Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Social Justice Event: Gen Silent

Attended on 4/27/16

Gen Silent was a film about elderly LGBT people in the Boston area. It focused mainly on a lesbian couple, a gay couple, and a transgender. It really focused on how these people had to remain silent about themselves when they were younger due to discrimination or hate that they might receive. Some of them still feel that they need to be quiet today for fear of treatment they might receive. The gay couple of Lawrence and Alexander, and WWII vet, met in the 70's. Lawrence was a black man in his 20's and Alexander was a white man in his 40's. The reason Alexander became quiet about being gay was his old lover was openly gay. He was harassed and discriminated against so much that he committed suicide in 1951. Now, they are both openly gay. However, due to the fact that Alexander was so much older, he was in a nursing home. The first nursing home they went to were not very open to gays, and both men did not feel comfortable. They were not being paranoid either. There have been reports of care taker abuse due to someone being LGBT. Also, 50% of nursing home employees have reported that their colleagues were intolerant of the LGBT community. By the end of the film, Alexander had become very ill, and Lawrence could no longer see him. They film did not say, but I believe he passed away. Lawrence however, while upset, started writing poetry and actually fell in love again. Lawrence said that one thing that saved him from depression was the Emanuel Cafe in Boston which would have luncheons for elderly LGBT. The Cafe made me think of August and Safe Spaces because these people always felt like they needed to keep quiet or they would not be safe. The Cafe made it so they had a safe space to go, and could finally actually be themselves. These males lives also reminded me of SCWAAMP. They always felt like they were the only gay people, so they had to stay in hiding. It wasn't until they were much older and had their "tap on the glass" moment where they realized that it was okay to be gay.

The lesbian couple had been together for 40+ years. They are big activist in the LGBT community. They faced horrible discrimination at a younger age. They are both very happy and proud to be who they are. Towards the end of the film, these two actually partake in the LGBT rally that they have in Boston, and while they are very happy it has come this far, they feel like the younger generation of LGBT have no idea the struggles that they had to go through. This couple was different and reminded me a lot of Johnson. They had no problem talking explicitly about their sexuality. However, they talked about being lesbians before a lot of other LGBT people realized it was okay to talk about. They suffered a lot of harassment and discrimination due to this. But they didn't care. They were proud of who they are, and they were not going to let anything get in the way of that.

The finally person the film talked about was a transgender who went by the name of Krys. She was a male for 50+ years of her life. In the film she was 59 years old, and was also a Vietnam veteran. When she was a male she was so upset, and suffered from severe depression. She actually attempted suicide twice. When she got the operation done to become a woman, she said she felt extremely happy and relieve, but there were some serious consequences that came along with it. Her family refused to talk to her. She was all alone. She was also terminally ill with lung cancer, which is something she also had to face alone. After her health took a turn for the worst, she had a support group of others in the LGBT community that started to take care of her. Eventually they reached out to her son that she had not talked to in two years, and he agreed to come meet up with her. Krys ended up passing away at the end of the movie, and while she never could rekindle the relationship her son and her once had, she was happy that she got to see him and talk to him before she passed away.

To be honest I went into this movie thinking it was going to be something pointless, and I just had to get it done for an assignment. But i'm really glad that I actually went to this movie, because before it, I never really thought of an elderly LGBT community. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Education is Politics

