Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Empowering Education" - Shor


In "Empowering Education," Ira Shor argues that schooling should be more focused on student participation and empowerment rather than the memorization of facts and standardized knowledge. He believes that "to teach skills and information without relating them to society and to the students' contexts turns education into an authoritarian transfer of official words, a process that severely limits student development as democratic citizens" (18). By relating the subject material to the students own lives, their critical thinking will be more in depth because they are connected with the material rather than bored by a long, typical lecture. (Click here to see the advantages and disadvantages of these commonly seen lectures) Through this participatory approach, the students' educational experiences can be transformed through empowering dialogue. Resistance is seen so often in classrooms because the students are bored by or rejecting the standard mode of instruction. By encouraging this participatory learning model, students will become engaged with the material by having the ability to make connections to their lives, their families, their community, and the greater society. Being in control of the learning process holds students more accountable and makes them more likely to achieve greater understanding.

In the second chapter of the Shor article, he proposes a model to show how the participatory model can be applied in classrooms. The teacher is seen as the "problem poser" in this example. "Problem posing focuses on power relations in the classroom, in the institution, in the formation of standard canons of knowledge, and in society at large. It considers the social and cultural context of education, asking how student subjectivity and economic conditions affect the learning process" (31). Rather than following the traditional classroom lecturing routine, problem posing teachers use the students backgrounds, experiences, and opinions to shape the curriculum. By doing this, teachers and students are able to connect through sharing their opinions and learning from each other, rather than from a "central bank of knowledge" determined by the government. Everyone's point of view is explored in this model and the students express their understanding to gain more knowledge and understanding of how the material relates to themselves and how it plays out in society.

I really liked this article and the subject material that it focused on. I agree with Shor and find his model to be really interesting. Though this article took me all weekend to read since it was a little long and really hard to focus all my attention on it during my dance competition this weekend, I thought that this article ended our formal readings nicely by combining all the material we have explored this semester and laying out a plan to enact these teachings in our own classrooms one day. Empowering education was a really big theme in my high school, and I recall experiencing some of the approaches used in Shor's article in my high school classes. It was really cool to read about the different approach to classroom learning, and I liked how he provided such detailed examples.

I wanted to connect this article to Delpit because I feel that it really exemplifies the culture of power. Shor says that education is politics. It is not neutral, but it encourages the status quo or the domination of white, male culture being placed in the school curriculum, rather than the history of the oppressed and minority groups. This is because those in power and frequently least aware of their power and they are the ones who determine the rules of the culture of power. This is seen in the curriculum set by the government. Those that are in power in our society get to decide what teachers must teach, while those who are not in power are frequently left out or forgotten. However, Shor shows us how we can manipulate the curriculum by using the participatory approach to explore and question the required curriculum rather than accepting and memorizing it without critically examining it.

Talking Point: Has anyone been in a participatory, problem posing classroom environment before this class? How has your education and understanding of the material differed from typical classes?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"


Christopher Kliewer, in "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome," argues that traditional special education classrooms are segregated from the community, which makes students with conditions like down syndrome be seen as powerful contributors to society. Students with developmental conditions are commonly seen as being uneducable and therefore are placed in secluded classrooms and communities, which create unjust and frustrating situations for these people. Kliewer argues that by accepting all students through allowing children with developmental disabilites to learn in classrooms with a variety of different students, all children will be seen as valuable and respected for their individuality. Kliewer stresses that people must stop defining others by their conditions or backgrounds and accept them as an individual in order to have a truly democratic society. By doing so we can create, "actual educational arenas where all students are welcomed, no voice is silenced, and children come to realize their own self-worth through the unconditional acceptance of one another" (74). Kliewer analyzes, "the meaning of school citizenship for students with Down Syndrome as it relates to (1) literacy development, of central importance in experiencing school success, and (2) friendship formation, a possible consequence of being recognized as communally valuable" (74).

