Sunday, April 25, 2010

Talking Point 10

The article ‘Education is Politics’ by Ira Shor basically talks about how society should provide its children with a democratic education. Since the discussion included how society is a set up, it reminded me of Delpit's article on the 'Rules and Codes of Power'. This article was very long, but it was easy to understand. Here are some quotes that I thought were the key points made in this article:

1.) “Social and economic values, hence, are already embedded in the design of the institutions we work in, in the ‘formal corpus of school knowledge’ we preserve in our modes of teaching, and in our principles, standards, and forms of evaluation.” (13)
- This basically states that social and economic values are already in the teaching curriculum. This does not leave much room for change. Students just end up taking in what society has provided them through education, so that they can fit in with the rest of their community.

2.) “To socialize students, education tries to teach them the shape of knowledge and current society, the meaning of past events, the possibilities for the future, and their place in the world they live.” (14)
- Schools today only teach their students about the society of which they live and how to survive it – not to be creative and form their own knowledge. I agree with this quote - in school we are taught that education is a basic and important piece of succeeding in the future. We learn history to see how society has transformed and become better as the people and their governments join together. But what the students are not shown is that the government/political leaders are the ones that actually rule the nation, not us; although we could have the power if we join together. Really we are ‘A People And A Nation’ – as my political science textbook states.

3.) “Traditional schools thus prepare students to fit into an education and a society not run for them or by them but rather set up for and run by elites.” (20)
- Society is set up and run by people of a high class/ government. They set up the school system to bring up people that will contribute to their society and make it better. In the schools, the students are only given certain tasks (tasks that help them stay on society’s specially made track) – they memorize and do what they are told, while not questioning why they are doing what they’re doing or why is it necessary. It does not let us fully exercise all of our thoughts (some of our critical thinking is taken away). Schools teach kids that they live in a democratic society – where they hold rights and freedom - but it only is to a certain extent (schools are an example of that extent – being that they are pushed by their teachers, principles, and parents to follow the rules and do what the teacher says).

Education is politics, as Ira Shor states in his article. We should have schools that build on our creativeness and knowledge, not take it away. I've always questioned why school was a requirement and my answer was that it gave people the knowledge they needed to succeed in the world. We are brought up by our parents and society all telling us that school is the only way which we could actually live a very successful life style – when in actuality all we need are skills. We could be born with these skills, but we are not given the chance to see if we have them.

The things that I do actually teach myself are the things that actually stay in my mind forever. This leads me to believe that teaching yourself is the best form of education. If we are always taught what to do and how to do it, we are just being brainwashed into becoming something we weren’t born to be. We may only learn things for the time that we need it – for instance, we study to get a good grade on a test, then after the test we tend to forget what we had learned. School should be used as an aid, something that provides help when needed – we should not depend on our schools to teach us everything we know, it should only be used to expand our knowledge and creativeness.

This video gives a historical and modern look at schools and talks about a Democratic Education… relates to Ira’s article perfectly.

This website is all about a documentary called “Our Education. Their Politics” by Indoctrinate U (you can actually watch the whole documentary on Youtube)…

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Social Justice Event

“L.I.F.E (Live Inspire Fight Educate) is committed to help bring about a culture in which we can address common global concerns in a positive, holistic and transforming way and live together in peace with one another.” The L.I.F.E Conference on March 26 is the social justice event that I chose to attend. It was held all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and included seven sessions, five of which I attended. The conference was based on the issues of diversity and our society’s way of life. Three major topics talked about were: privilege, stereotyping, and diversity.

The topic of privilege was brought up twice in the day, by Anthony Bailiey and Dr. Bogad - each time in a different sense.

Anthony Bailey’s session was about understanding privilege. Each of us shared what we thought privilege was and together we tried to figure out a basic definition. Some words that came up during the discussion were: responsibility, opportunity, rights, discrimination, permission, and automatic. By the end of the session we felt the best way to describe privilege is by saying it is the better side of a comparison to everyone else. It relates to the statement Johnson had made in his article called Privilege, Power, and Difference: “Privilege is always at someone else’s expense and always exacts a cost.” (10)

Dr. Bogad’s session was more about privilege and power in general. She had discussed the different types of power that make up today's modern society: hegemony, disciplinary, and interpersonal power. When discussing this, a Caucasian woman had actually commented and said how the term ‘white privilege’ really makes her angry. Earlier that day, she had explained that because of the difficult life she had growing up and raising a family on her own, the term goes right to heart. She felt that ‘white privilege’ does pertain to every single white person. I understand where she’s coming from but I feel that if she learned more about white privilege and its existence then she would be a little less offensive with the term. As Johnson would say: “…if we dispense with the words we make it impossible to talk about what’s really going on and what it has to do with us.” (2) I would also relate her reaction to McIntosh’s article titled White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack because there’s a chance that she is carrying around this knapsack unconsciously, but I can’t speak for her.

