Sunday, May 1, 2011

Social Justice Event: The Twilight Saga

The social justice event that I went to was "Power, Pedagogy and Popular Culture: Bella's Choice and the Deconstruction of Ideology." This event was a talk given by Leslie Grinner. She is the original creator of S.C.W.A.M.P. I really liked this social justice event. It was very entertaining. Leslie Grinner was funny and she brought up some very interesting topics in her talk. S.C.W.A.M.P. is an acronym for all things that society believes to be important; straightness, Christianity, whiteness, Ablebodiedness, maleness, and property holding. Society values all of these things and if a person does not attain these qualities, they are often discriminated against in some way or another. Leslie Grinner associated this acronym with the Twilight Saga, a movie about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire and the different adventures that they face to be together.

Leslie Grinner shows how each part of the acronym is associated with the movie.
STRAIGHTNESS: Straightness is shown to be idolized in the movie because all of the romantic relationships in the movie are heterosexual. Bella and Edward is the most prominent heterosexual relationship in the movie and both of these characters are idolized. They are the main character and they focus on their lives throughout the entire movie. They are also portrayed as the good guys. Another thing that shows that heterosexuality is shown in this movie is that at one point Bella asks her father why he doesn't have a wife/girlfriend. Bella is showing that heterosexuality is valued because if it wasn't then she could have asked why he did not have a significant other instead of specifying a certain gender.
CHRISTIANITY: Christianity is shown because throughout the entire series of movies, Edward Cullen provides a moral compass for Bella to stay a virgin. He does this by saying that he will not have sex with her unless they are married. Christians believe that sex before marriage is a sin and that you should wait until after you are married.
WHITENESS: Whiteness is definitely valued in this movie because basically every one of the main actors in the movie are white except for a few of Bella's friends and there is one African American Vampire. It seems that the white people in the movie are valued because they are the main characters and because all of Bella's friends who are all different races all wish that they could have her. Bella is the whitest person in the movie and it shows that she is idolized because all of the boys want her. Also, the only black vampire is not seen very much in the movie and he is portrayed as a bad guy and a trickster. I feel like McIntosh comes into play here because his reading was all about how whites are privileged and valued. He says that whiteness is an invisible privege and this goes into the category of property holding in S.C.W.A.M.P. Edward is white and he is rich and Jacob is not white and he is not rich.

ABLEBODIEDNESS: In the Twilight series there is only one person in the whole movie who is disabled. He is in a wheel chair and although he is in a wheelchair he is portrayed as a very smart and wise man. I would have expected that the person in the wheelchair would be portrayed as needy and helpless like I have seen in other movies.
MALENESS: Maleness is shown all over the place in this movie. In the series Bella is mostly surrounded by males and they are basically controlling her lives. Like I said earlier, Edward is trying to control Bella's moral compass to keep her a virgin. Jacob tries to control her life by trying to make Bella fall in love with him. In the movie males are always Bella's protectors. There is her dad, Jacob, Edward, etc. Also, Bella has to give up almost EVERYTHING  to be with Edward. She will do anything for him and to be with him. It shows that woman have to stand down to men and do whatever they can to please them and that they can't live and please themselves; that they need a man to make them happy.
PROPERTY HOLDING: In the movie Bella eventually chooses Edward over Jacob. Edward is rich; he has a nice home, and nice clothes, etc. Jacob lives on a reservation and does not have a lot of money. Jacob's family is working class. Since Bella picked Edward it shows that wealth is idolized. She picked the boy that had nicer things than the boy who just lived in a regular house and had to work for his money.

An author I think that represents all of these areas of S.C.W.A.M.P. is Johnson. His reading is all about priviledge, power, and difference. In Twilight it is clearly shown the differences between privilege in race, sexuality, class, and gender. It is shown all throughout the Twilight series as I have given examples of previously. And lastly, Christensen is also a an author that I thought about while listening to Leslie Grinner. Her entire event was all about S.C.W.A.M.P. in the movie Twilight. Twilight is a part of media. It just goes to show that the media has a huge impact on people because you can clearly see that straightness, Christianity, whiteness, ablebodiedness, maleness, and property holding are valued in society because you see it in the media everywhere. Everybody is affected by it. Just look at all of the people who are obsessed with Twilight. Leslie Grinner even mentioned in her talk that she has even heard of people getting divorced over whether they were on team Edward or team Jacob. The media must really have a huge impact on those people if it affected their lives that much to get a divorce over it. Here is a story from a man about his wife's obsession with Twilight and how it affected their love life.

