Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Silence

For this blog I’m using Madison’s post on “Safe Spaces”. Madison starts off her post by mentioning how she didn't remember her teachers incorporating anything LGBT in her school curriculum. I like her have the same thought. As I was reading I kept trying to remember a time in school when I learned about anything LGBT related in class from grades k-12. Her next comment was about “Day of Silence”.  Day of Silence is a day dedicated to the silent protest of the bullying of LGBT. I, like Madison, never fully understood the concept of this day when I was in high school. I remember there being announcements in school to take part in the day of silence and support the LGBT group but never thought anything of it. They made t-shirts reading “ Born This Way”, and I thought it was a clever way to incorporate a song into feeling a sense of pride in oneself. I wish a few years ago I knew what I knew now.  Until reading this article I found a new perspective of the day and how the day of silence is truly not just a day where a group of kids remain “silent” but are protesting the bullying many kids have to deal with. Madison states “LGBT students need to feel like they belong or have a space in a classroom and even in society.  Including these ideas in a school allows others to be aware of what is around them and maybe even gain more comfort on the idea.

 Not one individual is the same but everyone should be treated equally.” I couldn't agree more. No two people are alike and every single person should feel as if they belong to something. I really learned a lot from this article and from reading others blog posts on the article.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Social Justice Event Reflection

Recently I went to the Youth In Action event and have to say I was truly amazed. This group of young teens is truly inspiring and each one of them has many experiences in school, which they shared.  They began to share their best learning experiences or favorite teacher and as the discussion continued people from the audience jumped in. All of the teens in the front talking shared both good and bad stores throughout the discussion as well. One point that really stuck out to me is how open and willing they are to share stories. Though that was the point of the seminar, some of the experiences they had in the classroom were very shocking. For example, being called “ dumb” or told, “you’re just taking up space” by an educator is so disheartening to hear and awful that anyone should have to be told that.
 The ages of the Youth in Action members varied and their ethnicities were either Latino or Black. Many of the Youth in Acton members shared stories about being “stereotyped” based on where they came from, their ethnic background, or their personality. Which I don not think is fair and is so awful to hear. One of the girls stated, “ Just because I come from a tough area of the city, does not mean you know anything about me.” They want to succeed and though many people may choose to judge each one of the based on where they have grown up or how they are perceived in person, all of them are truly aiming for success. Society has a way of judging and making it a point to put a label on every person. If you do not fit the “social norm” then who knows what people will say about you. 

Many people in the audience agreed the statement made that it was the classroom environment and the teachers role in the class that are a giant part if the student as a learner. I could not agree more. I feel that the teacher has to want to help his or her students and make the environment comfortable for every student. This is not as easy task, but being welcoming and giving the same amount of RESPECT to everyone is key. No matter what race he or she is, where he or she lives, or whether the student is shy or talks the entire class, each one deserves affair amount of respect.  I feel as though Youth in Action basically defines what FNED is all about.  We have talked a lot in class about learning in different areas and having the “privilege” or not. Our discussions that we as FNED students have were almost the same that these young teens had during the seminar. Our readings of Delpit and Rodriguez really came to mind when I was listening to the stories as well. Even Collier came to mind. A little bit of all three authors stuck out to me when people were talking and sharing stories. You can see how there is a “don't eliminate culture” feel to some of the stories and experiences, but some had the essence of the “power” and the teacher is the one who will make the rules and you as a learner must learn everything.   I am truly inspired by each and every one of them. I give each one of them huge props for staying focused and wanting to push forward to success. This was a great event and I’m interested to go to more events in the future! This link will bring you to the Youth in Action website for more information on the activities they do.    This other website  shares many ideas of children in school and how they should be able to comfortable in the classroom environment and ways teachers make their classrooms open to all students. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"They both grew in wisdom and they learned how infinite and mysterious knowledge is.."

This week’s reading was truly one I enjoyed. I first have to say that after class on Tuesday and hearing about the fact about prison beds being accounted for based on the reading levels or scores of children really bothered me. I could not get over it and feel awful that young children are having their futures pinpointed in a direction without a fair chance.

