Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pecha Kucha

Monday, December 5, 2016

Promising Practices Reflection

On Saturday November 5th I attended the Promising Practices event at RIC. The two workshops I attended were How Mentoring Relationships Improves Resiliency of Our Youth and Our Workforce and Building Resiliency Through Play. The keynote speaker was Dr. Robert Brooks. Brooks did a fantastic job of using his stories to influence all of us listeners to use resiliency in our future work as teachers.

Workshop I- In this workshop, Ana Almedia-DoRosario discussed the benefits of giving youth the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with professionals, and what it means for their workforce. Mainly, how high school students with an interest in the medical field can be mentored by Lifespan professionals. Ms. Almedia-DoRosario explained that Lifespan's mission is to reduce health disparities and promote health equity through healthy behaviors, healthy relationships, and healthy environments. They do this by improving the social, economic and environmental conditions in our communities. I found that this workshop reminded me of Kristof's The Land of Limitations.  In this article, Kristof explains that the main character, Rick, had a lack of opportunity.If you are not born into a rich or successful family, the odds of you becoming rich and successful on your own are slim.  If you give underprivileged high school students to be mentored, it will give them a different outlook. It may give them enough courage to believe in themselves and try their hardest to succeed.  If Rick was given a mentor, who knows how his life may have differed. I did not enjoy this workshop much because it was given to us from a PowerPoint, with no hands on aspect at all. It seemed very scripted. Also, because it mainly talked about Lifespan professionals mentoring students with an interest in the medical field, I was not engaged due to the fact that I do not match the description.

Workshop II- In this workshop, we learned about resiliency through play. This workshop was the exact opposite of the first workshop I attended. The whole thing was hands on, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There was nothing but laughter throughout the classroom as we introduced ourselves with weird handshakes and played games.  Throughout this workshop, I learned that games are a great way of getting students to interact with one another.  I learned that play is a great mechanism to release stress, build social relationships and resiliency.  I'd like to compare this workshop to McIntosh's article Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth, merely for the fact that during these activities, no one had any sort of privilege over the other.  As I looked around the room, there were people of different races, genders and identity, but that did not stop us from smiling, laughing and goofing around with one another. There was no discrimination whatsoever, which made this workshop comfortable for everyone, even while doing uncomfortable handshakes. Here is an article that touches upon the importance of play in early childhood. Oh, and here is another one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tracking- Argument

I would like to start off this blog by stating that I believe the "tracking" method is a whole bunch of bologna. I understand the concept of putting the students who normally excel all into a specific classroom where they can all continue to excel together. But what about the kids who are dying to excel, but are not given that opportunity? Certain students can be placed in a low-ability classrooms, who have so much more to offer. Because they are placed in that classroom, they are now taught basic skills through basic learning techniques such as workbooks, kits, or easy-to-read stories. On the other hand, the students in the high-ability classrooms are being taught classic/modern literature, expository writing, and specific vocabulary to help them receive better test scores, which in turn, gets them a better college education.  In my high school, like many others, there are advanced classes for the advanced students.  These students have to have a certain grade in their previous classes to be considered for this advanced class. What I like about this method is that, as a student, you could excel in math, but English is not your strong suit. You are then placed in an advanced math class, and stay in the moderate English class where you can continue to learn at your own pace. Rather than hand-picking the all around more advanced students and tossing them in a classroom together for their whole high school career, the method my high school used looked at your knowledge and grades in specific classes. 

Centers and Margins- Extended Comments

This post on Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth, will be an extended comments piece on Bianca's Blog!

In Bianca's Blog, she gives those on the outside an inside source by talking about her Service Learning Project experience.  A student in her assigned classroom is transgender and identifies themselves as a male.  Bianca talks about how she immediately took note of this special case, and made clear to herself that she would do what she could to make this student feel more comfortable in, what can be, an ignorant high school environment.  She tells a story of one time where she slipped up, accidentally using "she" instead of "he." Embarrassed, Bianca quickly corrects her mistake and apologizes to the student, and he held no grudge against her due to the fact that it was merely an accident.  She leaves us by saying, "going forward I absolutely will make the conscious effort to respect him and his identity."

