Sunday, November 30, 2014

“Empowering Education: Education in Politics” by Ira Shor- Reflection

In this week’s reading we were to read “Empowering Education: Education in Politics” by Ira Shor.  
In this reading Shor focuses on the idea of empowering education within the classrooms.  He argues the idea that students in today’s society and classrooms are being taught a different way to just simply memorize the knowledge they are be presented at hand.  Shor discusses how “people are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn. (pg 12).   In this statement I couldn’t help but agree with it. No matter what stage in life a person is always bound to be curious, especially when it comes to learning new things.  Shor continues to argue that with the classrooms being too focused on pushing a child to memorize and are not being able to speak their minds throughout the classrooms.  The idea of empowering education is to create educated students who are able to become great things in our society.  Critical thinking also plays a huge role in this as well.

Throughout my educational career I feel that I have faced both teachers who have pushed memorizing education and also teachers who not only used memoization but were supportive of each and every student’s thoughts and concerns.  When attending elementary school, along with middle school I feel that I was not able to completely state how I felt about certain subjects.  Growing up as a child I always struggled in both math and science.  With the way the curriculum was setup by the teachers I felt that because I struggled I was an outcast.  The teachers were so adamant about having each student memorize their history so they were able to move onto the next level of school.  When I entered high school I experienced both teachers who were more open to students speaking their minds about how they felt about a certain topic or what they felt was most difficult for them personally.  In college I have had the chance to have a few professors who have completely opened my eyes to the world of both education and teaching.  As a student I feel that having a teacher who is willing to cater to not just the class as a whole but as individuals creates a better outcome for the classroom responses in both lectures and testing.

This article really opened my eyes to the type of youth worker that I want to be and how I want to encourage students that they can have an open mind to their education.  We, as students, have all had our fair share of teachers or professors who have made us feel as if we were so small when it comes to learning.  Over the years I have tried my best to make the professor know how I feel when it comes to not understanding the way they are portraying their lesson.  This article also reminded me of all the ideas from the readings we had this semester as well.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome-Hyperlinks

This week’s article written by Christopher Kiewer discusses about Down syndrome and how it is treated within the classroom.  In the beginning of the semester the topic of S.C.W.A.A.M.P, which creates categories for the teaching atmosphere.  When something or someone is not considered under these categories they are pushed out of the classrooms that use S.C.W.A.A.M.P.  In last week’s reading we talked about social class and how it is segregated in classrooms and now this week disabilities, such as Down syndrome, are the topic at hand.  In this article, Kiewer discusses how although a student may have a disability it does not limit them from being just like the other students in the classroom.  When discussing the student’s individual goals Shayne states "You can get a sense of where a kid is compared to where people think they should be”.

A video that I felt related to this article and the discussion of children who face disabilities, such as Down syndrome, are faced with being stereotyped into not being able to do just as much, if not more, than someone without a disability.  This video that I found discusses Bryann Burgess, who is an assistant teacher at Kindermusik.  When watching this video it was eye opening especially in the teaching atmosphere.  Bryann Burgess states, “I keep on going and dust myself off” when discussing how she keeps a positive attitude about her journey through school and having Down syndrome.  This video stuck out to me in so many ways.  The older that I get the more I have become more apparent to the stereotyping of people who do not fit the S.C.W.A.A.M.P criteria and down syndrome is one of them.  In this video Bryann is proving to everyone that just because she has down syndrome does not mean she is incapable of being a teacher and working with children just like any "normal" male or female.

In this video, "Don't Limit Me!", Megan Bomgaars discusses how despite having Down Syndrome she has accomplished and is contining to accomplish some of her lifetime goals.  She wants 
educators to know that it does not matter if someone has a disability, they are still capable of achieving goals in both the classroom and in their everyday lives just as anyone else would.  A quote from the article that reminded me of this video was, "If you came into the room and were told there was a retarded child in the class, a child with special needs, I don't think you would pick Lee out. The kids really agree that he's as capable as they are. Intellectually the same." (83) Megan explains how she benefited from not being seperated from the others just because of her down syndrome.  She was able to be in a "regular" classroom while growing up along with doing "normal" sports in high school.  Megan states, "don't limit me by thinking that I can't learn in your class room, don't limit me by thinking that I will always need someone to help me, don't limit me by having low expectations of me."  She also states how not only she wants to be able to learn about english or math but she wants to learn about how to prepare for real life situations and being human.

