Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Theory Connection #3

Quote and Explanation:  Another connection, along with Rodriguez, that I am able to make to my service learning is to August.  In “Safe Spaces” by Gerri August’s main focus is about bullying within the classroom.  August makes a statement saying, “To the extent that teachers, school administers, and college professors create an atmosphere in which difference is not only tolerated but expected, explored and embraced, students will be more likely to develop perspectives that result in respectful behaviors.” (pg 83).  This quote discusses how in creating a certain atmosphere, both teachers and school administers, are able provide a path to a student’s educational career.  I found that this quote related to my service learning simply because of the relationship between not only the teacher and the students but with the students as well.  When teaching it is beneficial to be able to accept the students regardless of how they behave inside of the classroom around the other students.

Practice Example:  An experience that I encountered in my service learning was when I was observing my teacher and this one student.  This boy is not in my typical literacy group each week so I never have had a chance to work with him one on one.  The student’s desks are set up into a cluster of about five desks per group.  Within these groups the students work with each other on certain group work, depending if they are placed into another set group.  When the students were working on math problems there was one group who was made up of about four students.  There was one little boy who was not very focused and had a different look on how to get his work finished.  I could tell that not only the students were getting frustrated with this student but my teacher was feeling frustrated because the student was truly not listening.  After the students were done working on their group work they were to head to the rug.  This same student still did not listen to his teacher in a way that he should have.  In a typical classroom this student would be considered a distraction to the students surrounding him.  My teacher then proceeded to calmly talk to the student and try and help him to explain what was the problem.

So What?: When looking back at this experience in my service learning I have realized that my teacher showed August’s concept.  If this case were in any other classroom that I have been in I feel that the teachers would not handle the situation as well as my teacher did.  She calmly accepted the fact that he was struggling and was able to try and work with him one on one.  In a typical classroom this student would be considered a huge distraction to both the students and the teachers in this case.  I feel that my experience relates to August because she feels that a student should be able to express him or herself, sometimes for the worst or the better.  The teacher from my service learning she uses August’s theory, which is to let the students express themselves in a manor that is acceptable and when they are struggling she is able to work with them. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Theory Connection #2

Quote and Explanation: Along with my connection to Rodriguez I have been able to connect my service learning experience to Shor.  In “Empower Education” Shor, he discusses how within the classroom it should use different teaching methods that are benefical to both the student but the teacher as well.  Having students become more hands on and allowing them to use critical thinking.  A quote that I found was very similar to my service learning experience was Our role as teachers is to create a safe environment in which students can express opinions and, most importantly, generate their own language materials for learning and peer-teaching” (pg.    )  This quote is simply stating that when it comes to teaching that we are helping those who are becoming the future scholars of the world.  Having the students memorizing their work and not being hands on is not that beneficial.  A child will not be able to create their own individuality in the classroom when they are being forced to learn one specific way. 

Practice example: During the week of Thanksgiving I was fortunate enough to attend my service learning during the week rather than my scheduled day each week.  I was a bit thrown off because of the fact I was unsure of what I was supposed to do with the students.  That entire day I was able to work with not just the usual group of seven students but with the class as a whole.  The students are very welcoming and I have been lucky enough to get to know their names as well.  Something that I have noticed each time I enter this classroom is that the students are almost if not always doing something that is hands on.  They are either doing something hands on or in a small group.  On this day the students were working on both math and science. When working on both subjects the students were either working in a smaller group of two or three or were in a small group of about seven or eight with the teacher on the rug.  The students seemed so much more engaged in the lesson than they would have been if they were sitting there listening to their teacher talk about the topic at hand.  I moved around to each and every group and was able to listen in on how the students were interacting with each other.  When one student did not understand something instead of going right to asking their teacher they were helping each other.
Example of similar classroom doing group work

So What: I feel this relates to Shor because of how the students are taking advantage of the opportunities that they have right in front of them.  After seeing how the students are only excelling with working with a partner it is clear that a traditional classroom is slowly fading away.  I know that if I had had a classroom setting anything close to this type of classroom learning I would feel a bit more confident in my own school work.  Shor also states, “people are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn. (pg 12)  I feel that this statement is completely true.  These students are only succeeding because they are empowering their own education and benefiting their future.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Promising Practices Reflection

   On November 1st 2014 I was fortunate enough to attend Rhode Island College’s 17th Annual Promising Practices; Culturally Responsive Curricula in STEM.  At first I admit I was not exactly thrilled to attend this conference bright and early on a Saturday morning and I was a bit nervous this would be workshops that were not that interesting.  The two workshops that I attended were Girls Gone Wired and Creating Bully Free Classrooms.  I chose both of these workshops because I felt that they would help in my journey of becoming a youth worker.

