Thursday, April 25, 2013

Unit 3: Chapter 5

1. You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence? Is it one trait or many? Is it more heavily influenced by nature or nurture? Is it a fixed capacity or modifiable ability? Articulate your views in a paragraph of 6-8 sentences.

From what I have gathered from this class, as well as other psychology course that have touched on intelligence, I believe I am still no closer to feeling one particular way about intelligence then I did before all of these classes. Intelligence can be nurture or nature in my opinion. In some cases it is split right down the middle and in other cases an individual may lean toward one more than the other in their intelligence. I also firmly believe that our intelligence can be a fixed capacity or modifiable ability depending on how we use it. If we are to stay content with our intelligence and not strive to grow more, then we are fixed. However, if we continue to use what we know to build upon new information and then continue to learn new things all the time, I believe we are modifiable in our ability.

The Talk: Autism

Barb: "Dear utk, autism is my prism not my prison."

Autism appears to the world to be parasitic, but the world needs autism. Autism is a valuable part of human existence. Life can only be understood backwards but must be experienced forwards. We need to learn how to deal with and process those with autism so that we can better understand their needs and abilities. Children with Autism are destine to take a lifetime of endless care and resources. The outer world should value those with autism, as we need to discover our own shape and connect with others, we also need to discover our interactions with those who have autism. Discover is defined by Barb, as finding out who the person is and helping them become the highest version of that. She defines perspire as remembering we are all the same. Understanding that those with autism sometimes need chill time or free time for them to be inside their autism at some point during the day. Open is defined as keeping an open mind when working with a child who has autism. Empower is defined as the autistic person having choices and power in the decision making of their daily schedule.

Nero-diversity is then talked about in the sense of simplicity in discovering diversity. Barb is here to share that there is a flip side to the neurological coin. Autism is a type of neurology. No comparisons, no judgements. Their are many challenges with children who have diverse needs or disabilities, but that does not mean they should be ruled out or disregarded as possible contributors to their community, or even their society.

There is then this discussion on students with ADHD and how they think best by moving. So as teacher we should let them move. This example leads to other discussions on students with diverse needs and disabilities. We cannot keep medicating these students because we do not know what is being medicated away. The medications stop what the child is going through with their diagnosis but by stopping that we stop their creative processes, their thinking, and their moving.

Dolly Parton said, "Find out who you are and be that on purpose." Help students do this. Start where they excel and help them be who they want to be and figure out what they like to do. As teachers we do not lose our expertise status by learning from those we serve. Be open and meet these individuals where they are. Get on their level and communicate with them through the way that best suits them. Figure out how to communicate with your students through what they are interested in and what they want to talk about. Build on those strengths, other forms of communication, and be patient because it takes time to get through to these students.

This talk was interesting in that Barb wanted others to read parts of her book on a video taping. This gave insight to it being beyond her and to thinking about anyone with autism. As the title of the book states, "I might be you." Know your part, be your part, play your part, hold your head up and project your voice. This is something we have to aid our students in learning to do. Barb's book is saying that her autism could be anywhere, in anything, or in anyone. We each know the meaning of life. We each make that meaning for ourselves. That is the meaning of free will. The most important thing is to help those you are with at the moment, and to help them in that moment with what they want to do and who they want to be.

After this lecture I feel more informed about autism and how it could be addressed in my classroom. While I cannot go into depth with those students who have diverse needs or disabilities, I can learn how to interact with them and communicate on their level. I am so surprised at the methods for communication today's lecture presented me. I was unaware that we could communicate or help students with autism communicate in such a variety of ways. When you choose your words carefully, what you are trying to say seems to come out a little more wise and succinct. This is what children with autism will learn and use in their method of communication.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

LGBTQ Article Review

Sissies, Faggots, Lezzies, and Dykes: Gender, Sexual Orientation, and a New Politics of Education?

