Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cutest Video Ever

A little boy dedicated Bruno Mars song Just The Way You Are to his little sister who was born with down syndrome.  I thought it was cute and reminded me of the talk we had in class the other day about people with special needs being included with everyone else.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shor's Education is Politics

The two articles that I related Shor’s piece to was; Colliers piece and Christensen’s piece.   There were specific points in the article that made me think of these pieces for one reason or another.  First, was Collier’s piece.  “Piagel urged a reciprocal relationship between teachers and students, where respect for the teacher coexisted with cooperative and student centered pedagogy.” This reminded me of Collier because he talks about a language barrier and difference in backgrounds.  If the teacher and student can’t understand or connect to each other on a certain level, then their relationship is not as easy.  The students that respect their teachers the most are normally the ones who feel comfortable in that class and with that teacher.  If the student feels like the teacher doesn’t understand them and isn’t willing to put in the effort, then there is no respect at all.  This goes along with what Kliewer says about how working with children with disabilities is.  If there isn’t a mutual respect between the parent and the teacher, then the student has no hope of being included in the class outlines.
The second article was Christensen.  When Shor started talking about key questions to ask to get issues for the class started he brought up the news and the media.  Clearly I thought of Christensen and how the media distorts the images we see and therefore we are subject to discrimination without knowing it.  Kids grow up thinking something that they saw on TV is the truth, and therefore judge others until they are told that it may not be accurate.  Is there a body that regulates the ethics of newspapers? Why isn't the media more accountable for its actions?” These are questions Shor asks that directly relate to Christensen and it is done in a way that stimulates the students to be interested in what they are learning.  They become active and follow the outline that Shor gives us for a positive classroom environment between teachers and students. 
I think Shor had great ideas in how to make the classroom easier for both teachers and students.  Having a relationship based on respect, participation, cooperation and more allows for learning to happen while teaching values to the students about not only education, but about life and self.
In class I wish to know how other people motivate their students to participate when they are discouraged.  I find it very hard to do in the Providence Schools and am not sure if there is a better approach than what I am doing. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Social Justice Event

Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete
I attended the Women’s Study Event about the Image of Female Athletes in the Media.   I thought that the event was extremely relevant to me and to the discussions we have had in class.  I myself being a female athlete connected to what was being said and really agreed with the idea that women are stereotyped and objectified when shown in the media.  It also was ironic that every person in the audience of the event was a woman.  There were only about four women and the only reason we were all there was because of a class event.  The idea that women are being objectified in the media is not being taken seriously because it is not well known or spread.  No one is fighting it and therefore it is continuing to happen.
I easily connected the event to Christensen, McIntosh and the Title IX discussion we researched on our own.  First and foremost this completely ties in with the Christensen piece we read.  It shows that the media is playing a role in how we think and act towards female athletes.   The event talked about how female athletes are shown as doing “female” type things, like being moms, wives, or sex objects.  Consider tennis player Ana Ivankovic.

Does this picture tell you that she is an athlete? Absolutely not.  How would anyone know that she plays tennis and isn’t a playboy model?  There really isn’t any way to know.  Whereas if you look up Michael Phelps you get a picture like this:

It is not fair that woman athletes don’t get portrayed as being an athlete.  It is also a bigger issue for African American athletes.  Female athletes who are not white have a bigger problem with getting the attention as being a pro athlete.  McIntosh touches upon this issue when she lists out the availability for whites that blacks do not have.  In particular, when she says, “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race” it refers to seeing primarily white males because that is what is dominant in our culture.  However, when we do find black athletes we see the same issues pertaining to how females are displayed.  They are never playing the sport they exceed at.  Take Serena Williams.  Her picture below shows her in a bath suit posing in a flashy way.  She doesn’t swim! She plays tennis so why is this picture what society sees her as.  Yet when you look at Shani Davis you can tell he is a speed skater.  This is not equal or fair at all because it is sending the wrong ideas to those who are looking at this information.