I feel that this article relates to August's, "Safe Spaces" article because they both speak of segregating certain people from society because of their differences. Sometimes people think that those with differences are less valuable then themselves because they have qualities that do not reflect the ideals of society, as seen in SCWAAMP and Delpit's "culture of power." Therefore, they try to keep these people secluded from society because they have these differences and do not know how to or do not want to interact with them. Learning to accept all these groups for their individualities will lead to a true democratic society, where everyone is valued and respected. Through encouraging this, each person will be allowed a sense of belonging in their community.

I think that Kliewer brings up a great point and tells a lot of inspiring stories. I never realized that special education classrooms are so segregated and how introducing those with disabilities to community programs and lots of different people can help their skills improve so much. I really learned a lot from this reading and thought that it was really interesting. 

Talking point: Has anyone experienced special education seclusion or inclusion in their high schools?

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Literacy with an Attitude" - Finn

For this post, I decided to do a reflection comparing my service learning to Finn's explanation of Anyon's study. This study focused on differences in the classrooms based on socioeconomic status. The results were labeled: executive elite, affluent professional, middle class, and working class. For my service learning, I am volunteering in a school that would fit into the working class category. Despite the results Anyon produced, my classroom does not follow her description. This may be due to the teacher I am working with or the school environment, but I am hopeful that this may be a sign that these types of unjust situations are becoming better.

"In the working class schools, the dominant theme was resistance" (Finn 12). This line did not describe my students or classroom in my opinion. "Knowledge in the affluent professional school was viewed as being open to discovery" (Finn 16). Though this describes the affluent professional school, I felt that this described my classroom environment much better. Also, Finn says "Control involved constant negotiation" (17). This also described the affluent professional school, but I found it very apparent in my "working class" school. The teacher is very concerned with negotiations and getting the students input on situations. She allows them to dialogue about problems they are having to find solutions or give consequences to students that deserve them.

I thought that this article, especially the Anyon study, related to Kozol's "Amazing Grace." Both spoke of the unbreakable cycle of poverty and social class and the struggle to change social classes since society is determined to continue the status quo. Finn said that these segregated schools teach students how to survive in their social class, not how to change it. The idea of continuing the family business or trade was described as keeping people in their rightful class. This is obviously unjust, but it is happening and making it so much harder for people to release themselves from their labeled social class.

Talking point: Does anyone else notice differences in their volunteering experiences or do your classrooms go along with the descriptions given in Finn's arcticle?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pecha Kucha

So far, I am doing pretty well on my Pecha Kucha. I am focusing on how whiteness is valued in our society through privileges and disadvantages based on racial background. I am connecting this to my service learning project and previous volunteer experiences, as well as my own schooling. I am looking at issues of race and how this is portrayed in the classroom. My main author is McIntosh, and I am working alone. I am connecting SCWAAMP, Delpit, Kozol, and Tim Wise's Racism 2.0 to my topic. I have the outline done and I know what information I am going to present in my project. I completed the brainstorming map and finished outlining my information on the 20 cards. I am feeling better about the project since I have a good grasp on what I am doing, but I am still a little stressed because I still have so much to work to still complete. I am also concerned about finding pictures/visuals for each slide, but I will continue to look and experiment. Hope everyone has a nice holiday!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brown vs. Board of Education - Hyperlinks

Brown vs. Board of Education was a 1954 Supreme Court case that ruled that separate but equal was not constitutional, specifically in terms of schooling. Previous to this case, schools and other places were allowed to segregate by race as long as the conditions were equal. However, there were rarely equal conditions for black and white children in schools. Brown vs. Board of Education made equal education law and with that ended formal apartheid. Tim Wise, in his book "Between Barack and a Hard Place" classifies this as "racism 1.0." This racism is classified by outright bigotry and ignorance to those of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. He does believe that we have ended this type of racism, as seen through the election of President Barack Obama. However, he believes that we are now a part of "racism 2.0," which he classifies as "enlightened exceptionalism." In our society, we see instances of racism 2.0. For instance, many people see the President Obama as an incredibly qualified president. They see him as transcending the norms associated with his race, which associates African Americans with less intelligence, more aggression and criminal behavior, and less-hardworking attitudes. Believing that these stereotypical norms exist is the basis of racism 2.0. Bob Herbert, in his article "Separate and Unequal," comments on this by saying "The election of Barack Obama has not made true integration any more palatable to millions of Americans" (2). Many assume that since America elected a black president, America had ended racism completely. This is far from true. Impoverished students are segregated from their middle-class counterparts by "residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom" (1). Even though the election of Barack Obama was a great step towards racial equality, these authors caution us by explaining the in depth racism that still exists today.

