Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Exchange of The Promising Practices Conference

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the Promising Practice Conference, due to the fact that I was very sick.  I instead attended the Basic Rights in Special Education Workshop in Westerly, RI.  It was very informative to me because I want to be a special educator when I graduate.  It was a two hour workshop that focused on how to access special education and all of the related services for children who had disabilities.  They also gave us new insights on the laws that affect special education throughout Rhode Island and what the rights of the parents are when dealing with their children as teachers.  I was the only person in this workshop who was not a “teacher” at the moment but they said that it was a great experience for me to hear the stories of what the parents and educators go through on a day to day basis.   I was glad that I attended this because it let me get a sense of what it was like to be a parent who has a special needs child.  These parents continue to go to these workshops to speak so that they can let every other parent and teacher that goes that they need to “know the rights” of the children that your teaching.  

"Empowering Education" Argument

“Empowering Education”
Ira Shor

Throughout this article, Shor is arguing that when you have a student always memorizing things that it is not an effective way of learning.  With that being said, if you have them memorizing everything all of the time, what will they do when they are in the real world and never memorized a certain part of what they are doing in their job, because they didn’t learn it in school?  Shor also believes that the three R’s of learning are not good or effective methods of teaching, especially for the teachers students.  He is stating that they should be able to ask questions about what they are learning and why they should be learning that.  Teachers are given a set curriculum that they HAVE to teach from and they have really no say in what they will be teaching their students. 

Shor is also saying in this article that students need to be involved and that they need to participate more in their classes because by doing this, they will excel more and they will end up doing better in all of their classes.  He argues that in order for students to develop adequate social skills, they will not get that by being stuck inside of a classroom all day being lectured.  Shouldn’t the students have a right in what they are going to do during the course of their school day?  By doing this, it could also eliminate the distractions that come about when they do become bored. 

I like how Dr. Bogad broke it down to us the other day in class.  There are two methods of teaching that are being spoken of in this article; Problem Posing and The Banking Model.  Problem Posing is a two way street.  It is the dialogue that is being spoken to the students and what they are supposed to learn.  While the Banking Model is when the students are examples of empty bank accounts and the teachers are depositing the information into their heads.  

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" Reflection

“Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"
Christopher Kliewer

Since I have started taking some of my special education classes here at RIC, I have finally been able to understand what an inclusive education really is.  I think that it is a great thing.  Being able to have students who have a disability integrated into a regular education class is amazing.  Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them when it comes to learning. 

When we were watching the movie in this class about all of the students who were able to go into regular education classes, shows you that it is possible.  The parents of these students were their biggest advocated and without their support and drilling the facts that their children were able to be at the same levels as there peers was very beneficial to all of them.  If they didn’t do this for their children they would not have just been separated by a class but instead they would be separated by an entire classroom wing or building.  By doing this to these children it would have been segregating them and singling them out instead of giving them the real education that they need. 

Kliewer describes inclusion as it being the integration of special needs children into a regular class setting.  I am doing practicum hours in my SPED 310 class right now and in this inclusion setting there are two teachers.  One is the regular education teacher and the other is the special education teacher.  Having two teachers in this classroom setting gives them each a chance to help one another. 

I have a cousin who has Charge Syndrome and if it weren’t for my uncle, he would still be in a segregated classroom.  Because my uncle was his biggest advocate he is in an inclusive classroom and is doing above average work in all of his classes.  The teachers before advised him to keep him in a segregated class because he has a disability that you could see physically.  My uncle fought that and said well he may be physically impaired, but he sure isn’t mentally impaired.  Since the day that he was placed into these classes not only has he done well academically, but he has also excelled socially.  If he were to still be the segregated room, how do you know that he would be doing worse than he is now?

Brown vs. Board of Education Reflection

Brown vs. Board of Education
Tim Wise

After reading this article, I noticed that Wise is right on when he makes his points about Obama.  President Obama presents himself differently than other people of color.  The way that he speaks, presents himself and dresses reflects the ways that a white person may carry themselves.  If Obama had corn rolls in his hair and wore his pants in a sagging way people would consider him more of a person that is colored.  When Wise brought that up, it opened my eyes because I never thought of that.  There are men and women out there just as intelligent as our President is but because of the way that they dress or if they speak impolitely then they are stereotyped as the less intelligent being.  According to Wise there is still a lot of work that we Americans need to do for equality to spread and for discrimination to be thrown out the window.  Having Obama in the White House, shows us all that this is possible and that some day it is possible for equality to be everywhere and that it just wont be based on your race or class.

"Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route." Quotes

“Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route”
Finn and Oakes

Can separate be equal, and if it can how do we do that?  With that being said, is tracking a positive or negative that is in most schools today?  I feel that it can be both, but I am still not sure to which side I would rally for the most.  Sometimes it is very beneficial to separate students and place them into other classes, while at other times it can be a discouragement to the other students who see their peers going to a higher learning level than they are.