I loved this post because this is something that people who are on the outside of the LGBTQ community struggle with regularly.  In my high school, I sat back and watched throughout my four years a male transition into a female. He was no longer Michael anymore... She was Chloe.  I can only imagine how hard it was for Chloe. I remember a specific time my sophomore year where my peers and I witnessed the transformation.  I looked down the hallway to see, what looked like, a woman.  Wearing a dress and high heel shoes.  Only thing that threw me off was the shorter haircut she seemed to have.  As the day progressed, one of my peers had asked me if I had seen Michael today.  Michael and I were never friends, only because we had never quite crossed paths.  I had never once had a class with him or hung out with his friend group.  He was quite irrelevant to my high school career, actually.  So when my peer asked if I had seen him, I shook my head no.  He then began to explain that he was wearing a dress and high heel shoes and, of course, it clicked to me. That woman I had seen earlier that day was, indeed, Michael.  For the remainder of the day, that was the talk of the school.  All around me, people were making fun of Michael. I felt embarrassed for him. Michael had to have heard the insults and rumors coming from all directions, so what was he to do next? I figured he would change schools or just go back to the outfits that he wore before that day. Boy, was I wrong. He came in the next day with another women-like outfit, and the day after that, and the day after that... I think you get the gist of it.  Michael was not embarrassed one bit, because for the first time in his life, he could be himself... or herself... See! It's quite easy to make that mistake. I feel as though people in the LGBTQ community realize this struggle and, for the most part, will understand that accidents happen.

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us- Hyperlinks

The piece, Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us, by Linda Christensen discusses the important role that media plays in our lives from the moment we are brought into this world. The main topic of conversation is the "secret education" delivered by children's books, cartoons and movies.  In this article, Christensen uses her own classroom as the main experiment.  The students in Christensen's classroom immediately begin to discover the stereotypical aspects that occur within simple children's cartoons, such as Daffy Duck and Popeye, which, to the average eye, may seem to be normal cartoons. When told to take a closer look, the students start to realize certain stereotypes.  Christensen asks them to notice what types of roles the black, Spanish, and Asian cartoon characters play. Are they the lead role of a servant? As generations pass and time's change, you can find black princesses such as Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, an Asian princess such as in Mulan, and the first Hispanic princess, Elena in Elena of Avalor, but in older cartoons, these races and genders were thought to be of lesser value.

"Women who aren't white begin to feel left our and ugly because they never get to play the princess."

These older cartoons have made them out to be servants or very attractive, yet dumb. Many students in Christensen's class do not want to come to grips with the fact that children's media and advertising has manipulated or "handled" them. They like to believe that the choices they make are their own choices because it is "overwhelming" and "discouraging" to find that their self image has been formed by the media. What Christensen had hoped to accomplish with this experiment is to make these students not only more aware, but ready and willing to make a difference/change, which, I feel, she succeeded.  Her students were not only more aware of the secret education, hidden messages and stereotypes within cartoons, but also the racism, sexism, and violence promoted throughout the world.

I have chosen to connect this article to other articles, videos, and other websites through hyperlinks.

This is an article that describes thirteen requirements in order to be a princess in a Disney Park (as if the title isn't already clear enough).  Some requirements include specific height, size and age limitations. My reasoning for connecting this article to Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us is due to the fact that only women who meet these certain requirements can be considered to be cast as a Disney Princess in a Disney Park. But, even if you meet these requirements, you still may not be good enough. Some requirements that they do not name, but at known, include having a similar skin or hair color, but let's not forget the beauty aspect that a Disney Princess must uphold. You may not be "beautiful enough" to be cast as this role, and that, to me, could be a slap in the face to all women. It is almost as if there is this impossible self image you have to uphold, and if you cannot meet that requirement, then see ya!! 

Which then leads me to my final connection...

I chose to upload the music video Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé to simply conclude my last connection. In this video, Beyoncé faces a challenge that women all around the world face on a daily bases. There is a certain image that women feel they have to uphold in order to be accepted in society. The lyrics in this song says it all.  "Brush your hair, fix your teeth, what you wear is all that matters.", "Blonder hair, flat chest, TV says 'bigger is better'...", etc. (lyrics are hyperlinked above) And yeah I know, it's Beyoncé. Probably one of the most stunning, independent women on Earth that is singing this song, but she must see that women change their body to acquire to the high standards reflected by the media. I believe her purpose in writing this song and create such an influential video is to raise awareness, just how Christensen did in her classroom

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Reflection

In Peggy McIntosh's article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, she states, that white privilege puts people like her, a white, american, educated, woman, at an advantage.