I found a Washington Post article from 2014 that explains Brown vs Board of Education's impact 60 years later. This article related to the Brown vs Board of Education website, Tim Wise interview, and Bob Herbert article. Though Brown vs. Board of Education desegregated public schools and made the "separate but equal" policy unconstitutional, Richard Rothstein states that this court case "was unsuccessful in its purported mission—to undo the school segregation that persists as a central feature of American public education today" (2). He goes on to explain that the court case only desegregated school; it did not properly integrate schools. Today, he says that the isolation of black children by race and socioeconomic class is at its worst. The achievement gap continues to remain between black and white children. He says that since schools are isolating these children, they are not benefitting as much as richer, whiter schools due to lack of resources and less parental involvement. Also, low-income housing complexes contribute to the isolation of these impoverished children, forcing them into the same schooling situations. We must first desegregate housing situations to desegregate schooling situations. Schools are more segregated today than in 1980, where "The typical black student now attends a school where only 29 percent of his or her fellow students are white, down from 36 percent in 1980" (3). Racism, though not the same problem today as during Brown vs. Board of Education, still has a major impact on all our lives and on our school systems.

I believe that this is another example of white supremacy, as seen in SCWAAMP and the McIntosh article on white privilege. This racial and socioeconomic segregation shows how white, middle class people have certain advantages over others in our society.

Talking point: All my classes, from elementary school to now, seemed to be predominately white. Did you have a different experience or does this racial segregation apply to your schooling as well?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Social Justice Event

Today, I went to a film presented by the Gender and Women's Study program for my Social Justice Event. There were only 2 people that came to view the film, including myself. This documentary was entitled "Killing Us Softly 4." It focused on the work of Jean Kilbourne, a long-time critic of media advertising. Kilbourne advocates for the just representation of women in the media, calling for an end to the harsh messages being sent to the public, especially girls and women. The film was about 45 minutes long and it focused on unpacking advertisements to convey the underlying messages and motives designed to dehumanize and objectify women. I was shocked at the extent of many advertisements described in this film. I feel like I have been manipulated to value these ideals through seeing these advertisements. It worries me that young girls are exposed to these unreachable ideals, which leads to so many mental and physical illnesses. I feel empowered after seeing this to start criticizing media and advertising more to expose these hidden messages.

All of us are bombarded with media advertising; the average person sees over 3,000 ads a day. While many people say they just ignore these unavoidable advertisements, the film explained that only 8% of the ad's message is processed consciously. Therefore, 92% of the messages are received subconsciously, where they influence us incredibly in our everyday lives. Advertisements stress the importance of beauty, youthfulness, and sexualization among all humans and objects, but most especially women. These advertisements cause girls and women to strive for flawlessness, which ultimately cannot be achieved. It actuality, the majority of photographs and images presented by the media are comprised of four to five women's bodies combined to form a "perfected" image of a women. Women and girls are subjected to these harsh messages that they are only valued for their appearance and body. They compare themselves to these photoshopped images, which can create low self-esteem, unrealistic body ideals, and eating disorders.