I could write on and on about how awful I feel about that but never the less, this week’s reading was one that interested me a lot. I am choosing to go with the argumentative response for “Teaching Multilingual Children”. Everything in this article by Virginia Collier, is explained in such detail and I was so interested in how every point all fit together like a puzzle.  The first paragraph, Collier asks, “ Don’t we as teachers wish that somehow we could capture this romanticized vision of what learning is about?” (222) And then asks,  “ How do we prepare students to face this complicated world we have created and yet allow them to retain their love of learning?”  She argues that teachers in the classroom face enough challenges today but states that things become more complicated in the multilingual classrooms.  Not once does she state that there are any bad sides or troubles to having the classroom, but rather argues points that enforce why these multilingual classrooms are so important and how having the students within these classrooms learn English properly can be important for their whole learning journey. “ Teachers must be creative and flexible, serve as a catalyst for discovery as students learn to operate efficiently in their multiple worlds, be able to mediate and resolve intercultural conflicts, keep students on task and serve as a support base.” YES! This point is so key in why making sure all students are on board with what’s being taught. These students who are learning English as a second language are not going to wake up one morning and know every word of the English language; not to mention that we have so many social cues and “slang” terms that new words are created daily.

The guidelines to “learning how to teach English, as a second-language” were very interesting.  Many of the guidelines were things I never thought of. Collier’s argument stating, “there are differences between first language and second language acquisition in children.” Her points that children will self-correct over time as they progress and how their families play a big role in learning was so interesting. Collier includes the “caregiver speech” and six features that go along with the speech.
This whole article is so fascinating to me as to how teachers are a huge role in teaching English as a second-language.  On page 228 Collier describes the bilingual teacher. This teacher first of all learns to become a teacher and then takes on the differences between language and culture (228).  The bilingual methods are another big argument point in this article. Code-switching and literacy development in English before home language are two of the methods. The literacy development is argued to be worst option. Collier states that sadly this option if offered to offer as well. This involves dismissing the home language when working on literacy development. 

I was so interested in everything the author had to say. It made me want to go find students and help them learn to read and help them get up to par as to where they should be; even learn English. Though the article does state that the teacher usually has to know the second language or there is an aid available to help in the classroom when teaching English as a second language.  I was also in a way inspired to continue my journey towards becoming a teacher. The points I mentioned that the author argued and then others I did not were truly something to consider. After the story in class and reading this article, I want nothing more than to help children learn and become successful. Bright futures all around.  I think it definetly takes a lot to be a multilingual teacher in a classroom and think thats something we as a class can discuss! I also went and did some searching for some ways teachers help students who are bilingual in their own classes and found this post. Its a short but good read. The Scholastic website has tons of teacher posts and comments about all sorts of classroom and teacher activities with the class as well.

Friday, February 7, 2014

“ You know how your mama used to say you listen to the radio, but you hear your mother?"

The reading “ The Silence Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s children definitely was not the easiest read. I found myself rereading different paragraphs and finding myself somewhat lost when trying to understand what author Lisa Delpit was saying. But eventually (after rereading a couple of times) and running through different points Delpit makes, I can say that many of the statements and opinions she has through the reading made me think. I decided to do a "quotes response" blog for this week.
The very first page she quotes a black woman teacher and the woman said, “ you know how your mama used to say you listen to the radio, but you hear your mother? Well they don’t hear me” (21). It is really sad to think that people have come to feel this way.  What is being said is heard but others do not absorb the words being said. I also made this the title of my post because even after reading the whole reading, this was what I kept going back to.

On page 24 there is a small list of the “ culture of power,” and the 5 aspects of power that follow. The one that I really took note of was “ Those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge—its existence. Those with less power are often more aware of its existence” (24).  If you think about it…how many times have you yourself been in a position where someone has more power then you and you soon realize it’s a weird feeling not being in control or having someone else tell you what to do.  Delpit goes on to explain that, “ those who are less powerful in any situation are most likely to recognize the power variable most acutely” (26).  It makes sense and I could not agree more that when someone is in a position of power he or she is less likely to admit they have total power and try to hide their knowledge of it.  

The reading then begins to go into the student teacher relationship and on page 32 Delpit states, “ The teacher cannot be the only expert in the classroom. To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them” (32).  I am a strong believer that student and teacher collaboration is something a classroom will always need and should have. Students offer opinions and creative ideas that help them engage in learning and become active learners.  The example author Delpit gives is, Amanda Brandscombe was working with students (classified as slow learners) and had them look at rap songs and figure out what the lyrics meant and figure out the patterns within the song. This decoding of songs and analysis done but the students helped the teacher to work her lesson of grammar and then Shakespeare’s plays (33).  This was a perfect example given of student and teacher showing power in an area of expertise.  In class I feel we could discuss why teaching styles between different teachers are the way they are.  How power affects people in many ways and not just in schools but in different areas. I wondered after reading, how different teachers create ways to connect to their students. I came across websites of how teachers create lessons that get their students involved and interested in the lessons by incorporating things they can relate to. I also came across websites on positive relationships between students and teachers and found this one of the teacher focusing on the goals of the students. This reading also shares the teachers working with different ethnicity's in the classroom and creating respect between the students and him or her as a teacher. Check it out!!