All in all I really enjoyed this social justice event because it made me see how S.C.W.A.M.P. really is valued in the real world through media and movies. Also, Leslie Grinner made it fun with her great attitude :)

A Blog About Transamerica

I have not seen this movie but, I did see the trailer for it today and it made me think about this class a lot. It is about a pre-operational male to female transsexual who learns that she has a son. She takes a long journey with her son to California and along the way you get to witness the life of a transsexual person. There were a few parts in the trailer where it shows her embarrassment and it shows how people respond to her. There is a clip in the trailer where her parents say that they love her but do not respect her because of her transformation. There was also a clip where a little girl asked her if she was a boy and a girl. I personally really want to see the entire movie now because it shows in depth what kinds of experiences transgender people have. They should not have to have people judge them all the time. In the movie, Bree (main character) just wants to be who she wants to be and have people accept her for who she is. Here is the link to the trailer.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us by Linda Christensen


As I was reading through the FNED blogs, I came across Mary's blog. Mary's blog stuck out to me because she did a reflection about what she thought about the article by Linda Christensen. I completely agree with everything that Mary had to say. I agree with her that I have mixed feelings about what Christensen is arguing. In Mary's blog, she wrote, " I couldn’t agree with her more about most of what she writes.  At other times I think that no matter what the media portrayed she wouldn’t be satisfied with it." I think that if Christensen saw a cartoon that was meant to not show children that life is perfect and that when you grow up you will find a prince, she would still have something to say about it. She might say that there might not have been enough African Americans in the cartoon, there were not any LGBT people, or that the main character did not support the role of an actual modern day woman. There are any given number of things that could happen in a cartoon. There is never going to be a cartoon that portrays all of the right qualities.

I also agree with Mary when she says, " I think the author is right to point out that the media can have a significant influence on young people, and that it certainly conveys ideas about different groups of people." The media had a huge impact on me when I was younger and in some ways today it still does. I have always been bigger than a lot of other girls my age and that always made me feel like I was not as pretty as everyone else.The media made me feel bad about it. I used to watch the television show on Disney Channel called "Lizzie McGuire."

 On this show the main character always did her hair really cool and wore nice clothes. Lizzie was also skinny and she had a best friend, and her friend was skinny too. I alway wanted to be just like them at the time that I watched that show. It made me feel bad about myself that I didn't look like them. There were also many other shows on television that were exactly the same way. Children are getting similar information from the media and cartoons. Cartoons always show that everything will always turn out happily ever after, when in fact it does not. In Mary's blog I thought that she brought up another good point that related to the article. If Christensen thinks that the cartoons and movies for young kids are sending a bad message to children, why can't she give the readers an example of what she does think is an appropriate cartoon to be watching?

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
I would like to hear more about other people in our FNED class who have been affected by the media themselves when they were young children. I think that the media probably plays a really big role in peoples lives, not just when we were young, but now as well.

*I am adding this link to my blog because I did not do so earlier. This link is a video about how the media affects body image. I wrote about my experience with body image and the media and I think that this video shows good quotes and facts that prove many girls like me have the same issues.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education is Politics By: Ira Shor


"People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn. A curriculum that avoids questioning school and society is not, as is commonly supposed, politically neutral. It cuts off the students' development as critical thinkers about their world. If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted."
--In this quote I think that Shor is saying that future teachers need to made a curriculum that is not always full of memorizing facts or memorizing spelling words or things of that sort. It does not help the student because chlildren learn by asking question and being curious about things. They need something to think about and have an opinion on in order to learn. A student will not really be learning anything if they are given some spelling words to memorize. A student has to be able think about their learning in their own way. For example, in Professor Bogad's classroom we are not learning by memorizing vocabulary words, we are learning by basing our own opinions and listening to others' opinions; and questioning and thinking about others' opinions. We formulate our own ideas and critical thought;that is how children like to learn.

"Politics reside not only in subject matter but in the discourse of the classroom, in the way teachers and students speak to each other. The rules for talking are a key mechanism for empowering or disempowering students. How much open discussion is their in class? How much one way 'teacher talk'? Is their mutual dialogue between teacher and students or one-way transfers of information from teacher to students?"
--Shor is talking about teacher and student discussion in this quote. I think that he is stating these questions because he is asking what are teachers' doing in classrooms? Are they actually helping your child learn or are they talking without anybody really listening to them? Shor is saying that teachers need to engage their students in learning. When students are engaged, talking and asking questions, they are more than likely learning more than when they are just listening to a teacher talk to an hour. If students get the chance to have a dialogue in the classroom too then they might be a little more interested in the material. If there is "teacher talk" the entire time and the teacher just talks on and on about the lesson for the day there is a great chance that the child is uninterested and might even be daydreaming because they are not engaged. Future teachers need to make sure that their students are fully engaged and fully involved in the classroom. It can't just be a one way street.