Our society values light-skin, blue-eyes, straight hair, sexuality, and extreme thinness. Many times in advertising, dark-skinned models are photoshopped to appear lighter-skinned and thin models are photoshopped to look thinner. Women are often turn into objects, which dehumanizes their value. Women are especially objectified as sexual beings created for men's pleasure. Women and girls are scrutinized by these advertisements, where they are placed in passive, vulnerable positions, while men are depicted as strong, confident. Men are not free from these hidden messages and objectification though. They are taught that they need to be tough, strong, insensitive, and masculine. However, they do not face the same harshness or consequences that women do. Popular culture teaches girls to aspire to, in a sense, disappear into nothing, the evidence being the fairly recent creation of sizes 0 and 00. Even more disgusting is the contempt and ridicule women face when they do not have this ideal body shape or appearance.

Kilbourne says that until we face the facts, nothing can be done about these dehumanizing messages and advertisements. In order to change the system, we must be aware of the situation, pay attention to the messages being sent, and realize that this is a public health problem that affects us all in a negative way. We need to change our environment by encouraging media literacy and critiquing advertisements and the media. We must show the advertisers that we are firstly citizens, not consumers. Our ability to have freely-lived, authentic lives depends on us taking a stand against this injustice. While I was watching this film, I saw many connections to the texts that we have read in class. Three texts that I think connect strongly with this film are Lisa Delpit's article, "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children," Peggy McIntosh's article, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," and Linda Christenson's article, "Unlearning the Myths that Bing Us."

Delpit explains the "culture of power" in her article. She gives five dimensions of this culture of power by explaining that there are rules or codes that define this power system. "The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power. If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier. Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - it's existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence"(24). These aspects define the culture of power. This is related to the advertising practices that are based on the culture of power present in our society. The rules for participating in the advertising world are based on thin, attractive, light-skinned, passive women. These codes are a reflection of what our society values - SCWAAMP - straight, white, able bodiedness, and maleness. These are all attractive qualities in our culture of power and these are subjected in media advertising. Sexual objectification (in straight couples), light skin, men, and thin able bodied humans are portrayed in these advertisements because this is what our society deems good. Teaching media literacy, or being told explicitly the rules of the culture of power, makes acquiring power easier by learning how to critique the hidden messages portrayed in these ads. Also, those who have these attractive qualities are least aware of its value to society. Those who do not have these qualities understand that they are not valued but are objects of ridicule.

Related to this is Peggy McIntosh's article where she explains, "Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them"(6). Kilbourne stresses the same topic. Knowing about the messages of media advertising and claiming that one is against that idealized model is not enough to do anything. We must impose our beliefs on the advertisers by changing what we value in order to change our society. Also, McIntosh speaks about male privilege and white privilege in her article. She explains that while many know about the unfairness of our social system, those in power are not willing to give up their advantages. These privileges, as well as these advertisements, are influencing all our lives by keeping us in oblivious to the real issues. Being male and white gives one so many advantages, as seen in media advertising. Models are valued if they are light-skinned and if they are not, they are photoshopped to make their skin look lighter. Men are portrayed as strong and powerful, while woman are submissive and controllable to the man's desires. These privileges control media advertising and unless we change the power scale, it will just continue to just get worse.

Finally, Christenson's article sums this whole conversation up. The advertisements implied messages are the "secret education" that the media is instilling in us. In order to be aware of this secret education, we must teach and understand media literacy. Media advertisements "instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blueprints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, or one country over a weaker counterpart" (126). We are influenced and manipulated by the images that we constantly see even if we don't believe it. "The stereotypes and worldview embed in the [advertisements] become accepted knowledge" (127). By becoming media literate, we can see the inequalities and unjust messages and understand that these stereotypes are not just. We must not be ignorant, but become aware of the "secret education" that we are receiving.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"The Politics of Service Learning" Kahne and Westheimer

"In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Kahne and Westheimer made me question my attitudes and reasons for the service learning project and previous community service that I have done. I always believed that community service was primarily about charity and contributing to one's community, but I failed to realize that more could come from one's service learning experience. Kahne and Westheimer speak to change through service learning. This change stems from caring, reconstructs social injustices, and leads to transformations in the volunteers lives. To expand on this topic, I am doing a connections post to some of our former readings.

