Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lisa Delpit "The Silenced Dialogue" (Revisited)

In Lisa Delpit's "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children", she talks about how teachers should educate their students so that every child, whether they are white or of color, can understand. She also clearly comes up with the rules and codes of power that dictate how and what children learn while they are in the classroom or even out of the classroom. While I believe that the five rules and codes of power that Delpit has contracted are very important I only used three of the five as my main quotes. Delpit's five rules of power are:
1. Issues of power are in acted in classrooms.
2. There are codes or rules for participating in power, that is, there is a "culture of power."
3. The rules of the culture of peer are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power. 
4. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge – its existence. Those with less power and often most aware of its existence. (Delpit 24).

When Delpit explains what these codes of power mean it is then that I believe she stresses her most important point of “The Silenced Dialogue.” What children learn comes from “the power of the publishers of textbooks and of the developers of the curriculum to determine the view of the world presented; the power of the state in enforcing compulsory schooling; and the power of an individual or group to determine another’s intelligence of ‘normalcy’” (24). This was the explanation Delpit provided for her first rule. Outside forces are determining what children need to learn and how it should be taught. These children need to be in the culture of power in order to succeed.

The second code of power is the one that I can relate to the most of my time spent at Kennedy Elementary School. She explains, “The codes or rules I’m speaking of relate to linguistic forms, communication strategies, and presentation of self; that is, ways of talking, ways of writing, ways of dressing, and ways of interacting” (25). Some of the students went into school not knowing how to write a single letter so they are constantly being taught how to write so that they can be apart of the culture of power.
My third quote is from her fourth code of power, which I find most relatable. “I have found it unquestionably easier, psychologically and pragmatically, when some kind soul has directly informed me about such matters as appropriate dress, interactional styles, embedded meanings, and taboo words of actions” (26). In class we did an activity where each group had a different set of rules to play the same game. The winner of the group moved up and the loser moved down and there was no talking allowed. When people changed groups the game became hard to play because everyone did not know the same rules. If we were able to explicitly say this is how you play we all would have been in the culture of power, but we couldn’t so some we left out and felt stupid. Another quote that helps convey the message of this activity is, “in some instances adherents of process approaches to writing create situations in which students ultimately find themselves held accountable for knowing a set out rules about which no one has ever directly informed them” (31). Without being explicitly told the rules and codes of power the students are left in the dark and forced to figure it out themselves which leads to them falling behind.

The last quote I chose has changed my view about how I think of students and how they learn. Delpit states, “However, to bring this student into the program and pass her through without attending to obvious deficits in the codes needed for her to function effectively as a teacher is equally criminal – for though we may assuage our own consciences for not participating in victim blaming, she will surely be accused and convicted as soon as she leaves the university” (38). Before I would say that it was the students fault for not understanding something but if that student was never explicitly taught the correct way to do something they will remain to continue the same mistakes. In the long run they would be blamed for not knowing how to correctly do something when they could have been taught from the start.

Lisa Delpits main ideas are mainly about telling people the rules and codes of power so that they can be a part of it. Here is an interview with Delpit about teaching other people's children. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kahne and Westheimer "In the Service of What"


“Currently, the most broadly supported (and therefore most politically tenable) goal for service learning acitivities is to convey to students the importance of charity.” This line is the one that stood out to me while I read “In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning” by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer. It is so important to give back to your community and I love that some high schools make service learning a graduation requirement because there are so many positive outcomes.

In my high school the closest thing we had to a service learning project was Capstone. Some projects were fundraisers and some job shadowing. My Capstone project was on becoming a teacher and I shadowed a third grade teacher in Coventry where I sometimes taught my own lessons. I learned so much while I was there , only from my teacher, but also from my students. I would always get so excited when I was about to see them because I loved working with them, and it was a great way to learn what it would be like to be a teacher. In the text Kahne and Westheimer talk about Mr. Johnson’s class and their service learning projects. “Their grade depended primarily on the number of hours they volunteered. Thirty hours for an A, 20 for a B and 10 for a C.” I did not agree with his grading method for their projects. I don’t think the amount of hours spent volunteering should dictate the grade they receive. A student could complete 20 hours of volunteer work and learn nothing from it.