Both of these videos relate to Kiewer's article and how the seperation of those who have a disablity, such as down syndrome, and who do not have a disability.  In our society today we are so focused on secluding those who, according to society "need more attention", from thos who are able to be in a classroom of 24 students and be able to focus.  I feel that Kiewer's main point was that we should not let this seperation continue in our schooling.  Each and every student has an ability to strive in their own way, disability or not.  Just because one person has a disability does not mean that they are not capable of achieving their goals and dreams, just as Megan in the video shown above.  They are HUMAN just as we are with just as equal rights and ability to become who they want to be, not what society has set out for them.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Finn-Literacy with an Attitude-Connections

This week’s reading, written by Patrick Finn, Literacy an Attitude, discusses the observations made between schools and segregation.  Finn talked about how the topic of literature and it’s power in today’s classrooms, especially lower class.  The two connections that I found apparent when reading this article were connections to Jonathan Kozol and Richard Rodriguez. 
 The connection that I made when it came to 
Rodriguez was the quote, which stated, “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 by their community. The middle-class children were learning to follow orders and do the mental work that keeps society producing and running smoothly. They were learning that if they cooperated they would have the rewards that well paid, middle-class work makes possible outside the workplace. “ (20) This quote reminded me of Rodriguez because of what he had gone through when it came to his school career.  He was faced with being told that he had to learn a different language because his native language was not English.  He discusses how in order to be successful he had to change something so personal as to what language he was speaking.  This quote shows how the children are being taught that they need to be “successful” in order to get somewhere in their life.  In all actuality the teachers are not that supportive of the children and their success.
                  The connection that I made was with Jonathan Kozol.  Patrick Finn discusses in the beginning in the article and references Kozol when it comes to the title.  Kozol has an article named, Savage Inequalities.   Savage Inequalities discusses how the unequal results of schooling of both the rich and poor children to segregation.  It is also based on race and family income.  Reading this part of the article reminded me of Jonathon Kozol’s article on Mott Haven.  The people in Mott Haven were not treated the way that they should have been just because they were not a certain class.  They were not given the privileges that they deserved.

                  Reading this article reminded me of my service learning.  Going into a Providence Public School in a ESL classroom is a complete eye opener for me.  When going into the classroom each week I reflect on the schooling that I had when I was younger and how they do not have the same privileges as I did when I attended my school.  I feel that each and every student no matter what background they come from should affect how their success is in the classroom.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Brown Vs The Board of Education

While reading the different articles and also the videos it was a bit confusing to understand what was being told about racism and how it is still relatable to the Brown vs. the Board of Education case.  The Brown vs. the Board of Education, which happened on May 17th 1954, created the so-called ending of segregation within the schools during this time period.  
"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does."--quote from the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision
Before the Brown vs. the Board of Education began African American's and whites were segregated within classrooms, creating education to be segregated among the students.  This was all solely based on "race", which in today's society still remains somewhat present.  When listening to Tim Wise's talk, Between Barack and a Hard Place, discussed how racism is still happening in our society and how he wants to start racial equality.  Wise wants to lessen the discriminations with in both jobs and housing that is occurring.  Wise also states that "racism is never an excuse" to single someone out in society, especially in the education aspect.  He discusses how because we have a president of color that we, as a society, feel that we are destined to not face racism or segregation anymore.  In my opinion this is false.  Just because we have a white present or a black president does not mean that the problems at hand are going to be sugar coated to make everyone happy.  In Herbert's article, Separate and Unequal, he explains how even though Brown vs. Board of Education made segregation within schools illegal, he still sees examples of racial discrimination and inequality in society today. He explains how black and Hispanic students do not receive the same education as white students do and how living in the poor sections of cities affects the amount of education black students and Hispanic students gain. In his opinion, Herbert believes that integration will bring and has brought students together so that they may all receive the same amount of education, whi
ch will benefit students of all races. A connection from Ashley's blog that I found was a quote that stuck out the most in Herbert's article that explained the segregation of today's society.  The quote stated, "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality.”
After reading these articles and understanding the connections that were presented made me think of my Service learning at the Asa Messer School in Providence.  The class room that I am teaching in is an ESL classroom, meaning that the children in this class do not speak spanish as their first language.  I have also talked to others who are volunteering at a Providence public school and the majority of the students are of color or hispanic.  It just goes to prove, just as Herber stated how not only schools are not segregated anymore but that a person's economic status can affect them and their lives.