Sunday, November 30, 2014

Empowering education: by Ira Shor {reflection}

Ira Shor's Empowering education was an interesting read because this is a topic I have strong opinions about. Today having a teacher or professor who is genuinely passionate about getting the best from his or hers students is rare.  I have been very fortunate to have a great professor in fned and my other courses this semester. Horror stories do exist within colleges and local school districts. To put simply Shor argues that educators focus heavily on making students memorize information rather than critically think and analyze it. I have been victim of teachers/professors who just want memorized information. The thought of walking in a classroom and the teacher says "okay, open your books to the first chapter" makes me feel sick thinking about it. Very seldom do I succeed in a setting like that. "Education is a social experience for tens of millions of students who come to class with their own dreams and agendas. Sometimes cooperating with and sometimes resisting the intention of the school and the teacher" p13 This is a powerful quote that I agree with. I do come to class with my own dreams and agendas. Sometimes I am at completely different ends with my professors and I will let them know and other times I am on the same page. A good teacher or professor will enjoy positive or negative feed back. That is a great example of empowering your students. The best advice I could give anyone in school is don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in when you're in school. Shor

How I feel when being lectured.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Promising Practices reflection.

Going into the promising practice conference I was very excited. I told my mom and sister who are both teachers that I am attending my first professional development. Yes I am sort of far away from becoming a teacher, but I always act professional when it comes to representing myself in a serious setting. I signed up for two workshops for my day. The first workshop being Confidently Working Towards your Career and my second one was Using Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms. To start whoever was in charge of naming the workshops did a inadequate job describing them. I was under the impression for my first workshop, Confidently Working Towards your Career that it was going to give tips and pointers about achieving confidence within yourself. That was far from it. When I showed up to the classroom I started to get slightly nervous. The workshop was structured for only STEM students and minorities entering that field. Now there were two African American ladies running the workshop who are business owners and educators. They were both surprised to see that there were no African American people attending our workshop. Now don't get me wrong here, they were both welcoming regardless of the situation. It was just unfortunate that everyone there was under a different impression about the workshop itself. They tried their best to make the workshop interesting.
Now it was off to my second workshop of the day. Using Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms. Back to the person in charge of naming the workshops. I feel he or she didn't do a great job explaining this one either. Being a Technology Major I was under the impression that there was going to be an actual showing of teaching the kids how to use technology. There was to an extent, but not what I expected. The workshop was based on teaching different subjects by the use of technology. By using power point, smart boards, ipads, downloadable apps and other websites. It was a great presentation, but I can only go as far as the technology. I would only be using math, history and English to an extent within my classrooms if I am doing hands on work.
Finally it was back to Donovan for the key note speaker. The Keynote Address was by Dr. Christopher Emdin #hipHopED(ucators) STEMing the Tide of Disinterest in Education. Dr. Emdin is an Associate Professor in the department of STEM at Columbia University. I was nervous getting ready to listen to him because of my experience with my two workshops, but he was the deal breaker. Dr. Emdin is maybe one of my favorite speakers that I have witnessed in a school setting. STEM aside, he is truly passionate about what he does and cares about his students. He spoke sort of fast, but I always able to catch some points of his address. One topic he discussed was students leaving school due to bad experiences in science and or math. He explained how the classroom setting and teacher/professor can make the difference in the students view on the subject. It really is sad to see a student drop out of school because of struggling with content. This is where the teacher needs to come in. He then said we as educators need to understand youth in education. The teacher needs to find something within his or her students that they need to work with to keep the students intrigued. To expand my own thoughts on the teacher/student relationship I feel it is very rare today to have a great experience. I would say over 50% of professors/teachers are out of touch with their students today. This is what leads kids to drop out in school or college. It also leads to dropping classes which prolongs a college career. I have dropped a lot of classes in my college career not because I hated the subject it was because the classroom setting was terrible. I need to develop a positive relationship with my professor and classmates. I admit I do get down on myself for being 24 years old realizing I could be in my career, but I just need to have a positive experience within the classroom. I have been very lucky and fortunate for having a positive semester. I really enjoy going to my classes at Rhode Island College because my classrooms are filled with positive experiences. I understand I could have some tough classroom experiences on the horizon, but maybe just maybe i'll be able to change it to a positive.
Dr.Chris Emdin