Backpacks donated for Bags of Dignity
A boy in my school, whose family took in foster children, created Bags of Dignity for children who were abruptly taken from their families and moved into a new home. He described stories of children who were brought carrying a garbage bag with their belonging and he said it was so sad and degrading. He put together a fundraiser to collect backpacks with toothbrushes, toothpaste and other items that children would need so that they could show up to houses with a backpack that was theirs rather than a garbage bag. To me that is service learning. He not only was charitable but he created a change to help the children that needed a positive identity.  

When I student taught at Tiogue Elementary School, the student population was not diverse. My class was all white students and I rarely saw any students of a different race or color. Volunteering at Kennedy Elementary School has been a different experience but still has been a great experience for me. Most of my students are Black or Hispanic and I have never worked with a diverse group before. My classroom could perfectly be described by Lisa Delpit, in which the codes of power are seen in my classroom. “The upper and middle classes send their children to school with all the accoutrements of the culture of power; children from other kinds of families operate within perfectly wonderful and viable cultures but not cultures that carry the codes at rules of power“ (Delpit 25). The children I work with are always be taught the rules of power, some were aware others were not. One student does not know how to write, but she is being frequently taught so that she can be a part of the culture of power.

Point to Share: I think all students should be a part of service learning. It is such an enthralling experience working with others to help them, and it offers a sense of purpose for everyone involved. Volunteering may seem like a job to some people but if you find a place where you truly feel comfortable and at home, volunteering can be the best experience of your life.

Here's the link to the Facebook page for Bags of Dignity in case you want to learn more!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christensen Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

Extended Comments:

As a young girl, it's a dream to be a princess and fall in love with prince charming. When I was younger I used to watch all the classic Disney movies and I would rewatch them fifty more times. I believed that I had to find prince charming in order for me to be happy. Disney movies portray a lot of stereotypes that children are being shown at a young age without knowing it.

I decided to use Cindy's Blog, as the center of my own. Cinderella is a Disney movie that portrays the idea that women must be skinny and beautiful in order to get the man of her dreams. Cindy wrote, "Cinderella's story teach women that their life can be changed by finding the ideal man or because of outward beauty. A prince sees a female all dressed up, thinks she is beautiful and falls in love at first sight." She goes on to write that the girls who don't look like this "feel left out" because they are not being represented. I completely agree with Cindy because all of the disney princesses are skinny, thin and white. Not everyone fits into that category so there should be a variety of Disney princesses that represent other races, social classes and sexual orientation. 

Disney's First Black Princess
Women can be strong and independent, they do not need a man to rescue them but that is what Disney shows repeatedly. "Disney is spreading a few different stereotypes with this focus: Women need men to save them; saving a woman makes you a man; and that only men are capable of protecting others from harm or danger" (Cindy). 

Because these movies and other cartoons can be a huge influence in children's lives, some children who watch violent shows tend to be more violent. When they are watching these shows it portrays that it is okay to defeat the "bad guys" by throwing punches or using weapons in order to save the day. Cindy wrote that the young minds are "still developing therefore the cartoons are greatly influencing the way they think." She goes on to end her post with "In cartoons, females are tend to be viewed as dependent, emotional, sensitive, etc. however the males are viewed the opposite. Males are looked at as dominant, tough, aggressive, etc. These examples of stereotypes are hidden behind the characters in these cartoons." There are so many of these stereotypes in Disney movies from Cinderella to Snow White. 

Christensen talked about toys that kids play with that covey that being skinny and pretty in society. She wrote that Radiance didn't just walk into a store and buy presents for her niece and nephew, she "went up to the clerk and said, 'I want a toy that isn't sexist of racist'" (Christensen 134). 

