Friday, April 29, 2011

Transgender Teen Runs For Homecoming Queen

What are all your thoughts on this situation?  Clearly students voted for her to be nominated so that shows you that people don't care that she's transgender.  I just think the main issue is the principal.  It is her first year as being a principal so maybe she's just scared as to what people are gonna think about all of this.  Deep down she probably supports her running for homecoming queen but on the other hand she probably feels like she has to show people that she won't let her students do such a thing because it's not "normal".

ABC Story on Bullying

All of the topics that we talked about this semester really got me thinking about how difficult teaching is going to be.  However, one of the topics that I know will be an issue is bullying.  I was searching on youtube for some different stories about bullying and I came across this story that was aired on ABC News.  In the beginning of the video it talks about how girls start to be mean as early as the age of 3.  One thing that comes to mind about this is the movie Mean Girls.  Girls just form clans together and pick on people jus to feel beter about themselves.  The video then moves into a family where bullying occurs with their own son, Ryan.  Ryan had motor and learning disabilities and boys at his school started to bully him.  When his dad noticed the bullying that was going on he set Ryan up in some self defense classes.  However, there was one girl who did stick up for Ryan and her name was Ashley.  One day Ryan told one of his friends that he got an erectal exam as part of his emergency room visit and that was a mistake because his friend spread the news like wildfire throughout school and everyone was saying that he was gay.  Ryan then grew an online friendship with a girl that he had a crush on and later on we find out that his crush was Ashley, the girl that defended him who now was considered a popular girl.  Ashley was now part of the crew that would constantly pick on Ryan through the computer and a school.  Her and her friends would say that they liked him and tried to convince him that Ashley really did have a thing for him and Ryan took them seriously.  When the girls figured this out they told him that they would never go for a loser like you and all these other cruel things.  This then lead to Ryan saying "Girls like you make me want to kill myself".  From here everything just went downhill and Ryan was also talking to another person online who was trying to convince Ryan to kill himself to get away from all his troubles.  A couple of days passed and Ryan told his friend that he finally decided that he wanted to kill himself and the next day Ryan hanged himself while his father was away on a business trip.  Ryan's father was devastated and heart broken.  He didn't want to blame Ashley for his son's death and he forgave her for it but he does believe that she contributed to his depression.

This story is one of many heart broken stories about bullying.  Kids need to stop bullying other students and to just mind their own business because you never know how serious they are going to take it.  Another issue that I noticed in this video was that the father had said that he regretted buying his son a computer for his birthday.  Since Ryan did get the computer at such a young age I think it is so important that parents are fully aware of what their children are doing online.  His dad had no idea about the friend who was convincing Ryan to kill himself and you have to think what would have happened if the dad knew. 

Here's the link to the youtube video of the news story.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Social Justice Event

Last week, along with several other classmates, I attended a women studies event with guest speaker Leslie Grinner who is the creator of S.C.W.A.M.P.  Leslie said that this acronym is very important in our culture and most people see this as the six keys to an ideal lifestyle.  Leslie went into great detail of how S.C.W.A.M.P originated and then she related it to the movie Twilight.  This acronym stands for Straightness, Christianity, Whiteness, Able-Bodied, Maleness, and Property Ownership.  Throughout this event I realized that S.C.W.A.M.P relates to several different authors that we have already and some of them were Johnson,McIntosh, and Christensen.

The first author that I realized is related to S.C.W.A.M.P is Johnson.  Back when we read Johnson's article he talks about how power, privilege, and difference can help you live a good and respectful life.  I believe that Johnson and S.C.W.A.M.P are very related because the 6 things in S.C.W.A.M.P basically say that if you have all of these then you will live a powerful and privileged life just like Johnson said.  Leslie connected these in the Twilight movie because Edward lives a privileged life because his father is a doctor and his mother gets to stay home because his dad makes so much money while Jacob lives a slightly more difficult life because his father is handicapped and therefore it forces him to actually work and actually do something.  I believe that back in the day S.C.W.A.M.P was a lot more treasured than it is today.  I'm not saying that S.W.A.M.P isn't treasured at all today but I definitely think that it was a bigger deal back in the day.

