Monday, June 15, 2009

Quotes -All speech is not free

The author argues that " to create a classroom environment that does not replicate the inequities of the "real" world is a disservice to students." She suggests that there is no reason why educators cannot create a separate space where students who have been marginalized are allowed to get the experience they will need to defend themselves when they enter a world after college.The author states that institutions of higher learning already are "white men's clubs".The rules of such a classroom environment are explained by giving two examples. The first example is a professor who invites students to express any view they want to,while the second example was a professor who set explicit ground rules for her classroom. The first professor allows he student's fee speech but insists they back up their comments and opinions.The students were held accountable and fellow students were able to have dissenting opinions and discussions about topics opened up in the classroom. The second professor tells her students at the beginning of her classes on women's studies that she assumes they are there because because they support women's issues.In her classes on black studies, she also expects her students to "object to any denigration of black persons anywhere." The author feels both of these pedagogies are different ways of using an affirmative action pedagogy. The first helps challenge racist views by talking and analysing how these opinions are rooted in privilege and how institutions may be be part of the problem. The second instance ,where students are forbidden to use racist or hate speech in the classroom, also is considered to be a way to use affirmative action pedagogy. This censorship of speech is defended by this quote in the article, "This rule functions to correct an educational history that has systemically discriminated against marginalized voices.Within women's and black studies in particular, this attempt to counter unequal representation is especially appropriate."I agreed with the statement,both pedagogies allow the unheard to be heard.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Argument Aria by Richard Rodriguez

The author, Richard Rodriguez, argues that bilingual educators believe children miss a great deal when they are not educated using their native language but that bilingual educators do not understand the importance of Spanish-speaking children becoming comfortable in speaking what the author refers to as the “public language”. The article tells the story of the author’s time as a young Hispanic boy who is trying to learn English. He writes about how he did not believe he could achieve his goal of speaking English, a language he thought to be a public language, different from the Spanish language of his family that felt so personal and private to him. When his teachers asked his family to speak English at home, he felt everything change as he listened to his family struggle to speak this language. He felt sad, yet this was the moment he resolved to learn English. As time went on and he became more fluent in English, he grew more confident and came to believe what was true all along, that he was an American citizen and that he belonged. But with this new confidence in the public world, the dynamics of the family changed.There was a certain closeness his family shared when the home language was Spanish and he felt this intimacy become different as the English language became their language of choice. His father never became comfortable with speaking English as his primary language and he became quiet, letting his wife talk for both of them and become the public voice of the family. Yet when the author observed his father with a group of Spanish speaking friends, he saw his father’s personality come alive with Spanish words and sounds. He saw his father as confident in a way that was never apparent when he father spoke English. Rodriguez acknowledged the loss of intimacy and privacy his family suffered by trying to assimilate into public society, but felt the loss of “private individuality” makes “public individuality” possible and that this two pronged individuation is necessary for success in the public world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quotes from Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community

1. “Public schools in particular have often promoted such “normalizing” conceptualizations of community that are based on defining a cultural center or “norm” and positioning class, gender, race, and sexual Others at the margins.” The author writes about how schools assign positions of privilege and use the phrase “ normal” to describe the usual people and positions of privilege; whites, males ,heterosexuals, and the middle class. He goes on to say that schools use grouping and curriculum practices to minimize the voices of “Others”, but that this notion of marginalization is being challenged by these very people, along with support from communities ,in very serious ways.

2. “ Multicultural education is reconceptualized in terms of crossing or rupturing the borders that separate individuals into neat categories and camps.” The author writes about how we have to look at ourselves as a combination of all the things, the “multiple subject positions ( class, race, gender, sexuality, etc.) that make us the human beings we are and how this will enable us to view others as multifaceted , and not focus on just one aspect of an individual.

3. “ Fourth, it also means that I am inextricably involved in multiple cultural struggles rather than merely one.” The author states that is important that multicultural education includes giving young people a sense of the interconnectedness between identity and culture and to do so will create a sense of community that will further a world built on equity for everyone.
Carlson sees the public schools as having a responsibility to educate young straight men about how they have come to see gay men and women as Others.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Finn: Questions for Class Discussion

1.What is empowering education?

2. What is powerful literacy?

3. What is domesticating education and what does this lead to?

4. Finn writes about social dynamics and mechanisms that have led to the present state of affairs. Discuss some of the mechanisms.

5. Describe the differences of working class schools, middle class schools, affluent professional schools, and executive elite schools and how each type of school produces students who are prepared for life in very different ways. Discuss this.

6. Do you agree with Finn's statement, " Those who are the smartest and work the hardest go the furthest?" Who's kidding whom? When students begin school in such different systems, the odds are set against them." Explain why or why not.

7. What are the main differences in the characteristics of Dialogue and Anti-dialogue chart?

I found this article interesting.The descriptions of the schools and their designation as executive elite, affluent professional, middle class, and working class,the type of student the educators are deliberately trying to create and the future the specific schools have scripted for these students, according to social status, was appalling to me. The information in this article encourages me to help my students receive the education they are entitled to,to help them reach their goals, and to pursue the life they choose, not the one they were assigned to.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Can Separate Be Equal?

