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Other Connections

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Nicole Lemme

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Other Connections

Connections: Delpit: Fned 346 Rodriguez: "Schools need to help students aquire tools to interpret the media and other cultural texts in order to recognize stereotypes and opression." Christensen: "When i first started this service learning project, I felt that it was more of a charity then it was for change. I felt bad for these kids at the start, like i had to do it, I had to go there. After a while with the kids, i noticed that i was in fact making a change. Some of my kids test scores went up and they were reading and understanding better, which made me feel like I'm actually making a change in these kids education process." Kahne and Westheimer: The End! :] "Teachers need to explicitly teach the rules and codes of power to students who may not learn those rules and cpdes at home." Alyssa: I was working on literacy with one of my groups and we were supposed to be reading a story. It was really hard to get all of the children to stay focused. One little boy in my group could not sit still and it was distracting the other children in my group. I thought it would be a good idea to go with Dr. Bogad's suggestion of letting the child stand up for the lesson and it worked, for about five minutes. Once he was up, he was wandering all over the classroom. As he was traveling in and out of the desks, I said "Is it time to run around the classroom?" The second he looked at me and replied "yes" I thought to myself, oh no Delpit. I did not realize what I had said until after it happened. I did not show this little boy the rules and codes of power. I asked him if it was time to do something and of course, in a six year olds mind, its time to do anything else but read. This example connects to Delpit wanting us to tell the children the rules and codes of power. Nicole I had noticed the teacher’s way of speaking to her class was different than what I'm used to. She raised her voice frequently and told each kid exactly what they needed to be doing at any given moment. I was always posed a question or alternative choices whereas these kids were not. I did notice though, if I had tried to give the boys a choice they were unsure of themselves and couldn’t completely answer so I tried Mrs. Conti’s way of speaking to the children and had no problems. I also realized that Mrs. Conti was from a different ethnic background than I. I think this is significant because I had mostly, if not all white teachers that would do as Delpit says, pose commands as questions. But in my first experience with a non-white teacher, Ms. Conti explicitly gave direction. "It is more important to embrace a "public identity" (English) even if it means sacrificing a "private identity." Alyssa Rodriguez suggests that we must sacrifice our private identity for our public identity. Unfortunately, I do see this every time I go into my classroom. I am not there everyday, but I have gone in on different days of the week and its all English all the time. I know that almost all of these children speak another language at home because it is an ESL classroom. However, when they come into school, its almost like they leave the Spanish language at the front door, which to me is really sad that they cannot pursue their own language. The previous example that I gave about the little girl saying a word in Spanish and getting really upset, just shows me that she is scared to show her private identity in school and that she feels it is wrong. Nicole On one of my final visits, the school was holding a Character parade, in which, they dressed up as characters from books and walked throughout the whole school to show off their costumes. I walked into my classroom to find my teacher scrambling to find costumes because some parents hadn't sent their kids in costume. I approached a little boy and asked him what he wanted to be, he said, "I want to be a princess, Ms. Nicole!" Surprised I said, "Okay, and what story is there a princess in? He said, "we read Cinderella!" I printed out a picture for him, and he walked through the halls as Cinderella. He broke cultural and social stereotypes. Nicole In completeing this project, our group decided we wanted to make a video. So we were invited into my service learning classroom to teach the children some Spanish. I started telling the kids about our project and asked how many speak a different language at home. I was shocked at how many little hands shot up in the air, at least half of the class of 30 raised their hands. I went around the rug and asked what languages they spoke, all said Spanish was their frisrt language. I related this to Rodriguez because over my nine weeks in this class, I would have never guessed half of the class spoke spanish. I only had one instance where a child incorporated his Spanish language into a lesson. This though, supports Rodriguez' theory that you have to give up your private identity to succeed in the public identity of the classroom. Greg: Charity
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.
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