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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Slowly and Shor-ly the last blog post

Empowering Education- Critical Teaching for Social Change
Ira Shor

April 16, 2016


After reading this article by Ira Shor, it hit me that many people that teach now a days, started years ago when curriculum wasn't a thing and when they were free to teach in their classroom with their own plan and rules. Teachers have to focus on what the town/school wants them to teach rather than what the children need to know and learn for their futures. Its so saddening that some children are in a classroom being forced to learn things they don't understand or don't need to know just because some school committee or teachers feels a different way about the context. It is the teachers job to yes teach children in classrooms about math, reading, writing, grammar, quadratics and much more but the most important thing they need to teach is social skills and how to socialize with children and adults. Ira describes the point of school as "In sum, the subject matter, the learning process, the classroom discourse, the cafeteria menu, the governance structure, and the environment of school teach students what kind of people to be and what kind of society to build as they learn math, history, biology, literature, nursing or accounting" (pg. 15). Is is extremely important for those in school to actually LEARN and not MEMORIZE. As mentioned in the article and many of my fellow classmates blogs, in half my classes not only in middle school or high school but college as well, we had to memorize many things in class just to pass a test that would soon be forgotten after the semester was over. So what was the point of that? A waste of time, money and a chance for us to learn something we may actually need in our future.

This article has made a really clear point and to me pointed out why we go to school, why we need to focus and want to learn and not just get by. It explained that school when we are young and growing up not only is there for math and reading but for socialization and self/social change. Ira Shors article can connect to Delpit because Delpit stressed how teachers and people that children look up to have to stress the rules and codes of power because some people don't know about them or learn about them in school or at home. It is important to know the rules of society and how to get by, how to fit in and live a normal life. The two connect because both articles/authors explain that students need to learn the "rules and codes of power" the same way that teachers have to teach that, as well as follow the "rules and codes of power" that the common core and school committee tell them to.

Not only does Shor connect to Delpit but it also connects to August because of Augusts' words; "Safe Spaces". Not in the same way of LGBTQ but because children in school need to know they are safe and that what they are learning is important for them and they need it. August talks about how children and young adults need to feel safe in order to be more successful in school, public and private like having a high self-confidence. Shor also touches base on how it is important for children who need help to feel safe somewhere and that they can be helped with whatever they need no matter what.

Comments/Questions/Points to share:
After reading this article and many of my friends blogs and views on common core and Shor's book it is clear that no one agrees with what is happening in classrooms today. The math problem shown above is what children in elementary school are learning today, my brother is tested on this math very often, especially on the "PARC" testing or whatever its called and I don't think its right. Even in my math 143 class last semester we were being taught how to teach subtraction and addition in 3 different ways? Why is that so? School is supposed to be somewhere to go to have fun, learn, socialize, make friends and grow up in. But apparently schools and towns don't feel that way anymore so they are changing and creating new "common core". Overall I really enjoyed Shor's book (well part of it anyway) because well I like everything to do with teaching and looking into why common core is so dumb.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
April 10, 2016


"[Community} requires a willingness to see people as they are - different perhaps in their minds and in their bodies, but not different in their spirits or in their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society. It requires the 'helper' to have the humility to listen for what the person says he or she needs (pg.12)." (Judith Snow pg. 73)

I feel as if this quote almost says it all, explains that it's okay to be different and notice that yes, people with learning disability (Like Down Syndrome) as well as physical or any other type of disability are different and act different in all situations but they are still people. They are people with hearts, feelings, emotions and knowledge. Of course of all this things are shown in different ways, if shown at all but it's their. But no one looks at it that way, they look at them and say "oh she has down syndrome", "yeah, he has autism, he won't understand" and stuff like that. Some people out there (like children) won't understand any of that unless they learn or experience it in something like best buddies or any other one-one organizations where children with both disabilities and non-disabilities can interact.

"Though many of us have a certain level of control over who we meet and interact with, none of us can come close to claiming complete control. So we must learn to work with others, and this hold true whether we ultimately are destined to lead a multinational computer software film, inspire a civil rights movement...We have to learn to get along as individuals and as citizens." (pg. 74)

This second quotes discusses again that we as people need to accept the differences and kind of move on, or not focus on rather. But focus on how we as people, students, citizens act together, interact with each other, and learn from each other. Its important for us as students who want to go into that field and be able to teach them to know that even though they are different they don't alway need to be treated, they need to be treated equal and shown respect. Also, its important that if students with disabilities and those without are in one class, that the lessons taught need to be understand by everyone, not just easy for those without IEP's or without teacher aids and extra help, but for everyone.