Keywords: Sexual orientation and schools; queer legal theory; politics of education; gender

Summary, key points, quotes:
Many areas of academic scholarship have tended to ignore these issues. Each of these deep structural features is intrinsic to the U.S. political culture. The lines around sexual orientation and gender can soften and harden depending on the current political environment we are in. Two of the most controversial political issues involving the U.S. public education have been gender and sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the gender-based violence people often face reflects long-standing legal, political, and cultural norms of what “real” men and women should be and how they should act. The Queer Legal Theory (QLT) is trying to establish a theoretical framework and an agenda for much-needed future research. QLT acknowledges many different ways “to be”. Since public schools are governmental entities ruled by laws, regulations, and policies those who teach, study, play, and otherwise live within a public school's walls are required to conform. Lugg defies politics broadly, “as a historical series of ever-shifting power relations, interactions, alliances, and conflicts between individual and collective actors.” It appears that Lugg is speaking to the general audience interested in these issues, as well as past, present, and future teachers in the public school community. Lugg searches for clarity in this article in how particular legal understandings of gender and sexual orientation shape nearly every aspect of public school life. Gender is defined as an ongoing, lifelong series of evolving performances and sex as a chromosomal state. It has come to Lugg’s attention that research is being less focused on the individual and more on the communal. The United States and the individual states bar sex discrimination, not gender discrimination. The problem is that, “the law has no mechanism to protect men from being fired if they act stereotypically female, although women have had legal recourse.” The article goes further to say that female teachers were not allowed to be married after the Civil War because if they were unmarried, then they were assumed to be nonsexual. Later, after WWII, male and female teacher now, were expected to eventually get married to prove they has the proper moral fiber to work with children. Most importantly is the story of Jamie, who was teased, threatened, bullied, abused physically and verbally by peers, teachers, and faculty of his public school. Given the climate of the era, students learned that to be queer was to be a sissy, a faggot, a lezzie, or a dyke. It unfortunately became the norm to say these things opening without a second thought, look, or scorn.

Points of interest:
- Difference of upbringing and era/generation. Today we are more open and accepting then people were just a generation ago.
- My roommate has a very literal interpretation of the Bible, my dad does not discriminate but simply asks where do be draw the line with acceptance and changing what the Bible and our Constitution says?
- This issue is very sensitive to the scrutiny, acceptance, and tolerance of may different people because of different backgrounds, beliefs, and upbringings.
- Gender is defined above as an ongoing, life long evolving things. Sex is chromosomal. There are many variations of the (X,X) female and the (X,Y) male genes. So we are never just truly female or male.
- I have a friend who is a male, likes girls, dresses like a man, but has a higher voice and expresses himself in a more feminine manner. He hangs out with a lot of girls, has never had a girlfriend, and would rather have a dog then a girlfriend. However, all that being said, he has hopes of marrying a female one day, having kids, and growing old with lots of grandchildren. This is of course all possible for a homosexual couple, but the point is that while he may seem to be a girly man, it does not mean that he likes men, or has any kind of sexual attraction to men. We often judge too quickly based on the typical "role of the man/role of the women" stigma we create.
- The case of Jamie, should be closely looked at and taken as an example of what should have never happened and what must never happen again. Discriminating against homosexuals is just as bad as doing it against Blacks, Hispanics, etc. His case is an example to all that this discrimination is not just upsetting people, it is physically ruining lives and whether we agree or disagree with homosexual rights, we as teacher must be open to all ways of living life within out classroom setting.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Unit 3: Chapter 4

1. Using the CSEL case that you have chosen as a guide, explore all of the possible group differences that may have an effect on your target student(s) or the class as a whole. Consider such group differences as cultural/ethnic differences, gender, SES differences, and "at risk" status.

Cherie is in desperate need of attention. She does not seem to care if she gets it in a negative way, as long as she is getting attention she seems satisfied. However, this is not conducive for any of the other students, and as she continues to misbehave, some of her peers are joining in on the action. While they are not behaving as disruptively as Cherie, they are egging her on so to speak with their laughter and smiles.

It could be that Cherie grew up in a household as an only child or that she was one child of many in her family and is trying to get attention because she does not get enough or she does not get the attention that she needs at home. Her roughness with some of the other students could indicate both of the above, that she does not know the proper way to be around others her own age, or that things are rough at home between siblings and no one stops it or is around to see it. Cherie's gender could also come into play if she thinks that others in her class are getting attention for certain behavior and decides to act like them. At this point Cherie is an "at risk" student if she cannot shape up and begin to learn instead of being the center of attention. Her grades will not be good if she misses class because of behavior or if she is not focused on the material at hand because she is too focused on everyone around her and how they are reacting to her actions.

