Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Busy Work

We had a conversation in class about two weeks ago that really moved me. The conversation was about teachers trying to trick students and not wanting them to learn. It was also about giving students busy work just to pass the time. I want to be the type of teacher that brings passion to what I do, and makes my students want to learn. If the kids do not want to learn, if they dread going to a class, then your teaching strategies are not working. Kids will remember an experience. You have to give them an experience to build upon. If you really want the kids to learn don't give them work to pass the time that they will end up losing focus on and talking to their friends. Anyway I thought that this was the most influential class for me, definitely one to repeat in the future.

Inner-City Teaching Corps, VTC

I believe that the video below describes us in Providence as a whole. These are people doing what we do with VIPS at a more advanced level.

Inner-City Teaching Corps, VTC

Monday, April 20, 2009

Talking Points #10

"What Can We Do?"
BY: Allan G. Johnson
In this part of the book, Allan Johnson argues that we need to be part of the solution in changing patterns of exclusion, rejection, privilege, harassment, discrimination, and violence. We need to stop being te neutral party.
1.) "The problem of privilege and oppression is deep and wide, and to work with it we have to be able to see it clearly so that we can talk about it in useful ways. To do that, we have to reclaim some difficult language that names what's going on, language that has been so misused and maligned that it generates more heatthanlight. We can'tjuststopusingwords like racism, sexism, and privilege, however, because these are tools that focus our awareness on the problem and all the forms it takes. Once we can see and talk about what's going on, we can analyze how it works as a system. We can identity points of leverage where change can begin."
Johnson is saying that we need to stop being so offended by words, and start realizing what is real. This is a huge problem in our country. If you are white you are white, if you are black you are black. It is out of individual control what race, or gender you are. We need to use our words no matter how hurtful society as portrayed them to be.
2.) "The greatest challenge when we first become aware of a critical perspective on the world is simply to hang on to it. Every system's paths of least resistance invariably lead away from critical awareness of how the system works. In some ways, it's harder and more important to pay attention to systems of privilege than it is to people's behavior and the paths of least resistance that shape it."
We need to stop finding ways to not hurt people, and start finding ways to fix the actual problem at hand. If we just temporarily dissolve a problem, the problem will arise later on with greater force. You can see this all throughout history.
3.) "In similar ways, the fear of being called gay is enough to make men conform to masculine stereotypes that don't reflect who they really are and to go along with an oppressive gender system they may not believe in. And because homosexuals all come from families, parents and siblings may also pay a huge emotional price for the effects of prejudice, discrimination, and persecution directed at their loved ones."
This is not what Johnson means by using your words. He does not want us to persecute people because they are different, but he wants us to be able to have everybody comfortable with diversity. This sounds like a longshot because everyone is different, but if we can all have respect for one another, then that is a start.
I thought that this article was just a continuation from Johnsons last article. I felt like the same points were in here. It just felt like a repeat. Although I do enjoy the points that he makes and the way he brings them out. He really knows how to move you and make you fired up. This article was easy to read, but long and tedious. This artcile again relates to the other Johnson article that we read.
I really feel fired up when reading Johnson, does this happen for anyone else?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009 "Group Work on Video and Article"

Rachel Motta
Rebecca Ferry
Scott Legacy
Brandon Gauthier
Richard Wapenyi

Examples from film:

1.) Diana's mother went to the office to fight for her to get into mainstream classes.

2.) Richard was moved from the back to the front, and then kids argued who could sit next to him, instead of saying "why do I have to sit next to him?"

3.) Aaron was autistic, and at recess all of the children went out of their way and to help him. This shows coexistence.

Examples from text:

1.) Mia finished school in segregated placements but then returned after graduation
to take content-area courses originally denied her. These included, among others, introductory and advanced journalism, as well as child development. Mia has since gone on to co-lead a study on communication skills and people with Down syndrome with Professor Laura Meyers, a linguist at the University of California-Los Angeles (Peterson, 1996).



Monday, April 13, 2009

Talking Points #9

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"
BY: Christopher Kliewer

In this article, Kliewer argues that students with disabilities should not be overlooked by us but embraced by people without disabilities. Students with disabilities should be integrated into mainstream classrooms in order to give them confidence and not feel separated.

1.) "How do we erase these negative attitudes?" In light of the fact that "people without disabilities are judging us." (Kingsley 1996, p. 6)

This is a quote by someone who has Down Syndrome. What he means to say by this statement is that he does not want to be judged by people who are showing him little or no support. And if they are supporting him, it is out of unwillingness. They don't really care.

2.) "If you came into the room and were told there was a retarded child in the class, a child with special needs, I don't think you would pick Lee out. The kids really agree that he is as capable as they are. Intellectually the same."

This quote stands out to me because the speaker does not believe that anyone could pick out the difference between Lee and the other kids, and the kids believe he is just as smart as them. In other words, if no one knew that Lee had a disability, this conversation would not even exist. I think this is another one of Kliewer's strong points.

3.) "In essence, a gap exists between the performance of students with Down Syndrome and the performance expectations that define a useful individual. Students with Down Syndrome are placed in school structures that supposedly remediate their defects in order that they can eventually join the wider community. But this, of course, leads to perceptual school separation, and ultimately, the need for community placements that mirror the rigidity of segregated special education.

So, what our administrations are trying to say about students with disabilities and the reason why we separate them, is because they want to try to build them up to fit in with the real world later on in life. But, actually it is just an excuse to keep them separated, because you are not going to catch up with mainstream society without being there.

This was another eye opening article, because I had not thought about this situation in this perspective. I did not even know that people with disabilities would be able to adapt to the real world eventually. I think that this is why we still have these special education classes because most people just do not know. I think that many more parents would fight for their children if they only knew.

This article was easy to understand but kind of reiterated the same point in different circumstances. It does drive the point home. This kind of relates to any other articles that we have read on diversity. Even though people are different, we should be given equal opportunities, and we are not.

Have any of you ever had someone with a disability in one of your classes?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Diversity Event


On March 23 of this year, some of my friends and I gathered together a team for what promised to be a fun, diverse event called "OlympRICs." The event was hosted by Tyler Patterson and the communications department. The event consisted of 8 teams of 5. There were no limitations on who could be on a team. You could be black, white, girl, boy, disabled, it did not matter. This brings me to my first point that is made by Dennis Carlson when he says that we need to all be "normalized." There needs to be no favorites so that everyone can have the same opportunities. And everyone did have the opportunity to participate. There was a lot of diversity in the events themselves. If you were smart but not too athletic there was a "school trivia" event. If you could eat a lot there was a "banana eating contest." If you could swim there was a "diving competition." And of course there was many more that played to different people's strengths, but the biggest event of all was the volleyball tournament. This was where the real competition started and where the concept of "team" came into play.

Before I explain this, I want to point out that my team was a bunch of wrestlers and wrestlers do not make the best athletes. Now, knowing that, we were facing a couple teams that I would consider to have stacked lineups. The track team was incredibly athletic, as well as the team that they faced in the finals who did not have a kid under the age of 21. As we moved into the tournament and we were waiting for the bracket to be seeded there was an argument about who would get the first seed, and not to be offensive, but it almost seemed like the loudest and most obnoxious team got the first seed. The officials disguised this as spirit points, which clearly other teams had more spirit. This team happened to be all "colored." This is not what Johnson means by using our words to deal with situations. These spirit points ended up catching up to us in the end as we lost third place by 1 spirit point. I felt like diversity was very strong overall here.