"In science, a problem-posing approach could take a debate form. A science class could present controversies in the field and in society. Students could examine competing interpretations of the origins of the universe, the causes and treatments of AIDS, the policy conflicts over energy sources and global warming, or the debates over the health hazards of exposure to low-level radiation to electromagnetic fields generated by power lines. By presenting science debates, controversies, and competing interpretations, the critical teacher would pose the subject matter as a problem for students to think through rather than a bland official consensus for them to memorize."
--Shor discusses the problem-posing approach in this quote. He believes that if you approach a subject asking questions it will give the subject matter more meaning to the student. The subject mater does not matter  at all to a student if they facts are given to them and they are told to memorize it. Shor proposes that they are prompted with, as an example, a debate in science class. Instead of telling the student the treatments and causes of AIDS, have them debate about it. That way, instead of them just memorizing the material they are learning to be critical thinkers by debating the idea. This website shows an article that talks about the problem-posing approach in Biology Education. One point this author makes is how he thinks textbooks should be changed to accommodate the problem-posing approach.

Basically I think that these quotes really show how Shor thinks that students should be in charge or their own learning with a little bit of help from their teachers. If teachers would just ask the right questions, then students would get to thinking about subject matter and they would start to learn from their thoughts and ideas. Teachers should not give their students subject matter to memorize, they need to think about it so they will be interested in it. I personally think that these are really good teaching strategies and ideas. Do you think that the problem-posing approach is a good one? It seems like it would work well to me.

Schooling Children with Down Syndrome


My post is a little late but I still have some feelings about the article from last week. Honestly, my first opinion about down syndrome students in a regular classroom was that I think that they need special attention while learning in school because I didn't think that they would be able to handle the same type of work that the mainstream classroom teaches. I also did not think that inclusion was a very good choice because of this reason. I think that I thought this because that is the way that I was brought up. I was brought up in separated classrooms from those who have down syndrome. I have never been around anybody with down syndrome before and I have never personally felt comfortable around them. I was always kind of afraid for some reason just because they are different.
I believe that now, my feelings have changed a lot after this week of class when we learned about down syndrome in the classroom. We watched a video about inclusion in the classroom and I believe that the video made a huge impact on the way that I think. It changed my view completely. I think that I needed to see it with my own eyes to really see how it can help a child with special needs. Even if the child with special needs in the classroom cannot fully keep up with the work loud, it still makes a huge positive impact on them because they can interact socially with other people in their classroom and they also get motivation from watching the other students in the classroom. And I really do think that it helps the mainstream classroom as well. In my own case, I think that if there was inclusion in the schools that I went to I would not have had the opinion that I previously had. I feel like I definitely would be a lot more understanding and accepting of students with down syndrome or any other type of disability. It really does help the child with down syndrome entering the classroom when he feels like EVERYBODY accepts who he is as a person, not just other peers in his situation. Now I realize that it isn't fair for them to be separated from everybody else. They should definitely be included in the mainstream classroom with all of the other children. People will be able to learn from each other, both mainstream and students with disabilities.
I like this video because it shows how students with disabilities and their families deal with inclusion and learning in school. It is about a boy named Samuel who is included in the mainstream classroom.
What I would like to know from my other classmates is, did your opinion change like mine did about inclusion in education? What changed and why did it change?

* I am adding in a link because I forgot to add one earlier. I found this link about what the world would be like if people with down syndrome ruled the world. I really like this link because it shows just how great people with down syndrome really are :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Patrick J. Finn: Literacy with an Attitude


This reading that I read by Patrick J. Flinn definitely connected to Deplit. In Delpit's readings she talks a lot about teachers using a direct style of teaching. In Finn's reading there was a quote where he said that he uses a direct style of teaching so that the children do not get distracted and so they do not have any chances at all to nothing or any chances as at all to misbehave. Finn said that his method for eliminating these problems is that he put the problems on the board ahead of time and instead of asking, " 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Stop that and get to work.' No discussion.  No openings for an argument." This example would refer to a "Delpit Moment".

