Mishalish Insight

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

GUEST SPEAKER- February 1, 2006

The presentation today was quite appealing, especially after reading the article about Aboriginal Education. Today he discussed how important it is to know our heritage and past to better understand who we are today and the people that we will teach. He talked about the history of the First Nations and how it is often on the "hush hush" in conversation and education to avoid discomfort. He wanted to create an awareness of the Aboriginal culture, both past and present to protray how intolerance can affect, sometimes destroy, other cultures. I believe he was hoping to instill an awareness of Native culture, not soley for the First Nations, but also for any other child with a diverse ethnic background that will be in our classrooms.

I agree that it is very important to know the history of the area one is to teach in and to have a cultural awareness of the students on is to teach. I think no matter where I teach, whether Alberta or India, it is important for me to know the historical background of where I am to better understand any possible tensions and to know the cultural context in which I am to teach. Once having this foundation set, I will relate much better to my students rather than making assumptions based on inadequate obesrvations about the attitudes, beliefs and events that occur around me.

The Workings Of Class -Adrie Kusserow

In this article Kusserow reveals how subtle class styles in parenting and teaching are present in the classroom, with an unconcious predominance towards the middle-upper class. Kusserow states that middle-upper class families/indivuals interact with a "soft indivualism" as compared to the "hard individualism" of the working class. This states that the middle-upper class sees the world as a place of opportunities for a person to flourish like a flower continually identifying with their feelings whereas the working class prepares their children to be strong, disciplined children to survive the harsh enviroments the world has to offer. This article explains how most teachers educate with the "soft individualism" style, therefore putting working class children at a disadvantage. These children are not used to being asked to express their feelings when disciplined or engaging in class discussions or even writing poetry.

I was quite intrigued by this article as I had never really though to deep about this issue. I do think that there are exceptions to families, but in general Kusserow is quite right about these characteristic differences between classes. My question is, How on earth do I respond to this issue as a teacher? Am I to change my discplinary style according to each child, scolding one while therapuetically talking to the other? I believe that we can easliy make a few changes in regards to certain classroom activities and assignments to engage both styles of learning environments. Now is is considered selfish if I view myself as a "soft individual" and am not comfortable changing to a harsh teacher ? And how easy is it to tell what type of class a student comes from? Am I to now find out how wealthy each student's parents are so that I can properly teach them?

Maybe a thought could be to integrate this into the curriculum through class discussions and projects analyzing different students viewpoints on the world, society, and school to create an awareness of these different mindsets?

Aboriginal Education: Is There a Way Ahead? ~ Hare and Barman
School Video: Residential Schools

I decided to combine my summary from both the video and the article as they were very similar in content and perspectives to the point where I would think the same person created both.

Basically the video and article described the devestating and lasting effects of residential schools on the Native American Nations. They talked of how Natives were stripped of their culture, individuals, families, language, religion, etc. The government and church intentions were to assimilate the Indians to come up to par with the whites in their beliefs and way of life. Children were taken away from their parents and often seperated from their siblings and subjected to live in dorms attending school. The ironic part is these students did not recieve much academic schooling (especially compared to "the white children") but instead were forced into labour, often boys were farm hands and girls learned domestic roles. As if this were not tramautic enough, the article and the video share of people's stories of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Children were often whipped for speaking their own language, and many boys and girls were raped or abused in other sexual forms. This disintigration of families and culture has lead to a break down in the nations and their families, often leading to shame and alcholoism. This has in turn affected Native childrens' perspective and attitude towards education. There is now a move on the part of the government and education and the Aboriginals to not only deal with the past, but to move on to find a new future that encompasses Native customs.

I agreed both with the video and the article on many levels. It is terrible the way the First Nations were treated in the past, and its effect is still prevelant in society. There are still wounded and torn families. I think it is neccessary to educate the schools about the ugly part of the past and to recognize that the ones stuggling with alcohol are probably the ones who never knew what LOVE was. I have always been appalled by what has happened, but when I heard from the mouth of one man that he never knew, understoof, or experienced love when he grew up, I was deeply moved.

Now in full recognition of this tragedy, I do also agree that it is time to move on, not forgetting the past, but creating a new future and re-establishing Aboriginal culture as it should be in this modern day. This requires an active part of the First Nations to remeber old traditions and to embrace new ones.