In Gerri August's, Safe Spaces, she talks about equality for LGBT in the classroom and out of the classroom. Out of the classroom, toys can convey what society wants. These toy brands like Nintendo, Lego and Barbie is associated with a gender. Nintendo and Lego is supposed to be a boy's toy and Barbie is solely a girl's toy. As a young girl I rarely saw a black Barbie doll.

There are many types of media in society that show what society wants in a women and man and their roles in society. Children learn this at such a young age that they believe that is how society is and should be. As a young girl who grew up with it, it's hard to believe I was shown so many stereotypes without knowing it. 

Point to Share: When I was in high school I remember one girl talking about how her mom didn't allow her watch Disney movies. At that time I didn't understand, how could you not watch my favorite animated movies? Now I understand why her mom wouldn't want her to watch it. There are so many stereotypes that make people of that race, gender, social class look bad. I always wanted my children to watch what I grew up with, but now I don't think I want their growing minds introduced to Disney. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gerri August Safe Spaces


Safe Spaces by Gerri August allowed me to pause and reflect on the experiences that I have had in my life. I don't think I was ever really introduced the LGBT community in any of my classes and I was never taught about safe sex for gay people in my health classes. People should be made aware of other sexual orientations so that acceptance can be the next step. There are no boundaries when it comes to love and everyone should be able to marry freely.

While reading I came across the quote, "The state of California recently passed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which requires public school social science curricula to include the contributions of LGBT individuals" (August 87). I had wondered how many states have actually passed a law allowed gay marriage and I found a map that showed which states had passed the law and which banned gay marriage. As of July 21, 2014 only 18 states had passed a law allowing gay marriage. It is crazy to think that the marriage of two people has to have a law passed to allow it. Everyone in the United States has freedom, but do we all have the same freedom if some can't get married?

From experience I knew that gay men aren't allowed to donate blood because, "they might see negative representations of the LGBT community in the health or biology classroom, where they learn about HIV/AIDS as a gay-related disease" (85). When you fill out the questionnaire to donate blood there is one question that rules out gay men which renders their blood unusable. In an article about David Dassey, a gay doctor, he was extremely healthy and ran many marathons. When the bombs at the Boston Marathon went off everyone went to blood centers except him, knowing that he would not be able to donate his blood to save the lives of others. "The FDA classifies all gay men in the highest-risk blood- donor category-- the same category as IV drug users" (Darling). These men could be the healthiest men and free of AIDS yet they are still not allowed to donate blood.

As a young girl I remember watching the T.V. show Arthur and I remember when they came out with Postcards from Buster. I found the video that was banned from airing with the children who had two moms. There was nothing wrong with the video because there is nothing wrong with having two moms. The show lost its funding when this episode was filmed and the people who worked on it were let go. Parents started sending letters to Margaret Spelling telling her what a smart choice she made not to air that episode. Families from different backgrounds were aired on T.V., so it's amazing that a family with two moms can't be aired. To the left is the 2005 episode of Postcards From Buster.

Now in 2014 there are many shows that feature LGBT couples, which allows people who classify to feel like their community is being recognized. Popular shows like Modern Family, Orange is the New Black and The Fosters, all feature relationships that are not solely heterosexual. One of the stars in Orange is the New Black was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Laverne Cox who has identified as transgender was the face of Time Magazine which has opened the door for other people who identify as transgender to be more accepted into society.

In my high school when I was a junior, a club called N3 was formed to make the student body aware of bullying. They presented stories of students that were being bullied who committed suicide because they couldn't handle the threats of other students. They eventually were able to start making presentations to our middle schools to make other students aware of people who were being bullied. In schools, the LGBT community should be taught or integrated into curriculum to make students aware to prevent people who identify as LGBT from being bullied.

Points to share: In schools there should be gender neutral bathrooms for people who identify as transgender. If students don't identify as a female or male which bathroom do they use? Also there should be a mandatory class that introduces the LGBT community to make other students aware. When classes like this are integrated into the curriculum it stops students from ostracizing those who aren't like them and it allows students to accept each other for who they are.