Here’s an example of McIntosh’s invisible knapsack theory…

One activity had to do with difference. There were four big pieces of paper each labeled something different: masculine, feminine, black, and white. What happened was, everyone went to each paper and wrote down their thoughts on each topic, what came to mind when they heard the term. Here are some examples of what came to mind:

Masculine – dominant, aggressive, assertive, patriarchy, strength, power, embracing femininity as well

Feminine – beauty, strength, curvy, soft, pretty, sexy, powerful, dainty, caring, sensitivity, weak, delicacy, perseverance, seeing through fear, yin and yang, typical female roles (teacher, nurse, mother)

Black – hope, color, first, strength, beautiful, solid, awesome, struggle, Martin Luther, why is black and white listed here? what about everyone else?

White – privileged, strong, powerful, snobby, girly, weak
After looking over the lists I noticed many different perspectives, both negative and positive, on each topic. What I would like to know is who said what. What did the men say about the women, and vice versa? What did the white people say about blacks, and vice versa?

This discussion on stereotyping made me think about Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer’s article, ‘In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning’. I felt that maybe these stereotypical views would have changed and combined together if everyone had gotten some experience in each other’s world. As said in their article: “In so doing, we create opportunities for changing our understanding of the other and the context within which he or she lives.” (5) Kahne and Westheimer also talks about the importance of reflection - talking about their opinions and experiences – which is something we did as a group at this event, but without having any real insight or experience on the topic.

The people at the conference made the event very diverse by itself. There was a mixture of races and each presenter at the event was of a different nationality: Caucasian, African American, Native American, Korean, and Hispanic. I believe that diversity is key to having a better future because it gives the opportunity for insight into another’s world. By having presenters of different ethnic groups, the audience was given many different views on each topic.

Since the event took place at Rhode Island College, where there is a large and very diverse student body, I began to ask myself if this event would have turned out differently if it took place at a college where Caucasian’s took up the schools ratio. Throughout the day we had many group discussions that included the opinions of those of various backgrounds. This event was done at a very diverse school, what would be the turn out of this event otherwise? If most of the audience had been white, would many of the opinions actually turn out to be very similar to each other?

This is Christopher Johnson's Facebook page… here you can read many of his poems and see a video reciting one of them.

I liked this event a lot because they really got the audience involved and thinking. Everyone got to share their opinions about all the matters brought up. It was a very active event, being that they had games and activities where everyone could get up, move around, meet new people and express their feelings. I also liked how they brought about different topics with poems. They had a couple of really good poets that shared their views and insight on the different issues we had talked about. It was a really fun and productive event, a lot like FNED class.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Talking Point 9

This article, Schooling Children With Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer, talked about why children with disabilities and non-disabilities should join together in classrooms all over the country. Because people stereotype and judge without any knowledge or understanding upon the matter, the people being judged tend to be put at a huge disadvantage from the rest of society. As said on the first page of the article, the challenge is to erase the negative thoughts and attitudes towards people with disabilities so that they can be treated like normal people.
Here are some quotes that I believe were most important in this article:

1.) “[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 their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society. It requires the ‘helper’ to have the humility to listen for what the person says he or she needs. Also, the ‘helper’ must see that the interaction ‘helps’ both ways.” (73)
- Don’t you see a connection with the words 'communication' and 'community'? Without proper interaction with the people that surround us, how are we supposed to improve the world in which we live? We have to open our eyes, ears, and hearts so that we can provide the necessary help for a better society. It is our job as citizens of this country to accept difference and use our understanding and knowledge on the different issues so that we can become what we claim to be – a world in which all are created equal and are given equal opportunity.