              Shani Davis
Lastly, Title IX comes into play.  When we researched it on our own a lot of us brought up about Title IX being used for women to gain access to sports.  It is about having equal treatment for men and women because it is against the law to discriminate based on a person’s gender.  If this is the case, why don’t pictures get included?  It is most likely because no one really wants to take the effort to pursue the fact that it is not just.  Women are always seen as doing housework, being mothers, or being sexy.  Yet men get to be the macho athletes.  It is the idea that women still belong in the house waiting around for men to come home.  Title IX has allowed for women to become more equal in school, sports, careers, and life, yet we are still so far from truly being completely equal, whether it is between males and females or blacks and whites or straight and gay. 
If you want to watch part of the piece check it out below:

In class we should talk about some things that could be done to try and change the way people are portrayed in the media because it has really changed the thinking of children and how they grow up. It is the future of our world that is going to decide if we learn to accept of if we continue to shut out major ideas that need to be acknowledged.

Citizenship in School

Kliewer's Citizenship in School

Kliewer states that people with disabilities need to be included in the community in order to learn and participate along with everyone else.  It is based on the values of respect primarily because each individual learns differently than someone else, so why do schools make it harder to be accepted if a child has a disability.  One quote that I think sums up his entire piece is, “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.” This quote really stood out to me because it just hits on the fact that every person needs someone to look up to and rely on and be able to interact with in order to learn and grow up knowing how to be educated. 

The video above explains exactly what Down syndrome is.  It shows a family, in which a down syndrome little girl and her mother make the hard decision about what school to go to.  It is in her best interest to go to a special need school where she can get one on one help on speech and hearing.  She is allowed to learn through playing and benefits her in the long run.  It also shows a mother who has a little boy, who is a little further along in his education, and sends him to mainstream schooling.  He benefits because he can socialize with other children his age and participate in the things that other students are doing.  It is very interesting to see how parents really work to make sure they are making the right decision for their child. 
 One of the biggest themes I was seeing in researching down syndrome in the school system is having the guidelines and procedures ready for the school and for the teachers.  If the teachers are trained then the students with disabilities have an easier time adjusting.  They need the support, and sometimes mainstream can’t provide it because the classes are too big and there is not enough help to give the one on one a child needs.  Either way, most say that the biggest thing is that the goals for children with disabilities are the same as those without.  They want an education that will provide them to be successful in the world.  Learning is useful to everyone and should be taught no matter a person’s appearance or background.
The best things that a teacher can do and practice for a child with down syndrome are simple in saying but hard in doing.  The first is inclusion.  Keeping the student involved in what everyone else is doing is important for the child’s self esteem and even helps them in gaining intellectual strategies and necessities.  Giving direct instruction is also a key factor.  Most have a short attention span so distractions are a problem.  Keeping them engaged is important for routines, expectations and other life lessons to be learned.  Lastly, having a speech and hearing time is good because most down syndrome students need the extra practice learning these skills in order to stay on track.  Doing this without upsetting the child or discouraging them is the most crucial step. 
Most parents say that teachers need to also be educated in dealing with their special needs child.  Most mainstream schools don’t have the ability to provide the education, which is why most go to a special school.  In order to merge the students there has to be learning for the teachers as well.  They need to realize that they need to teach appropriateness and boundaries in a positive way.  They need to be able to communicate with parents and the child to make sure that everyone is on the same page and lastly, the child is unique, not a disease so don’t treat them that way.  

I really liked the sites I found online because I felt that they helped me understand what could actually be done in helping the merging process.  There is a lot of things that need to be worked on especially in the younger levels when a disabled child needs extra assistance.  Most teachers have 20 students so one on one is not an option.  When this changes, so can the divide.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Literacy with Attitude