This article shows connections to Johnson's article, "Privilege, Power, and Difference."As I said, many people just see community service as a school requirement or charity work. Even though this is a piece of service learning, Kahne and Westheimer say that we must challenge these ideals and "risk creating some opposition to service learning projects" (12). By doing this, people may be transformed through their experiences rather than just feeling positive or appreciated. Johnson says "But always the purpose is to change how we think so that we can change how we act, and by changing how we participate in the world, become part of the complex dynamic through which the world itself would change" (viii). Johnson says that we have to say the words in order to change the world. Once people read Kahne and Westheimer, they see that through their service learning project, they do have the ability to change the world by changing their mindset, actions, and participation.

I also connected this article to Ullucci's article, "Pathologizing the Poor: Implications for Preparing Teachers to Work in High Poverty Schools." In this article, Ullucci spoke about myths of those in poverty. She explains that we should not pity impoverished students and their families, but challenge the belief that those in poverty are in poverty because they don't work hard enough, are lazy, or are not smart. I personally saw a connection in the story about the music class performing at an impoverished elementary school. The parents complained and instilled fear in their children that the people in that community were bad and the students were undisciplined, rude and dirty. (Truthfully, when I started my service learning project, I was scared and nervous because I had heard to make sure to lock my car because the area was unsafe, etc, etc. and I feel connected to these student's fears.)When the class did go to perform, they found that beliefs were not true. The students were respectful, welcoming, and attentive. (I also found this to be true.) Kahne and Westheimer said, "The experiential and interpersonal components of service learning activities can achieve the first crucial step toward diminishing the sense of 'otherness' that often separates students - particularly privileged students - from those in need" (8). By participating in a service learning activity, these students (and myself) learned that their beliefs were just common myths that need to be challenged.

I also connected this piece to Delpit's article, "The Silenced Dialogue." Delpit speaks of a "culture of power," where those in power set the rules and standards for society. I believe that this connects because the culture of power tells us that we must participate in community service in order to fulfill our requirements and help those in need. The culture of power does not speak of the transformative power of community service and service learning projects. The people in power have set these beliefs and instilled them in the rest of society to see service learning as solely charity, and not change.

Talking point: Have people viewed their service learning project as charity or as a chance to change the world?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" - Linda Christenson

For my blog post, I will be doing an extended comments based on Jasmine's post.

I think that Jasmine captured Christenson's argument nicely by saying, "Linda Christensen argues that the media like TV shows, commercial, books, and magazines set unrealistic expectations for children and they display many stereotypes." I also believe that Christenson was arguing that Disney/Looney Tunes movies and cartoons are heavily based on many stereotypes because the characters displayed all have characteristics that can be described by SCWAAMP. As a society, we value things like straightness, whiteness, able-bodiedness, maleness, and property ownership. One can see all these traits in these movies and cartoons that are commonly shown to young children. These children are so influential that they begin to value these qualities shown and become members of the society that values SCWAAMP.

Jasmine also brings up Christenson's idea of a "secret education." By saying this Christenson means that the creators of this movie didn't create the characters this way in order to mind wash the young to become racist and sexist human beings. But, by constantly showing the white people as the heroes and princesses, the woman being weak and rescued by the strong, confident men, people of different races being the bad guys, and the characters being rich and wealthy, these movies are educating their audience to admire these qualities. I liked how Jasmine linked the Popeye cartoon that Christenson explained so that we can actually how these stereotypes are played out. 

Also, Jasmine says that even though Christenson makes valid points, she does not want to believe that her favorite movies are based on ideas linked to SCWAAMP. I definitely agree with her here. I thought that this article was hard to read because it made me sad to think that all the movies that remind me of my childhood are portrayed in this negative fashion. I don't try to see the stereotypes, even though I now know that they are present in all these cartoons and movies. I guess that I'm also one of those people who "don't want to believe they have been manipulated by children media or advertising" (128).

Overall, I think that Jasmine did a great job on her post and just wanted to thank her for letting me use her post as the center of my blog!