Education is Politics
By: Ira Shor


The article this week really made me think about my high school experience. Shor really emphasizes how children in school should be challenged, and that they should feel free to question what they are being taught. After thinking about Shor's main points, I tried to think of classes in high school that challenged me, and classes that I felt free to speak out and express how I felt in. While you have classes like math and science, where it is hard to teach anything but math and science, there are also classes that I felt could have been expanded on, or taught differently. For example, I was required to take an art class in high school. I decided to do clay building. The teacher I had was so strict, and it was either her way or the highway. First off, I think art is a class that I knew would challenge me to think differently. Also, I feel like it is a class in which you can express yourself. The teacher I had made it clear that we had to do it her way. First, she would show us how to do something, and then, we would do it. We would basically get graded on  how closely our project was to her example. I remember one project, I made a clay alligator. I spent weeks on it. It was by far the best work I have ever done. The most artistic thing I have ever made. The teacher gave me a feakin' B- on it. I was devastated and didn't do anything the rest of the year. But on the other end of the spectrum, I had an English teacher who always challenged us, and actually gave us a say in what we would learn. While we had required authors we had to go over, the teacher would let us choose the pieces of literature we would read. She would give us multiple pieces to choose from, give us the synopsis of each of them, then as a class we voted. I really had a wide variety of teachers, and how they ran there classroom. While I had some that just focused on the 'rules and codes of power', I had others who would actually allow us to think critically. Like Kamryn said, it is difficult for high school teachers to freely change the syllabus or allow the children to be challenged. They have rules and codes of power that are set forth onto them. They must abide by them. For some students, the first time that their opinion is ever asked about schooling is in college.

The quote

 "... The students who decide to what extent they will take part in the syllabus and allow it to form them.  many students d not like the knowledge, process, or roles set out for them in class.  In reaction, they drop out or withdraw into passivity or silence in the classroom.  Some become self-educated; some sabotage the curriculum by misbehaving."

really hit home for me. I have two very good friends, that are a couple of the smartest people that I know. They both however barely passed high school. They hated the system, and hated how systematic everything was. They always felt like no learning was going on, and that they were just expected to memorize and repeat back. One of them actually freaked out in class one day, and refused to go back. He freaked out over how they never learned anything new. He was then punished for voicing his opinion.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

A question I have to the class is what was your high school experience like? Were you challenged? Were you allowed to voice how you felt? Or were you just constricted by the rules and codes of power?

“Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome”

“Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome”
By: Kliewer

This is the first semester of my collegiate career that I have actually thought about children with special needs, and what I could do to help. Actually, between this class and one of my physical education classes, we have been focused on children with special needs for the past couple of weeks. What I have learned is that every single classroom can have modifications done to make sure that all students receive a "Free and Appropriate Public Education".

What we have been going over in my Physical Education class is how to use adaptive physical education in order to make sure every single person can participate, and that it is still a fun and engaging task. One example of this could be a tag game. Say in your class you have two children with Down Syndrome, one child who is restricted to a wheel chair due to an accident, and another who is in a wheel chair due to Cerebral Palsy. The tag game that could be made would be a version of capture the flag. Each team would have brightly colored pennies so that everyone can see who is on which team. The two children in wheel chairs can be the "Flag Defenders". Giving them a special role is very important. Instead of normally just sitting out to the side, they are given a very important position on the team that doesn't involve them moving around too much. Give each child in a wheelchair a pool noodle as an extension, so its easier for them to tag. Since the child with Cerebral Palsy may have a hard time moving his upper body, he may have a child with out disabilities as a partner who can help him tag. All of the other children who aren't "Flag Defenders" can be put in pairs, making sure that the children who have Down Syndrome are with children who do not have disabilities. That way, this adaptation to the game makes sure that everyone is included, while still making the game fun and competitive for all. (Sorry I went off on a tangent here, but Adaptive Physical Education is something that I am really interested in.)

Like many others in the class, I would connect this text to "Safe Spaces" by August. No one likes being excluded or looked at differently. While people with disabilities may not feel the same as people who are LGBT, they still want to be included in the classroom, as well as in society. This text would also go along with SCWAAMP. Since able-bodiedness is one of the A's in SCWAAMP, it is very connected to children with disabilities. Society values people who are able-bodied, and look down on those who are not. Again, no one likes being looked down on or excluded from things, which is why this is important.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

One main question I have is how would you include children with disabilities in your classroom? It is different for me because I am going to be a PE major, and part of the degree is taking classes specifically on how to accommodate to children with special needs in the classroom.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Literacy With An Attitude

