Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

So I really enjoyed Brandon’s lesson today! Despite feeling only about half alive I was still very into the material. I am sorry for harping on that one point! I’m still a bit confused about the wording in that question! I understood everything you all were telling me, and accepted all that, but I think my hang up was just the wording. I think I just wasn’t really comprehending the wording – the meaning of the sentence itself, not just the idea behind it. So if anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate it! (It was the sentence about culture being created by a lone person)

I loved everyone’s books today! You all are so creative with words and pictures. I can’t afford to buy everyones books from that company but I fully intend to borrow them and make spiral bound copies at Kinko’s as long as no one minds, when we get them back in the fall! I would just love to have copies, but we are all dealing with money shortages right now!

I’m sad that tomorrow is our last day of this class! I’ve enjoyed it so much, all the learning and conversing, and getting to know you all! I’m also sad to go back to work for a week, but I do need something to do and work at least makes me money. 🙂 I wanted to thank the Dr. Williamses and Brandon for a great experience as well! It was very enlightening and enriching. I’ve always had more “liberal” views on education, but this class has opened my eyes up to so much more – and I’m so thankful for that!

Here’s to looking towards the future!

k 🙂

The Experts!

I had such a good time today! It was fantastic getting to talk to the kids and get their input! I know we’re going to get a lot of face time with kids in the fall and spring, but it was great to talk to them before we got into all the methods learning while we’re still in the mindset we’re in now. I know the idea is to keep all the stuff from this class in our minds while we are teaching, but I know personally that I’m going to have a hard time while learning all the other new stuff in our other classes! It’s going to take me a lot of practice and reminding myself to be really on top of it all! Jasmine was really sweet, but was a bit shy at first. Once we got off topic she opened up though! 🙂 It was so cute too when we were going over the questions as a group, she was concerned that we the teachers didn’t get to go over our questions!

Anywho, I’m kind of dealing with brain freeze right now – not due to ice cream (although that sounds delicious!) but because there’s so much in there right now that I’m having trouble with coherent thought! So I’ll sign off and see you guys tomorrow!

k 🙂

What is the world coming to??

So the topics in class today were very interesting! There were some things I never had any idea about – like the one I still can’t wrap my mind around: the zero tolerance policy examples. I’m not sure I ever really agreed with “zero tolerance” anyways, but those examples blew my mind! Because a child brings in their own scissors you call the cops on them! Unbelievable! Not to mention the fact that there are actually real criminals out there committing truly heinous crimes – shouldn’t the cops be dealing with those problems! I know there are situations that require more stringent action than we provide in the classroom, but that has traditionally fallen to the administration – why are people pawning off their responsibilities in the cops! And how intimidating and truly scary for a child to be carted off the jail with no adult around that they trust! And like Dr. Williams said in class, how long do you go through that before the sight of cops no longer worries you? Plus, the message we are sending is that cops deal with if you’re bad – we’re no longer portraying them as the helpful officials that you should go to if you’re in trouble or need help or lost! Do you think that a child who has been carted off to jail for some nothing offense is going to ask a cop for directions if they’re lost? No! They might ask someone else, who turns out to be very unsavory, because we’ve essentially taught them not to trust the system. I agree that in some cases it may be necessary – I did have an instance in high school where two guys brought in knives and started to fight, in that case, yes drag them off, that’s endangering each other any anyone who may be standing around. But we need to get serious! I do understand that if it’s school policy there’s only so much you can do, but we are being sent in as change agents so maybe getting these policies looked at and revised should be one of our goals as a community! 

Ok I think I’m done for now! See you in the morning – I’m looking forward to going to Stone Mountain tomorrow!

k 🙂

Intelligence

I’m going to write a really short blog today….

My main focus today was figuring out that 1. our expectations determine achievement and 2. there are way more types of intelligence than I ever thought. I know we’ve discussed how important our expectations for our students are, but the studies we went over today and the readings we had really drove the point home. Also, the other studies, which I thought were ridiculous bordering on hilarious!, took me by surprise just from that standpoint that people still buy into that. It just seems illogical to me! As for the many types of intelligence – I knew about different ways of learning, so I guess they go hand in hand. It totally makes sense, I just never thought of it like that before! It was very interesting!

