Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Promising Practices

Going through my checklist, I realized I completely forgot about this blog post so here it goes.

I was very excited about Promising Practices before I went but it wasn't what I expected. I got two math sessons which I was happy about because I love math and I chose math sessons on my choice list at registration. The first sesson was about math specialists. I was very interested but there wasn't alot of room for questions which dissappointed me. I can kind of relate this to Lisa Delpit because I felt like they weren't being explicit enough if I had questions on what they were trying to explain. Overall I liked this session and it made me want to learn more about becomeing a math specialist.

The second session I went to was a let down. I thought the material presented was interesting but the presenters were focused mainly on one table which happened to be filled with teachers. I enjoyed being there but I think it was more because there were 5 of my FNED classmates sitting there with me. I wish I could have taken more out of this workshop.

Finally, the keynote speaker. I didn't like his speech at all. I kept waiting for him to tell me the "now what" to the issues he addressed but it never came. He also directed him speech more towards the front of the room which is again where the teachers were sitting. This made me feel like the whole thing was directed towards them.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this conference but I plan to go back next year and hopefully gain more from it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010



"The Lost Blog Post"

I wrote this post when we read the article and yet it never ended up getting posted. Somehow, probably due to a user issue, this post ended up just getting saved in my post history as a draft and until now I had no idea where it was. Hopefully someone still reads it.

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us- Linda Christensen Argument post

"I was nourished on the milk of Amercican culture: I cleaned the dwarves' house and waited for Prince Charming to bring me life; I played Minnie to Mickey's flower-bearing adoration, and, later, I swooned in Rhett Butler's arms- my waist as narrow and my bosom every bit as heaving as Scarlett's.

But my Daddy didn't own a plantation; he owned a rough-and-tumble bar frequented by loggers and fishermen. My waist didn't dip into and hourglass; in fact, according to the novels I read my thick ankles doomed me to be cast as the peasant woman reaping hay while the heorine swept her handsome man in hot pursuit."

Linda Christensen argues that media is shaping young minds to believe that they need to be a certain way to succeed. She disagrees with this. In her class, she has her students so a project on childrens cartoons to show them that media depicts stereotypes in a condecending way. For example, the indians in "Looney Tunes" are portrayed as inferior human beings. Christensen believes that we need to be more aware of this and teach our children/students that stereotypes in movies, cartoons and tv shows are blown out of proportion.

In class, I want to hear the classes opinion on their favorite childhood cartoons and tv shows now that we have all read specific examples. I know it made me take a second look at what I watched as a child.

This video was ban from television because it is thought to have "in your face" racial negativity

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" Christopher Kliewer


Christopher Kliewer's article is about how children with down syndrome and with other disabilities are treated differently and most of the time kept seperate from the rest of the class. In class we watched a video showing that full inclusion classrooms can work. Some of the "traditional" students even said it helped them to know more about students with disabilities. The first connection I made was to Finn and Oakes and tracking. These students are tracked because of a disability. They are put in "special education" classes because they have a disability. Some of the students in the classes only have a physical disability but because of tracking, are kept in this class. I feel this is completely wrong. These students are denied oppurtunities because of their handicap. This leads me to my next connection. McIntosh. Before doing my SL project I may not have made this connection but Peggy McIntosh has other articles on priveleges besides being white. I saw a connection when reading Sarah's blog. She quotes a part in the reading about not knowing what it's like to have a disability and I think Peggy McIntosh would agree with this. Just as I don't know what its like to walk through the mall and get followed for my race, I don't know what it is like to be placed in a lower level class or denied an opputunity because of a disability. The last connection I saw was to Dennis Carlson. Carlson talks about everyone becing treated equally requardless of their sexuality. I think the point of Kliewers article that Carlson would like is that we are all people. Some are straight, some are gay, some are white, some are black, and some have a disability.

Here is a link to a webpage about being a childs advoacate that I found very interesting.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Empowering Education" Shor quotes

"People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn"

I think the author is trying to point out that we can't just tell people that something is true just because. We need to explain why it's true and if we talking about something that has yet to be proven, we need to teach them how to ask the write questions. The author is saying that everyone is born with the ability to learn but when they enter school, a place that should be encouraging learning, some are being left behind because they learn differently and no one is teaching them differently.

"Empowered students make meaning and act from refelction, instead of memorizing facts and values handed to them"

I think the authour is saying that these are the qualities a teacher should be trying to bring out of their students. If "empowered students" are our future leaders then we should be encouraging all students to think critically and ask why. Teachers shouldn't let them accept "just because" as a reason why. This will teach them what questions to ask and expand their knowledge.

"Empowered education, as I define it here, is a critical-democratic pedagogy for self and social change. It is a student-centered program for multicultural democracy in school and society. It approaches individual growth as an active, cooperative, and social process, because the self and society create each other"

The author argues that students today are the future of society. We need to teach them the past and present while also helping them to develop social skills. In order for them to succeed in life, they will need to have the knowledge and ability to ask the right questions while also having the social skills to work with others. Society can change us but we can also change society.

In class I would like to talk about what we as future teachers can do to further this idea. How are we going to develop a student centered education in our classrooms?

Check out this page with the background on Ira Shor with videos of a keynote address he gave.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oakes- Arguement Post

In "Tracking: Why Schools need to take another route" Jeannie Oakes argues that even though it's difficult to do, tracking needs to be changed. When we seperate students and expect more from the "high ability" students, we not only put the "less abled" students farther behind but also the "average" students are getting penalized. Here is a passage that I think really sums up what she is trying to say needs to change to help equal things out.
"Students who need more time to learn appear to get less; those who have the most difficulty learningseem to have fewer of the best teachers."
And here is a part where she discusses the "average" students...
"Researchers found that the proliferation of classes and special programs for students at the extremes-students with high abilities or with handicaps- had the effect of making students in the middle "unspecial" and guarenteeing that they were taught in quite "unspecial" ways.

I agree with Jeanne Oakes arguement and it reminds me alot of my service learning placement. In the classroom I am in, the students are grouped by reading level but instead of giving the students who need less help more help, they make sure the students struggling with reading get more help and are working now to even things out. I think Oakes would like this and want it to be modified to secondary education in place of the tracking thats going on now.

Here is a newer article that states what Oakes said in 1985.

In class I plan in discussing further how I think the school I volunteer in is heading in the right direction.