As mentioned in the article, I also think it is important for Aboriginals to be considered in the curriculum with their beliefs and methods. It is important to have a strong Aboriginal voice when creating the curriculum, as well as establishing well funded First Nations schools, and while doing this recognize the different nations (Cree, Blackfoot, etc) within the Aboriginal communites.

Many good things can come in terms of rebirth for the First Nations if everyone (government, Aboriginals, Canadian society, etc) is willing to do their part.

I agree

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What Do We Say When We Hear "Faggot"? - Lenore Gordon

What a true article Gordon has written describing the lack of respect for homosexuality. Here she describes the way language has disrespected and slaundered homosexuals. She tells how most teens are unaware of what the words they use actually mean, and that with education, they often will discontinue the use of such language. Somehow, this language has become such a norm that no one really thinks much before spouting off "homo" etc. This in turn has created very strict sexual rules on roles, creating discomfort for those who do not quite fit "the norm."

I agree with Gordon. How often is a guy called gay if he enjoys poetry and chocolate? There is absoloutly nothing wrong with a male enjoying a few things that do not fit the strict masculine role. Gordon is right in that it is a part of the teacher's job to stop students from using such discrimatory language just as they would stop a student from using racial language.

I really enjoyed her examples of educating students in the classroom with such an issue. I think they would be very effective and will probably use some of them in my future classrooms. This article was intriguing and I would recommend any teacher to read it.

Youthful Violence and the Quest for Identity in a media-saturated age- O'Dea

In a quick summary, O'Dea states in an odd fashion the correlation between youth violence, present day media, and identity. She talks about what identity is (during this media-saturated age): simply a shallow, transient, consumer cultured, unsatisfying image that can simply be bought. The self- image has become more based on what you wear, buy, listen to, watch on tv, and drive, rather than actions and character one builds through process, work, and time. Due to this shift in identity, people are unable to respect and charish their self-worth and constantly shift resulting in a feeling of loss of identity. O'Dea equated this shift and loss of indiviual meaning with the desensitizing media where no longer are images presented in media distinguishable between image and reality. In this loss, teens are driven sometimes to violence to desperatly attempt at finding what is REAL.

Due to O'Dea's very complex and deep article, I found that certain aspects I agree with and other aspects I do not. I am quite aware with how our culture has become an image based society, and how many waste so much money, energy, and emotions trying to buy an image they can project-but does this really drive people to mass murder? I am not quite sure this would be the only factor that drove the two boys in the Columbine shootings.

Also, there are flaws in the "image possessing identity" (not in O'Dea's case neccessarily, but with the mindset of society). When looking at my own self- If my identity is based on my clothes, make-up, etc, am I then a hippie, jock, professional, or a slob??? Based soley on my clothes, one would think that I have an identity crisis coming to school one day is a dress, the next in sweats, but when in reality I am comfortable with who I am and find myself with a constant character that does not buy into trends. Humans are much more complex than being able to place them into distinct categories, even if they only remain in a certain category until the next new trend comes along.

As O'Dea wraps up her article, she suggests that we have failed as society to take action against the power of the media and it is now time to start learning the language of media and begin educating our youth. This, as I have stated before in previous blogs, is absoloutly neccessary. We do indeed have a powerful influential culture in our society that needs to be learned about and taught how to critically analyze it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Girls and schooling: Their own critique -

This article touches on the experiences girls face as simply being a female student in high school its negative implications. The article was based mainly on research through interviewing students from a wide variety of ethnic, social, and religous backgrounds. Mainly the females felt at disadvantage in some shape or form; this was often manifested in being treated as incompetent in traditionally masculine school subjects or being treated as an object to "oogle" over and sometimes simply feeling intimated by a male teacher. There were some extreme cases in which females were directly yelled at or told they would not be sucessful.

I found this article very intriguing, as my experience does not even remotely parallel with this article at all. Checking the publishing date, it was not written much earlier than my high school experience. When I was in high school I was never belittled or intimidated by any of my male teachers and quite often I was encouraged to pursue science type courses and often counselled on what type of high school courses I should take in regards to the type of university degree I wanted to pursue. After reading this article I was quite sad to see how many horrible teachers have been out there. I hope that this repression on females has started to change and that many more females are able to have schooling experiences similar to mine.