As a side note – it really bugs me when people go crazy over trying to ban books! I just think it’s nuts to try and decide what people are allowed to read, and also trying to dictate to other parents what they can let their children borrow in the library. Some parents can’t afford to buy their kids lots of books so their only access in through libraries. It just drives me crazy!

See ya’ll tomorrow!

k 🙂

Emotions

Well it’s sunday morning and my first emotion is one full of cuss words at myself! I remembered upon waking that I was supposed to have done this blog by 10:30 last night! I totally forgot and now I feel really bad that I didn’t complete my homework on time! But apart from that – I have been thinking about the King center, and our discussion, and actually the things we’ve been talking about for the last couple days, as I think it all runs together.

The King center was really cool – I thought I had been there before, but I guess I hadn’t, I’d only been to the birthplace before. It was really moving to me to be able to see what he thought of the movement in his own words. Also, I knew he was an activist for civil rights for everyone, but I did not realize to what extent. In school we really only discussed his achievements in terms of the black civil rights movement. To see what he tried to do for the poorer communities, and the anti-war attitude he had over the Vietnam war. I know rationally that civil rights and Vietnam occurred in the same time period, but for some reason they were always separate in my mind. They kind of come together now seeing this person overlap into both causes – it’s like finding the common link. I also did not realize that he was an ambassador or negotiator or something during the peace talks that followed!

The biggest thing that got to me though was the booklet that was part of the set up in the center of the room that was sort of “making it real” for people of today. It was a book discussing children and young adults who died for the cause. What specific part or role they played and how their death came to pass. All of their deaths were horrific, some not even being found until awhile after they had been killed. I’ve always been dedicated in my beliefs and knew to stand up for myself – but I’ve never been in a position where I had to choose if I were going to die for them. I’d like to think I would be that strong – because it takes great courage and strength of will to lay down your life for what you believe to be right. It goes back to something that was said in that blue eyes video – the things society has done to keep minorities down in this country, especially black people, has made them the all the stronger to stand up and fight – possibly much more stronger than any of the oppressors are. 

All this ties in to the other topics we’ve been discussing – social class, religion, sexual preference. All these things are just new ways society has come up with to classify people that the elite want to keep down. Slavery no longer exists (in this country), women have rights, workers are supported by unions – all these things have forced the ruling classes to come up with other ways to “put people in their place” – to keep them down and less and inferior. Though it’s not a new form of discrimination, it’s new in the sense that it’s more prevalent now because it’s kind of like the last frontier of discrimination. Like a last ditch effort to throw all your cards on the table and see who comes out on top – as the ruling class. 

When we talk about whether or not people or minorities are fighting for the same things, if it’s the same fight that black people had to fight – I’d say no, it’s not the same. But then I don’t believe that history truly repeats itself either, as people profess, as the same circumstances and ways of dealing with things are never the same. But the rights these different groups want boils down to the very same rights that black people fought for. And just like some white people walked side by side fighting for those rights for black people, so must we now as a society stand up together with these other groups and get them the rights they deserve as well.

It’s only when we stand together as one, and lift up one voice in mass protest of wrong, that things change and begin to get better. One voice isn’t loud enough to drown out the crowd, but that one voice can incite others to raise theirs, and so on, until it can no longer be ignored, no longer be put aside, no longer be considered unimportant. The challenge is finding that well of strength in each and every one of us that can lift us up during times of crisis and hold us to the cause, even if it seems things are not changing. That strength that burns in our hearts so hot that we know we can never back down until we accomplish what we set out to do – really create a society that is equal for everyone, that joins together as a community, that supports it’s weaker parts knowing that we are only as strong as the weakest part, that educates it’s young people in a fair and equal fashion, that embraces diversity knowing that it strengthens us all, and that takes a stance that shows we are not perfect, but that in striving to be we are able to become the very best of who we are, individually and as a larger society.