Talking point: Who else was upset because they also love Disney movies?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Safe Spaces" - Reflection

"Safe Spaces" by Annemarie Vacaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy was a real eyeopener for me. This reading took me longer than usual because it really made me think about my experiences and of LGBT language and culture. I really like how the authors broke the article up with reflection points because it really connected me to the article. Since this post is a reflection, I decided to answer some of these though provoking questions here.

"What messages did you receive about the LGBT community when you were in school? Which messages were explicit, which were implied?"
When I was in elementary and middle school, I really don't remember any discussion or messages about  the LGBT community. Personally, I don't think that my school was deliberately mind-washing me towards heterosexism. I believe that my teachers were well intentioned, but maybe just not educated in this subject. Also, they could have included curriculum on the LGBT community that I just don't remember. However, in high school, I was taught, implicitly, to respect all those with differences, whether it was difference in race, ethnic background, socioeconomic class, or sexual orientation. I think that RIC, and this class especially, has, explicitly, educated me on the LGBT community. I know that there are a lot of organizations dedicated to LGBT acceptance and inclusion on campus.

"What do you know about the gay civil rights movement, Stonewall, for example?"
I really don't know a lot about the gay civil rights movement. I never had this historical event covered in one of my history classes or in school. I feel like this is a really important topic that needs much more awareness and should be covered in more classes.

"As an educator, can you identify opportunities to incorporate LGBT voices into your curriculum? What support would you need to take this step?" 
As a future educator, I know that I need to find opportunities to incorporate LGBT voices into my curriculum. Using some of the action steps given in this article, along with the stories given about teachers differing approaches, I believe that I will be able to find creative ways to engage my students in these important topics. It would be very helpful if I had the support from the school leaders and teachers.

Also, I really liked the story about Patrick and how he handled the anti-LGBT language in his fifth-grade classroom. I liked how he took the opportunity not to yell, ignore, or agree with the negative use of words like "gay" and "lesbian," but instead took a humorous, matter-of-fact approach with his students. By using this tactic, I think that he connected with the students much more than if he had used a different approach. I think this was an excellent way of dealing with this controversial topic, which helped his students to actually learn why their language was harmful and alternatives to their actions. His approach reminded me of the Delpit and the "culture of power."All five of the aspects are represented in this article:
1. Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.
The inclusion and acceptance of the LGBT community needs to be instructed in classrooms, which should be safe spaces for LGBT students.
2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is there is a culture of power.
The culture of power is silence on LGBT rights. The rule is to ignore dealing with or speaking about those in the LGBT community.
3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power.
Those in power, those not in the LGBT community, set the rules. They claim that it is abnormal to be a part of this community.
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.
Learning the rules of power makes acquiring power for those in the LGBT community easier. By understanding how our society works, they will be able to acquire power better than if they did not know the rules of the codes of power.
5. Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Personally, I have power in this situation and I was least aware of its existence. Those in the LGBT community are most aware of its existence because they experience the ignorance and pain everyday.

Overall, I enjoyed this article and for my talking point, I want to know if anyone does have any memories of curriculum that included LGBT inclusion or acceptance in their schooling?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez

"…the flash of two worlds, the faces and voices of school intruding on the familiar setting of home" (2).
Rodriguez, when he was a child, separated his school life from his home life. In school, he was forced to speak English, which had made him uncomfortable because he didn't feel that it was his language to speak. At home, Rodriguez had felt much more comfortable and secure because he could speak Spanish and connect with his family's culture. When the nuns asked Rodriguez' parents if they could speak English at home, he felt these two separate worlds collide. His school life was "intruding" on his personal family life. This was hard for Rodriguez because in order to assimilate and learn English, he had to give up his former Spanish identity.

"My Mother! My Father! After English became my primary language, I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents" (4).
Rodriguez is explaining the confusion that he felt when he transitioned from a Spanish identity to an English identity. He had called his parents "mamá and papá" before, but saying these titles were "too painful reminders of how much had changed in [his] life" (4). This makes me so sad because Rodriguez  lost a sense of his family connection. He couldn't even call his parents by the names that he had learned because it brought back upsetting memories of his former Spanish lifestyle.

