Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Justice event

For my social justice event I went to "gay bingo". I didn't plan on using it for my social justice event when I went in February, but it definitely fits! The third Thursday of every month gay bingo is held in Cranston by AIDS Project RI and Aids care Ocean State. I originally went because my mother and grandmother talked me into going with them. They had never been before, and neither of them is gay, but they had heard that you could win more money there than at regular So I went with them, not knowing what to expect. I was uncomfortable with the idea of going at first, because I am not gay, and I thought everyone there would think I was gay. I'm not sure why I would even care if people thought I was gay, but it definitely opened my eyes to the fact that even though I tell myself I look at all people equally regardless of sexual orientation, obviously I thought people are treated differently if they are gay and did not want to be seen as "one of them". I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised by the host of the bingo, a cross dresser (transvestite?) named Miss Kitty Litter. She (not sure which pronoun to use here) was very outrageous and entertaining, and told many crude (but somewhat funny) jokes, and seemed well loved by everybody there. With the exception of the time when we first walked in, everything went smoothly. When we first walked in my grandmother and her senior citizen friends saw a basket with free stuff (they love free stuff, doesn't matter what it is!) They thought it was matchbooks and started grabbing a bunch of them. You should have seen how red their faces got when we pointed out that they were condoms! I was proud that my mother and grandmother and her friends were open minded enough to go to the gay bingo, especially considering how outrageous it was at times. I was a little surprised, however, that with the exceptions of some pamphlets when you first walked in, you would never have known that the intention was to raise money for AIDS awareness. Nobody spoke about AIDS. But I guess the point was more to raise money than to raise awareness at this particular event. I think the money would be used to raise awareness about AIDS, but that wasn't the focus of the evening. The fact that it was so outrageous, (for example, some of the things the bingo players would yell out when certain numbers were called made ME blush), makes me think about Dennis Carlson. At first, I saw this event as the LGBTQ community marginalizing themselves, which isn't a very good thing, but as I thought more about it I changed my mind and know I think they were actually doing what Carlson would have wanted them to do, fighting erasure and invisibility. Especially the host, who was proudly proclaiming her gender identity and making no excuses for it. This also connects to Johnson, because these people certainly weren'y shy about "saying the words"! All in all, it was a fun experience. I'm not sure if I would go again, but it was definitely interesting!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Talking point 10

Ira Shor - Empowering education

This article seemed very long and dry to me when I read it, but when we discussed it in class it really made it more interesting for me. As a parent, I realize the huge influence teachers have in our children's lives. During the week, my children spend more time awake with their teachers than they do with me! It is extremely important that teacher's realize the impact they have on children's lives, beyond teaching them reading and math. I think complacency is the enemy here, and teacher's have to be extremely aware and vigilant about falling into the lecture and worksheet routine with their students because it would be very easy to because that is what we were brought up on and it is easy and familiar. I really liked Dr. Bogad's analogy about the river, because that described exactly how I was thinking about this issue.

"The teacher is the person who mediates the relationship between outside authorities, formal knowledge, and individual students in the classroom"
This quote helps to show the huge power and responsibility a teacher has with students. We must always keep in mind the impact of things we say and do, or choose NOT to say and do with our students.

"People begin life as motivated learners, not as passive beings"
This quote stood out to be because I am continously surprised at the love for learning I experience in my son's first grade classroom. Yet, as you observe older and older students, you can see that eagerness turn into apathy in many students. Something is happening to dismantle this natural love of learning, and it is very destructive.

"In traditional classrooms, negative emotions are provoked in students by teacher-centered politics"
This quote supports the last quote I chose, and goes a step furthur - it puts the blame of the negative feelings towards education onto the teacher. While I agree that that is where the blame should lie, I don't believe that it is lack of caring or dedication on part of the teacher. We are just stuck in a cycle of what we learned wnd what is familiar, and it is going to take a lot of insight and vigilance to make any kind of change

Friday, April 30, 2010

Talking point 8

Jean Anyon - Social class and the hidden curriculum of work

"In the affluent professional school, work is creative activity carried out independently"
This was a novel idea for me. School for me usually involved worksheets, tests, and one-word right-or-wrong answers. I think this is why I still prefer objective testing styles over subjective ones, because this is what I am familiar with. I think that as a teacher it would be a great idea for me to show my students that I value their ideas and thought processes enough to want more than a one word answer from them.

"In the executive elite school, work is developing one's analytical intellectual powers"
Another foreign concept for me. Even in college I have had classes where the professor only cared if you could come up with the one correct answer, not the route you took to arrive there. I have actually had a college professor say to a student in a freshman psychology class "You're a freshman, you don't get to have an opinion yet"

"School experience, in the sample of schools discussed here, differed qualitatively by social class"
This is a main issue of this article. Unfortunately, it's obvious to everybody that schools definitely differ greatly amoung the social classes. This just serves as one more roadblock placed in the way of lower social-class and minority populations by the "culture of power". It is one more way that certain people are kept "in their place"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Talking point 9

"I wanted to take other classes that interested me"
I think it's so sad that someone in this country can be denied an education that they want so badly.....denying educational opportunities to somebody because of their percieved inadequecies is not only unfair, but outright discriminatory. It would hurt noone to give people a chance, worst case scenario someone can be switched to different classes if the one's they are in are too advanced for them to handle. This is just another example of how children in our country become labeled and sorted into little boxes that there is no escape from.

