Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spectacular Even In Poverty

In Spectacular Things Happen Along The Way, the teacher Brian Schultz goes against the principles of Pedagogy of Poverty. Instead approaching teaching from logic of" students and teachers are engaged in different activities." Schultz inspired his class of 5th grader by engaging them and working with them to find solutions to the problems that existed in their school. The students were made to feel like they were in control of their learning experience and there wanted to participate in the learning process. They were excited about school and took pride in their work.The teacher and students were learning from each other. Mr. Schultz helped his students realize that they had a voice that mattered. He raised the bar for his student and they went above and beyond the bar. Unlike the Pedagogy of poverty, Mr. Schultz realized, through his own experiences, that every child is an individual and needs to be able to work at his or her own pace and not be penalized for it. Working with Northwestern University, Shultz was able to get his students access to graduate student mentors, via the Internet, where they could get individual assistance with their education. Directive pedagogy wasn't necessary to get his students interested in learning. Schulz allowed his student to be active not passive participants in the process called learning.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Community Inquiry Project

After consulting with my professor I've narrowed my topic of interest to "The challenges adolescent African- American males face in urban communities". My original topic was quite broad and needed to be tailored. Now beginning the research for my chosen topic I'm starting to wonder if I need to tailor my topic even more. Two things that I found interesting while doing my research are how the suicide rate has increased over the past 20 years for African American males and that suicide intervention programs are not helping to reduce suicide rates. I learned that ones vulnerability to suicide can be linked to his community , economic status, and family support.

The article I would like to share:
Ready to die: a postmodern interpretation of the increase of African-American adolescent male suicide

Monday, October 27, 2008

When Will Things Change?

Every morning when I'm rushing to drop my 2 and 6 year old daughters off to school I pass 2 high schools in Newark, Science and West Side. Each time we pass Science high school my 2 year reminds me of the name. The young people attending this school have backpacks, at least 8 out of 10. Most of the back packs look full. I don't know if they're full of books but at least they look like they are doing homework. I don't see too many of the young ladies in heels, they mostly have on flats. No one hangs out in front of the school. I also don't notice anyone smoking in front of the school.
After I drop my children to a private school in Newark, that our family truly loves, I pass West side high on my way to the parkway so that I can go to work. The scene is totally different. First, not many students carry book bags. I'm guessing maybe 2 out of 10 students carry book bags and the book bags are flat to their backs as if there's absolutely nothing inside them.I rarely see a young lady with a book bag.. They carry purses, big enough to fit a cellphone, small wallet and lip gloss. No one's carrying books, not even a small paperback novel. When I'm stopped at the light I sit there in shock because the students smoke in the front of the school with security and a police officer less than 200 feet away. I wonder when this behavior became the norm.
Here are two schools in Newark where the cultures appear to be very different. I wonder why it's acceptable for students to show up unprepared to learn at one school while at another school less than a mile away it seems to be totally not tolerated?

Comments appreciated.

Community Inquiry Topic

After our class this past Thursday, I've finally come up with a topic for my Community Inquiry project. There are many programs available to women and girls when it comes to preparing for adulthood. I haven't read or heard much on programs for young men and boys that need direction and assistance with being adult men in this great democracy, the United States of America. I would like come up with a mentoring / rites of passage program for young males living in Urban communities. I envisioned a program where young men at age 8-10 are paired with adult males who are committed to mentoring and educating the selected young men about the roles, responsibilities and expectations of being a man. The relationship would be maintained until at least the young male graduates from high school. Hopefully some life long relationships could evolve from the program, especially for the young men without fathers actively participating in their lives. As for the rites of passage part of the program, there would be some kind of training that the mentor would help facilitate whereby the paticipant is guided into finding his role in society . The end result would be adolescent men becoming productive citizens participating in society instead of being onlookers. Feedback and suggestions appreciated.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau

After reading Unequal Childhoods(Lareau) I have a better understanding of how class, race affects ones family life and inturn ones childhood. The 6 families that were discussed in the book were: Tallinger's (middle class), Taylor(working class), Brindle(poor/lower class), Williams(upper middle class), Mc Allister ( poor/lower class), and Marshall( middle class). These families raised their children by either concerted cultivation, equipping their children with the tools to access power or accomplished natural growth whereby children are given boundaries in which to thrive and survive in. Both ways of child rearing has pros and cons.
Turning to the the New Jersey Real Cost of living Report the only families from Laureau's book that wouldn't have economic challenges would be the middle class families, Tallinger's, Williams' and Marshall. On the other hand the poorer families would have a range of challenges and concerns.
As for the Brindle family, the mother would need go back to school to get a higher level education so she could command a salary to become economically self sufficient. Welfare would not be enough for the Brindle family to survive in Essex County. The Taylor family would also have challenges even though the mother's working. An annual salary of $20,000 wouldn't be sufficient. The family would need some sort of government assistance, i.e health care, housing or food. She would also need higher education. With the cost of food shelter and clothing constantly increasing, families especially poorer families must constantly look for ways to enhance the skills they have or see if the skills they possess can be used in a higher paying career path.

As a teacher in training I must pay attention to the variety of socioeconomic conditions and cultural backgrounds that are represented in the city of Newark. Just because a child comes from an economically challenged family doesn't mean he or she shouldn't be afforded the same access to educational resources. Two children can have the similar socioeconomic backgrounds and live very different lives. As was seen in the Brindle and Taylor family.What's important as a teacher is to understand the differences and not let it be an excuse to fail your students. I must have high expectations for all my students

Monday, October 6, 2008

Social economic factor

I haven't posted in a while. I'm trying to get used to keeping a journal on line. My last class started me thinking about how ones social economic status along side race play an important role in access to resources (jobs, education, housing, food, and the list goes on). I always thought race was the only determining factor. As we talked more about Unequal Childhoods I began to see the connections. Children whose parents are part of the middle class will have greater access to better schools, activities that will prepare them for success in their adult lives and socially developed communities. on the other hand, children from working class and poor families will have little access to excellent educational opportunities because of the neighborhoods where they live and the expectations for achievement that are associated with their social economic status. Also many of the parent don't have access to the knowledge about scholarships and other resources that could get their children access to top schools in their surrounding areas.

For me,being a product an urban center and being the first in my family to go to college, I didn't have access to many resources because my parents didn't know where to look for assistance. Not until I started seeking assistance from close friends who had graduated high school and went through the process did I learn about scholarships and grants for college education.

Maybe in the next 50 years things will change . People will access to opportunity based on their desire, hard work, and determination.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

hope vs despair

After reading Hodgkinson's article on educational demographics, my eyes have been opened to another world. I never thought about how demographics affected education. Race, access, economic background, and socialization all play a role in a child educational experience. As an urban teacher in training, being exposed to information from writer like Hodgkinson , will help me get a better understanding of urban education as a whole. Not only will I need to know the subject matter that I plan to tech but also I must get to know my students as well as their family background. No longer will it be suitable just to know that a student is black or white., I must know my students nationality and culture.

Urban schools have gotten a bad rep over the years. The students and teachers have lost hope. Not enough educational materials, violence on the rise, and low expectation, wouldn't you feel hopeless too???? Change is a coming !!! A new vision is on the horizon. Educators must empower themselves and their students. Parents have to get involved in their children's education. When children see their parents involvement , they want to do their best. Educators must find creative ways to make their lessons exciting and keep the students engaged. Students, parents and teacher have to find the positive in the bleak situation. I know that it takes time for the results of change to be seen. I'm ready to do my part to aid in making change in urban education.