Reading Amazing Grace by Johnathan Kozol, gave me an in depth passage into the lives of children and their parents in the poor parts of New York during the 1990’s. The suffering and challenges that they go through were a big eye opener for me and gave me a bigger understanding of the lives of people of color in poorer areas.

Although the children in the Bronx has lived through tragedies and witnessed them right before their eyes, most children seemed carefree and sort of happy at most. It’s like the scenarios had been an everyday event. When Cliffie, the little boy, mentioned that someone got shot, it was as if telling it was not a problem.

There are many extreme conditions in the area and reading about them was sort of horrifying for me. People there live with at least someone who knew or had AIDS. Children suffered from depression, anxiety and fear. In extreme freezing conditions, the city passed out sleeping bags just to keep warm. It was sad that a high school senior who won a scholarship for college died because of drug addiction. This shows how living conditions can greatly affect ones future.

While reading the article, I though it related back to the first two articles we’ve read recently about privilege and codes and conduct of power. The article that McIntosh wrote was about white privileges. The people who live in the poor conditions are left to fix their way of living by themselves. The idea that those with power don’t acknowledge to pretend they don’t have it so they don’t have to help in others problems is true in Kozol’s article. When a professor at a university said that once poor people start to act rationally, their problems will disappear. It seems to Kozol that, after spending time with Mrs. Washington, he saw that every way she acted was as rational as any person who was not poor.

The four articles that I’ve read all ties into each other with the first two articles read previously. They all show what the codes and conduct of power are capable of and the effects of privilege.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Episode 1 - Information

A random shot on RIC campus

Hello bloggers and future bloggers! My name is Lang and I transferred from CCRI last year. I am planning to be a secondary education major in math. I've switched majors many times with no regrets at all since I view the experience as a journey to help build the person I am now. I am bisexual and I think it's awesome to let my classmates know since this class encourages us to discuss about subjects we normally don't talk about. I like photography and I take pictures of anything. That means food pictures here on blogger so beware, I will make you hungry!

Fried dough with rice noodles

On campus we usually eat the same food at the Donovan dining center. Even though the cafeteria offers variety for the dinner menu, it's still not enough to satisfy different cravings. Not far from RIC is a family owned Chinese restaurant called Lucky Garden. I went there today for my favorite dim sum. Dim sum is traditionally Chinese breakfast food usually served in the morning on Sundays. Here in America it is enjoyed everyday and anytime of the day. There are only several restaurants that offer dim sum in Rhode Island and this location is one of the best. The waitresses are extremely nice and speak English with mild accents so I believe mostly anyone can understand them. So one day if you are at RIC, go to Lucky Garden for lunch and order dim sum and leave full and happy!