Monday, May 2, 2011

Social Justice Event

  For my social justice event I attended Dr. Lesley Grinner's presentation about the aspects of SCWAAMP in Twilight.  I am not a big Twilight fan and I probably couldn't tell you the names of all the characters, however I did see the first one when it came out on DVD a while ago and I watched the second one the weekend before this lecture so I would have an idea of what was going on.
     Like when we read the article in class that had to do with SCWAAMP, at first I was defensive, I felt I was being blamed for all the atrocities, taboos and social faux pas that every white, christian, straight, American, Able-bodied, property owning man ever committed. But then I remembered class and that it was okay to feel like this, so on and so forth.  Dr. Grinner also said something that I really liked, she said this was just showing how SCWAAMP is valued, it is not a personal attack on white people.  She also talked about how not all non-SCWAAMP would agree with each other on the issues she discussed.  "How do i make this look like the problems aren't my own personal problems with other people," was one of her biggest challenges and where Twilight (or Grease, a pop-american film) filled a void.
     This presentation obviously connected to McIntosh's "White Privilege" article.  Dr. Grinner went over the how the "white" vampire family is rich, powerful and good looking, which gave Edward, the white, the advantage over Jacob, the native american, in attracting Bella.  Edward had that invisible  knapsack that included, his high education, similar culture to Bella, the nice cars, money, etc. that allowed him to win Bella over Jacob.
     There were also connections to the "Gender and Education" unit we did in class.  While Bella has to choose between the two male characters, the movie is no longer about this plain, whitest of white girl's choice, but a competition between Jacob and Edward.  Bella is helpless and insignificant at points throughout the story as the two males display their manly attributes.  Jacob is muscular, works with his hands (because he's a minority according to Grinner) and appeals to Bella's more primal attractions.  While Edward is clean, rich, white, powerful, Christian valued (No sex before, marriage or commitment or whatever) intelligent, educated and of course, he wins her love.

     Grinner talked about how this movie portrays the Quileute indians in a traditional, stereotypical way and has created buzz around their tribe, reservation and traditions.  All while using their name and they are receiving no benefit, this reminded me of a report I watched on ESPN's Outside the Lines about the controversy over the North Dakota University Fighting Sioux name, as the Indians never gave permission to use their name and they want it back.  Couldn't find the video but here is an article.
     Grinner also talked about Bella's choice between the rich white boy or the beast, wolf minority.  Bella is given the option of picking the rick white boy who has money power and can live forever or the beast, who could be abusive... so obviously she picks the white boy.  This portrays, Grinner points out, minorities as abusive, beast-like and the white male as the better, safer option for the female character.  This reminds me "Beauty and the Beast" and how she tries to change the beast into the beautiful white boy.  Bella couldn't change the beast, so she said "screw it, I'll take the one that already is white, rich, SCWAAMP, etc.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quote's for Shor's "Education is Politics"

     I believe that this chapter from Shor's book is a good conglomeration everything that we have learned in FNED.  To me, the reading was like a channelling of all the things we've talked about into the perspective of a teacher.  
      "The teacher leads and directs the curriculum, but does so democratically with the participation of he students, balancing the need for structure with the need for openness (pg. 16)."

     I love this quote.  It brings into question one of the the main challenges of being a teacher: working the curriculum into our agenda as teachers.  As much as we talk about it in class, we don't know what kind of teachers we are going to be until we enter the classroom.  Though we had strong opinions and ideals now about what a classroom is and how it should be run, I believe that conforming to the curriculums of different school systems could hinder these ideals.  Thus it is really the struggle of the teacher to make their lessons fit to the curriculum, as well as their own standards.  I also really like the how this quote talks about democratic participation because the two are one in the same.  Democracy means nothing without participation.  Student participation is essential to lessons and a overall successful learning environment.

     "Non participatory institutions depress the performance levels of the people working in them.  Mass education has become notorious for the low motivation of many students (and the burn out of many teachers)(pg.20)."

     This quote also shows the importance of student participation to the overall success of a classroom but focuses more on the individual scale.  I really like this quote because I am a strong believer that everybody learns differently and it is the teachers job to try to assign work that can be accessed by different learning styles.  A super specific, district disseminated curriculum is bull shit.  It allows no room for innovation or creativity.  It limits the teachers, therefore limiting the students, showing them that there is only one way to be successful, when in life there are many ways.  No curriculum created by anyone other than the teacher, can accent the individual personalities and dynamics of each individual classroom.