During an observation this past semester, one of the teachers on the high school level said to his students, "Do you get up and walk around, or talk, or act up in church during a sermon?" At first I thought, here we go, he is gonna get in trouble for this one. However, after explaining the analogy further to his class, I realized that he was really saying. If you do not disrespect your church pastor, someone who is trying to teach you, and you do not respect your educators in the school, then who do you respect? Most of the students agreed that they would never act or behave in such manners during a sermon in church, and my teacher was trying to get across the message that the same should go for the classroom. Obviously this is just food for thought and bringing religion into the classroom should probably not happen, however, I also understood that this teacher was not bringing in any particular religion by any means. He was simply trying to relate his classroom and the respect he wishes to have form his students, and for other teacher, that they most likely give to those in their church. After this discussion, students began to understand and calmed down. Maybe this is not the best way to go about it, but it is definitely something to think about.

2. After reading this chapter, what are your thoughts about how to promote a positive learning environment in your classroom, realizing that your students may require your example in welcoming and appreciating diversity? Include at least three areas where you will facilitate honoring of students' differences.

Positivity comes from our own perceptions and ideas about life and our own being. I strongly believe that positivity can truly come if we are surrounded by an environment that is positive and by people who are positive. I plan to really instill this concept into my students thoughts because I have seen first hand how great an impact positivity can have on the outcome of a situation, or someones attitude and decisions that people choose to have or make. With all of that comes welcoming and appreciating diversity in any aspect of life. My students will learn and know that diversity is a celebrated thing, and that being diverse is the best gift of all.

One way in which I could do this is to take time in the beginning of the year to just get to know my students and to allow my students to get to know each other. I think it is so important for students to feel like they matter, to the teacher and to each other. Especially in art, students must feel comfortable to express themselves and to let loose and create works of art the only further elaborate on who they are as a person, as an artist. Once these relationships are established, students can then begin to understand the diversity of their classroom and appreciate it in their fellow peers.

Chapter 3: Development Activity

1) John Elton: Your Song
It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money, but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song, and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

2) page 72-73

3) In Erikson’s theory of social development, the stage this song reminds me of is “Identity vs. Role Confusion”. As teens, the development of self and personal identity is very important. Students are trying to succeed in the ability to find and stay true to who they are and who they want to be in life. Learning to stay true to themselves and trying to deal with the occasional failures can lead to role confusions and a weak sense of self for adolescents. At this stage, Erikson points out that social relationships allow teens to find themselves and to understand that their outside environment of peers, etc. can have a profound effect on their successes and failures. Teens are trying to cope with defining relationships and creating ones that will allow them to feel most comfortable as themselves.

4) The highlighted sections refer to the above situation. “This feeling inside” refers to the emotions students are feeling and how they are trying to learn to be who they are and express themselves with their peers and in the world. This is so hard to do sometimes, especially for teens, they are trying to figure out what all of these feelings are. This song really relates to adolescents who are dealing with the debate to hide who they truly are or be themselves open and out there for everyone to see and hopefully accept. The song says, “I’m not one who can easily hide”. Students should not have to hid, but they too often feel as though they have too when in middle school, high school, or even college. The song also refers to the simplicity of just letting go and putting things out there. In reality it is that simple, but you cannot see things that way when you are a teen.

5) In art, it is essential to make sure that students are open and feel comfortable at all times to express themselves. This song has me thinking about the inner trouble students may be facing that they do no always want to share. It also has me thinking about my students in terms of finding their personal identity and feeling successful in staying true to themselves. I think that creating a unit plan or longer lesson around personal identity can be very beneficial to open students eyes to see themselves and to see their peers, or others in their community in a different light. Diversity is all around and it is such an important thing to identify with. Even just taking the time to bring attention to student development of self will get us started on the right track. If students feel like they cannot figure out who they are in their social relationships, then they will feel like they have a weak sense of self and that will get no one anywhere.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Unit 3: Chapter 3

1. Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual students learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study. Consider all dimensions of personal and social development, including cognitive, language, social, emotional, and moral development.

In the middle school case, Cherie is acting out and bullying her classmates. A few of her classmates have begun to follow their leader, and distrupt the calss as well. I believe that a lot of factors must be determined to understand her interruptions and need for attention druing class working time. Not only is Cherie being influenced by her envrionment, she may also be having touble outside the classroom or at home.