The next author that is connected to S.C.W.A.M.P is McIntosh.  According to McIntosh he is all about the white privilege.  Leslie Grinner explained in her lecture how white privilege is definitely present in the movie Twilight.  I have never seen these movies before but during Leslie's lecture she explained who a lot of the characters were and explained what the overall storyline of the movie was.  I believe that Leslie did mention that in the movies all the vampires are white except for one vampire.  Also Leslie said that the Cullen family is a very wealthy white family where the only person that has to work is the father, they live in a big house, and they are seen as the white privileged family.  Also in the movie Leslie said that every man in the movie no matter what type of race they were they were always after the pretty white girl Bella.  Also even though the kids are adopted and in relationships with each other people didn't make a big deal about it because they were white but if it was a different race then things would have been all over the news about it.  After all the previews and commercials I saw for this movie I never realized how much white race is valued and I also didn't notice that there were only two African Americans in the movie as well.

The last author that S.C.W.A.M.P relates to is Christensen.  As we all know Christensen is about the media and how it influences our lives.  The movie shows a lot of stereotypes and shows a lot of things that are considered to be "okay".  One example of this is when one of the vampires gets beat up by her significant other and nothing was done about it because the creator of this movie was basically trying to say that domestic violence is okay to do and you won't get in trouble for it!

I feel as though every post that I make I seem to always relate it to sports some how so why not do it again!  I think that S.C.W.A.M.P is definitely connected to sports because males dominate the sports world.  Whenever you turn it on to ESPN or any other sports channel they are always showing a male sporting event because people believe it is a lot more entertaining to watch than women's sport.  Another reason why maleness is present in the sports world is because a male athlete gets paid a lot more than a woman athlete which is also true for any other job.  However one aspect in S.C.W.A.M.P that is not present in the sports world is whiteness.  Nowadays whenever you watch a football or a basketball game there are usually a lot more African Americans than White men.

As I stated previously jobs are also linked to S.C.W.A.M.P because it is a proven fact that it is easier to keep and find a job for males than it is for females and it is also a proven fact that males are paid a lot more than females are paid.

Another outside source to this movie is the media.  I believe that the media plays a huge role in this movie because even though many people might not see it but it is trying to show us what is right and what is wrong.  If you didn't notice all of the vampire's are in excellent shape, they have nice bodies, and are white.  This right here happens all the time in the media and you will never see a fat and ugly white male playing that kind of role because it is just not valued by the media and wouldn't get everyone's attention.  Also this movie shows a family that is extremely wealthy, they have a huge house, the father is a doctor, and all the children are dating each other but it is okay because they are white.  The Cullen Family also represents the property ownership of S.C.W.A.M.P and by having this rich family in the movie it shows that this type of family is very valued here in America.

I don't know about you guys but I feel like whenever I go to the movies from now on I will notice all these things and I feel like people will get sick of my observations just like how Dr. Bogad said nobody likes to go to the movies with her because she observes these things all the time!

I found this picture for Twilight online and notice the ONE African American in the picture!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education is Politics

Extended Comments
This week we had to read Education is Politics by Ira Shor.  This article focuses on what kind of educational system we have, what is going on in the classroom, and what we need to do to help the students with their education.  For this week's blog I would like to extend from Luke's blog.  In Luke's blog he pointed out 9 topics that teachers should focus on teaching in their classrooms...1)participatory 2)affective 3)problem-posing 4)situated 5)multicultural 6)democratic 7)researching 8)interdisciplinary 9)activists

I like and agree with Luke on how he focused on the topic of participation in the classroom.  I also believe that by having a student participate in a classroom as much as they can is very key to a student's success in the classroom.  As Luke said in his blog you need action to gain knowledge and he said that all of this can get started on the very first day of class.  I think by having students participate in the classroom on the very first day it shows the teacher that you are very serious about learning and it shows them that you're not there to just make the teacher's life absolutely miserable.  I know that in some of my classes I am pretty shy so it's kind of hard for me to participate and talk in class but I am a serious learner and I do all the work that my teacher's assign.  I found some websites that give tips on how to get students to participate during class and in this website I found something that caught my eye.  It said that a good way to help class participation or to get a classroom discussion going is to set your classroom up in either a circle or a u-shape.  I thought this was funny because we sit in a circle every single day and I can see that it helps a lot because every day our class discussions get so in depth and interesting and I never leave the class saying "ughhh class was so boring today!"