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

(Reflection) After reading Citizenship in school, it really got me thinking about my middle school and high school days. During my time in middle school I was never really accustom to meeting another kid that had down syndrome or any other disability. I did know what down syndrome was, and there were a few students within the building that had it. There was just never an opportunity to interact with them during school. High school was different. My high school had a basement, first floor, second floor, and third. The special education students were placed in the basement in which I am not entirely sure how I feel about that today. The one positive thing I can think about in regards to those students being in the basement, was that all the students attending gym had to go to the basement before class started to change in the locker rooms. This is where I had the opportunity to interact with the special education students. They had a few rooms in the basement so they were always in and out of their classrooms. It might have only been for two or three minutes because I had to run up to the gym, but it helped me. I got to know a few students and they were always happy and friendly. One quote that I like from Kliewer was "[Community] requires a willingness to see people as they are-different perhaps in their minds and in their bodies, but not different in their spirits or in their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society. It requires the "helper" to have the humility to listen for what the person says he or she needs. Also, the "helper" must see that the interaction "helps" both ways. (p. 12)" I agree with this through and through. You just have to listen when they talk to you. A little bit can go a long way.

Thinking back about students with down syndrome or any serious disability, maybe I should try to think of a positive for them being placed in the basement. To reference August, maybe that's their safe space. It could help them within the classroom and their learning process. Overall I enjoyed the message Kliewer is sending out to his readers. Chris Kliewer

Sunday, November 9, 2014


(Extended comments)After reading Literacy with an attitude, it really got me thinking about the education system today. Today teachers are held back from their own creativity because of standardized testing in connection to the common core testing for K-12 students. In my opinion the teacher should have control throughout the course of the year on what the students should, and shouldn't know. Standardized testing is the reason schools have low performing scores, and why students lack enjoyment in the classroom. If a student is affected by a subject or a particular teacher, that could change their entire outlook on education. Now don't get me wrong as much as I feel their are flaws in the education system their are teachers who make their marks in a child's life.
In Literacy with an attiude Finn speaks about literature and the power it can have among lower class children. To reference Mike's Blog I really enjoyed how he brought it into Delpit's world. "I didnt say to an errant student, what are you doing? I said, stop that and get to work. No discussions. No openings for an argument." This couldn't sum up Delpit any better. This week in my service learning project I had to really channel my inner Delpit and explicitly tell my kids to pay attention to their school work. I found myself saying okay this is a Delpit moment, and that I cannot be afraid to explicitly tell my kids. Overall this reading was a little tough, but I made it through. Sorry for rambling at the top of my blog its just something that instantly popped into my mind with this read.


Sunday, November 2, 2014


Being the son of two baby boomers I have learned a lot of historical information through my parents because they lived it. I have always been heavily interested about the history between the 1950's to 1970's. The civil rights movement is something I love to read about and gain new knowledge on. Martin Luther King Jr has been a public figure that I always admired and looked up to because of what he did. I did not have much knowledge about the Brown vs Board of Education case. I only knew the surface of the case, and what was accomplished. Now after exploring the brown vs board of education website, listening to Tim Wise, and reading Bob Herbert's article I understand how they are all connected.

Brown vs the board of Education by all means was a big victory for the civil rights movement. Unfortunately today's economy is still making segregation difficult within the education system. One quote that got my attention in Herbert s article was "If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty. This is being done in some places, with impressive results. An important study conducted by the Century Foundation in Montgomery County, Md., showed that low-income students who happened to be enrolled in affluent elementary schools did much better than similarly low-income students in higher-poverty schools in the county." This to me states the kids within the poverty stricken areas are more than willing to excel in the classroom. 

Wise states that even though we have an African american president, racism still exists within our country.  What struck me during the Wise interview is when he says 6 out of 10 white Americans will admit to one of the stereotypes about African Americans. One, that African American folks are perceived as less intelligent, perceived as being aggressive, prone to criminality and perceived as less patriotic. Also he states that 75% white Americans say that African Americans just want well fare and do not want to work. These stats are relatively current, so those state that racism still exists today. Yes, President Obama set the bar for our country showing anyone can become President or chase any dream they have. We have to keep growing and expanding our standards. Anyone, from all walks of life can be or do whatever they set their hearts to.
Brown vs Board of Ed (Youtube)