Monday, May 12, 2014

Social Justice Event: The Vagina Monologues

Oh, Vagina Monologues. This play really helped me open up and become less sensitive to these types of topics. The whole time I was listening to the monologues, I was thinking of the author Allan Johnson. Allan Johnson argues that it is important to say the words explicitly. Whether this is in a classroom setting or an everyday experience, if we don't become comfortable with using the words, we will always be weary to speak our mind or get our point across effectively. I feel like educators and people, in general, speak of sex with a negative connotation which can lead to many problems with youth. However, this play was the COMPLETE opposite.

I did some research on Eve Ensler who is a playwright, feminist and activist. This play was definitely risque. It caused a lot of controversy between feminists, politics and social conservatives. After seeing the play, I had a feeling some people wouldn't enjoy it and would be offended. However, I thought it was a fantastic way to show women that they can talk about these things because it is their body. If you ever get a chance to see the Vagina Monologues (just don't bring your parents because that would be super awkward) brace yourself and enjoy the empowering monologues from different perspectives. And remember, love your vagina!

Youth in Action

Youth in Action was eye opening, confusing, exhilarating and informative all at the same time. I really admire all of the students and how they are able to put themselves and their thoughts out there by relating their life to the topics of education and personal success. It took me a while to grasp the understanding of the lesson. Some of you may have noticed I was completely silent during the whole discussion time. I wasn't quite sure why I was silent but later realized that I couldn't push myself to raise my hand and speak about how I agreed with them or what my opinion was because I felt extremely uncomfortable. The last thing I wanted to do was unintentionally say something wrong and hurt someone's feelings.

When I left that day, I was very angry and upset because I felt like I was being attacked or judged for who I am and how I was raised and grew up.I was also very upset with myself for not understanding. Then I tried putting myself in their shoes. I talked to my Dad who is a Providence Public School teacher in South Providence. He really explained to me how tough it is for students in his school system to have access to certain resources that are crucial to learning. I still do not fully understand the frustration these students have because I never lived the life that they have. However, I became more sensitive to understand that some people can have all of the ability in the world but have absolutely no access to anything they need. This is a huge flaw in the education system. I think as a class, we need to stop thinking about ourselves for a moment. Take off the blinders and take down that glass wall that blocks our views and perspectives on certain topics. Instead of seeing this as an attack on certain people because they grew up more privileged than others, use it as a tool to learn from. Even though most of the students are younger than us, when they are neglected of an education in their school system, it makes them mature and makes them stand up for themselves. Just like we use our service learning students as a tool to learn from, Youth in Action is a great way for us to get a glimpse into students lives who are frustrated with the lack of access they receive from their school department.

The link above is a post I came across and thought it was very interesting. It describes some of the ways our country is lacking in the education system. 


Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

"Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community" (73).

This quote instantly sparked a learning experience I had in high school with the special needs students that went to my school. I was always confused as to why the special education department in all of the schools I attended were in a separate part of the school, isolated from the rest of the community. When I was a senior in high school, I had a History teacher who did all he could to include a few special education students into our classroom. One of the students wasn't able to fit his wheelchair in our school elevator, so he had to have every class downstairs. Our History class was in the upstairs portion of the building. This is where the trouble started. In order for this student to be a part of the class, we moved our class down to the cafeteria for two days a week. At the beginning of the year, all of the special education students were behind and couldn't keep up with the discussions and classwork the rest of the class was doing. The students had their aids help them keep up with the work and they pushed them to challenge themselves and never to give up on something that was difficult. I strongly believe that these students used their sense of community to push themselves to focus more and challenge their minds in ways they cannot when they are isolated from the student body.  

At the end of the year, we completed a project where we redesigned a whole room into a museum to teach people about the Vikings and how they impacted history. Each student in the class had a full understanding of the history and the exhibit we created. During our last class, the special education students were not there, so our teacher used that time to talk about why he needed to include them into our classroom. He explained that by building a sense of community around them, it makes them more comfortable around people since they are so isolated on a day to day basis. Social skills are a huge motivator and significantly help students with social and learning disabilities. They helped us become comfortable and taught us how to help and work with children that have special needs and we helped them by welcoming them into a classroom that they are not necessarily familiar with.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Final Project Links



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Literacy with an Attitude: Extended Comments

I am using Doug's blog for my extended comments post. Doug brought up a many great points in his blog talking about the public school system and how many aspects are unfair advantages to students. Although I didn't agree with everything he talked about, he still did a great job conveying his thoughts through the article and his own words.

"I personally believe it's despicable. The fact that students are limited to what education they receive based upon where they are from and where they live.  Reading about the inequality students have is a cause for action in my opinion."

I moved out of Providence in the 5th grade because my parents were not satisfied with the education I was receiving in Catholic School. When they were looking for a new house to buy, their decision of the town was solely based on the public school system I would be receiving my education in.  Whether you are living on the East Side of Providence in a wealthy neighborhood or on the South Side of Providence in a poverty stricken environment, public schools SHOULD and NEED to be equal for every child. Some students are at more of an advantage than others due to the demographic segregation in school systems.
The easiest way to explain this concept:

$ = good education, privileged, advantaged

less $ = mediocre education, non-privileged, disadvantaged

 "In order to be successful in society today, you almost have to go to college."
I agreed with everything in Doug's blog except for this one point. College is definitely not for everyone. We spoke briefly in class talking about if everyone went to college, who would be the one to flip burgers at fast food restaurants? As bad as that sounds, if every person in our country was educated at a college level, we wouldn't have the diversity we have as a country now. Of course it is important to be educated, but to say no one can be successful without a college degree is inaccurate. Whatever career path people choose in life, if there is no passion and drive for perfection behind what you do, there probably is not any happiness either. If students keep choosing their profession based on the economy and the salary they will receive, I can guarantee it will become detrimental to education and jobs in our country.