"so what if you don't fit exactly like your supposed to? You know, it's not like I fit many people's idea of what a teacher is supposed to be like"
This is my favorite quote of the whole article.... imagine how wonderful our educational system would be if all teacher's thought this way in regard to all children!

"It's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and thats what learning is"
This quote is so true. Education is not all about textbooks and standardized tests, it is about the learning experience, learning life skills, learning to work with other people, especially those who may be different from us.

This article was very interesting to me. I do have experience with people who have down syndrome, my sister-in-law has down syndrome and I have had the pleasure of attending many events with her that were specifically for people with down syndrome. One of the major things I have noticed is the huge differences amoung those with down syndrome, some are capable of living on their own, and some are not, etc. There is a huge range of capabilities amoung people who have down syndrome, which makes labeling them as capable or incapable at particular things impossible. Individuals with down syndrome have many abilities and qualities that would be a wonderful addition to any environment, especially a classroom. It makes me so sad to continously be reminded how narrow-minded and short sighted our educational system can be.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Talking Point 7

Whoops somehow completely missed doing this post last week, better late than never....I hope :)

While researching gender and education online, I did find that almost all of the results focused on higher education, there wasn't very much information on gender and k-12 education. what information there was seemed to focus either on single-sex classrooms or females and science and math classes. This website has links to many different articles, again, most of them focus on higher education but there is a lot of interesting information in them. Doing this reaearch has opened my eyes to a lot of things, before this assignment I would have said that I did not notice any differences in the education males and females recieved in the schools I attended as a child, once again my "lens" has been cracked and my eyes opened to things I never noticed before, such as the middle school I attended had both male and female students both take woodworking and sewing class, however the girls could somehow earn an "A" in woodworking by sweeping the floor and cleaning up the sawdust from the boys projects. If a female student did attempt a project of her own, the (male) teacher was right there, practically doing the whole thing himself. This class just keeps adding more and more things that we need to be aware of as we become teachers, I'm starting to feel like another knapsack is being added to my back, filled with all of the stuff we are learning in this course, and it is much heavier than the "white priviledge knapsack".

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Talking point 6

The videos assigned to us this week were definitely interesting, I think I will try to find a copy of the book to read, but I think that it just reinforced some of the things we have already read about in this class rather than bringing up new issues. I definitely recognized some themes in the videos that we have seen before, such as "obliviousness" and the power that white people have in this country. Before taking this class, I honestly felt that race issues were not a problem in this country anymore, and now I realize that my feeling this way I was part of the problem. Obama is definitely a great role model for young people of color, it just offers another example to them of excellence in their race, but it definitely would be nice for them to have a wider range of role models in their everyday life, such as teachers, doctors, police officers, etc. I think it's sad that some people would use Obama to say that the problem is solved, when race is still definitely an issue when it comes to education, employment, the criminal justice system, and many other places. The statistics quoted by Wise on the video shocked me. I couldn't believe how many white americans still hold on to these negative stereotypes about black people. And if that many people admitted to these feelings, it makes you wonder how many more believe these stereotypes without admitting it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Talking point 4

Unlearning the myths that bind us - Linda Christensen

"The messages, or secret education, linked with the security of their homes, underscore the power these texts deliver."

I never thought of it before, but by giving our children these books and movies we are giving our approval to the material and subtexts contained in them, giving them even more power in the eyes of our children. We are telling our children that we approve of the messages they are recieving.

"Many students don't want to believe that they have been manipulated by children's media or advertising."

This is probably true of students everywhere, nobody wants to view their childhood through a new "lens" and see that some of their favorite childhood memories might not be as innocent as they believed. As with other things in this course, ideas that hit "too close to home", make me feel the most uncomfortable. Especially when I begin to see that things that I have tought, said, or given to my children might not have been the best choice, it makes me question my effectiveness and capabilities as a parent, something that is definitely not comfortable.

"I'm not taking my kids to see any Walt Disney movies until they have a black woman playing the leading role."

Reading this article made my look at my children's shelf full of Disney movies in a whole new way. It left me in a difficult position. On one hand, I want to remove these movies full of obvious stereotypes from the eyes of my children. On the other hand, I have also grown up watching these movies, and they seem almost a part of childhood to me. For some reason, the thought of not allowing my children to see them makes me feel sad, almost as if they will be missing an important part of growing up. Intellectually, that doesn't make any sense, even to me, but for some reason I feel an emotional attachment to these movies. I am taking my children to disney world next week, and I almost wish I would have read this article after we returned, so that I wouldn't have to look at Disney world differently.