Monday, November 30, 2015

Shor- extended comments

The reading this week on Empowering Education by Ira Shor, I felt a bit confused about what the point was that Shor was trying to get across.  While deliberating on what type of blog I should post, I decided to read others to understand exactly what Shor's point was.  While reading Taylor's she really made the connections for me, and allowed me to fully understand what Shor was saying.  I decided to use her blog as the center of mine, because I could not say what she said better myself! Thanks Taylor!!

Taylor made a great connection to Finn in her blog.  I agree that there main points are extremely similar between Shor and Finn.  They both advocate for the empowering styled education because they know this will allow a child to become a active part of society, instead another ant in the assembly line.  Finn and Shor both agree that the socialization of the classroom is the most important lesson to be taught.  In schools we are teaching people how to socialize and one day they will take those behaviors into our society, so lets teach them how to look at the world in ways that people in elite, or executive elite families are automatically taught to. 
Taylor also made a great connection between Oakes and Shor.  The connection is that both authors strive to create a comfortable classroom where fear of the teacher is not present.  If you set up the classroom in a way where students are able to freely move, and make independent choices, than their learning will do the same.  Students will be able to feel free to explore the text and even question it.  This confidence and comfort will allow for the deep thought and analysis that students should really be learning from school.  A more important lesson than the text itself, is being able to critically think, pull apart information, explore texts, and develop a sense of confidence that their opinions on the topic matter and are important.
I believe the government fears teaching children that don't have parents on the political boards, to explore and question what we are taught.  I believe they fear that one day everyone will finally be equal and that we will be able to make educated arguments against the type of system we have built! But in a way they should be fearful, because people will soon be able to read between the lines, and decode the truth to this society we live in.
Shor could also relate to the podcasts we listened to, because Shor is arguing for the empowering education in all classrooms, and this all relates to the educational gap we have between the working class schools and the executive elite, or elite ones.  This gap is due to many things, but one major thing is the style of teaching.  We are not teaching children in working class schools to grow, only to just try and make it through school and hopefully go to college.  How can there be no gap with two completely different hopes for different children?  We hope to breed the ones in the elite schools to be our future leaders, but everyone has the potential to do so if we educate them all the same.  And if we do educate all children the same, I promise you that gap will virtually close

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Promising Practies Workshops

Workshop #1: Rhode Island Peer Recovery Specialists
This workshop was so useful for me in my future endeavors.  The workshop was based around a new and upcoming program called Peer Recovery
Specialists or
PRS. What this means, is that the program aims to use recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, or anyone that has been in a situation where they felt hopeless, and use these people who have made it, as a coach for people who are currently going through those situations.  We were introduced to many people who at one point in their life didn't want to live anymore, and are now helping those that are in that exact position.  This peer relation is truly effective, because that person that feels depressed or like they are worthless can relate to someone who has been in their exact shoes and has made it.
I personally want to work with juvenile delinquents (not that I like using that label because I don't, I'd rather say diamonds in the rough), and I feel like this would be a great tool to use.  To have men and women who were in and out of jail their whole lives, but they found that light at the end of the tunnel, and give the children guidance and hope that they will too one day make it.  I also believe this program is amazing because it not only helps people become a "better" (or newer as I'd like to say) version of themselves, but provides job opportunities to those who would not be offered any because of their records.
This workshop would be greatly appreciated by August, because you are creating a safe space for that drug addict, or alcoholic because they are not feeling judged by anyone.  This space you create with the peer specialists allows for a successful environment because that person feels equal to their counselor, and truly feels like they know where they are coming from and can understand their position.  This space will allow for more growth and August would say this is why the program is so successful because you are creating an environment where everyone feels equal and understood, so it provides great room for growth and prosperity. I also believe this is relatable to Collier because it might not be a first culture you are horning in this type of counseling, but a lifestyle.  And this type lifestyle to these people becomes their culture because it is all they know. So having someone who directly came from that lifestyle is honoring where that drug addict or alcoholic is coming from and creating that sense of understanding.   
 Workshop #2: How Are We Helping Our Own?
This workshop was also helpful for my future career.  This workshop was almost all about how we help the "helpers" in our society.  This workshop introduced many different programs across the east coast that are set out to help social workers, physicians, nurses, etc. with drug and alcohol problems that are brought on by the traumatizing situations that these people face everyday at work.  Everyone forgets that even though these people help others for a living, most of them need help themselves.  This workshop explained the minimal amount of programs out there to help these professionals, and to bring awareness to this issue.  Many professionals that base their work around helping others become very prone to hurting themselves in the process.  Many physicians and social workers form alcohol and drug abuse problems, and many psychological issues.  It takes a lot of guts as a professional to get help, so there should be readily available programs for when they do reach out, and in this workshop this was a big problem. 
Me being someone who is going into a field similar to social working, I want to be safe knowing that there are programs out there that myself, or one of my colleagues can turn to if they need help.  It was shocking to me that this was not a readily available service, and somewhat upsets me because these "helpers" save many lives, and are having a hard time saving their own.  This workshop was very useful and interesting, and a good way to get that concern out there so those who need the help know it is out there.       
I believe Delpit would greatly agree with what this workshops main goal is.  Which is to explicitly tell these professionals that there is help for them out there before they get their licenses and careers taken from them.  If they are explicitly told that these programs exist, than these professionals can reach help and gain that power of being able to still work and not have to loose their careers. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kliewer- Quotes

