Saturday, February 22, 2014

Safe Spaces Quotes

I found this week’s reading to be very thought provoking. I realized there was a balance between how much I would agree with one statement but then challenge the following statement. For this post I’ve decided to explain some quotes or phrases that stuck out to me. It was very difficult for me to narrow it down to three quotes because I found about ten that I could have rambled on about, but the following three are important nonetheless.  

Quote 1 : “LGBT students need advocacy and protection, not neutrality.” (pg. 84)
        When I first read this, I stopped to think about how I felt. The very first thing that popped into my head was the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” slogan. I’m not sure why I thought of this, and to be quite honest I’m not sure how to connect the two as of yet, but hopefully we can discuss this further in class. Anyway, at first I felt like the word “protection” implied that being a part of the LGBT community was dangerous and that if anyone were to know this about you, that you needed to be afraid of their retaliation. I also thought that without neutrality, the “issue” of LGBT communities would be shoved down everyone’s throat, almost exploiting I continued to read the chapter, however, I realized that advocacy and understanding are necessary for people who suffer this bias, in order to hinder the negative responses they too often receive.

Quote 2 : “They simply follow the paths of least resistance. They put one foot in front of the other…without critically examining the journey.” (pg. 84)
        This quote is referring to how teachers deal with situations regarding LGBT youth. It is sad to see that teachers try to take the easy way out when faced with such a controversial issue, but it is also somewhat understandable; sort of a fight or flight response. Teachers need to consider not only how a student will react to the happenings within the classroom, but also what happens when they leave. Parents and other administration keep a close eye on teachers, so they are forced to tread carefully when reacting to a situation, be it positive or negative. When it comes to the LGBT community, many teachers, unfortunately, do not have all of the necessary tools to properly handle unsavory incidents, so they just throw their hands up. Later on in the reading we come across of examples of how teachers dealt with these situations differently. I appreciated how we could see the difference between a positive “solution”, i.e. asking a child if they knew what “gay” really meant and if it fit appropriately (and academically, for that matter) into the conversation, as well as a plan that was faced with opposition, like the boy being sent to the principal for telling a classmate that he had two moms. It is apparent that there are effective ways to have “teachable moments” with controversial topics, but the struggle is figuring out when those moments occur and seizing them before it’s too late.  

Quote 3 : “Even teachers who describe themselves as social justice advocates fail to challenge homophobic or transphobic language and images in many early childhood settings.” (pg. 86)
        Again, I had mixed feelings after reading this statement. My initial reaction was that children in early childhood settings were too young to really grasp the concept of LGBT students and that they would not be able to understand the teacher, should they attempt to breech the topic. As I continued to read, however, I realized that an early introduction to any topic is never really a bad thing, as long as the topic is appropriate and relevant, of course- you wouldn’t try to teach a kindergartener your stance on gun control laws necessarily. The topic of LGBT youth is relevant though, as it is infiltrating classrooms, books, television shows, and public spaces around the world.

Our job as teachers is to devise a plan in which a student of any age can understand and appreciate – whether they personally agree or not – the hardships endured by the youth (and adults for that matter) who live a different lifestyle from their own.

“Like paths of resistance, the roads to safe spaces are made by walking. What will be your next step?” (pg. 99)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez Argument

       Richard Rodriguez argues that individualization is vital in a child’s life and upbringing, and that there needs to be a connection between private and public individuality. In his passage he does not explain this directly, but his overall message is one of finding an identity in the world.


            Rodriguez explained how his life was as a child when he spoke mostly Spanish in and out of the home, and how different and somewhat difficult it was for him in school to be communicative and expressive with the nuns and classmates who only spoke English. He was quiet in public but more vocal at home. This was because of the bond he had with his family. They were all experiencing the same disconnect with the world in which they lived, and could relate and sympathize with each other.
He talked about the ironic silence he heard when others would speak to him, which instantly reminded me of the “Silent Dialogue”. Rodriguez felt inferior when others would speak with him because he was not “at their level” for lack of a better phrase. He was not the one with the power, unless he was at home -- a comforting environment where he did not feel as though he was being judged or tested when trying to give a response.
Rodriguez continues to show the transition he experienced after he was told to speak English more often at home, for more practice. He began to notice that the tables were turning, and he was more willing to communicate outside the home because he was more confident with his abilities. As he grew as a person in society—developing a sense of public individuality—he lost a bit of his private individuality with his loved ones. His home life became literally quieter, as his father seldom spoke. This change was due to his bilingualism, which is not necessarily a bad thing.                                           

In schools today, bilingualism is encouraged for both the staff and students. It is more accepted than it used to be, probably because it has been recognized as a tool for better communication and learning (obviously!!). When Rodriguez only knew a few phrases of English, he was not as acclimated with society, and that can take a toll on a child who is trying to grow with his peers and be accepted into an unknown world. Had he not become bilingual, who knows how his story would have played out? It is clear to anyone who reads “Aria” that Rodriguez is well educated, but it is upsetting to think that maybe his abilities would not have been completely recognized or appreciated, had they been conveyed in his native language…

Here's a little info about why bilingualism is a positive thing !