Literacy With An Attitude 
By: Patrick J. Finn 


Like others in the class, I found this piece to be somewhat confusing. After reading it a few times however I believe that I got the underlying meaning to the piece. I do see some Delpit in it regarding to the culture of power. When Finn talked about the different levels of education, (The working class, middle class, the affluent professional, and the executive elite) I couldn't help but compare this to Rhode Island. The "working class" I thought of as inner city schools such as the ones that we do service learning at. Then I compared the middle class to schools in Rhode Island that are just you're average schools. For the affluent professional, I compared this to some of the art schools in Rhode Island  Then finally for the executive elite I thought of private schools such as Hendriken (sp?), La Salle, etc. Just by looking at the schools you can see a big difference. A child that goes to a working class school, most of the time won't be nearly as proficient as a child who goes to an executive elite school. This can be the result of a plethora of things. Maybe the child doesn't feel safe going to school, so it's not a good learning experience. Maybe the staff at a working class school really don't want to be there, and are not doing a very good job. Just from service learning I realized that if a teacher is absent some days in a working class school, the children may just be put into another classroom and given busy work to do. That would never happen at an executive elite school. I'm willing to bet some of the substitutes at EE schools are more qualified than some of the full time teachers at these working class schools. Even in the middle class schools, there is still a difference from EE schools. For example, my girlfriend went to Mount. I went to Burrillville High School. In my comparative scenario I would say Mount is EE and Burrillville would be middle class. The things that she would do in some of her science labs were things that I didn't have available to me until college. I felt like she had a better opportunity to gain knowledge during those years of our lives than I did. I feel like these differences can be seen throughout all of the different levels/classes of education.

Here is a VIDEO explaining the difference between n affluent professional school and an executive elite school.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

I know we have a wide variety in class of schools that people went to. Do you think the school you went to better or lessened your opportunity to learn?

Monday, March 21, 2016

This American Life

This American Life 

For my blog this week I decided to do an extended comment on Kamryn’s blog. After I listened to the radio thing and read the article I went and read everyone’s blog. Kamryn basically said the exact things that I was thinking.
I agree with Kamryn’s first point about how the radio station was very SCWAAMP. The quote that Kamryn used,
"... that black and Latino kids in segregated schools have the least qualified teachers, the least experienced teachers.  They also get the worst course offerings, the least access to AP and upper level courses, the worst facilities.  The other thing about most segregated black schools, Nikole says, is that they have high concentrations of children who grew up in poverty.  Those kids have greater educational needs.  They're more stressed out.  They have a bunch of disadvantages.  And when you put a lot of kids like that together in one classroom, studies show, it doesn't go well." 
was the exact quote that really got me. I think that this is very evident even in schools that aren’t segregated. Just living in a “bad” area and going to school this is seen. For example, in high school I had many different classes that I was able to choose from for electives. Also there were 3 different levels of core classes that you could take based on how advanced you were. I thought that it was something that all schools had but after listening to this, I see how much of a privilege that it was to have those. Also, when you put these children that all have a bad attitude regarding school together, it is not going to be a very productive classroom.
I also agree with Kamryn connecting it to Kristof’s point of individual vs. institutional. Due to the poor institution in the Normandy area, the children suffered. An individual child could not succeed in that institution.


Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

One more thing I wanted to say was this radio thing really made me think about being apart of a good institution as a teacher. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

In The Service of What?

In The Service of What? 
The Politics of Service Learning 
By; Kahne and Westheimer 