Peggy McIntosh
This applies to me and 99% of the people I am currently sitting here in Study Hall with. McIntosh cannot help but argue that men are over-privileged, and that men gain from women's disadvantages, but her main focus is the argument of racism putting people at a disadvantage. McIntosh states that whites are taught not to recognize that they have this certain advantage, in most cases of course.  She then has to ask the question of, "what will I do to lessen or end it (the advantage)?" But I cannot help but think to myself, do people under the description of white, american, and educated truly want to lessen or end their own advantages and privileges?  Would they want someone they believe to be underprivileged or at a disadvantage to be above them in any sort of way? McIntosh states, "My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture.", yet all of us white folk seem to think that we are better than every other race for some reason. For this blog post I decided to reflect on myself. I decided to reflect on what I truly believe in. What I am going to mainly focus on is the list of daily effects of white privilege that Peggy McIntosh believes to be true.  I will discuss if I feel these effects of white privilege occur in my life on a daily bases, and will argue against ones I find to not be true.

Before McIntosh begins her list of daily effects of white privilege, she adds, "As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions." As I read through this list, I cannot help but make faces of confusion, thinking of the African American families and friends that I have been introduced to throughout my life. Are most of them as terrified as this list makes them seem? Second guessing their every move so they're not considered a stereotype? So although I find myself agreeing with most of her beliefs of daily white privilege, I cannot help but disagree for the sake of the African American families that are at similar advantages as us "white people," aside from their skin tone. But then again, you truly do not know what it is like until you walk in their shoes, something I unfortunately will never be able to experience.  Especially with this past election, I can see why African Americans, both privileged and underprivileged, would feel the opposite of what this list entails.  

If I were of a different race, I would be afraid of this term "unpredictable."
Who knows what that holds for their future in America?

I would like to go back to the question, "what will I do to lessen or end the advantage?".  After reading this list of the daily effects of white privilege, I have come to find that people of all different, underprivileged races will never truly feel comfortable in their own skin. Therefore, I do not think there is a particular thing that I can do, besides be myself.  I am a privileged white, american, educated, woman who is kind, accepting, caring, friendly and polite.  I think that McIntosh says it best when she says, "I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will."  What I can do to try and lessen or end this advantage is choose to not stereotype or take a second look at someone's skin color or treat someone disrespectfully based on their race. If every privileged, white, american slowly begins to make this transition, then it is only a matter of time before that disadvantage disappears.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


"But the feeling at home was diminished by then. Gone was the desperate, urgent, intense feeling of being at home; rare was the experience of feeling myself individualized by family intimates. We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness."

In this quote from the text Aria, Rodriguez describes that due to process of training himself and his siblings into using the English language, the intimate relationship his family once had was now no longer. Because Spanish was Richard's language, he felt uncomfortable in the classroom setting which was taught in English. He had been observed as shy and timid, and when called on would mumble, so his teachers took it upon themselves to move the English language into Richard's Spanish-speaking home. Earlier in the text, Rodriguez states that learning the English language in his household was like a game, playing with sounds and making fun of certain pronunciations that they could not comprehend. I feel that the more they forced English to be a part of their household, the further it pushed away their heritage. For example, in the text Rodriguez explains that ever since he began to use the English language, he no longer knew how to address his parents. Before the transition to English, he referred to his parents as mamá and papá, but he felt that they would have been painful reminders of how much his life as changed. In the classroom, Richard was considered timid and shy because he was unfamiliar with the English language. Richard is now timid in his own household.

"Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease."

The teachers in this text take it upon themselves to move the English language into Richard's Spanish-speaking household, but do they ever try to use the Spanish language in the classroom? Richard had felt clearly uncomfortable being in a room filled with people who only spoke English, to the point where he would mumble when asked questions due to his shyness or timidness.  If the teachers had taken the time to first make Richard more comfortable in the classroom using his own language, then his shyness and timidness would not have necessarily been a problem.

"I would have been happier about my public success had I not sometimes recalled what it had been like earlier, when my family had conveyed intimacy through a set of conveniently private sounds."

Because of the teachers actions, Richard and his family were now bilingual.  On a large scale, becoming bilingual is a success and great skill to have.  But on a smaller scale, when it comes to Richard and his family, the intimacy they had once had was no longer available. I believe that Richard realizes that becoming bilingual needed to happen, and he most likely thanks his teachers quite often for the opportunities that he has been given, but will be constantly reminded that the English language put a barrier between his old Spanish-speaking family and his new, English family.