The text "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome", by Christopher Kliewer truly shed light on an issue that I personally did not even know was an issue.  
The special education classrooms in schools always occurred to me as something beneficial for a special needs student/child.  I thought when children were placed into these specific classes it was for their best interest and to help them, but this is what Kliewer's finds issues with.  We are treating these students in a way that they are viewed as disabled, or not able to help themselves.  This is our schools stripping that "citizenship" (Kliewer) that all the other able students receive.  In this text Kliewer mainly focuses in on Down Syndrome students who have had problems with not being looked at in a stereotypical way by their peers.  They want the same opportunity as the rest.  Down syndrome children can feel and recognize that everyone else does not see them as a person who can be a leader or do have the same curriculum as their regular ed peers.   

Quote #1
"Such acceptance is the aim when children with Down syndrome join their non-disabled peers in classrooms, which seeks and finds community value in all children" (Kliewer 74).
I believe this quote directly shows Kliewer's goal in why he is writing this piece.  He wants teachers and educators all over to recognize the disconnect that these students feel and to integrate them into the classrooms that have no special label.  The Down syndrome children are seeking that citizenship inside the classroom and that equal spot and opportunity that their classmates are given.  Everyone is different and learns differently, and I used to think the goals of special ed classrooms was to better that child and specifically target their needs, but it is hindering them and making them feel that difference even more.  Self worth is truly the important lesson that anyone can teach a child.

Quote #2
"Shayne did not, however, interpret a child's nonconformity to developmental theory as a manifestation or defect. 'So what' she continued, 'if you don't fit exactly what your supposed to? You know it's not like I fit many peoples ideas of what a teacher's supposed to be like'. Shayne recognized a child's nonconformity as natural human diversity; a source of strength that could be supported by the school community in order that it adds a unique and valuable dimension to that community" (Kliewer 77-78). 
This quote shows an example of a teacher named Shayne Robbins who views her integrated classroom as an amazing thing.  She recognizes that these children have a specific learning plan developed by a team of people, but she does not let that take away from their feeling of equality in her classroom.  She honors the differences and sees it as a great thing. The differences should be looked at in this positive way.  They should be viewed not as a disability but as just another way of thinking or being.  Children in the educational world are viewed as needing "help" when they do not test are highly or efficiently as everyone else.  However, it is not extra help that they are asking for, but an equal opportunity as everyone else who is not categorized in our society as disabled.  

Quote #3
"In this way, schools would become locations that much more closely mirror what and who are valued in a participatory democracy" (Kliewer 81). 
I found this quote both interesting and important.  This quote is directly showing that our school communities represent the actual society we all live in.  If we do not honor these students that are viewed as disabled in a school context, than in real life they will also be not involved.  Our society has to remove the stereotypes of these "disabled" persons right from the beginning in the schools so later on in life they will have that self worth and confidence to be an active member of society, and also so the other "regular" students will not view the "disabled" ones as just that, disabled.  This will create a better functioning and more opportunistic society.   

I feel August would greatly appreciate what Kliewer's is fighting for.  Creating a safe space where all children feel equal and feel as if there is no differences between them and their neighbor.  This allows for the best education for all.  It takes away stereotypes, and honors equal education and opportunity. It also creates a space where children will be able to learn to their max capacity because they are not worried about anything but the material they are being taught. Feeling comfortable and safe in a classroom is extremely important to both August and Kliewer. 

