Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Rules and Codes of Power" by Lisa Delpit (revisted)

Lisa Delpit looks at the effects of social and economic power in education and how important it is for teachers to take into account the culture of children. She strongly believes that teachers need to teach the rules and codes of power to students who may not learn the rules and codes at home. She says, "to deny students their own expert knowledge is to disempower them" (33). She provides examples of teachers who do not take into consideration the different styles children, from less privileged homes, display during interacting and relating to class material. Delpit also argues that underprivileged students must learn how to succeed without abandoning their culture.

Delpit explains the five aspects of power called “the culture of power” which are:
  1. "Issues of power enacted in classrooms"
  2. "The codes or rules for participating in power"
  3. "The culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power"
  4. "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier"
  5. "Those with power are frequently least aware of its existence, those with less power are often most aware of its existence"

It is important not to abandon a child's primary language in order to not destroy them. Delpit says to support the language the students bring to schools and provide the "code" for English. Children from diverse backgrounds might not approach education the same way a white child may. This results in teachers having to be creative in order to teach children with differing learning styles who think and learn in different ways. Like Anthony Mariorenzi says, "people who hold a position of power may not use and those who have no power are aware of where they stand within society. In conclusion Delpit feels that all students must be explicitly taught the rules and codes of power to achieve a better society." For many students who speak another language and learn to speak Standard English is gaining access to the culture of power. Delpit believes "because there is a culture of power, everyone should learn the codes to participate in it, and that is how the world should be" (39). 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"In the Service of What?" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

"Service learning activities seek to promote students' self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experiences" says Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer in "In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning". This weeks reading focuses on the importance of experiencing opportunities through service learning projects. Taking part in a service learning project is eye-opening in many ways, like the authors say in this article, "service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs to the community while furthering the academic goals of students." Participating in service learning projects is a learning experience. Like Erika Lincoln says, "Sometimes the most beneficial form of learning comes to us through action. Service learning allows students to have a more hands-on learning experience and connect what they are being taught  in classrooms to real world events."

When I was a senior in high school, for my Civics class I was required to do at least 15 hours of community service. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to chose to do community service in the field of my major. I decided to work at Agnes Little Elementary School in a special education class with grades 4 to 6. I had the chance to observe teaching techniques by my mentor and other teachers (such as in art class). I was able to work in small groups with the students, and apart from all of this, I was even able to sit down with teachers to get more of their input on teaching. Agnes Little Elementary School is very different than the elementary school I attended. This school is located in Pawtucket and there are more Hispanic and black students than white, which is the opposite for the elementary school I went to. Being able to complete my community service at this school was an amazing opportunity. After I completed my hours I continued to reach out to my mentor and visited their class throughout my senior year.

In my current service learning experience, I help in a self-contained K-1st grade at Asa Messer Elementary School, I can see that the students struggle greatly but with the one on one help, I can see that the students focus better. After my third visit, I could already see some improvement, excitement, and comfort in the students when they understand the material. Relating to what Jonathan Kozol addresses in his article "Amazing Grace," I am working in a less-privileged classroom and the help I am providing for the students will benefit them with the tools to create a better future.

It is very important for people to get involved and make a difference in your own community because you never know how much you could change or help someone's life.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us" by Linda Christensen

"Have you ever seen a black person, an Asian, a Hispanic in a cartoon? Did they have a leading role or were they a servant?" is asked in Linda Christensen chapter, "Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us" (131). Disney and other cartoon shows portray stereotypes throughout characters that affect children and their perspective of the world. Christensen is a teacher and constructed her class around watching old cartoons and Disney movies. She had her students keep track of their responses in a dialogue journal and fill in a chart noting stereotypes. Christensen believes children are being "manipulated by children's media or advertising" (128).

The messages these shows and movies portray, especially Disney Princesses, begin to influence kids at young ages making them believe the ideas of society. Michelle Juergen expresses 9 Harmful Stereotypes We Never Realized Our Favorite Disney Movies Taught Us in this article. She lists the Disney shows we watched in our childhood and points out the stereotypes in each. For example, Cinderella's story teach women that their life can be changed by finding the ideal man or because of outward beauty. A prince sees a female all dressed up, thinks she is beautiful and falls in love at first sight. This story plot also relates to Sleeping Beauty. Majority of the Disney princesses are white and thin which may make girls who do not fit in that category feel left out. Juergen mentions, "Disney is spreading a few different stereotypes with this focus: Women need men to save them; saving a woman makes you a man; and that only men are capable of protecting others from harm or danger."


Alia Bibi and Roshan Zehra go into depth about cartoon and the effects on children in the article, Effects of cartoons on children’s psychology & behavior patterns. Cartoons are children's favorite entertainment however they do not notice the influence they have on them. The authors say, "Children watching too much cartoons often fantasize about the kind of life that various characters are living." Also they say the influence of cartoons can be make a "negative impression on the innocent minds of children." At the age of these children, they are still learning and their minds are still developing therefore the cartoons are greatly influencing the way they think. In cartoons, females are tend to be viewed as dependent, emotional, sensitive, etc. however the males are viewed the opposite. Males are looked at as dominant, tough, aggressive, etc. These examples of stereotypes are hidden behind the characters in these cartoons.

Points to share:
I enjoyed reading the way Christensen constructed her class. She did not just point out to her students the wrong in these cartoons and Disney movies, she made sure her students saw it for themselves.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Safe Spaces" by Gerri August

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) has become controversial in today's society. Although it may seem so common, it is still a tough subject to discuss. In my experience, I was never in a classroom where a teacher explained the issues of LGBT. Gerri August's discusses the issues of LGBT in her article, "Safe Spaces." This article includes many stories of LGBT individuals and real life struggles of LGBT people in their schools, families, and communities.

"I see myself as a relatively open-minded person who is open to diverse viewpoints. I am open to learning about people's culture, but I am not as open in the idea of education children of the importance of LGBT. In my opinion, children at any age shouldn't be educated about that because I see it as perversion and not as a natural way of loving someone" (93). The student who said this has a point because I believe discussing LGBT topics into classrooms may be quite uncomfortable and could possibly offend students, especially because this topic is so personal. However, not speaking about this topic may have a child feeling left out. Because people are continued to get bullied for "coming out of the closet" and being themselves, I think schools should bring awareness to the students in order to prevent the bullying from happening.

“The oft-stated objective is for children to learn that families come in different shapes and sizes, live in different dwelling, observe different traditions and celebrate different holidays.  Teach around our nations narrate stories about single-parent families, adoptive families, divorced families and foster families. The idea is that tolerance will grow as students gain appreciation for difference” (85).  Everyone's family and culture is different and in school, at a reasonable age children should be taught to know this. Teachers should teach children that not all families have a mom and a dad, or celebrate Christmas. This quote reminded me of Rodriguez's piece, "Aria" because he was expected to learn English and forget about his Spanish culture due to it not being the social norm.

 "Heterosexism is one of those unexamined avenues of privilege. Assumptions that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual shape most classroom interactions, whether academic or social. Assumptions about gender binaries and appropriate gender roles also pervade our classrooms" (84). Throughout the whole article, this quote stood out to me the most. If you watch a children program on television that includes a family, its most common that a child will have a mother and a father. I do not think that any shows that I watched as a child had two mothers or two fathers. Because of this privilege, a LGBT child may believe that his family is weird because they are not in the "norm."