            My first workshop that I attended was Girls Gone Wired; Encouraging Computer Programming Exploration in Young Women.  The instructor for this workshop was Hannah Tessitore who is the owner of SplatypusWeb Design Studio.  In this workshop she discussed about her journey in the world or programming and how it began at a young age.  Hannah Tessitore main goal in life is to encourage women into the technology field.  She began her discussion with reminiscing on her childhood and how she noticed that everything in her house had parts that were made that item work.  Her home had a computer in it and during her high school career she would make websites for her friends who had created their own bands.  She really enjoyed working with technology and being able to find out how certain things worked.  The idea of critical thinking and the skills involved with it are key when it comes to technology and how to create certain things.  Tessitore then began discussing how being a women in the field of technology comes with many different aspects.  These include a demanding atmosphere, sexual harassment and having very few women in the field.  She told us how more women over the past few years have joined the computer science field, but there is male culture dominance.  When talking about her company she states that “Customers feel that males would understand business concepts more”, more male customers just assume that because she is a female that she cannot understand or have the answer to the question.  She discusses how a male versus a female is expected to dress in this field.  With a male they are able to wear a casual outfit, jeans, button down, sweater, etc.  With a female they are expected to wear business attire, a dress, skirt, nice shirt, dress shoes, etc.  The idea of aggression is present when it comes to the male and female roles in this field.  Tessitore tells us how she felt that she could not be herself in this field and how it was overly aggressive.  She then discussed how toys are being gender based, such as making tinker toys pink that way a little girl would want to play with them, simply because the color is “girly”.  Legos is another brand that was discussed and how there are gender neutral Legos and then there are Legos for girls.  The gender neutral are for building and engineering whereas the girl ones are for “social play”, meaning they can play with friends and they are only made with one room to build.  She discussed with us the “imposter syndrome” which is the fear of always being behind, the “oh I’m not qualified” feeling.  She supports humanizing; creating a program that speaks to the person not as a female, and not as a techie, simply speaking to them as a human.  She spoke about equalizing and creating a community or teams were everyone wins.  She ended her lecture with saying that “it all begins with taking apart your home”.  I really enjoyed this workshop and the concepts that were discussed.  I am a huge fan of media and building something through technology and hearing Hannah Tessitore give her personal experiences helped to better understand the hidden facts of girls inside of computer programming.
            My second workshop that I attended was Creating Bully Free Classrooms.  The instructor of this workshop was Elizabeth Rowell who is from Rhode Island College.  In this workshop Rowell discussed how in the U.S. and other countries show that children from the ages of three to eight years old are involved in hurtful bullying that can escalate through the years.  She showed us a slide show about bullying.  Bullying can include more than one thing, students can be picked on their appearance, their disability, gender related, family structure or schoolwork.  Bullying is based on looking, dressing or acting differently.  Bullying is becoming a growing national health and life problem.  It creates a hostile and fearful school environment.  Rowell continues to discuss how bullying creates problems for the students such as psychological scars, anxiety and depression.  Because of the running late of the time it was difficult really get much done in this workshop.  She passed out papers that talked about the background information on Antibias/Anitbullying Education for young children.  She also gave us poems to read about bullying some of which were named “Remember Me?” along with “My Walk to School”.  Overall this workshop was very interesting and a lot of the facts that were presented were new to me.  Bullying is never an option and no one should have to feel that they are different from everyone else.  Elizabeth Rowell was a great speaker and had a very interesting workshop planned for us, even though we did not get to do everything, we got to read the poems together.

            After both of the workshop we returned to Donovan where we were to listen to our keynote speaker.  The keynote speaker was Chris Edmin, who is an associate professor in the STEM department at Columbia University.  Throughout his speech he discussed how the students and teachers should be able to relate to each other.  He kept all of the audience intrigued in what he was saying and never had a dull moment.  The main point that I gathered from this keynote speaker was that when being in a classroom, as a teacher, it is beneficial to keep the students involved especially when it is something that they would like doing.  When you have a classroom and the students are doing something that they don’t want to really do they are not going to succeed.  Chris Edmin helped me to open my eyes that children deserve to learn in more than one way than just the basic sit down classroom where the teacher is talking at them not were there is a full on teacher to classroom discussion.  These are some of the many things I want to take throughout my college and youth worker career.  I really enjoyed Promising Practices a lot more than I thought I would have.