"In establishing a representation of citizenship for all, Shayne recognized the transactional relationship of human reciprocity: Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptance. As such, Shayne had to foster a sense of the collective that took seriously the value and idiosyncrasies of her individual students. In doing so, Shayne felt that she broadened and strengthened the learning opportunities opened to all her children." (pg. 75)

Lastly, this quote spoken about how Shayne took the initiative to change the opportunities and expand the horizon for both those with and without disabilities. She decided to focus on the community skills and acceptance of those in her classroom and out of it. She explains how community acceptance is what is really important and can lead to the best changes, good changes. It all starts with teaching those to accept everyone as they are, who they are and what the bring to the table (bring to school, like an attitude and initiative to learn). This quote can relate to August because in that article the LGBTQ groups are mentioned that accept everyone and teach everyone to learn that being different is okay, the world is changing and adapting to all the differences in the world. That is how it is supposed to be but unfortunately people cannot accept that 100% yet and hopefully it will change.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
I really enjoyed this blog because it focused on those with Down syndrome but in a good and positive way. To accept the differences and embrace them, to help those who need it without any fuss. I am hoping to go into this as a teacher and this article really made me want to even more and got me excited to be able to work with many different children and different disabilities to learn about all of them and make them feel welcomes and comfortable at school.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Map the Authors

                                                                        My Map

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude

Literacy with an Attitude, by Patrick J. Finn


I enjoyed this reading a lot because it brought many different situations and points of view to the table that not everyone really knows about. Finn does an excellent job combining facts and stories within these two chapters that involve stories from two different people and their teaching experiences at a number of different schools.

"While the same arithmetic book was used in all five schools, the teacher in one working-class school commented that she skipped pages dealing with mathematical reasoning and inference because they were too hard. The teacher in the second working-class school said, 'These pages are for creativity-- they're extras.' She often skipped them as well". Chapter 2 (pg. 10) Jean Anyon
~Jean explains that after she had been to the 5 different schools, they all use the same book but the teachers working at the working-class schools decided to skip some pages while teaching arithmetic because the pages were "too hard". It's understandable for a teacher to be able to know what a class can handle and what it can't but for another teacher to say it's for "creativity" and basically admit she doesn't teach it either is disrespectful. All kids whether they be raised in a working-class family or million dollar family deserve the same education if they are going to the same types of schools. How is it fair that some children probably go to school as an escape from home, somewhere that they can focus and learn and really do something for themselves while the teacher doesn't even challenge them  to anything.

"Teachers made derogatory remarks regarding the students. A principal was reported to have said to a new teacher 'Just do your best. If they learn to add and subtract, that's a bonus. If not, don't worry about it.' A second grade teacher said the children were 'getting dumber every year'. Only twice did Anyon hear a teacher say 'please' to a student in an unsarcastic tone. She heard 'Shut up' frequently". Chapter 2 (pg.11) Jean Anyon
~ Also in this chapter, Jean mentions that she has heard some bad things at one of the working-class schools and what she hears and observes is very disrespectful. The fact that she once heard a principal tell the teacher not to "worry" if the kids don't learn to add or subtract is unbelievable. ALL CHILDREN SHOULD LEARN HOW TO DO MATH. It shouldn't matter what school they are in, that is an elementary skill children need to learn. Also, Jean mentioning that she heard teachers frequently saying "Shut up" repulses me because I know that if a teacher ever told me that in elementary school it would alter my learning and how I feel about someone who is supposed to help me. All children deserve respect and the chance to learn and be challenged in school, yes too much challenge is not good but some kids need it to show their full potential. Some of the things Jean mentioned that she observed in the "lower-class" schools is not right, it shouldn't matter where kids live or how much money their parents make to determine if they are gonna learn or no from their teachers.

