Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brown vs. Board of Education – Extended Comments

I think this week’s topic is very interesting because it is so important and relevant in today’s society.

I really liked when Torie said, “Many people still to this day believe that segregation does not exist in schools and in jobs but it does whether they believe it or not”.  I completely agree that segregation still exists today.  When I go into Asa Messer for my service learning project I see many classes lined up in the hallway.  The students are usually separated in two lines, one for the girls and one for the boys. 

In high school everyone is separated, not necessarily by race or gender, but by type.  The “cool” kids sit with the “cool” kids, the “jocks” with the “jocks”, and the “nerds” with the “nerds”.   The only time that they mix is in class when they are forced to mix.  And even in classes most of the time they are still with people from their “group”.   There is even separation in dance, and in this case I think it is a good thing.  I think separation is good because when boys and girls compete against each other in the dance world the outcome is not fair.  Basically every time the boys will win.  The male dancers will almost always beat the girls just because they are boys.  It is very rare that a girl will beat a boy.  The male dancers win because the judges score them high to win to keep them dancing, not because their dance or technique was better.  The judges are afraid that if they score the male dancers low that it will result in the boys not dancing anymore.  This is why my studio goes to competitions where the boys are in their own category.

I thought it was really interesting how Marissa connected it to Kozol, and how poverty level plays a big part in a child’s education.  I liked how she pointed out when Herbert says, “Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools…These, of course, are the very schools that in which so many black and Hispanic students are enrolled”.  Many of the inner city children come from families with a black or Hispanic ethnicity.  Many of these families are in these inner city environments because they cannot afford to live anywhere else, and many times these families can barely afford to live in the city.  Also I do not know many families that are willing to move and live in these inner city connections.  So it is basically like when the schools were segregated, the only difference is now the schools do not have to be segregated by law. 

Point to Share: I work with two teachers, a teacher from a Providence elementary school and a teacher from a Providence high school.  The two teachers both feel very overwhelmed working in this type of community.  However, at the same time the teachers that I work with feel like they have to work in these schools, because if they do not, then who will.  It is a lot of work; one of the teachers has 23 special education students on her case load, and does not get to see all of them every day.  But she does her best to try to work with them and help them in any way that she can. 
I found some interesting cartoons. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

In The Service of What? by Kahne and Westheimer - Reflections

I really had trouble trying to figure out what to write about in this blog, and what type of blog to write. 
This article describes the different ways a service learning project can be organized.  It can be organized to focus on the charity aspect, or focus on the critical inquiry and action aspect.
I have a lot of experience with volunteering and community service.  In high school we had to community service to graduate.  It was part of our civics class.  You had to do the hours, and then create and present a PowerPoint presentation.  I remember I did my hours at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Cumberland/Lincoln.  I volunteered as a camp counselor during school vacation camp.   I had a lot of fun working with the children at the camp.  I also did community service for my confirmation class.  I did different tasks, like making signs, to help get ready for the bazar that my church has every year.  My brother coaches for Special Olympics, and I also help his teams sometimes.  One time they went to a flag football tournament that was at Gillette Stadium.  The teams played their games on the Patriots home field.  It was a great experience, for the athletes and for the families.  Being able to go onto the field was an experience in itself. 



I thought this picture what a creative way to look at the components of service learning.

Point to Share: I think service learning is a good opportunity to learn about one’s community.  To be able to make connections and relationships with people that you may not necessarily have come in contact otherwise.
Cinderella Ate My Daugther was a Connections post. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cinderella Ate My Daughter - Peggy Orenstein

I did not really like reading this article either.  Although I will say it was not as bad as reading the last one, except for the length.

I have to disagree with Orenstein because I grew up with American Girl Dolls, Barbie’s, the Princesses, Polly Pocket, and Sesame Street.  However my favorite color since I was in first grade is blue.  I loved playing with my brother’s Legos in addition to my dolls, if someone gave me the new “girls” Legos, I probably would not play with them since they are pink.  I also disagree because there is more than one ethnicity.  There is Josefina (Hispanic), Addy (African American), Marie-Grace (Hispanic), Cecile (African American), and Ivy (Chinese).