Points I would like to bring up in class:  What other ways do you think would help a student participate more in a classroom?  Do you agree with the fact that participation is very key in the student's success in the classroom?
Hope everyone had a good Easter!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

This week we had to read Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer.  The very first quote that caught my eye was right on the first page.  "I started to notice that I didn't like the classes I was taking called special education.  I had to go through special ed. almost all my life.  I wanted to take other classes that interested me.  I had never felt so mad, I wanted to cry." (Peterson, 1994, p.6)  After I read this quote it tore me into pieces.  This quote is basically saying that Mia has to take her special ed classes when in reality she also wants to take "normal classes".  I felt so bad for Mia because all she wanted to do was to be like her other classmates and take "normal classes".  She never had the choice what to take, she couldn't take anything that actually interested her, and she would always take the classes that she was suggested to take.  People only offered her the classes that they thought she could handle easily and she was never given a challenge.  Even though Mia does have a disability she should still be able to choose which classes she wants to take and she knows what classes she can handle.  I believe that students with disabilities should take their special education classes but they should also have the choice of which electives they want to take.  I think that if they were in a class with students who didn't have a disability then it would make them feel good about themselves and they would enjoy their education a lot more.

"Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life.  The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with developmental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities." (Kingsley, 1996, p.6)
This quote right here is saying that people need to realize that just because someone has a disability doesn't make them any different.  Some people just won't accept the fact and refuse to accept them for who they are.  The first line in this quote is very meaningful to me and I instantly thought of a boy named Jason McElwain.  For those of you who don't know Jason is an autistic boy who was a manager for his high school's basketball team.  For the last game of his senior year his coach decided to give him a uniform and let him sit on the bench with the team.  The gymnasium was packed with students that night because they had hear the exciting news for Jason.  During the game his coach put him in and he missed his first two shots but after that he hit six three pointers and one other basket for a total of 20 points for the night.  This story was all over the news, the radio, and now is on youtube.  So many of his classmates and team mates now look up to him because of this remarkable game he had.  The fans also stormed the court after the game and celebrated with Jason.  Jason has become so well known in the basketball world and later that year he even won an ESPY award in 2006 for best moment.  To win this award Jason had to beat out Kobe Bryant's 81 point game performance.  To me that is very impressive.  This story about Jason leads me back to the original quote because people need to realize that even though someone may have a disability they can still be role models and hero's for others and everyone just needs to throw away the negative stereotypes and realize that they aren't different.
Here is a video of Jason's story.

"We're all here-kids, teachers, parents, whoever-it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's what learning is.  Don't tell me any of these kids are being set up to fail." (Shayne, p.75)  This quote is a very strong and inspiring quote as well.  Here Shayne is trying to say that none of her students are different from her or as "defective".  She is there to help them, play together, work together, and to just teach them like any other teacher would.  She is also saying that just because these students have a disability doesn't mean that they are automatically fail.  Everyone is intelligent in some way and people need to realize that just because you have a disability doesn't mean that you are automatically going to fail.  Look at my previous example, Jason is now seen as a hero to everyone and he has been all over the news and even on espn!  To be honest with you I am quite jealous that Jason was on espn and he has met numerous basketball players.  Overall, people need to let these students do what they can do and be what they want to be.

Class Topics:  Has anyone ever heard of the Jason McElwain story?  I have a cousin who is Autistic and last year we started going to an Autism walk at Colt State Park and it was such an amazing experience to do.  There were thousands of other people who did this walk and to see all the support was pretty amazing.  Has anyone ever participated in any kind of event for any type of disability?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Literacy with an Attitude


This week for class we had to read Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick J. Finn.  I believe that this reading had many connections to Lisa Delpit.  Delpit was really big on trying to teach students one direct way and in Patrick J. Finn's piece he talks about he has one direct way of teaching.  Before the students would enter the classroom he would write an assignment on the board that way when the students came right into class they wouldn't have anything to do and would have time to goof off.  Finn was a different kind of teacher and he wouldn't approach his students and say "What are you doing?" but instead he would say "Stop that and get to work." therefore there is no discussion and no arguments.  This would be a perfect example of a Delpit moment because he goes by one and only one style of teaching just like Lisa Delpit does.

Another connection that I found was between Finn and Johnson.  I believe that there is a strong connection between these two authors because they both agree upon teaching everyone equally in order to help everyone succeed.  There can't be that division of poor and wealthy students because then it makes things way more difficult in the classroom and students then feel very uncomfortable.  However, Finn does a very nice job of not having that type of division in his classroom.  He treats everyone equally whether they're poor or rich, he tells all of his students how he wants the work done and gives very specific directions, and he makes his assignments easy so the students who are having trouble can also get the work done.  I think this is such an important key to teaching because when the students know that the teacher really does care how they do in their class then they'll put a lot of effort and time into their work.  Teachers need to realize that not only do the students have to put the time and effort in but the teachers need to also show that they care about whether or not their student succeeds in life.  I know that I enjoy a class a lot more when I know that my teacher cares about how well I do in the class and it makes me feel more comfortable as well.  This article talks about the literacy crisis between the middle class and the low income students and it talks about some interesting facts and statistics between the two.