In both Mr. Johnson's class and Ms. Adams' class service learning was a large part of the curriculum. To try and decide which form of service learning, (charity or change) is better is a very tough thing to do. I feel like they both have their pros and cons. With charity, the student if physically seeing what they can do, and how much they can help. For example, the boy in Mr. Johnson's class who made the survival kits for the homeless. He sees how much he is helping that one person. However, that particular student may fail to see the larger homeless problem. While the hands on experience is great for that student, it would also be great for him to have the knowledge of the larger homeless issue. That is where the change aspect of service learning comes in. Being educated on the issue, and working with larger groups to try to help a problem is a great thing. It can create a much different outcome than the charity version of service learning. To stick with the homeless example, raising money for the two homeless organizations helps a larger range of individuals than the student who made survival kits and handed them out to the homeless. That’s not to take anything away from that student, because I’m sure what he did was a huge help, but the change idea of service learning helps more so with the homeless problem rather than the homeless individual. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
While going for change instead of charity really does help the problem more in my opinion, I don't think there is anything like that face to face interaction when you are helping someone in need. For example, for the past month I have been doing a fundraiser for a child on the basketball team I coach that was diagnosed with bone cancer. We did special events, raffles, etc. All the money we raised could have been donated to an organization that fights against his particular type of cancer. In the long run, that would help more. However, donating it to his family for medical bills, expenses, etc. helped that particular INDIVIDUAL more. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces
Gerri August 


While reading this text one thing kept entering my mind; From my K-12 years, I was NEVER educated on LGBT. In fact, our school didn't have an LGBT club until my senior year, and even then it only had a few members, and no one knew what it was about. It wasn't until my freshman year of college when I actually found out what LGBT was. That's actually very alarming to me. Even looking back now while I was growing up, there were only three LGBT people that I came in contact with. Two were a gay couple who had an adopted son that I played baseball with, and the other was a classmate of mine who came out in 11th grade. From what I remember from both situations was that people made a very large deal about them. No one in my town ever really encountered LGBT, so when they did, they would be very awkward about it. It makes me think; Was this just my town? Or were other surrounding towns just as uneducated about LGBT as we all were? This also connects back to last weeks reading about Disney movies. Not only Disney movies, but any show I watched as a child growing up. I can't think of a single movie/show that talked about this group. Another interesting thing was that I had never heard of the gay civil rights movement. That hyperlink is actually a timeline of the movement, and there was a TON of things on there that I was not aware of.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
The big question that I have is do any of you feel the same as me? Do you feel like you were not educated at all on any of this?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
By: Linda Christensen 

Quote 1: 
"I start by showing students old cartoons because the stereotypes are so blatant. We look at the roles women, men, people of color, and poor people play in the cartoons. I ask students to watch for who plays the lead, Who plays the buffoon? Who plays the servant? I encourage them to look at the race, station in life, body type of each character, What motivates the character? What do they want out of life? What's their mission? If there are people of color in the cartoon, what do they look like? How are they portrayed? What would children learn about this particular group from this cartoon? How does the film portray overweight people? What about women other than the main character? What jobs do you see them doing? What do they talk about? What are their main concerns? What would young children learn about women's roles in society if they watched this film and believed it? What roles do money, possession, and power play in the film? Who has it? Who wants it? How important is it to the story? What would children learn about what's important in society?"

I believe that this quote is very relevant to the text because it is essentially what the whole text is about. This particular quote gets people thinking; well at least it got me thinking. While reading through these questions I started to run over certain Disney characters in my mind. It always seems to be a white, muscular male who is the hero, and then an unrealistic-looking female character as the damsel in distress. The women always seem ditsy and act as if they would not know what to do without the male around. Also, thinking of characters that are colored, when 'The Princess and the Frog' came out, and the main character was black, people made a HUGE deal about it. 

Quote 2:
"Bur, like the original tale, Cindy Ellie's main goal in life is not working of the homeless or teaching kids to read. Her goal, like Cinderella's, is to get her man. Both young women are transformed and made beautiful through new clothes. new Jewels, new hairstyles. Both have chauffeurs who deliver them to their men."

I feel like this quote is to show the reader, (and the students in her class) that while some progress is being made, it doesn't mean we can just forget about the other issues. Teaching kids that needing to transform with material items in order to be beautiful is still a serious problem.

Quote 3:
"During a class discussion Sabrina said: "I realized these problems weren't just in cartoons. They were in everything - every magazine I picked up, every television show I watched, every billboard I passed by on the street."