After expressing my opinion on the horrors of terrible teachers, I also conisder in some cases where females are intimidated by their male teachers might also just be a factor of puberty and unfamiliarity with the opposite sex? There might be some amazing male teachers, but regardless and insecure teenage girl might be more uncomfortable around him. I wonder if this could be changed a little if the number of elementary male teachers increased, therefore, increasing the normalcy of male teachers in the education system altogether. Maybe if girls were taught from a young age by males, it would be less likely to be so difficult in high school?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Yes: The Trouble With Television~Marie Winn

Winn's article reasons television is harmful for children based on numerous factors relating to the activities they miss out on, lack of interactive engagement, the behaviours it creates, etc.
Winn argues that by watching tv, children miss out on family quality time or engaging in other play that stimulates higher cognitive processess. She also believes tv is a cop out to spending time with children as tv is much easier than taking time to read or play with children.

I beileve that the amount of chidren spend in front of the tv is excessive and in agreement with Winn, I believe tv can be harmful to children when in excess and when they are not properly educated about it. Winn states that children prefer tv because it is more stimulating, and I agree with this, but I think that in today's society, as a parent it could be potentially dangerous to deprive a child of tv watching, as they might rebel and watch tv at a friends house. A better solution would be to treat television as a priveledge, limit the amount of time spent in front of a television, and discuss programs and movies with children. We can still use tv to educate children and talk to them to develop reflective, synthesizing and critical thinking skills.

Why Kids Need Violent Entertainment? ~Gerard Jones

This article addresses a reoccuring issue on the affects of violent entertainment on children. The intriguing part of the article is how Jones portrays his contrevrsial view of the neccessity of violent television in order for children to effectively deal with emotions and to explore the inescapable feelings that society has taught them to supress.

I agree to an extent with Jones. I do believe that humans were created to live an adventure and fight battles. To extend into gender for a minute- I think boys will be boys in their nature regardless of what people do to train them otherwise. Take a gun or a sword away from a child, then a stick becomes the weapon of the hand. Children should not be sheltered completely from violent entertainment, rather instead they should be educated about it. I would not go to the extent that Jones did in stating any and all types of violent entertainment, even "junky entertainement", is beneficial to children. If we were to educate children in violence, would we not want to choose films and magazines with good morals and messages about violence? Parents can take the time to decided what is appropriate in terms of violence for their children's viewing and reading.

A question to ask though, is violent entertainment the only way to educate children about dealing with anger? While I agree with allowing children to be exposed to a certain amount of violence and allowing them to engage in imaginative play, I also think it is neccessary to teach children other faucets of dealing with anger (ex. exercise, talking, sports, music, etc).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

DYNAMITE!! The explosion of Teen Magazines...Sheila Manohar

Manohar basically describes how the adolescent girls within North America are sekking to find their identities and are greatly influenced by consumer driven magazines that provide unhealthy concepts of femininity. Sheila educates her readers with her findings in research and statistics about the negative affect of these magazines, but feels the need to incorporate them into the school system by properly educating students about these magazines rather than banning or ignoring them.

I agree with Sheila of how unfortunate it is that adolescent girls turn to these magazines for guidance and receive unrealistic advice on beauty, self-importance, and peer relations from people whose main incentive is money.

I recall my experience from high school where many of my friends invested their money into these magazines, or the products these magazines promoted. Some students even based their opinions of friends or dumped boyfriends based on the quizzes provided in these magazines.

In response to Sheila's atricle, I took a minute to flip through a teen magazine myselg and discovered that indeed a large percentage is made of advertisements. As well, the beauty and fashion "must do's" were most often based on what the celebs wore or what products they used, not because an individual had a unique idea about clothing.

I agree with Sheila in the importance of integrating these magazines by educating students to critique and learn what messages are really conveyed. Whether we approve or not, students will still read these magazines, so why not use they magazines as a tool to develop critical thinking skills, marketing skills, self-confidence and self-respect?

What is the School's Hidden Curriculum Teaching Your Child? ~ Ausbrooks

In this article Ausbrooks discusses a "hidden curriculum" in all schools, not a curriculum based on acedemic subjects, but one that creates the learning environment. In this hidden curriculum students receive messages in every day events that occur not only within the classroom but also in the hallways, the bathrooms and on the playgrounds. This curriculm teaches socializations rules that could have a positive effect to grow and expand, or a student could recieve negative messages that cause their school experience to be a hated one.

