Saturday, April 16, 2016

"Empowering Education" by Ira Shor

Empowering Education
By: Ira Shor


This article truly showed how to teach in a classroom and how to include all of your students. If they are able to participate and connect it to what they already know, they will be engaged and not resist anything that the teacher does.

On page 13, Shor says that "students who come to class with their own dreams and agendas, sometimes cooperating with and sometimes resisting the intentions of the school and the teacher". So Shor is saying the the reason some children go to school is to follow their dreams but then on page 15, he says that schools "teach students what kind of people to be and what kind of society to build". So what is is??? Are they going to follow their dreams only to be turned down and have to do what the school tells them is right for them? I think Shor is contradicting himself there....

Page 28 gave a good example on how to run a class so as to involve the students and not have resistance.
"...students could participate more, answer their peer's questions as best as they could, practice thinking out loud, and display what they already knew-all this before I provided nay academic response. They syllabus was built upward from student responses instead of downward from my comments...making a democratic curriculum is a way to authorize students as co-developers of their education...which in turn will reduce their resistance."

Teachers need to "embrace education without fear of boredom or of a cultural invasion" (54) and have their students use what they know and their cultural background to help them understand and let their peers learn more about them as well.

"Few students will learn academic material if it is lectured at them in a manner designed simply to transfer information...subject matter is best introduced as problems related to student experience" (54).
Then why do we still have lecture classes in college and in other schools? We are literally just told information to remember for a test and then it is forgotten. We need to be able to participate and relate it to other things so students can remember it and use it in the future and not just forget about after they write it down to be graded.

Point to Share:

This was a great reading to wrap up the semester with because you can connect it to a lot of the other readings we had, like Delpit and Johnson. Also was a great reading on how to structure your classroom and lesson plans.

I also thought Shor was a woman until I googled the name and realized he was a 70 year old man...because most of our readings were from a female's perspective.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
By: Christopher Kliewer


"I have Down syndrome, but I am not handicapped." (93)

Down Syndrome: genetic disorder where there is an extra chromosome 21; causes developmental delays as well as intellectual delays.

This article was a hard read. The personal stories definitely helped me understand it better. I don't know how else to organize this post so I am just going to go by page and type what they made me think of.

"Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptance." (75)
 I believe that every person, no matter who you are or what you have, should have an accepting community that helps them strive in whatever they do. If there is no accepting community, then that person cannot strive and will just go deeper into a hole and not believe in themselves.

The story on page 78 about Anne reminded me about a young guy in my high school, let's call him Bob. At my high school, we have a Special Ed. room. It is located in a huge classroom where the art hallway and music hallway meet. There are many teachers in the room for the maybe 7 students that stay in that room all day. Bob stayed in that room for all of his high school education. In fact, he stayed in that room and learned until he aged out of the system at 21 years old. My high school also had a Playschool Program where kids from the community could come in and be taught and we would be certified in the Rhode Island teaching standards. Bob loved kids and his aid thought it would be great if he could come in the room and hang out with the children while we taught. He was in the room each day the children were there for all 3 years I was in the program. When he spoke to us, we could only catch a few words. His aid understood everything he was saying since she was with him for many years. The children also completely understood what he said to them and always wanted him in the room. Each day, the "teaching" group of students would set aside time for Bob to talk to the students and basically teach them, too. Bob and the students loved that time and were so involved. Sadly, Bob turned 21 and had to leave and the children were so sad because they knew he wouldn't be coming to teach them anymore. Those days were just so important to Bob and he loved them and I wish they would let the other students in the Special Ed. room be more involved with the school and community rather than just staying in that one room all day and go to art or music at their designated time.

"No child...[is] inherently an intellectual burden to a classroom; in fact,...each student...[contributes] a unique and potentially valuable dimension to the web of relationships that formed a school community." (83)
The children should be able to interact with students who are not disabled and learn just like how non-disabled students learn. Some may need an aid or extra time, but accommodations should be made so they can learn and strive. Some students at my high school had disabilities and had an aid with them in certain classes and had extra time on some assignments and they did perfectly well interacting and learning with other students. Just like on page 92, when integrated into a "normal" school, the disabled student did completely fine and actually improved on her gross and fine motor skills.