In my own experiences in my service learning classroom I have noticed these moments a lot. I notice the differences in between the two teachers in the classroom. I noticed that the assistant teacher is just like Finn and Delpit in that she is a very direct individual with the students. For an example, the assistant teacher would most likely say "Sit down in your seat and do your math work." This example coincides with Finn's example of what he would most likely say to a student. On the other hand, the main teacher in the classroom is the complete opposite. I have noticed that she is often unprepared and leaves a lot of time in class for the students to do nothing while she figures out what the lesson she is teaching is. The students during this time often get a little rowdy and then she gets frustrated and mad and starts to yell. This cartoon reminds me of what sometimes happens in the classroom when the teacher is unprepared.

 Another thing that I noticed with her is that she is not direct like her assistant. There was one instance in class where one of the students drew on the wall with a crayon. The main teacher asked her, "Do we write on the walls? Would you like it if I drew on your things?" The student did not respond in a positive way. She had now idea that she had done something bad and she was scared of the teacher because the teacher was yelling at her. The teacher could have been more direct with the little girl by saying something like, "It makes me sad that you wrote on the wall. Please do not write on the wall again."

I think that Finn and Delpit would both agree that the way that the main teacher teaches is not the right way. I think that they would agree that she needs to be more direct. On the other hand some people may disagree with direct teaching. Here is a website that lists the pros and cons of direct teaching.

Some things that I would like to discuss in class is what teaching style do you think is the "right" way? Also, which teaching style do you think has the best effect on students and which do you choose to use as a teacher in the future? Or maybe even a mix of both?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gender Issues in Education


This week is all about gender issues in the classroom whether it has to do with sports, dress codes, or learning in the classroom. I decided to do a little searching about gender issues in education and I found some videos and a website that shows what is going on in schools today.

The first link that I found is about some information about what the Title IX law and some things that it enforces and also about some myths about women athletes. As an athlete in high this article interested me. In this article all of the "Did You Know..." facts was my favorite because it tells you precise examples of some things that the Title IX law pursues.One of them that caught my interest was:
 "Did You Know...Title IX requires that male and female athletes receive the same benefits of athletic participation:    
  • equipment, uniforms, supplies
  • access to weight room and training room
  • equal practice facilities
  • same size and quality locker rooms and competition facilities 
  • equal access to practice and games during prime time
  • same quality coaches as boys' teams
  • opportunity to play the same quality opponents
  • the same awards and awards banquets
  • cheerleaders and band performances at girls' games too, etc. " 
This particular fact caught my interest because in my own high school the football team seemed like it received a lot more money than some of the other sports. The football team got a new football field, new jerseys, and new practicing equipment. Being on the women's volleyball team, we needed new equipment such as more volleyballs, our net was broken and we needed a new one, and our uniforms were old and starting to get yellow stains in the armpits...gross. We had to wait forever before we finally got a new net for us to use during practice and games and we had to do our own fundraiser to buy ourselves new uniforms. The football team, which is portrayed as a man's sport was apparently a little more important and they received all of the nicer things. Another thing in this fact was that cheer leaders and band performances can perform at girls' games also. This struck me as interesting because I had never heard of this before. I had only seen the band play at the football games and I had only seen the cheerleaders cheer for football and basketball.

In my next link, the video is about a woman named Shelly-Ann Gallimore:

Shelly-Ann Gallimore is involved in the sport track and field. She won the national championship in the triple jump. Title IX has helped Shelly-Ann achieve many things. She would not have been able to go to college without it because she received a scholarship to go to school for track and field. Because of Title IX she was given an opportunity to succeed and to do something with her life. She  thought that coming to America that everybody was treated as equal but she was shocked to find out that women in this country struggled to achieve equality through Title IX. In my own opinion although Title IX has been around I still feel like girls are not welcomed into boys' sports. As an example my brother did wresting and I loved the sport so much and I always wanted to do it myself but I thought that I would never really be accepted because I was a girl or the guys on the team would act awkward.

The next video clip that I have is about a little boy named Taylor Pugh:

Taylor was suspended from school for having long hair because it was against the dress code. The school claims that having long hair is a distraction to himself and others. I don't think that this is a good enough argument on their part because many girls have long hair and that is not considered a distraction so why should his hair be a distraction. Like his father said in the video; it is not like he had bright green hair with liberty spikes on his head because then it would be a distraction. I don't think that there is any reason why he should not have long hair. I think that the dress code for boys should be on the same level as girls. I'm sure that a girl would not get suspended if she decided to cut her hair short. It just isn't fair. 

In conclusion I realize that both genders are treated unfairly in some ways or another. In class I would like to discuss some personal experiences that people have witnessed or heard of about gender issues in education.