I feel very emotional over all this and I even received a really emotional email today from a friend talking about a student with disabilities and how society interacted with him. I’ll bring it in on monday – see you then!

k 🙂

Positivity

Hi All! So I had a hard time thinking about what I wanted to blog about today. We did a lot of interesting discussion to day overall, but usually something sticks out in my head during the day that screams “Blog!” – but I didn’t have that moment today so I’m going to ramble…

I enjoyed our make-your-own-culture game! I found it very interesting that we do automatically act the way our larger society acts with other cultures here. I’m not sure that it’s good or bad to know that – but definitely informative. I went into the activity thinking I could be open to learning another culture, but without being able to research or read about it beforehand, I found I had little to make me feel like I could find a way to fit in. When I travel to other places I’ve at least been able to find something out about the other culture, but in the absence of that I found I did feel the way many immigrants feel I’m sure in this country.

I liked our discussion surrounding Katy’s daily news today. It was a very emotional topic I feel and I think we all kept it together to really discuss what the real issues were. I hope that no one thought I was out of line in describing my personal experiences, but I just felt that sometimes it’s easier to come up with workable solutions when a problem is more personal, or at least closer to you than as esoteric idea. If anyone did not like it then I apologize, but I felt that my experience was worth contributing to the discussion and for further reflection when and if any of us has such a student in our class.

The video was very moving as well. I found the whole thing very interesting – but also sad. I think it’s sad that girls feel that way growing up, any girls. But to know that girls who already have a lot to face feel that even more strongly… And then the doll exercise with the children tore me up. To think that little children of color think of white as being good, when that is the race doing the oppressing, and black as bad, when it’s their own culture – that just blows my mind! That last little girl so badly wanted to be the white baby that it made me want to cry! To see the realization in her eyes say that she was equal to the bad doll was just terrible!

We must find ways to counteract all this negativity in our classrooms when we leave this program. There must be a way to give security and hope to these children. I know how cheesy it may sound to talk about the power of positivity, but it’s true. Being positive and showing things, issues, etc in such a light really can make a difference in how kids view themselves and the world at large.

See you tomorrow – I’m really looking forward to our outing!

k 🙂

Sexual Preference

So I’m going to be brief today as I just went on forever yesterday!

I was interested by the game show scenario we did today. It brought to the front of my mind that we do question homosexuals about all aspects of their life, whereas we don’t with heterosexuals. But the other thing that occurred to me as well, during our discussion, was that we always ask if they’ve had a heterosexual experience. As if they couldn’t possibly know that they’re gay if they’ve hadn’t tried it “our” way. But we definitely don’t expect that heterosexuals should have a homosexual experience to make sure they aren’t gay. It just popped into my mind, and I realized that it’s highly disrespectful of society to take that attitude. I do not think I’ve ever asked that question, but I can’t be sure, and that makes me upset with myself. I would like to know that I wouldn’t have said that to someone, not to assume or hope that I haven’t. Anyways, that’s just what I had on my mind during class – though I know there were many interesting topics today, that was the thought that stuck in my head!

See you all in the morning!

k 🙂

Privilege

So I have a few topics I’d like to touch on today….!

First – White Privilege was really interesting to me. I had noticed or knew about some of those things before but I guess I never put 2 and 2 together. Although I think the title needs to be changed to White, Able-bodied Privilege. Some of you may have heard me during lunch, but I’ve come up against many of those issues before because I have a “disability” that is visible. I have wondered if my arm was why I didn’t get a certain job and I was intentionally scared off a job due the combination of my arm and being a woman I believe. That kind of discrimination, or privilege, occurs to anyone who has something visible about them that makes them different. 