Cherie may be influenced by her classmates to proceed with interupting and may feel encouraged when they laugh along with her for tripping a fellow classmate. I believe that her motives must be looked explored. Their is a reason for her acting out and it is important for the teacher to investigate what the root cause is for her acting so poorly while class is going on. More so, students are being bullied and hurt in the process. It may be that Cherie has had little social encounters with others her own age outside of school. As an only child myself, it took me a long time to get used to being around others my own age. If Cherie has not grown up around other children her age, she may not know how to respond or  behave with her peers in the classroom setting. It may also be acceptable for Cherie to behave in this manner while at home. Parental guidence is essential when students come to school aware of how to act and behave. If her parent(s) allow her to do as she pleases at home, Cherie will think that this is also acceptable in school. Finally, I believe that her emotinal needs may not be met whether by the staff and faculty of the school or by her home situation. If Cherie is not getting what she needs emotionally from her home life or from the teachers in the school, she may be resulting to getting attention any way she can. This would explain her seeking attention from the teacher and class because she sees that it works. The best plan of action is to form a plan with the other teachers she has and make sure that everyone is implementing it in the same way so that Cherie has consistency and will eventually begin to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable.

2. Check out the Tables 3.1 (p. 75), 3.2 (p.83), and 3.3 (p. 91) with particular attention to the age ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite way that an educator can promote a child's sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning.

Be patient when students show exceptional self-conciousness; give them strategies for preseting themselves to others.

As a teacher, I plan to promote this often. Students should learn to be aware of themselves and those around them. I want students to learn to be proud of who they are and the work they create in my classroom. It is expected, especially on a middle school level, for students to be self-concious about themselves and their work, but I feel it is my job to promote their strengths during each class period. It is also very important that students learn how to present themselvest to others because when they are presenting to their peers, I want them to not only look calm, collected, and confident but feel these things a well. If I can promote an environment that will allow students to feel like they can always be themselves then they should be able to grow and learn without the presures of feeling self-concious. Hopefully I can get to know each of my students on a personal level and aid them in finding what works for them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Unit 3: Chapter 2

1. One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget's basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach.

The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-ages students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists' ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers?

With middle school students cognitive development will be somewhere on the same level but also all over the place at the same time as students are all individual thinkers and creating their own views and perceptions about the world around them. While most students should be at the Formal Operations Stage (p. 32) there are different levels at which students may be throughout this stage. At this stage students can think about concepts that have little or no basis in concrete reality (p. 32). Students recognize that what is logically different from what is true in the real world. They are not able to separate imagination from reality. I believe that Piaget and Vygotsky's theories are well applied to each other and they should not be looked at as one or the other, but rather together as a collaboration for better understanding students needs. Students appear to have greater diversity among their same-age peers, I agree with Vygotsky in that. Since students are at a higher stage of cognitive development they are all thinking differently about the same things. Taking the information that Piaget has said about the stages of development and then applying them to how Vykotsky views a relation between peers, will help teachers better teach students and know the cognitive levels they are on. This will allow us, teachers, to better group our students to learn from one another. So, while most students are doing A, B, and C. High achieving students will be able to do A, B, and C plus D. Low achieving students will be able to do only A and B, not only only A. Special needs student will be able to do some combination of A, B, and C or just one over the others. It is important that as the teacher, I am aware of these different levels. By grouping students together that are on different levels of learning within the Formal Operations Stage, they can work with each other to grow in their knowledge together and help each other see or understand something in a new way.

2. Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51). Paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.

 With middle school students (6-8 grade level) the suggested strategies include: assigned reading materials for new vocabulary, terminology used by experts, structured debates, consider underlying meanings of words, and explore nature of words and language. These strategies are all informative and helpful for students to learn the content they should know at their grade level.With the new common core, reading is becoming especially important for students to do in all content areas. It is, however, a little more challenging to accommodate for within the art education classroom. I can achieve this though through presenting my students with short articles or stories about works of art or artists that are influential to the lessons we are doing. First had experiences are essential to help students understand what they are learning in relation to the real world. This will bring in the terminology used by the art experts as well as readings that focus on other areas of our lessons which will incorporate other expert terminology for students to learn and apply in other classes. The structured debates are also an excellent idea, however, I will conduct them in the form of critiques. This way students are free to openly express their views about certain works or artists while other students bring up relative information that applies to the topic as well. In art critiques their is often much debate as people are for or against certain aspects of a work of art. This can be beneficial for the artist to see how they could further improve their creativity and process by understanding both sides of peoples' comments. These critiques are important to help students learn how to articulate themselves and receive positive feedback about their works. In art, your work is never truly private. There will be someone viewing it at some point, so the critiques, or rather debates, about what is working and what is not can really change or enhance the students intentions. Finally, the underlying meanings and exploration of nature of words and language will be useful for students to learn the context in which terms are being used so that they can apply the terms in other uses.