The spoon and block test for Isaac on page 84 just aggravated me. He did EXACTLY what the psychologist told him to do, which was sort the spoons from the blocks, and Isaac did it but in his own way (licked the spoons). He sorted the spoons and the blocks but not the way the psychologist wanted him to so he was not given credit...but there were no spoons with the blocks and no blocks with the spoons....crazy lady.

Lastly, on page 86, John moved to Mendocino, California and considered it his "safe space." That relates to August and how the LGBT community needs a safe space. Disabled people need safe spaces too....everyone should have a safe space.

Points/Questions to share:

Just a thought/ this where Oakes' tracking should come into affect? Should we not categorize by disability and say "No you have Down Syndrome, you aren't smart, you belong in a special ed room" but instead say "Oh even though you have down syndrome, you are in the 70-80 range and belong with other students in that range even though they don't have down syndrome".....I don't know, it's just a thought...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Map the Authors

Here is the link to my "Map the Authors".

It's basically just all my notes and ideas from FNED class time and from my time at my SL classroom. There might be some sentences that are basically the same because I did not know how to word it but I will figure that out for the Pecha Kucha.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Social Justice Event: The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues
Thursday, February 11, 2016

To say the least, this event was awkward. I took my friend who went to it last year for her social justice event and she filled me in on everything. I went on a Thursday night and it was held in the Student Union Ballroom at RIC. All proceeds went to the Sojourner House, which is a domestic violence agency. There were 19 monologues, plus an introduction. All of these monologues definitely touched a nerve...some you were able to laugh at, some actually included you yelling out and being a part of it, some were just so awkward that everyone laughed, and others were like 
oh my god
I can't believe those things happen
wow yeah I agree, that is true.
This was an eye-opening experience because you got to see these students from RIC perform with such emotion and also hear a few of their stories at the end. In the pamphlet, there were short biographies of each individual who participated at the RIC event. I read through them before the show and again after the show and was able to put faces to the name and description and was like
WOW I would have never guessed that happened to this person!
It shows you don't know what happens behind closed doors and you need to be able to talk about these things and open up and voice your opinion and that will help others do just that. I would recommend that everyone go see this at least once in their lifetime. If not, then just google "The Vagina Monologues" and watch a few videos. Here are a few links to monologues:

Connection to articles read in class:

1. This event relates to our class discussion of SCWAAMP (Straight, Christian, White, American, Able-bodied, Male, Property Owner). Male-ness was definitely not a factor because this was an event about women and to help end domestic violence. There were no men on stage but there were some transgender people. This shows Straight-ness because definitely not everyone was straight. White-ness was also shown because not everyone was white and that domestic violence can happen to anyone, no matter the color of their skin and also because every female has a vagina, also no matter to the color of their skin.

2. Gerri August's article, Safe Spaces, relates to The Vagina Monologues because it shows how people of the LGBT community should feel safe no matter where they go and that people should be educated about it and not fear it or bully the people. A few of the actors were transgender in this event but you could tell by the way they performed that they were comfortable in their own skin. They wanted to share their story to help others out. That takes a lot of confidence because you never know how people will respond to that. I am glad that they were able to share their own personal stories with us and trust us because there is no reason anyone should be afraid to "come out".

3. The last article that The Vagina Monologues relates to is Allan Johnson's Privilege, Power, and Difference. People in the LGBT community should not be bullied. People should stand up and say the words, like Johnson says. People need to know they are safe no matter their orientation. Not standing up for someone is pretending that there is no elephant in the room. The more you talk about the issue, the more comfortable people will feel and the less the LGBT community will feel like an outcast. Being LGBT is a change in this world because people are being more open about it. The more it is talked about and understood, the less problems people will have and will be more accepting.