Kozol wrote that many Americans have no idea of the problems in urban public schools. He writes about the many big cities in the United States in which racial segregation is continuing in and how this is isolating the children in the poorest and most segregated neighborhoods. The author lists the statistics for many urban settings where the student population is overwhelmingly black or Hispanic. Many teachers in these schools can actually count the number of white children in their schools. Even in neighborhoods where there was a significant white population, white parents are sending their children to private schools. As in Johnson’s article, there seems to be a reluctance to put a name to this racial divide, namely racial segregation. Schools are classified as diverse when there is, in reality, little diversity as most of the students are black or Hispanic.
The argument he feels most educators in large cities subscribe to is one of accepting less than full equality, and striving toward a very different goal of achieving “strong, empowered, and well funded schools in segregated neighborhoods”. He feels that these educators were willing to put aside the 1954 Brown Supreme Court decision and instead settle for the 1896 Supreme Court ruling that advocated a dual society in the United States that was “separate but equal”. For additional information that addresses this issue go to and read the article titled The Strange History of School Desegregation by Robert Lowe. The problem of achieving desegregation with the current racial populations of our big cities is now difficult and this article explores this problem along with other interesting facts about the history of school desegregation.
Kozol’s article includes several stories from children that tell of the deplorable conditions of the schools they attend. One child wrote, “It is not fair that other kids have a garden and new things. But we don’t have that. I wish that this school was the most beautiful school in the whole why world.” Kozol went on to ponder that innocent misspelling of why instead of wide and that thought resonates with me. Many other students from Fremont high in L.A. talked to Mr. Kozol about the terrible physical conditions in their schools and how the students were further humiliated by having to speak of these horrible conditions and how it never seemed to change, no matter who knew about it. He went on to talk to students about the course work that was available to them and found that many students were being denied the kind of courses that they needed to be successful, being offered vocational courses like sewing and hair styling instead of AP classes while Beverly Hills High School offered so many more relevant academic courses to meet the same “applied Technology” requirement. The students at Fremont school were well aware of the inequities in the schools and were cynical about the status quo changing anytime soon.
The article went on to describe a curriculum called Success For All, a much scripted way to teach students. Kozol writes that many urban school communities have adopted this “pedagogy of direct command and absolute control” with the purpose of “faultless communication” between the teachers and the students. As the description of this curriculum continued it became obvious that this was a very explicit and rote way of instruction. Was this the explicitness that Delpit advocated for students of color? This particular curriculum was described in the article as extremely rigid, not only when examining teaching methodology but extended to every aspect of the student’s day in school with no room for individual expression. The author goes on to quote the New York Times article, Fearing a Class System in the Classroom; A Strict Curriculum, but Only for Failing Schools, Mostly in Poor Areas of New York., where it says that white children made up only one percent of students who were taught using this curriculum, and that this kind of teaching method can only hamper a student’s chance for becoming a critical thinker. He concludes the article by encouraging whatever actions are necessary to change what he refers to as the resegregation of schools and the inequities children of color endure in the United States.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Silence Dialogue

I found this article very interesting because it gave me a different way to look at the way children of color should be educated. It was surprising to me
in many ways, especially how many educators of color disagreed with many teaching methods advocated by white educators, but do not seem to be heard. The story of a white educator lecturing on how to educate black children and the black doctoral student who attended these lectures was very disconcerting. The black student expressed the view that white educators don’t listen when black individuals try and express different opinions, with the white educators citing research and discounting the life experiences of those that are living in the culture. This black principal felt it was futile to argue, because “ They wear blinders and earplugs. They only want to go on research that other white people have written. The author stated “ that the black and Native Alaskan educators speak of in these statements are seldom aware that the dialogue has been silenced. Most likely the white educators believe that their colleagues of color did, in the end, agree with their logic. After all, they stopped disagreeing, didn’t they?” It was clear the author felt there was a big disconnect between white and non-white educators, where both want to teach in the best possible way .The white educators seemed to lack an understanding of how the voices of educators of color are not heard or taken into account when planning the best way to teach students of color. Ms. Delpit writes about the “ culture of power”, and lists five aspects of the culture of power and their relevance. She goes on to say that the last two aspects of the culture of power are not widely examined. Number four was listed as, “ If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier. If you think about when you start a new job or even begin a new class, clear rules about what is expected from you and how you should proceed to achieve success makes the task at hand so much easier and much less stressful. The last aspect is “ Those with power are frequently least aware of- or willing to acknowledge- its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.” This element of the culture of power is a very important one, because something cannot change if there is no awareness or there is denial that this power exists. The problems with indirectness and lack of explicitness in education and how this impacts the success of students of color is examined in this article and leads me to think about the methods of teaching we use in the school I work in and even the speech and manner we use for behavior management. Are we being too indirect when a more direct manner is something children of color might see at home and be better able to respond to? Is this a way to try and deny the power a white teacher has over her students of color because it may bring up feelings of guilt over this power and cause the teacher to fear restricting the freedom of their students? It is surely something to think about.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I enjoyed taking the test we took today in class. It was interesting to take and the results were interesting too. I was not upset or surprised by the results of my test as I feel I know who I am.
The people on Dateline seemed very surprised by their results and even offended. It was interesting to note that the African American participants were not uncomfortable with their results while the European Americans were very surprised and uncomfortable. I wondered how the scientists came up with this test and if computer skills played any role.