“When I suggest to my hard-bitten students that poor children are not being as well educated as they could be, they are not amused.  They take it as a personal attack from someone who has been living in an ivory tower for the last thirty years and they resent it- a lot”

These children are not amused because they are thinking that it has nothing to do with them, so why should they have to worry about that. Finn is stating here that while he was teaching in a public school setting, he thinks that he went at it the wrong way.  He thought that it should be a more challenging time when students are in school, that way they are always using their critical thinking skills. 

“Tracking leads to substantial differences in the day-to-day learning experiences students have at school.  Moreover, the nature of these differences suggests that students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students.”

Most public schools separate there general education classes because some students are learning at either a higher or lower level than their peers.  I myself was put into the middle (intermediate) classes before I went to college.  I saw myself doing well in those classes, while if I were placed in a higher- level class I know that I would have struggled.  The pace that these lessons were taught at were, much faster than the pace in the inclusion elective classes that we also had to take.  There were far more interruptions during those times.  If a student was placed in the wrong level it would not only set them back, but it would also set back the other students in the class because they would be more interruptions to answer those questions.   

Their capacity for creativity and planning was ignored or denied.  Their response was very much like that of the adults in their community to do work that is mechanical and routine.”

I think that it is disappointing when teachers expect very little out of their students, especially when these students live in an urban/diverse area.  While there are other teachers out there that also don’t care when there above average students are doing well and they then ignore what they are doing because they feel that they have subsequently already received the academic needs that they need.  But, for some reason this continues to happen throughout a lot of school systems throughout the country and they need to be looked at so this does not happen anymore.  

“Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us” Extended Comments

“Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us”  Extended Comments from Giana's Blog


 While I was reading the blogs on this article, Giana’s blog was the one that really opened my eyes.  Disney movies are a key example of how woman are stereotyped.  These movies show how woman should act, dress, the role that they should play in society and how what is expected from them.  Young girls watch these movies and see the “fairy tale” unfold and when they are older they see that these happy ending don’t happen that way and they wonder why they are disappointed.  Just like in commercials, you see these beautiful, thin models and this makes young women want to be exactly like them.   These girls end up starving themselves, working out continuously and sometimes they even go under the knife to make themselves look like those models permanently.  Why does the media want women and even men to feel this way about themselves.
While looking at Giana’s blog, she asks the questions of “What exactly is pretty?”  That question can stir up a lot of controversy because what is pretty? Who is pretty?  Sometimes, the models that you see in magazines or on television aren’t even what they look like in person.  When reading more of her blog, she says how a lot of people don’t see what is really inside of the person, instead they just see what is on the outside of them.  My parents always taught me “ never to judge a book by its cover” and that should go for people also.  Being raised with having that in my head at all times that has also been important to me because I would hate it if someone decided to judge me by my looks instead of who I am really am.  In theses movies, you never see someone who is handicapped or who is severely overweight.  In Giana’s blog, she is completely right when saying that the overweight characters in these movies are always the miserable, outspoken, rude characters who no one ends up liking.  Instead they run away from those characters.  This is the same in the society that we all live in.  Sometimes, people are taught all of these ugly traits when they are younger and they can never outgrow those ugly feelings toward others. 
At the end of Giana’s blog, she ties in what Linda Christensen says to her students.   She has them look at all of these characters and asks them to really look at them physically and as a character.  At the end of looking at these characters, they all see what the teacher is talking about. I feel that this is something at all teachers should do when they are teaching their students about judging and what the side effects of some of these characters can do.   

Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community By Carlson

Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community By Carlson

Homosexuality is a very controversial issue.  No matter where you are there can/will be someone around you that is homosexual.  Some are comfortable in their skin that they can come out, while others either have catholic families or do not have the support system that they need or want to have.  In this article, Carlson argues that “schools use the power of influence to keep gayness hidden, in its place, and not to be part of the normal that is accepted in our society.”  What is normal? Who is to say that they are normal, because no one really know what normal is.  How is it that a teacher who is gay should have to stay further inside of their “closet” so they can keep up the “normalcy” that is going on inside of their classrooms and school.  This bothers me because then people wonder why they are so unhappy.  It is because they are living their lives the way that they don’t want to.  Suicide rates are so high with homosexuals right now because they are taking their lives because people are singling them out and most of the time it is on purpose.

I have a friend that is now an elementary school principle.  Everyone in his family are devote Catholics.  They are “disgusted” by homosexuals.  He has come out to his close friends and when he travels to Florida he is open with his sexuality but when he comes back home, he hides who he really is and what he feels.  His family has no idea that he is gay.  I think that they do know but they just don’t want to deal with this because it is against their religion.  It is disappointing that parents feel that this is unacceptable when they shouldn’t care what he is because they will love them no matter what.  I just hope that if and when he does come out that his family will support him no matter what.  I also believe that if he ends up being a principal in a high school setting one day, he will tell his students to be who they are because you, are the only one who can make you really happy.   Carlson would agree with this.