Literacy with an Attitude by: Patrick Finn

Literacy with an Attitude
By: Patrick Finn


I loved the way this article was set up. Patrick Finn writes about how children from different classes receive and use their education. He says that if the working-class "get empowering education you get literacy with a attitude....The fear was that literacy would make the rabble aware of the injustice they suffered, and they would attempt to overthrow the ruling class violently and take its place" (xi). The working-class deserve the same education as everyone else. They are working hard to make a living and pay their bills. It is not entirely their fault that their children got stuck in a school where teachers just have them copy their notes and not really teach them anything. They cannot afford to move to another town where the teachers come from the middle-class and actually teach and give the students possibilities and learn the way they want to.

There are definitely some exceptions in schools where the teachers are actually teaching and want the best from their students, such as how Finn taught at the Carol Jason Banks Upper Grade Center in Chicago. Finn knew he had to keep his students engaged and it showed how well he did that. The assistant principal would purposely slow down near Finn's classroom to show visitors how well he could control his class and help the students get the education they deserved.

This was really eye-opening because I did not expect the differences to be that dramatic between working-class, middle-class, affluent professional, and executive elite schools. It is all based on what your parents or family makes. It is all based on careers and income. I do not think that is right. Your family's past should not determine what type of school category you have to go to. I believe that there should not be a working-class school category because all students should be receiving the same education from teachers willing to teach it no matter what the circumstances. Schooling should be the same for everyone.

Points to share:

My high school was in the middle-class school category...but I would say it is headed towards the affluent professional school category. It has bits and pieces from each category. Students should be willing to learn what they can before getting a job because it will help them in life. Each student should want to succeed and do and be the best they can.

There were definitely a lot of connections to previous readings we had, such as Kozol (who Finn mentioned in his first chapter), Kristof (Finn mentions "land of opportunity" at the end of chapter 2), Delpit (rules and codes of power), and McIntosh (white privilege).

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education
Website, listening, NY Times


Studies have shown that it is not the race of the students that is significant, but rather the improved all-around environment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are more engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on. The poorer students benefit from the more affluent environment. “It’s a much more effective way of closing the achievement gap,” said Mr. Kahlenberg.
-"Separate and Unequal" by Bob Herbert

Herbert is saying that it is the resources and environment in the classroom/school that helps the children learn. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin. I believe that anyone can benefit from a "more affluent environment", not just poor students...It can help anyone in any school.

The achievements of the modern black freedom struggle, which followed the victory in the Brown decision, have reverberated throughout society and provide a model for social change. They have given inspiration and encouragement to other Americans fighting for equal rights and access to opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disabilities.
-"Equality for All" from website

The Brown v. Board of Education decision has basically lit a match under all of the other issues we face in America. Equality for all is a huge thing that everyone wants, no matter their gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. It would make for a much peaceful place to live. Over 50 years later, and to this day we are still dealing with these issues that should not have become issues in the first place.

And I would go to schools. And they would just always be trying these new things that actually sounded like they might work. They would do things like, we'll put a great magnet program here. Or we are going to really focus on literacy. We're going to start an early college high school, in which kids would earn college credit in high school. We're going to improve teacher quality. We're going to replace the principal, or do more testing. They're always talking, really, about the same things. I mean, you could take these conversations, and go from district to district to district, and you will always hear the same things.

Schools are always creating new things each and every year for students to improve. I know my school kept on changing the graduation requirements and adding new EEP classes which are college credits. All schools are changing and updating to accommodate their students and to "be the best" district.

You mean fixing segregated schools versus integrating schools.

Versus integrating schools. Because integrating schools, the very conceit of integrating schools is that you have to pay attention to race. And you have to acknowledge that you have a problem with racism. And it's more comfortable to say that it's not an issue about racism. It's just an issue about high poverty schools that need help and need more money and need more resources.

It's just resources, not race. 


Integrating schools is because of race, because everyone deserves an equal education. People do not want to admit that integrating is because of race, they want to say that it is to help the school get more resources and help for funding to make it a better school.


I still cannot believe...but yet I can...that these problems are still ongoing. People and school districts are using bandaids instead of actually doing something for a change. There needs to be equality everywhere for everyone.