Sunday, December 6, 2015

Promising Practices

    This years Promising Practices seminar took place in the Donovan Dining Hall on November 7th. The day started off with our keynote speaker, Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, she is the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. She spoke to us about some of the more important current health problems encountered in Rhode Island and how the integration of social work and public health is important when finding a solution to our current problems.
    After that we left the Donovan Center and went to our first seminar. We got to pick our own workshops and I had originally picked one that was about outdoor learning, however, that workshop was cancelled so I signed up for "An Integrated Behavioral Health Approach to Peer Recovery."
In this workshop we got to meet with Judith Fox. The peer recovery program is an up and coming program hat is meant for people have recovered or overcame lives of drug use, suicide, depression, anxiety, and many other behavioral health dilemmas. This program provides the opportunity for recovered addicts and suicide survivors to get jobs helping people struggling with similar issues. These people then become mentors and life coaches and help guide people with similar issues to success and help them overcome their adversity.
    My second workshop was in Craig Lee, "Advancing Health at the City Level" was taught by Azade Perin and Peter Asen. In this workshop the speakers took turns explaining what they do and how they have helped the city of Providence. The main things that they talked about were the gardens that they have been building in the poorer sections of Providence. In this program they find a way to get abandoned properties taken over by the state to be knocked down and replaced by community gardens. In these gardens the people of the community can grow whatever fruits and vegetables they like, some of the crop is then taken and given to a meal program that is set up at local parks. These meal programs provide lunch and snacks to children who don't have enough food to eat. The rest of the crops produced in the gardens are for local consumption and can help the people living in the community. It sounded like a great program that seems to be helping a ton of people. 
    After the workshops we broke for lunch. Lunch was surprisingly good, I even went up for seconds. After lunch they had a discussion panel. There were high ranking people from several local colleges, universities and departments of health in Rhode Island. They ran a panel discussion that felt like it was way over my head. I noticed pretty much every student left and the only people remaining were professionals or students who had to help wit setting up Promising Practices. I stuck around for a while and left a little bit early. 
    Overall I would say that Promising Practices was a positive experience that I plan on attending next year as well. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Shor- Empowering Education

Empowering Education

    Meier 1990, "You must arouse children curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important o begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school. Why does the government force us to go to school? This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough, at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers."

    Why didn't our teachers take this approach? Is it because I went through a working class school system? This quote made me think. As a high school student and even early on in college I found myself wondering why I am learning the information I am being taught? What is memorizing the periodic table really doing for me?
    All of my questions could have been answered on the first day, maybe I would have applied myself more, maybe I would have taken my schooling more seriously if I had an idea of how I was going to apply the information learned in the class to the rest of my life.
    I love the idea of a teacher empowering their students to take charge of their education.

"Education tries to teach them the shape of knowledge and current society, the meaning of past events, the possibilities of the future, and their place in the world they live."

    Ira Shor states clearly here that teachers are responsible for the way we think, the way we feel, the way we view certain topics and the way we digest certain events. As a teacher we have great power, we have the power to make people believe, we have the power to make people listen, and we have the ability to shape the minds of the youth of our nation. However, a lot of teachers don't use this power, instead they preach the same old song about how Christopher Columbus was a great man and how the Americans were friends with the Indians when we came to this country.

"Education is more than facts and skills. It is a socializing experience that helps make the people who make society."

The education experience should not be a series of memorization and testing. Schools today are too focused on meeting the state standards for education and not concerned about whether or not the students are actually learning. The value of a high school diploma has been lessened every year and I feel that it is because the education being given is getting worse every year. The average school now works out of a text book, students are given the same worksheets from one year to the next, and the tests never change. Creativity is lacking and it is effecting the people in our community. The finished product, a high school graduate does not carry the same value that it used to. Students graduate not knowing how to write a check or mail a bill properly. Students need to be measured on the skills that will help them succeed in life, not just get through the local school system

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Kliewer- Citizenship in School

"Citizenship in School"

    Children in the special education program deal with segregation every day. In a way I can see why, These children have specific needs and some of them can be very disruptive to the classroom. However, having special education students integrated into certain classes can be beneficial to everyone. 
    I grew up in Warwick and we had an Special Education Integration Program. I remember in 5th grade there was a boy named Chris who was introduced to our class. He had several limitations but I am pretty sure his major limitation was Cerebral Palsy. He wore a helmet and had canes, he was a really sweet kid. Our teachers also did a really great job introducing him to our class, we were too young to understand what he had going on but our teachers made it very clear that it was important
that he was accepted into our class and that we included him. 
  Chris was  not always involved in our class but he was there through parts of the day. He always went to science, art and sat in on our social studies classes. Sadly I am not sure what happened to him after 6th grade, he may have moved or maybe he was kept in a separate part of the middle school. 
  The sad thing is that after elementary school I never had a single special needs student in my class again. From then on my experience was that the special needs kids were kept in the basement with the behavioral kids. It seems as if after elementary school these children were pushed away. Maybe it's because I changed school departments but based on my research Cumberland has a better school system than Warwick. I would assume that their Special education department would be advanced because of this. 
    Cumberland had a horrible integration program, in fact I don't believe they followed an integration program at all. We had one Autistic kid in our class, but he had Aspergers and was brilliant. He was the smartest kid in every single one of our classes.
    Cumberland literally kept the entire Special Education Department in the basement behind the locker rooms for the football team. The only other class room down there was the Health room. The students had their own entrance, they had their own lunch time, and we honestly only knew they were in the school because they finished lunch when we arrived for first lunch.
   I could on about this topic forever, but the fact of the matter is that we need to make a better effort to get these children involved in our school. A school should be like a small community, we are all neighbors, we all know each other, and we help each other out. No child should ever be left behind and thats not limited to race or economic status. Students have the right to go to school and receive the best education the school can provide.