This is what I feel like the author wanted everyone to see. While sexism, racism, etc are very relevant in cartoons, when you look around you can see them in every day life. It is a very big problem with society, and this article, and what the students did, really pointed it out.

(Crows from Dumbo)

Questions/Comments/Points to Share

In my opinion, this article was definitely one of the most interesting/revealing ones that we have read this semester. My first question I have is what other shows/movies do you see this in? Is there anything you can think of where you DON'T see this? Another question I have is if you read the hyperlink on the Princess and The Frog, what's your opinion on it? Do you think it's still racist?

Monday, February 8, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack 
By: Peggy McIntosh 

The author, McIntosh, argues that white privilege is everywhere, but white people do not see it. One of McIntosh's stronger points was made in paragraph three when she says "I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege." She is arguing that whites do not see white privilege because whites are taught to not see it. This is where the "invisible knapsack" is seen because whites have it and benefit from it, but cannot see it.  Another strong argument she makes is under the "Elusive and Fugitive" section of the article. In the very first sentence she proves her own point by discussing how she had to write down ways that white privilege effects her or else she would forget. I believe here she was saying how it is so common for these white privilege events to happen, that she doesn't even notice them in everyday life. Another good argument that Peggy McIntosh makes is when she says " If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own." This quote is very similar to what Kristof argues in his article. They both say how things are available to some people, while they are not available to others; regardless of how hard someone works. 

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:

While reading this article I came up with a question. McIntosh focuses on women's studies, and that's where she started researching. My question to the class would be, "What do you think is more relevant; Male Privilege or White Privilege?" I'm really not sure where I stand on the question which is why I wanted to ask the class and she what arguments could be made. Also, another thing I wanted to discuss was how this article had many connections to other things we have read this semester. I only pointed out Kristof, but I think there was a connection to every other article we read this semester in this one. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nicholas Kristof: "U.S.A, Land of Limitations?


The first quote that I wanted to discuss was when Kristof said "A child born in the bottom quintile of incomes in the United States has only a 4 percent chance of rising to the top quintile, according to a Pew study. A separate (somewhat dated) study found that in Britain, such a boy has about a 12 percent chance." Right from the start Kristof was pointing out how America may not be this great "land of opportunity" that it once was. He points out the fact that children born into poverty in Canada and European countries have a much better chance at making something of themselves than if the same child was born in America. Another quote in the text that was a great example was  “The chance of a person who was born to a family in the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution rising to the top 10 percent as an adult is about the same as the chance that a dad who is 5 feet 6 inches tall having a son who grows up to be over 6 feet 1 inch tall." This quote that Kristof put in his article really visualized what he was trying to say. You have those people who will tell you that they "started from the bottom now they hea." (Drake, 2o13) and that's great. But for someone who started in poverty, that is a very hard feat to accomplish. Kristof was not putting those people down, but more so saying that it is extremely tough, even with hard work, to turn around a life of poverty. The final quote that I wanted to talk about is when Kristof says "Remember that disadvantage is less about income than environment. The best metrics of child poverty aren’t monetary, but rather how often a child is read to or hugged. Or, conversely, how often a child is beaten, how often the home descends into alcohol-fueled fistfights, whether there is lead poisoning, whether ear infections go untreated. That’s a poverty that is far harder to escape." This quote really spoke to what Kristof was trying to get across. It's not so much about income, but it's about what life the child was brought up in. For example, a child could grow up in a poverty stricken community. That child may have to go to school every day worrying more about his safety than he is about learning. I believe that these three quotes really exemplify what Kristof was trying to get across in this article. 

 Nicholas D. Kristof - Davos 2010.jpg
(Nicholas Kristof)

Questions/Comments/Point To Share:

One thing that I loved that Kristof did was how he brought up the issue of entitlements. Most people who are above the poverty line think that those below it are just free loaders, and just take from the government. I really liked how he said it was a legitimate issue, but then goes on to say how people don't seem to complain when "zillionares" are claiming huge tax deductions. A question I would raise to the class is, "How do you guys feel about what he said regarding entitlements?"