     "The teacher plays a key role in the critical classroom.  Student participation and positive emotions are influenced by the teacher's commitment to both (pg. 26)."
     Teacher enthusiasm has always been a key way to keep students interested.  If the teacher is enjoying what he/she is doing, odds are that the student will have a better chance at enjoying it as well.  This quote reminded me of Kohn's "What to look for in a classroom," the teacher can do a lot to help create a positive learning space for students with physical features of their classroom.  This will hopefully domino effect into the positive emotions and student participation.  I believe that positive emotions are critical to the success of the classroom and the individual student, especially in the stressful, cram time, save all the assignments for the end of the semester that we are in now.  I personally feel as though i learn a lot more when I am less stressed and feeling good about school.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Schooling Children with Down Syndrome

In Christopher Kliewer book (?) he argues for that children with disability need to be educated with the rest of their classmates and not segregated.  Kliewer sets the back drop for his argument against the basic outline of democracy and community.  He basically says individual involvement by everyone in a community as democracy, is the reason why children with learning disabilities should be integrated into the larger school community.  He goes on to explain how citizenship is important to learning and learning disabilities, using Shayne and her experience with Where the Wild Things Are as an agent to highlight his point.

      - This made me think of our FNED class, Dr. Bogad is always saying how she has tried to build a      sense of community in the classroom.  Between the comments on the attendance sheet, sitting in a circle and provoking class discussion, I believe that our class is a stronger community then other classes and we are learning better because of this.-

     Kliewer goes on in an attempt to redefine intelligence using a Soviet social scientist's theories about the people that surround a child with down syndrome when they learn. He also writes about how this sense of community helps the disabled child believe in themself.   Kliewer's overall thesis is that everyone especially the child with down syndrome learn better when surround by diversity thought and individuals as part of a larger community.

Monday, April 11, 2011

John Lennon- Working Class Hero (Lyrics)

CONNECTIONS: Parallels Between Patrick Flinn's "Literacy with an Attitude" and Delpit/Kozol

     As I read the Preface to Flinn's, "Literacy with an Attitude," I had numerous thoughts running through my head that connected the ideas Flinn was outlining to FNED.  First I thought about the quote on Dr. Bogad's blog from Gandhi.  Flinn must be a firm believer in"Be the change you wish to see in the world" because in his preface, he was not only pointing out the inequalities he saw in the educational system and the difficulties that young working class students must combat but more importantly he was calling out TEACHERS, PARENTS and OLDER STUDENTS to

                                                    "understand the mechanisms that have subverted honest efforts to give working- 
                                                    class children a decent education. They must understand the rela- 
                                                    tionships between society, culture, language, and schooling. They 
                                                    must. understand the relationships between progressive methods, 
                                                    liberating education, and powerful literacy on the one hand and 
                                                    traditional methods, domesticating education, and functional lit-eracy on the other. "

     I also saw relations between this idea and Lisa Delpit's "The Silenced Dialogue."  Delpit argues that those who are a part of the "culture of power" are responsible for showing people that are not a part of the culture of power (The Working Class, according to Flinn) how to function in that system.  Delpit would have agreed with Flinn, especially when he says that teachers (assuming they are white authority figures) are responsible for helping children become literate.  

                      Flinn's "Literate"  =  Delpit's "Culture of Power"

     Flinn talks about Kozol on the first page of chapter one, so it is obvious that there is a connection between Flinn and Kozol.  When I think about Kozol piece that we read in relation to Flinn, the part that really stood out to me was the part about the incinerator.  The upper class didn't want the incinerator in their neighborhood, but they did not mind when it was in the poorer neighborhood.  This is much like how Flinn says today's upper classes are literate and not much is being done to help the struggling working class.  If the struggling working class student got help becoming literate, or the incinerator removed from their neighborhood, it would be easier for them to succeed.  However, there was a difference between these two authors, I thought that Kozol was calling out the upper class for causing this problem while Flinn isn't calling anyone out but rather pointing out that it exists and this is what the upper class can do to help fix it.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Title IX


     Almost 40 years after the passing of Title IX (Gov't Doc), controversy still surrounds the subject.  After reading a basic History of the subject I researched modern day issues, opinions and theories.  After sifting through the ignorant male chauvinistic and extreme feminist rants and absurdities, I found very convincing arguments for both sides.  In a Kate O'Bearn Interview, she argues against Title IX claiming it is harmful to young boys.  However in a more convincing argument, New York University Ethics and Philosophy Professor Christian Hoff Sommers.  She is the author of a couple of books however her two most controversial are The War Against Boys and Who Stole Feminism?  Personally I found her opinions to be very unique, as she argues that feminism has put men, but especially boys in a dilemma, as they don't know how to be a "boy" or "gentleman" anymore in a society dominated by feminists. (I am computer illiterate so  I will post some of her videos in a separate blog)

In a 60 minutes report, male college athletes say that they are losing sports programs to women's programs by way of Title IX.  I found it harder to find a Pro Title IX opinion than finding material against Title IX. 

Chivalry and Feminists