I choose connections for this article because I felt that it connects to Linda Christenson’s article and Lisa Delpit’s article. 

Linda Christenson - Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us
Linda Christenson talks about how children are learning certain rules and views (like Delpit’s “codes of power”) from movies, stories, television shows, and books.  However the things that this article is referring to are not good.  Linda Christenson states, “Our society’s culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream” (126).  Christenson then continues, “The ‘secret education,’  as Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman dubs it, delivered by children’s books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blueprints.  And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart” (126).  Little girls are learning that in order to be successful they have to marry someone who is rich, and handsome.  Girls are learning that one’s looks means everything, that if you are not pretty than you end up like Cinderella’s evil stepsisters.  Boys learn that they can treat a girl however they want because in the end they will still get the girl.

Lisa Delpit – The Silenced Dialogue
Looking at this concept of a “secret education”, from a Delpit point of view, this does not make sense.  Lisa Delpit talks about how the codes of power influence the way we learn.  Delpit talks about how children do not take direction well if the direction is implied.  So my question is: how would children see the “secret education” that they are getting?  Lisa Delpit states, “Consequently, as Heath suggests, upon entering school the child from such a family may not understand the indirect statement of the teacher as a direct command.  Both white and black working-class children in the communities Heath studied ‘had difficulty interpreting these indirect requests for adherence to an unstated set of rules’ (34).  Children need to be told directly what to do; otherwise they will not follow the directions.  A child needs to be explicitly told what to do, so how can they get a message that is barely implied?

Point to Share:   If a little girl wants to play princess then I think the parents should let her play princess.  I also think that if a boy wants to dress up like a policeman or a fire fighter the parents should let the child dress up that way as well.  But to go with that I think it is the parents’ responsibility to explain that the child can grow up to be anything they want, and the parents should support the child aspirations.  If a boy wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up, then let him, because the truth is it is more likely that he will become a professional than if a girl tried.  A child needs to understand that looks are not everything and intelligence and learning are very important.

 I thought it would be very interesting to see the meaning of some of the princesses’ names.  Some of the names did not have meanings. 
The Meaning Behind the Princesses Names:
Cinderella = Little Ashes  
Aurora = Dawn                 
Belle = Beautiful               
Ariel = Lion of God          
Jasmine = Is a type of flower
Pocahontas = Playful        

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Unlearning The Myths That Bind Us by Linda Christenson - Argument

Like many children I grew up watching the Disney movies, my all-time favorite is the Lion King.  So for me, reading this article was not that enjoyable. 

This author, Linda Christenson, argues that society’s culture takes possession of the minds of young children and teaches them how to act, live and dream.  She argues that television shows, magazines, books, and movies all contribute to a “secret education” that people are getting.  This “secret education” is manipulating the way we think, live, act and even dream.

By writing this article she wants students to be able to uncover the values that are embedded in movies and companies.  Linda Christenson wants students and society to critique representations of hierarchy and inequality in children’s movies and cartoons.  She also wants them to imagine a better world that is characterized by relationships of respect and equality.
Videos that show the authors argument:
If society is framed by our entertainment then how come the “good guys”, for the most part, finish last?  If in movies the hero or the good guy is supposed to get ahead in movies, then why do so many people who are liars and cheats get ahead in life? 

Point to Share:  Cinderella is about a girl who is treated poorly by her stepmother and stepsisters.  She defies all odds by going to the ball.  Her “family” does everything in their power to stop Cinderella from going to the ball.  Yet this servant girl does make it to the ball in a beautiful gown, and falls in love with the prince.  Cinderella was their servant.  This movie shows that people can make it through hard times, and can make a better life for themself.  Aladdin is very similar.  However in this movie they are Middle Eastern and the peasant is the boy.  Many of these movies are created to bring hope to children that they may be able to be happy in life.  I think that people are over analyzing these movies; they are supposed to show children that telling lies only gets you in trouble, you cannot run away from a problem, and to stay true to who you really are.