"The working-class children were learning to follow directions and do mechanical, low-paying work, but at the same time they were learning to resist authority in ways sanctioned but their community. The middle-class children were learning to follow orders and do the mental work that keeps society producing and running smoothly...The affluent professional children were learning to create products and art, 'symbolic capital', and at the same time they were learning to find rewards in work itself and to negotiate from a powerful position with those who make the final decisions on how real capital is allocated." Chapter 2 (pg. 20) Jean Anyon.
~This last quote basically wraps up everything Anyon was talking about through her experience in the 5 different schools. Children from roughly the same area in New Jersey but part of different family incomes and different schools were all receiving different education. Like I mentioned before I don't think it is right, I think that all kids should get an equal opportunity to live their dreams and be successful. Whether they grew up spoiled or grew up working for every single thing in their life as children/teenagers they still need education and someone to push them to their full potential but at the working-class and middle-class schools, no one was pushing them or helping them along that way and it is saddening to hear that.

This picture here for all we know could be three friends hanging out. But different clothes and the notion that the two on the left are looking down at the man on the right shows that somehow "society" has chosen to look down upon those who work for what they have and not be given everything in life. But why are they the lower class? because they can't get a job? because no one will higher them? because they are judged on looks, not skills? the money they make goes to their food they need and the house they need and everything else they need to live. It all just goes back into a circle for some people but it isn't right to keep them form learning new things and getting the chance to achieve goals in their future.

Questions/Comments/Points to share:
I feel as if this reading could connect to Macintosh as well, I mean come on "white privilege" could be compared to many other ways people get "advantages" or "privileges". Lower-class and middle-class could be knows as "minorities" where as the affluent professional children were those receiving white privilege. I really enjoyed this read because it made me think about how lucky I have been to be supported by my teachers through my life so far and still am, to know that my teachers are doing all they can to help me and push me to my full potential is something everyone should be thankful. I'm not putting myself in a class category like those mentioned in this book but I know a teacher has never told me to "shut up" or flat out disrespected me on a daily basis and that is something to be thankful for.

"Sex Positivity, Feminism and Health Implications - Deirdre O'Donnell"

On Thursday March 24 I attended the lecture/presentation about sex positivity, feminism and health implications by Deirdre O'Donnell. It was held upstairs in Donovan Dining Center and was schedule from 12:30-1:50. I attended this social justice event with Jordyn, Kamryn, Kate, Grace and Amy. Main issues that were discussed during the presentation included; feminism (the social, economic and political equality of the sexes), intersectionality, social justice, libertarianism vs, interventionist politics, health policy & the law (ACA), sex positivity and public health research.

I thought this class was going to be very awkward and uninteresting but I put all other thoughts aside and decided to not worry about what the topic was and be more interested about what Deirdre was trying to teach us about and what I could learn from this event. Sure, we all laughed a few times, felt awkward and didn't know how to respond to some slides/questions/comments but it was an experience. I feel as if it gave me a lot of information about things I never worry about or wanted to know but what she informed us was stuff we should know and be aware of in this world.

Not all topics were talks about in detail but some points she hit that really grabbed my attentions were some facts she gave us that we either had to chose as True or False and then we went over all of them. Something interesting and very horrible is that less than 1% of rapists see time in jail, condoms, lubricants and tampons/feminine products are not tested by the Food & Drug Administration because they are considered "cosmetics" buts some brands of these products contain bleach, sugar and other non-safe drugs that can negatively affect the body. Also, abortion is legal in every state but now some states are requiring an ultrasound for the mother to go to before officially deciding to terminate the fetus. Health insurance as well as the different laws in each states greatly affect the abortion process for some women in the U.S.

Many other things were discussed among these topics and here are some other great points/facts i learned while being at this event;
-The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world with the worst outcomes
-The U.S. has the highest infant & maternal mortality rate
-The ACA ("Obamacare") has allowed the U.S. to reach about 90% in health coverage
-Woman make $0.75 to the male $1.00 and it is even less is the woman is not white
-Pro life = Anti-Abortion
-Pro Choice= Woman's Choice
- The word "Sex" is not easily defined, could mean intercourse, gender, deals with oral, anal and vaginal sex and all of that equals RISK
-Sigmund Freud was the first person to talk about sexual repression (stated in history)

Lastly, Deirdre discussed what "Sex Positivity" really is, she explained that it is "Consensual (enthusiastic, verbal or gesture, absent of drug/alcohol, safe and sane, of age and of ability to consent), judgement free, intention of inclusitivioty, (LGBTGAP+) and issues of women's health like porn, rape/assault, consent, sex work/sex trafficking, sex toys, safe sex, menstruation, masterbation, anatomy and many other aspects of sexual ideas about woman, for woman.