"So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality" (6).
Rodriguez is making a point about how even though one must lose their sense of native and family language connections, the assimilation into the English language and American identity allows one to flourish and succeed in their lives. Through becoming a part of the American lifestyle, these people become part of the public sphere, allowing them to make more outside connections and relationships. I understand what Rodriguez is saying, but I think that it is truly unfortunate that in order to feel secure in a public setting, one must, in a sense, disconnect from their former culture. I do feel a sense of hope though because Rodriguez is showing us that even through the struggles of becoming assimilated into the American culture, one can find benefits and grow accustomed to their new lifestyles.

My mom's family immigrated here from Portugal when my uncle was 4 and my aunt was 2. I remember  stories from my uncle who constantly got in trouble with his teachers and got held back in school because he didn't understand English and only spoke Portuguese. He told me that it was really hard for him to understand why he had to learn English and couldn't speak Portuguese anymore. He felt like an outsider in school. This story helped me to connect my uncle's struggles with Rodriguez' struggles because they had to go through the same type of assimilation.

I think that this article connects with SCWAAMP, in the sense that American-ness is valued in todays society. Other cultures are not valued so therefore, people like Rodriguez must lost their cultural identity in order to become a "true American." By assimilating into English, Rodriguez says that one gains a "public individuality" and this public American-ness is important and seen as good in todays society.

Talking Point:
Do you think that Richard is happier in his new public, english lifestyle and what benefits does he acquire when he gives up his Spanish lifestyle?

Delpit - Revised

This is an update to my post on "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children" by Lisa Delpit.

I believe that Delpit's article relates to Ullucci's article, "Pathologizing the Poor: Implications for Preparing Teachers to Work in High-Poverty Schools." This article talks about students lives in poverty and how teachers must understand their students backgrounds in order to help them succeed in school, and their lives beyond that. Delpit connects this central idea in her five points:
1. Issues of power are enacted in the classrooms.
Ullucci's text connects to this rule because she is explaining the relationship between teacher's attitude and techniques with their students, who may come from differing backgrounds, success in school.

2. There are codes or rules for participating in power; that is, there is a "culture of power."
Ullucci talks about a "culture of poverty" (5). This culture of poverty clumps all the children together into one category without actually understanding or acknowledging the children's family culture and standards. This culture of poverty is a category where those who are not in the culture of power are placed.

3. The rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power. 
Ullucci's text connects to this rule by explaining the myths. These myths were created by those who are in power. Therefore, they are a reflection of the attitudes and beliefs of those who are in the culture of power. These myths create rules that say that those is poverty are just not as hardworking as those in the culture of power - which reflects the rules of the culture of 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.
I believe that this is Ullucci's main point for writing this article. She is trying to explain to teachers that those students who come from different backgrounds do not understand the rules of the culture of power. It is the teachers job to teach these rules to their students so that they can succeed in this culture of power. Teachers have the ability to tell their students explicitly these rules in order to benefit themselves.

5. Those with power are frequently least aware of - or at least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence.
Ullucci talks about many myths, including the "Bootstraps Myth"which believes that people in poverty can just will themselves out of poverty (6). This is not a belief of those in poverty but of those who have power. These in power are not aware of the real everyday struggles of those in poverty - they believe that those in poverty must be lazy or not care or work hard enough to release themselves from the poverty cycle.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"

Peggy McIntosh argues that white privilege, like male privilege, is an unfair dominance system solely based on race and sex. If one possesses these characteristics, then they have an advantage in our society. Though McIntosh explains privilege, she believes that white and male privilege isn't really classified as privilege because it is unearned superiority over others. Even though men and whites understand their advantages, they do not see themselves as being oppressive to others. She explains that people are taught that racism is acts that put others at a disadvantage without understanding the opposite view: that racism gives white people advantages. Therefore, they work to try to promote equality, but do not try to lessen their own power. McIntosh said that people are unconsciously taught to ignore these privileges and see them as the norm. As a result, she classifies white privilege as "an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks."