2.) “You can get a sense of where a kid is compared to where people think they should be when using developmental guidelines.” (77)
- I think it’s a great idea to have guidelines; it is a very critical, important, piece of information regarding a child’s success in class. This way the teacher is able to supply facts and hard evidence that a child really needs extra help in a particular area – so the teacher and student can concentrate more on one subject than another. Or maybe a child may need to be taught a different way or maybe they just need more attention. By providing guidelines, the teacher can form goals for each of the kids which they can try to accomplish throughout the year.

3.) “The presence of a thoughtful mind has been linked to patterns of behavioral and communicative conformity associated with competence in logical-mathematical thinking and linguistic skills.” (79)
- This statement is true. We look at behavior and communication patterns to judge whether someone is smart or have a disability. i guess you can say that our society is pretty prejudice because we pre judge and exclude people who are disabled from the rest of society.

Basically the article points out that communication is key. Just by listening and understanding an individual that is different from us, we are able to learn and become better people. We are given the opportunity of insight. Both parties, disabled and non-disabled, should be able to come together and learn with and from each other. We all have the ability to learn, even if we have a disability.

This video talks about a school that provides general classes to disabled children…

This website provides a lot of information regarding educating children that have down syndrome…

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Talking Point 8

Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work by Jean Anyon talked about the different types of education students receive according to their social rank. The schools divided into four different types: working class, middle-class, affluent professional, and executive elite. Here are some quotes that I felt were important to this article:

1.) “…have argued that knowledge and skills leading to social power and regard (medical, legal, managerial) are made available to the advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working classes to whom a more practical curriculum is offered.” (1)
- I felt like this article did not prove this statement. It just gave a lot of examples, when it really should have given more insight on the curriculum the children were receiving from the teacher's, rather than discussing what they did and how they did it. From my experience, everyone is basically given the chance to get the skills and knowledge leading to social power – it is just the student’s interest to grasp that opportunity and to take advantage of their future. It’s the teacher's job to provide them with the necessary tools needed to be successful both in and out of the classroom.

2.) “We use ESS (Elementary Science Study). It’s very good because it gives a hands-on experience –so they can make sense out of it. It doesn’t matter whether it [what they find] is right or wrong. I bring them together and there’s value in discussing their ideas.” (8)
- I believe that the children of today learn better and more easily with hands on activities because it’s hard to forget something that you physically did. For example, I am a kinesthetic learner (hands on learner) – I tend to understand the material more easily and get better grades, when my teachers have me do a lot of activities or projects. Also, I feel that having discussions are very important – by discussing ideas people can help each other see how something really can or can’t work. I don’t believe that a teacher should just say something is right or wrong, they should dig deeper into the student and ask them why they believe something is so.

3.) “School experience, in the sample of schools discussed here, differed qualitatively by social class.” (12)
- After reading this article I don’t feel that it is the social class, but the teachers who make the schools the way they are. The teachers are the ones that provide the education and methods of teaching. I believe that everything depends on the teacher you have, considering where they attended college and their background. I have experienced many of the things described in this article from all the "classes," so I don't really see it coming from a certain community or social class - I find the problem to be coming from the teacher's themselves.

Overall, the article was okay. I felt like it gave too much examples and not exactly enough information about the curriculum the children were receiving. It said at the beginning, that it was going to talk about the different types of education and how each social class had its advantages and disadvantages in receiving the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in life – but I felt like Jean did not really prove her point.

Here’s a video that gives a little more information on social class and education…

Here’s another article I found called “Social Class Determines Child’s Success”…

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Random Blog 2

*This pertains to today’s discussion on Kenneth Clark’s doll experiment.

Everyone stereotypes, we just need to find a way to change people’s perceptions. I did not realize how much I stereotyped until I took this class. I don’t do it on a regular basis, but when my identity is at stake that is when it usually comes up. I want people to think that I’m a strong, caring, independent person and when I feel someone is trying to prove me otherwise I tend to put my guard up. Here are some examples:

- I don’t like people to say that I’m a girl, I prefer to be called a tom boy. When I hear the word 'girl' some things that come to mind are prissy and weak.

- I don’t like when people say that I am white skinned; although my skin is white, I sometimes hate to admit it. When I was a toddler and thought of white people, some things that came to mind were: fancy, upper class, ignorant, and overly privileged. Because I have grown up since then, my views have changed and I'm not as offended. I’ve always thought of myself as black, after all: I’m mixed, my father is dark skinned, most of my friends were/are of color, and you were accepted more easily in my neighborhood if you were not white; I grew up in the projects where most of the people were of color.

