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Transcript of Other Connections
Change Greg: I have caught both myself and the teacher saying, "is it time to be doing that? Is it time to be standing with scissors?" This connects to Delpit's, Rules and Codes of Power. Rich: Delpit says that teachers need to explicitly teach the rules and codes of power to students who might not learn those rules and codes at home. I believe my teacher is an ideal example of this. She has a set of rules and the code of power is, I am the teacher and all the power is mine. She has done this very well and her classroom is very stable in comparison to other out of control classes I have observed in passing. Her philosophy is that “structure creates less behavior issues”. She often tells me stories of other teachers and how they handle their classrooms. At first I thought that it was possibility that she was just talking herself up, but upon observation of the other teachers over the course of many recesses and strolls in the hallways I could see the difference between her classroom and the others. Due to her rules and codes of power through structuring, her classroom is by far the most stable and well behaved classroom I have seen. Especially considering that her children are in kindergarten. Rich: There is a little Spanish girl in my service learning classroom that in all honesty should not be there for multiple reasons. This child arrived in the kindergarten class halfway through the year and even worse, the child’s birthday barely makes the cut-off date for enrollment in kindergarten. I see this student struggle day in and day out, at first I assumed it was solely due to the fact that she started earlier than she should have. However, once I questioned my teacher about her I found out she was being hindered by yet another obstacle. The girl comes from a home where her parents only speak Spanish, and as a result only she can hardly speak English. I was told that when it comes to parent-teacher conferences with her parents a translator is needed in order for there to be any communication whatsoever. My heart breaks for this girl; I can only imagine what it must be like for her to come into school every day. She is barely old enough to be in kindergarten, only recently got out of diapers, and can only speak minimal English. How can it be expected of her to do anything but struggle? Recently I was doing a reading exercise with each of the students in my classroom on an individual level. Each student would come to my area and read 3 pages of sentences with a total of 3-4 sentences on each page. Each student would come and go with some struggling a little and others blowing through it like it was nothing. Then this little girl timidly walked up to me with a look of dread, however she was the only to say “Hi Mr. Rich”. I tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible by throwing a smile on my face and enthusiastically asking her how she was doing. She quietly responded “good” and then we began the exercise. The first sentence in the exercise began with “I”, and the poor thing just sat there and stared at it. I knew immediately that she did was not going to be able to do this exercise, so in order to save her feelings I modified the exercise. I pretended to scold myself and said “I’m sorry! I forgot that I was supposed to read the words first and you repeat after me!” I would read the word and she would try to repeat after me. I say “try” because even after me reading the words aloud, she was still struggling. Halfway through the second page I said “Okay good job! We’re all set you can go back to your seat now!” I stopped the exercise because I knew she was not gaining anything from it. This relates to Rodriguez because I would not be surprised if she feels exactly as he did in the quote above. I bet she hopes that everyone else spoke Spanish like her and I bet that she feels afraid. Luckily, after many arguments, her parents have agreed that she needs to repeat kindergarten next year. Megan: Richard Rodriguez discusses in his reading, “Aria,” how he felt uncomfortable speaking in class because of his poor English language. Rodriguez was not familiar with speaking English, and wished his teachers would have addressed him in Spanish to make him feel more comfortable in the classroom. Rodriguez’s parents were asked by school teachers to participate and practice English in their home to help with their children. This makes me think of my service learning in my bilingual classroom of kindergartners. The students I work with are fully bilingual, but sometimes feel more confident speaking their first language, Spanish. This is encouraged in the school system and classrooms, and the students are not going to be punished or ashamed for which language they choose to speak in. Though, they need their practice with English because most students are only speaking Spanish at home because of their parents. In Rodriguez’s article he was not able to be bilingual in his school because it consisted of people who only knew English. If my service learning classroom was only taught in Spanish then I would not be able to help my students since I only know English. Being able to speak both in the classroom benefits the students, and will help their parents at home understand why they are learning English.
Megan: Lisa Delpit’s “The Silenced Dialogue,” makes me think of how much diversity their is in different school systems, and how it is ignored. Delpit discusses different learning strategies to approach students with, but the diversity really grabbed my attention. Delpit shares stories of how white students do not want to learn from a teacher of color and vise versa. Also how white teachers feel like they are the better teachers, and colored teachers don’t know how to educate. Segregation has played a part on the way school systems were ran years ago, and still are today. I volunteer at a Lillian Feinstein Elementary School, that 97% of the students are Hispanic. Where I attended school it was the complete opposite, with around 97% of the students being White. Since their are not equal percentages of different races in many school systems, it is difficult for students to be around different people. This can affect learning styles and strategies. I volunteer and am the only white person in Ms. Rodriguez’s bilingual classroom. This doesn’t mean I don’t have power over the students, and they are aware that since I am an adult I can tell them what they should or should not be doing. The students know that the teachers are in charge of the classroom and that when they are told to do something, they are expected to do it.