Ausbrooks stated that students often have a great deal of influence in creating the socialization rules, but to what degree depends on teacher prescence and example. What messages are the teachers sending anyways? That science is the only route to follow to university which is the only choice. That the trophy case displaying only athletic awards means to succeed one must be an athlete?

I agree with Ausbrooks that the school environment does impact students greatly creating indepenent, explorative, self-confident students, or it can create a hindering environment that only allows success in certain areas where students who do not fit the cookie cutter feel lost in another world. I think teachers and administration have impact on students self-worth by what the school values and promotes.

I also agree with the point Ausbrooks made about student influence and how they have power on their peers outlook in school. Peers have the ability to change each others schooling experience to a very negative one through bullying and fighting. I believe teachers are not gods that are able to have eyes and prescence in every situation in school, but they can influence a fostering, nuturing environment by practicing themselves acceptance of all in talent, race, class, culture, etc.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Module 7: WebQuests and Web awareness

I had no idea that WebQuest existed until this module! What a great tool for web based and inquiry orientated research. WebQuest is a practical set-up of lessons on the internet focusing on searching for information. It is set up in a way that allows students to still use the internet for research, but is more guided than yahoo or google, which is substantially more time efficient. Another great aspect of WebQuest is that is goes beyond the research and has instruction for working with the information (applying, evaluating, manipulating, etc). This allows students to automatically make connections and learn about the information they have found online, whic supports higher levels of thinking.

Internet safety is definately something that all teachers should be aware of. The internet is full of a lot of information, both good and bad. Sometimes is is hard to sift out innappropriate information simply within search engines. As a teacher I find it intimidating to feel responsible for an entire classroom of students on the internet when it is very easy to access innapproriate material whether intentionally or by accident. I think as a future teacher I will try to use pre-approved websites and programs such as WebQuest while using online learning. I also think it is important to educate students about keeping personal information disclosed and not giving out real names, addresses, and phone numbers in chatrooms or any other internet sites. I will do the best I can to educate students on proper internet usage. The internet is prominent in our society, therefore I might as well use it for educational benefits, while at the same tame taking safety precautions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Module 6- spreadsheets and graphing

I think spreadsheets and graphs are a great tool for the classrooms. It allows student self evaluations as well as visual representing and organizing of knowledge and work. I would use a variety of reasons such as timelines, tracking grades, and simple graphing. I think graphs are a good information organizer for economical, marketing, and research projects (which integrates real life situations into the classroom). Spreadsheets are great for math in the areas of problem solving, organizing formulas, probability, and statistics.

I would introduce the use of spreadsheets through a three part module. The first part would consist of a tutorial, which would be set up as a class activity with the focus on learning the skills collaboratively. Using Excel projected onto a screen, the class would monitor the teacher's steps as they together create a spreadsheet. The students would choose a fun topic such as "planning a party" to make the learning more fun and interesting.
Module 2 would utilize the following online tutorial instructing students how to make a spreadsheet:
http://www.internet4classrooms.com/excel_enter_edit.htm (using an excel worksheet- Entering and Editing Data)
Module 3 would require the student to apply the new knowledge of spreadsheets for a math lesson. For example:
"The local zoo requires the purchase of new animals. You have a budget of $20,000 to spend. You can choose from a list of animals:
Zebras- $500 each
Lions- $900 each
Penguins- $399 each
Deer- $50 each
Monkeys-$319 each
Crocodiles- $495 each
Pandas- $1000 each
Flamingos- $298 each

You are required to decided and budget how many of each animal you would like to purchase.
In Excel create a spreadsheet using this data. Make sure you use a title and your name. You must include proper columns and rows (such as animal of choice, the price, amount of animals, sum of purchase for each animal, and total purchase.) Make note not to go over budget."
I would also require the students to hand in a summary explaining their choices.

Just for extra fun: We (Krystal Ingold and myself) found a great website for creating graphs. You should check it out!!!!

**Please note- I worked with my classmate, Krystal Ingold, on this assignment, therefore; there will be similarities within our blogs for this module.