Again it seems another author is speaking of integration. It seems our society enjoys categorizing all these "different" people.  Then we wonder where stereotypes formed for people like children with Down Syndrome. They are viewed as different in every type of system in our society.  Integration is the answer to all of these problems that revolve around unequal opportunity.  However, there is never any big movement towards this happening.  Is there a fear in our society, and our leaders of this country that if everyone gets the same opportunity than everyone will become an active member of society?  Everyone should have the personal choice of how their viewed and treated, no one should be making that decision for them. 


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Patrick J. Finn- Hyperlink

It's sad to think that Fin has a truth in what he preaches in his book Literacy with an Attitude.  
At birth the classification a person is informally assigned to, depicts their success and education in the future.  

Growing up in a middle class family myself, with one teacher and one egineer in the household, I was able to get a very sufficient education.  I believe this education set up the foundation for my life.  In my school I was taught to respect, trust authority, and  taught to become a successful working piece of our "wonderful" society.  In my schooling I was given opportunities and resources to become a smart, functioning, important person in this world.  

For other schools like Providence, children are taught through their easy assignments to fear authority and do what is asked of you or else.  In my school we were encouraged to do school work, and allowed room for error and creativity.  In inner city, lower class, areas the curriculum is leaving no room for error because the work is so easy, and fear in having to do the work or else you will be in trouble.  Finn goes into deep explanation of the gap that consistently is widened between lower class education, and the classes higher on the social latter.  Finn discusses this oppression and struggle that is placed upon lower class students.  Stating that this students become the "hard-bitten teachers" (Finn 8) because they are so bitter from all of these forces going against them in life.  These students in the lower class school levels have been" prepared for wage labor- labor that is mechanical and routine" (Finn 12). Finn argues that this mechanical routine mind set derives straight from the education they've received.  Their work that is given is easy, repetitive, mechanical, ruled based assignments that have no true deeper purpose.  

In richer communities Finn adresses that this is not the same case.  In higher class education children are breed to be creative, and critically think.  They're taught the deeper meaning behind things and not given a right or wrong type of work.  They are allowed to have their own ideas and opinions, and are almost encourage to do so.  There is an education gap that many argue is not present, but in the podcasts, The Problem We all Live in: Part I & II,  the educational gap is discussed in great detail.  There is a present, not past, educational gap between lower class education and that of higher classes.  This gap like said in the podcasts, can be closed, through integration and allowing for all children to start off with the somewhat the same opportunities.  However, that is not how America runs, like Finn says, our society fears that exact thing.  It fears giving these children and equal opportunity will create that social class Finn states of "rich, richer, richest" (Finn).  

Finn also relates to Delpit in that all we do teach are these codes and powers, but they're not the same ones that are taught from lower class education to higher class education.  In lower class the codes and rules that are taught, are teaching the children to fear authority and that they have to believe and follow all of these codes and rules of society or else they will go no where in life.  But on the other hand, higher status education encourages children to fight against what they are taught and to make their mark in the world. 

Is the difference for opportunity clear enough yet? 

"I'd like to hope that a child's expectations are not determined on the day he or she enters kindergarten, but it would be foolish to entertain such a hope unless there are some drastic changes made" (Finn 25)


Monday, November 2, 2015


-Codes and powers of blended learning
Teaching life skills
-Teaching students how to follow codes and laws
-Showing how when you do, you become successful by learning the material, and when you don't listen or follow the codes
- You gain less power and cant be a group leader or don't learn the material like everyone else.
-Feel powerful following codes, feel consequences for not following them.

-A young boy in my Mrs. Tirocchi's classroom whose family is from Nigeria has a name that is hard to pronounce for many people.
-He does not correct anyone because he is ashamed no one can say it correctly in the first place.
-Reminds me of when I was younger and I was embarrassed when teachers took attendance because my name was difficult to say. 
-A girl in the classroom on the other hand is anti-Rodriguez because she honors her culture and corrects people when they say her name incorrectly.  -Some teachers cut it short and created a nickname for her, but she loves that my mom (Mrs. Triocchi) says her whole name, and says it right!! 
-The boy on the other hand is like Rodriguez in giving up his private identity for a public identity. 

-New student in Mrs. Tirocchi's classroom, his first language was Spanish.
-Mrs. Tirocchi said hello and other few words in Spanish and the smile across his face was going from ear to ear.
-In that moment he felt comfortable in the new classroom, this created his safe space. 
-He felt like he was accepted and welcomed