I believe that McIntosh's article connects with SCWAAMP. This acronym describes what society values: straightness, christianity, whiteness, able-bodiness, american-ness, maleness, and property ownership. Since society values whiteness and maleness, people classified in these two groups, as well as all the other categories, have privileges, or unearned advantages. On the other hand, those who are not represented in these groups are oppressed and unfairly treated.

In my opinion, McIntosh is correct in her argument. When I read through the list of advantages that whites automatically possess, I really began to understand the complexity of this issue. Like she explained, I had never seen myself to have advantages over my friends who weren't white. Now, I see that I was conditioned by society to not recognize my white privilege. But in order to change it, we must accept that it exists. I found a company called, which raises awareness on topics like white privilege. They put out a commercial in 2012 that shows white people explaining white privilege and the advantages that they have over those who are not white.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

"All Children Can Learn" Quotes from Delpit

Three quotes that I believe represent Lisa Delpit's "The Silences Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children" are:

"…many of the 'progressive' educational strategies imposed by liberals upon black and poor children could only be based on a desire to ensure the liberals' children get sole access to the dwindling pool of American jobs. Some have added that the liberal educators believe themselves to be operating with good intentions are only conscious delusions , but that these good intentions are only conscious delusions about their unconscious true motives." (29)

               In this quote, Delpit explains that many white teachers, unconsciously, are, in a sense,  sabotaging the chances of their non-white students in order to preserve the job market for the own children and those like them. Even though people do not believe or understand that they are biased in this way, Delpit says that this is the reality that we face.

"The teacher cannot be the only expert in the classroom. To deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them." (32-33)

             I really liked this quote and how it connected to the story of students analyzing rap songs. I think that Delpit is saying that teachers learn just as much from their students as their students learn from them. For a teacher to believe that they are the only contributing force in a classroom is not a good  or productive learning environment for students. This quote is relevant to the text because it is saying that a teacher must let their students express themselves in their own ways and not judge them based on differences in culture, sex, or ethnicity.              

"I suggest that students must be taught the codes needed to participate fully in the mainstream of American life, not by being forced to attend to hollow, inane, decontextualized sub skills, but rather within the context of meaningful communicative endeavors; that they must be allowed the resource of the teacher's expert knowledge, while being helped to acknowledge their own 'expertness' as well; and that even while students are assisted in learning the culture of power, they must also be helped to learn about the arbitrariness of those codes and about the power relationships they represent."(45)

              I  believe that this quote really sums up Delpit's main concept. The culture of power must be taught and not assumed to be known, in order for all students to benefit, or at least understand the structure of power. This cannot be accomplished by a multitude of meaningless skill sheets, but only by experiencing their inner abilities, while also learning to decode the structure of the culture of power, while working to change it. Through explicit language, students may learn the implicit nature of the culture of power and therefore understand how to operate within it.

I found an interview with Lisa Delpit that builds upon the information given in this article. Delpit is speaking about her new book, "Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People's Children." In this interview, she clarifies many of her controversial points. You can read about it at:

One talking point that I would like to bring to our class discussion is the topic on teachers learning from their students. I truly believe that people learn best when they have to teach or explain something to another. Throughout teaching dance classes and volunteering at schools, I have learned so many incredible things from my students that have improved my own teaching techniques. Like Delpit says, students feel empowered when they are able to bring a positive contribution to the classroom. I have seen many times students learn best from explaining the concept to another or relating it to something that they really understand. Therefore, I believe that this is a really important topic that Delpit addresses that would be an interesting class discussion.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Hi everyone!

My name is Allee Krause. I am a freshman at Rhode Island College, and my major is Elementary Education. Outside of school, I love to dance, do yoga, and play with my dog, Max. I work as a acro teacher at my dance studio. I have volunteered in many elementary schools, and I love working with kids. I'm very excited for this class, and I hope that we all have a great semester together!