Sunday, October 25, 2015

In the Service of What?

In the Service of what?
Charity vs Change
By Kahne and Westheimer

1.     "The curriculum theorists and education reformers wanted students to engage in service learning projects so that they would recognize that their academic abilities and collective commitments could help them respond to meaningful way to a variety of social concerns"

  In terms of charity versus change Kahne and Wertheimer make it clear here that they want to emphasize what makes service learning lean more towards "change" rather than charity. In this example the students are well informed about the people they are going to help. The students are given this information and then they are expecting to try to fix the situation at hand. This also presents a different approach to service learning. What they are promoting here is that in the class room there should be open and honest conversation about the experiences had during service learning. This is not only a way of helping the students handle situations they've experienced, the teacher is also helping the other students by giving them an opportunity to learn from other students experiences and make their own adjustments. This leads to more effective service learning and emphasizes the "learning" aspect of service learning.

2.     "Altruism can best be appreciated as an experience rather than an abstraction." 

  Boyer states that the objective of service learning is to be "altruistic." Simply put, being altruistic is the behavior of giving to another person at your own expense, Essentially being selfless. In Mr. Johnsons example he had his class volunteer their time at a veterans memorial center on Thanksgiving. This is a case of charity, the children are offering their time in order to help feed the homeless and getting nothing tangible in return. However they all see the personal benefit being the positive feeling of doing something good and being a good person.

3.    Many agree with sen. Kennedy, who writes that "democracy means.... the responsibility to give something back to America in return for all that it has give us."

   As American citizens it is our civic duty to give back to our communities. We are given so much that we take for granted. Our towns provide an education and recreational sports for our youth. The state lends a hand to people who do not have the means to support themselves, whether that means they get money to survive and stay off the streets or to help large families put enough food on the table to live a healthy life. We as citizens should feel the need to give more than just our tax money. We should know that our tax money a lot of the time comes right back to us in the form of roads, parks, and public services. So as a good citizen we should appreciate what we have and be willing to give back to the community whatever we can.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sexism and Gender Roles

Sexism and Gender Roles Depicted in the Media 
Unlearning Myths that Bind Us

   Although over the past 100 years the standards of beauty have changed one thing hasn't. Boys and girls are told at an early age that they are supposed to be beautiful in order to attain success. Christensen feels that Disney movies, cartoons, fairy tales, and romantic movies all make girls think that their objective in life is to find a man who is not only attractive but also makes a lot of money. In order find that man the girl must be beautiful. She is expected to be thin, have beautiful hair, nails, and teeth, she has to smell beautiful and wear pretty dresses. Girls also are expected to have nice jewelry. All of these things force a girl to be what she may not necessarily be and makes her have to become an avid consumer.
    These unfair expectations are also present for boys. Boys are expected to be strong, handsome, smart, masculine, as well as wealthy. Boys are taught to play with Tonka Trucks and just like how girls play with Barbies, boys play with action figures. Boys and girls are strongly influenced by the toys that they play with. Most children depict what they aspire to be through toys. Boys play with GI Joes and a lot of the time they want to look like a GI Joe or pretend they are in the military. Girls play with Barbies and dream of being as beautiful as Barbie.
    After children are done playing with toys they begin to be influenced by the media as they become adults. Teenage girls start reading Cosmo and see these beautifully photoshopped photos of celebrities with captions underneath them telling the reader that they too can be beautiful. The truth is that not everyone looks like Jenifer Aniston or Kim Kardashian. In fact, the pictures you see on the magazine covers are merely representations of the people they are portraying rather than real photos.
     Men start to try their best to emulate their idols as well. Boys often times will try to look just like their favorite football player, or maybe they want to look like their favorite body builder, or action movie hero, or their favorite actor. Boys will begin to have body dysmorphia issues just like women do but in a totally different way that is completely misunderstood. Men are expected to be confident, masculine, and strong both physically and mentally. However, not all men fit these norms. Not every man is going to be strong, not all men will be wealthy and they obviously aren't all smart. Yet we are not supposed to talk about our inadequacies because we are supposed to be mentally strong as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces
Making Schools and Communities 
  Welcoming to the LGBT Youth
By Gerry August

    In Gerry Augusts book Safe Spaces he talks about what LGBT students have to deal with daily in our school systems. Gerry concedes that our teachers should not only be accepting of LGBT students but teachers should also be advocates for LGBT students. By advocating for LGBT students to be incorporated into the classroom several key American crisis could be nearly eliminated. 
     Nearly 40% of Americas homeless population is composed of LGBT people. The large majority of them are homeless simply because they were rejected by society. Many families do not accept their children once they have come out and after these people are rejected many of them don't have anywhere they can go. My feeling is that if we were able to make these students feel accepted and incorporate gay history and literature into the classroom as well as have open discussions about homosexuality, the majority of  students who aren't homosexuals would feel more comfortable with the idea of homosexuality. 
    "Heterosexual students who have no LGBT friends or family also need positive LGBT representations if they are to have a full understanding of the human experience. And yet,  when asked if they were taught about LGBT people or history, less than 12% of LGBT students replied in the affirmative" 
    By introducing children to the reality that there are homosexuals in the world and that they are no different from heterosexuals in any way other than their sexual preference we could drastically reduce bullying. With a reduction in bullying the result could be a major drop off in youth suicide. As we are all aware, youth bullying, suicide, and homelessness are all prominent issues in our country right now.

    This week while doing my service learning at Alan Shaun Fienstien Elementary School in Providence Rhode Island, I took the time to look through the book shelf in my 5th grade class room. I was curious to see what the kids are reading these days and I was pleased to see that in a predominantly black school there was a plethora of books about black history and even some Latino history books. What August states is that along with those books about race there should also be books telling the history of LGBT. He states...
    "More than 12% of Seans bookshelf should be devoted to Latino experiences, more than 4% of African American experiences, and more than 10% to LGBT experiences. Imagine Seans Bookshelves bursting with books that chronicle the range of human experience- both mainstream and marginalized youth would benefit."                                                         -August
    August would probably say that this school is doing fairly well when it comes to catering to the average student in terms of reading materials for all races. However, August would be very disappointed in the fact that there still isn't any child friendly written material for the youth in that class room. By todays standards, chances are that in that class room right now, whether the children know it yet or not, there is at least one LGBT child present. That childs life would be much easier going forward if there were even just one book on the shelf just for them.