In class I would like to discuss if there is a right way to teach?  Should there be more teachers like Finn?  Another topic that I would like to bring up is which way do you want to use when you are teaching in the future?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Title IX and Athletics


This week for our blog's we had to do a little searching about the issues that involves gender and education.  These issues could be in the classroom, in the school's atheltics, in the school's dress code, etc.  Since I was very involved in my high school's athletic program I have decided to focus the issue of women being able to play sports.

One article that interested me was this one.  This article discusses the issues that women had before and after Title IX was put into place.  As a reminder Title IX states that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...".  In this article it says that before Title IX women were only allowed to participate in square dancing and cheerleading, only 1 in 27 girls played high schools sports, there were no scholarships for female athletes, and female college athletes only received two percent of the athletic budget.  On the other hand, since Title IX a lot more women are involved in sports, more women receive scholarships, and now more women perform at the elite level whether it's in the Olympics, World Championships, or in the professional leagues.  Another benefit that Title IX brought to women sports is that it helped women stay away from doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and basically prevent them from doing any other stupid things that they would regret if they got in trouble.  I feel as though if Title IX was never passed then I wouldn't be the person who I am today.  Ever since I was little I have always loved to watch and play sports.  No matter what type of sport it is I will play it whether it's just throwing a baseball around, playing basketball, or even playing croquet.  If Title IX was never put into effect then I would be a very miserable person.  In high school I played volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter.  Even though  I would complain about going to practice or complain how I would have no time to socialize with my friends I miss playing every single day.  I never realized it back then but playing sports kept me from going insane and it really helped me keep my mind off of things.

When I was in high school the football team always got the most attention during the fall season.  Literally every single student would attend the football game even if they wouldn't watch the game at all and just use it as a socializing event.  This irritated me so much because the football team had the worst record out of all the fall sports but they still managed to attract all the students to their games.  On the other hand nobody would attend my volleyball games even though we had a much better record than the football team.  This was also an issue during the winter with my basketball team.  Everybody would always go to the boys basketball games and would never go to the girls games even though we had one of the players in the state on our team and we also had a much better record than them.  Fans would always create a "black out event" or a "white out event" for the boys games while nobody would even step foot into the gym to watch our games even though we would actually win our games.

I know that today another issue that I see in high school sports is whether or not cheerleaders should cheer for girls sporting events as well.  I know that the other high school's we played for basketball never had cheerleaders for our games.  However, my school was different and we did have cheerleaders for our basketball games.  By having this was the most awkward thing for us.  Since nobody even went to our games I felt as though the cheerleaders felt awkward and useless too.  Who would they cheer to?  The answer to that question is nobody haha.  We actually hated having the cheerleaders there because they were really annoying and most of the time most of the cheerleaders would just leave and go home because it was so useless for them.

In this video some NCAA student athletes talk about what Title IX brought to women athletes but there are still some things that need to change.  Some issues that they discuss is that women in sports still receive very limited media coverage, lack of overall respect in comparison to men's sports, and they still receive inadequate equipment.  As I am writing this blog I am watching the men's final four games on cbs but as I flip through the channels I see a commercial for the women's march madness games that can only be seen on espn.  Right here is a perfect example of womens sports having limited media coverage.  While the NCAA men's basketball games are being aired on a channel that all viewers can watch even if they don't have cable the women's NCAA basketball games are on espn so if you don't have cable then tough luck.  This just shows me that women's NCAA basketball is not valued as much as men's NCAA basketball even though the women's tournament has a team that once had a 90 game winning streak.  Yes I do understand that women's basketball can get a little boring at times because you never see crazy dunks but I just feel as though they should show the women's games on a popular channel like cbs.

I also found this other video where it uses the technique of having male practice players come in and play against the women to make them quicker, faster, stronger, and to just help them make the sport a little more interesting.  However, some people did not like this idea because it violated the spirit of gender equity in Title IX and results in diminished participation opportunities for female student athletes.  Some people worried about what the bench players were doing during practice and they were also concerned if they were getting any playing time during practice and if these male practice players were taking up their time.  I think this idea is very helpful for the female athletes because it benefits their performance and makes them a better player.  These questions are still trying to be answered but for now male practice players are still being used by division one schools.

Questions that I would like to share in class:  What do other people think of this issue of women not getting enough media attention?  Does anybody have any stories they would like to share that talks about this issue?  Will women's sports ever be dominant over male sports?  What are your thoughts?