Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SL Final Project Link

Here's our Final Service Learning Project!

Danielle Granata & Kate McCaughey

Social Justice Event Post!

For my event this semester I went to the Open Books-Open Minds Student Conference. This conference was held on Friday, April 11th and I attended 12-3pm in the Student Union Ballroom. I originally had to go to this conference for my FYS class, but after sitting through this event and listening to all of the speakers I actually found it really easy to find ways to relate what they were saying to this class. Each year OBOM picks a new book to discuss. The book that was discussed this year was PYM by Mat Johnson, which I didn't read but I ended up looking up more information on it after the event. PYM was based off of Edgar Allen Poe's novel that had to do with racial identities in America and Antarctica and the power of whiteness. The main character in Johnson's book was Chris Jaynes, an African American professor who decided to venture off with a group of other African Americans to find the island in Poe's book. The rest of the story is about what he and his crew find and what they face when they arrive at Antarctica. So anyways, back to the conference. There was a panel of 5 or 6 people in front of us discussing issues and themes they found in this story. The two topics that I thought I could relate to this class were issues including LGBTQ and racism in the book PYM. 

So one of the speakers was talking about racism as a topic. He explained how racism is shown a lot throughout the book PYM. It is displayed in the main characters life, as he is the only African American professor at the college he works at and he was treated differently than other professors with the same degree. Also the island in Antarctica that he wants to explore has a population of only African Americans but it is described as a place of horror. He discussed how the term "whiteness" was shown a lot through this book. This speaker automatically made me think of two of our class readings. Both Privilege, Power, and Difference by Allan Johnson and White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh could relate to this speakers view. Both authors discuss the issues dealing with white privilege and the power that white people hold over others, even when it is unnoticed. This speaker described ways that white privilege is still shown today, and how evident that is even in a book that was only written a few years ago.

Another speaker talked about LGBTQ as a topic. She explained how in the book, there was a gay couple on the ship. They were two males who were part of the all African American crew that the protagonist picked. In the book, the gay couple was documenting their adventure for a blog. The speaker discussed how they were treated differently than the other crew members. They were not treated as equally as others throughout the entire adventure. This speaker's view reminded me of the same views as Gerri August in Safe Spaces. Both the speaker and Gerri August would agree that in order for the couple to have felt welcome on the ship, they would need the support from the rest of the crew and to feel as they are treated with the same respect as the others. Which they should have been! 

This conference actually ended up being a lot more interesting than I thought it would have been! I'm glad I had the opportunity to go and hear some of the student's opinions and relate them back to this class! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Education is Politics- Extended Comments

This reading, Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change by Ira Shor, definitely tied together pretty much all of the readings from this semester. I think that this reading helped to make all of these topics a little bit clearer for me. For this week I decided to do an Extended Comments post off of Jamie's Blog post because she explained this reading exactly as I would have and she made really good connections! 

Jamie first describes the eleven values that Shor lists, that will help to create a more empowering education:

  • Participation
  • Affective
  • Problem - posing
  • Situated
  • Multicultural 
  • Dialogic
  • Desocializing
  • Democratic
  • Researching
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Activist
She then explains how all of these topics connect so well to all of our other authors and readings that we have had this semester. This reading connects to Alfie Kohn and what good and bad things to look for in classrooms. It also connects to Kahne and Westheimer, the effects of service learning in classrooms, how to incorporate SL into the curriculum, and the difference between charity and change SL. There are connections to Collier and Rodriguez and the positives and negatives in multicultural classrooms. Shor can relate to Delpit and the rules and codes of power. Also August, and making a classroom a Safe Space for students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, etc. and involving those topics in student learning. Last but not least, Christensen and the "secret education" that children are exposed to in schools.

It is clear that Shor's reading is a definite recap of everything we have learned this semester and I think that the very first line of this reading is exactly what we have been questioning after this whole semester and all of these readings. 

"What kind of educational system do we have? What kind do we need?
How do we get from one to the other?" (11)

In Jamie's post she also brings up how Shor encourages students to question the "status quo" and of course this fits so well with this lovely clip from High School Musical! People are allowed to be whoever they want to be! 

Jamie's blog post really summed up the article and connected this reading to pretty much every author! Everyone check out her post! :)

For my own little conclusion, I think that the Shor reading was perfect as our last reading of the semester! (It went by so fast!!) This reading wraps up all of the main topics we've covered from the presence of privilege in classrooms, multilingual classrooms, codes of power, the secret education, and creating a safe space for the students. All of the readings we have read this semester will affect the way I will be as a teacher and will help me to become the best teacher I can! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Citizenship in School: Quotes

This weeks reading: Citizenship in School: Conceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer was awesome. Although it was long, I thought that it was really interesting and I loved reading all of the different stories. I think that the most important part of this piece was the idea of community and that all children should be educated equally. There were so many quotes in this reading that really stood out to me. There were three from the very beginning that really helped me form an idea of what this reading was about. 

The first quote was said by Judith Snow, "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." (73) 
In this quote, I think Snow was showing how important it is for a community to be accepting towards one and other in order to be successful. 

The second quote that stood out to me was: "Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community." (73)
Kliewer was also making a point very similar to Snow's; a successful community requires successful relationships with everyone who is in it. Everyone should be accepted and treated equally. 

The third quote I loved was: "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." (75)
This quote by teacher Shayne Robbin's about her students is saying that all students are able to learn the same materials whether they have disabilities or not. But there is no need to put a label on a student regarding a disability. They will all learn, just maybe at a different pace. Everyone needs to work together as a community in order for learning to happen.

This reading was very focused on making a classroom environment that is suitable to everyone. There should be no segregation regarding disabilities in classrooms, because all children have the ability to learn. This reading actually reminded me a lot of the Oakes article we read last week on tracking. Tracking students with disabilities and separating them from others who learn differently will only do more harm then good. It will make the students think that they are different in a bad way, which is not the case. This article also kind of reminded me about the Safe Spaces article. Creating a welcoming environment that is non-judging with a community of people who are supportive.