Finn's Literacy with an Attitude
After reading Emily’s blog I realized that I have very similar thoughts on how to connect Finn with other authors we have read so far this semester. Delpit and Johnson run though Finn’s piece the most and have the strongest and most direct connections.
First off, I want to compare the connection from Finn to Delpit.  The quote, “he didn't say to an errant student, 'What are you doing?' he said, 'Stop that and get to work.' No discussion. No openings for an argument" shows a lot about what Delpit preaches.  If the students are told explicitly what is expected of them and what to do, then there won’t be such a cultural miss. There has to be control in the classroom and it has to come from the teacher.  If the teacher has authority, then the students know exactly what is expected from them.  When a teacher starts to ask instead of tell, it confuses the students.  We talked a lot about this in class and how primarily white teachers will ask a child if it is time to be playing with their toys.  This is giving the child a chance to think about what they want the answer to be and most often will just continue playing with the toys.  However, what really needs to be done is for the teacher to say put the toys away.  Then the child has no choice because they know exactly what should be done.  Delpit would say that being told the rules directly and explicitly is what needs to be done and that is what Finn is doing in his classroom with the students who need more attention.  He is such a hit with the students because he actually takes the time to tell them what he expects so there is a clear outline of what the class is going to entail.
The second connection is from Finn to Johnson.  Johnson would agree with Finn in educating those who are poor in order to help them succeed in the world.  If the poor were educated the same, then there wouldn’t be such a “divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health, and quality of life.”  We actually spent a great deal of time talking about these differences in class and I agree with both that if everyone was equal in education, then all these things would be closer together and there wouldn’t be such a divide in who is more powerful in the world.  Finn actually uses this in his own classroom when he explains what he wants and gives clear directions as to how he wants it done.  He gets through to his students because there is no longer a divide between the upper level students and the lower level students.  Each student receives the same directions and therefore has an equal chance of succeeding.

I want to talk about my own education growing up and how we had inner city kids at our school.  They received the same directions as everyone else in the room and therefore in my opinion were able to succeed if they put the time and effort in like everyone else.  I wonder if having them in class with the upper level students made the difference instead of being in an environment that treated you as if you were poor from the start.  Does location really make a difference?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Title IX Inspiration

What is Title IX??

So what about it??

Title IX Gender and Education

This video really stuck out to me on a personal level.  First off, I had the pleasure of meeting Dot Richardson this year down in Florida over spring break.  She runs the annual softball tournament for college teams that RIC goes to.  She is the most down to earth person you can meet with the knowledge and background far beyond what I can explain.  Everything she says in this video I find exceptionally true. 
First, she talks about why would women do something if we need a disguise to do it?  I actually connected this to our GLBT talk.  Most GLBT students hid from society because they are scared of being accepted.  Well believe it or not they aren’t the only ones.  We still have issues with race, and even gender in 2011.  Her second point talked about this.  She had asked why we even need something to tell us what is right and just.  This is just perfect because it doesn’t just relate to women, but to race, and sexual orientation as well.  Why can’t gay/lesbians get married? Why can’t women be the CEO of most companies? It’s because for a long time these ideas weren’t present in society so it is taking longer for everyone to catch up and be equal to others.  One of the last things she says is that it can’t be done by just women.  It is going to take both boys and girls together in order to overcome this battle.  Just like it will take whites and blacks and Asians and whoever to solve the race issue. 
It is the saddest thing to watch when you see someone with a talent so exceptional but they can’t do anything with it.  Can anyone imagine if someone told Michael Phelps that he couldn’t be an athlete? No, because then who would hold records for getting the most gold medals at one Olympics. What about Kobe Bryant or Aaron Hernandez? All these men had the chance to exceed at their talent, so why is there an amendment to make sure the Dot Richardson and other women like her could do the same?  The very last thing she said was if you could inspire just one person, then your life is worthwhile.  If we all work together to make sure the next generation is accepting and willing to go beyond the norm, then we won’t see these sort of issue that need the law to step in and tell us what is right and wrong.  We will just know!

The last thing I found, even though it is not up to date, is a chart that I thought was good.
HS Athletic Participation
It shows the increse is women being involved in high school sports.  The dramatic increse over the years is a great sign and hopefully increases even more over the next years.  Maybe it already has as this is from a few years ago.  Still good in my opinion, very eye opening.

This assignment hit very close to me because of me being involved in sports, I have some stories I could share with class about Title IX impacting my own life. I hope everyone understands that there are issues that affect everyone in some way or another so we aren't alone in being excluded from the "perfect" society we think exists.