 Yet, my sister who is a little darker than me, use to want to be considered white when she was a toddler. She thought of the white girls as 'pretty'. She use to always want to wear white stockings to make believe she had white skin. And she always said how she wanted to look like the blonde, curly haired white girl on the front of the package; my sister had pin-straight black hair.

- In the videos presented in class today, all the children thought of white girls as the prettier ones – but I always thought of Hispanic and African American girls as the prettier ones. After watching tons of hip hop music videos with guys always going after the Hispanic or African girl, I tended to think that these types of women were better looking. I am mixed, but by looking at my appearance you may think of me as only Hispanic. I love when people think I’m Hispanic because I think Hispanic people are pretty – just like some African American girls want to be considered white because they think their pretty.

It’s sad that we live in a world of discrimination and stereotyping. Just the other day my grandmother was talking about my aunt who is white skinned but mixed and mostly of African American descent. Back then, when my aunt was in school, my grandmother had to fill out an identification card; if in any case she had gone missing. She had two options to either put that her child was black or white. Because of her race, my grandmother put black – but she later felt bad about it, thinking that if her child went missing the police would be looking for a girl of color, when in actuality she appears white. Since then things have changed, and more options are put on all applications.

Overall, I think that stereotyping originates from your background, lifestyle, what you have seen, and what you have heard. It is going to be very difficult to overcome such a broad topic because everyone has to accept the thought of physical and mental change, especially the media.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Talking Point 7

There was very little information online discussing the ‘gender and education’ topic currently at hand. After about an hour of research, I had come across about three different issues concerning ‘gender and education’ in today’s society:

Stereotyping Genders:
To stereotype, is to categorize. What seems to be the issue here is that people tend to categorize what a female or male should/should not do. Stereotyping can deeply affect the life of a child. It can make them feel inferior to the other gender, thinking that they can’t do something because of their sex.

Here is a great example of stereotyping genders…

Female Domination:
An issue that popped up during the process of my research, which was kind of surprising, was that females are becoming more successful in school than males. People are questioning why this is, and many ideas have popped up. The video below discusses the many reasons why and what we should do about it…

Gender Equality:
Mostly I found articles about gender equality taking place in higher education. Looking at the enrollments and types of degrees students were awarded, men and women seem to be at equal levels. One issue that exits as of now is that Hispanic women seem to be more dominant in those particular areas than men.

- These two articles talk about the gender gaps stabilizing… Article 1 and Article 2

- This article talks about the ‘boy crisis’…

After finding information about women “outpacing” men and then gender gaps stabilizing, I feel confused about what’s really going on. People have their opinions and that’s exactly what I got, a variety of opinions and little data to go by.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Talking Point 6

The website titled “Separate Is Not Equal,” and the video, “Between Barack And A Hard Place,” both talks about having equal opportunity.

In the video, Tim Wise was trying to explain how much society has not really changed since the integration movement had taken place. We still have some of the same issues that were being fought against during segregated times, some in which the website even mentions. I believe that we have accomplished our goal of being an integrated society, but with integration does not come equal opportunity. It may seem that racism does not exist in today's modern world because we have laws against it, we haven't experienced it, or it is not in plane sight, but it is here and it does take place.

The website shows how being separate does not mean equal, but the video shows how being integrated does not mean equal as well. Just because whites and blacks attend the same school, does not mean that all blacks are going to get the same amount and kind of assistance that a white student would receive. It’s said that the U.S. is all about equal opportunity, but still there is a such thing as privilege, power, and the right to hold opinion. Due to this, people of color are not given the same freedoms as whites.

Obama becoming president is not something that shows America that racism no longer exists. Tim Wise believes that racism 2.0 took place during the elections. Racism 2.0 is when a person deals or feels comfortable with another who is multi-racial (mixed races). Racism 1.0, which is discriminating against another race, was defeated in the election phase. But no one knows for sure if it is going to be defeated each and every time there is an election or a similar situation at hand. After all, at one of McCain's campaigns in Pennsylvania, there was a big controversy about Obama being in office.

Also, as history shows us - nothing happens right away, everything requires a series of events before a big change occurs. Obama becoming president is just one of the big events that will get our country one step closer to becoming a non-racist society.

Tim Wise states: "We are no where near a post-racial America… The proof of racial equity will be the day that people of color can be as mediocre as white folks who still get hired."