I feel as if this event and the topics discussed really relates to August because a lot of the talk has to do with LGBTQ and what it all means. The event talked about the word "Sex" meaning gender or the act of intercourse where some people said between a male and a female where new life is created and others said the romantic attraction between two people who then perform sexual acts together. Deirdre explained and got a point across that everyone has a different opinion and view and its OKAY.  Deirdre also connected to Grinner with SCWAAMP because of the "ideal norms"in society everywhere that everyone just assumes is what is right and what is the "best". Lastly, this event can connect to Delpit because Delpit mentions that people need to be told explicitly the "codes of power" about society and everything they do. It relates to Deirdres talk because there are certain things woman aren't respected by such as sex being "consensual" and woman not just being an object of sex, their are "unknown" rules that people should be following when performing sexual acts between any number of people and that is a major problem that many people face each day.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Problem we all Live with

The Problem We all Live with
Part I & II
March 20, 2015


"I think it's important to point out that it is not that something magical happens when black kids sit in a classroom next to white kids. It's not that suddenly a switch turns on and they get intelligence, or wanting the desire to learn when they're with white kids. What integration does is it gets black kids in the same facilities as white kids. And therefore, it gets them access to the same things that those kids get-- quality teachers and quality instruction." Nikole Hannah-Jones

~Nikole goes on to explain that when desegregation began and children were beginning to be in class with other kids of a different color, nothing changed between the grades they got or how they acted. The African American kids didn't automatically jump into the same activities as the white kids because they didn't know how, so many were behind and lacked certain cognitive and learning skills. However, the desegregation was a step at trying to change that, trying to give the African American kids a chance to learn as much as any child could and have the same advantages or facilities to go to for help. I think this quote demonstrates how some people just assumed that desegregation didn't just get all colored children in the same room, but gave all children the same opportunity and ability to achieve great things.

"Those kids have greater educational needs. They're more stressed out. They have a bunch of disadvantages. And when you put a lot of kids like that together in one classroom , studies show, it doesn't go well." Ira Glass

~Ira explains also that putting all the children in one classroom right off the bat and jumping right into lessons and learning won't work. First of all, not all the children are going to get along or talk to each other and interact, it's something new. Also, bringing together African American children with Latino children and white children in one class leaves the teacher/s with a problem, not everyone is at the same learning level. So that means that either children who are excelling will be bored and staring at the wall because the teacher has to slow down and reteach some things. Or, the children that aren't caught up and have problems in certain areas, won't understand and won't be able to complete the work because the rest of the class has moved on. It's sad, that even though it was a good thing, to desegregate, it probably caused a lot of problems at first for children and their learning potential.

"So this is a thing that happens with segregation. Once you get around people who you haven't been around before, you become just super aware of their race and your race. And is that thing happening right now because of race? Or is that because you're white? Is that because you're from a different part of the country or a small town? Or are you just weird?" Chana Joffe-walt

~Chana Joffe-walt explains that after going through segregation and being either a part of the colored population or white population, you are so used to the old "norm" of looking at people by their color rather than but their skill, personality or anything else. You begin to wonder about things even more after desegregation, like she said "Is it because I'm white?" or maybe "Is it because I'm black?" and its true, many people probably experienced this for awhile after the desegregation began. Some people out there didn't care that the country was changing for the good and there are still racists out there now that will continue to judge people by the color of their skin rather than for who they are. And it's tough to get over because some people grew up in a segregated community and were raised by their parents a certain way and taught to act the way they do around people with skin color different from them. But for all those who did go with the flow and learn to treat people equally because they ARE equal probably feel a lot better about themselves if they once did live in a secreted community and changed for the good.


 I thought this picture would get a laugh out of everyone

Questions/Comments/Points To Share:
I feel as if this reading and all the things I've discussed and what these audio's talk about is how the process of desegregation affected children in both good and bad ways. In a way it relates to McIntosh as a counter argument because she says that "whites" aren't told not to recognize their privilege in society but way back when, during segregation, they were told TO look at the privileges and advantages white people got over African Americans and use it. Its crazy how at one point white children weren't even allowed to talk to or play with a colored child just because of their skin, when in reality, children don't care about skin color. they care about playing on the swings or having a tea party. Children are taught everything by their parents and who surrounds them, so the only reason children back then didn't want to associate with someone with different color skin than them, is because their parents told them not to, and I think that is completely horrific. Obviously I never lived in a place where people were segregated so I don't know how it would have been but I really hope my parents would have the decency to let me talk to and play with whoever I wanted, whether the other children be black or white.