Second – I thought the video was very interesting. I especially liked two of her comments: 1. you can transcend having blue eyes internally, but can you transcend how others treat you because of it; and 2. the comment from the lady who was mad that she made her classroom circumstance feel the same way as Nazi Germany right before the Holocaust was widespread, when it was her belief that it wouldn’t happen here because we would catch it before it got that far. The first comment touched me because to me that’s why all these racial and stereotyping issues exist – you could eventually get past your own issues, but it’s much harder to be in society and have them treat you a certain way all the time, and try to get over that. Society’s opinion does matter – I hate to say it, because I wish it didn’t bother me – but it does. I think once we accept that it matters and why, then we can work towards making society’s influence a more positive one. The second statement got me because I have often equated our racial situation here to what happened in Nazi Germany – and not just our issues with the people already here, but the general paranoia over immigrants as well. My dad has been proud to be a legal alien here for over 25 years, but when all the hullaballoo was going on about the immigration acts and such he seriously started considering citizenship just because he didn’t want to get in a situation where they could deport him! I am glad, of course, that in this country we have kept things from getting Holocaust bad, but I’m not sure that that has been due to people consciously deciding to get things under control over the race issues, or it’s just happened by accident. Long before now, we could have easily crossed that line in our society so I’m grateful that somehow and someway we have kept away from that option – maybe only because we witnessed Hitler do it already and seen what it does to the people involved and the nation at large. However, I agree that assimilation is almost as bad because losing the culture that is part of a person’s identity just so they can fit in is close to losing the person as well.

Lastly – I want to address this idea of meritocracy. I know that in life many people (us as a class included) are born into situations we had no control over that made our chances of success greater. I do not think this negates the hard work you do in life to meet your goals and being rewarded for that. Do I think meritocracy is 100% a true part of our society? No I do not. But I do know that my parents worked very hard to get where they are, which is a step up from where their parents were (2 or 3 steps in my dad’s case) who were dirt poor in the depression. And I know that I’ve worked extremely hard in school and at work to attain what I have in my life as well. And I think that all that is connected to meritocracy. Now maybe it only applies to certain groups – be they race or class or gender or whatever – but I do believe it exists in some form or fashion. If it didn’t then why did I work so hard to prove people wrong about me in school, then get rewarded for doing so by being academically elevated. And by working double-hard at work I was able to gain the respect of my managers and co-workers because I did everything they did despite disadvantages – and also make enough money to by my own house by age 26, on my own. Kind of like my own personal reward for doing my best in my life. I see nothing wrong in that. I agree I have had certain advantages in life that came to me because of my parents, but they also worked to get where they are, so they were “rewarded” so to speak by attaining the place in society they wanted to get to. I feel like I’m going around in circles with this logic! I just have a hard time reconciling my experience with meritocracy, and the idea that I did agree with a  lot of what was said in White Privilege. If anyone has any thoughts they would be welcome!

So that sums up my rant for the day – sorry I went on so long!

k 🙂

Class Exercise

I thought our exercise in class today was very interesting. I know we all categorize people in our heads, before we speak to them, according to stereotypes. Not that it’s right or wrong, but it’s hard to stop yourself completely. I think the point I’m going to take away from this is that whether or not you do that in your head, the point is that you don’t let it influence your opinion of students. You have to put aside those types of thoughts you may have at any given time, and teach everyone equally and hold them all to your high standards of excellence for them. I’m not sure I’m putting my thoughts down here exactly as I mean them! I just mean that everyone has their own identity, and if you think anything like those stereotypes with came up, even the good ones, you need to put them aside immediately and focus on the individual. I think that did it better though I’m not positive! I hope you all can see where I was going with this!

Apart from that, I thought that class was very interesting today over all – but I’m really looking forward to the white privilege discussion tomorrow, I really enjoyed reading the article! Catch ya’ll tomorrow,

k 🙂

Serenbe

Ok so I know my title is unoriginal but there you go….

I had a great, though exhausting, time at our retreat! The place is very picture-esque and peaceful. Also, I’m so glad it didn’t rain on us! I think my favorite part was our “competition” – even though nobody won, I did enjoy working the challenges! Plus I feel I got to work with some people I hadn’t had the opportunity to do so with yet, and that was great! Also, I loved watching everyone’s skit! They were all so different that you really got a feel for people’s personalities. 

I’m also really excited to go out into the community with the Molinas. After listening to them talk at retreat I find that their cause is something I’m very passionate about and I look forward to learning more about it!

As for the rest – the weather looks nice so far (knocking on wood!) so I’m still planning on going to the rennaisance faire tomorrow, plus I’m going with my sister-in-law and my nieces so I’m very excited! Pray for nice weather for me and I’ll see you all on monday!

k 🙂