Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teaching Multilingual Children (Extended Comments)

            Virginia Collier has written an article on “Teaching Multilingual Children”. The article was based around how we look at multilingual children in the country and how we handle teaching English as a second language. A fellow classmate of mine Hayley Dias has recently wrote a small piece reviewing the article by Collier and putting in her own personal experiences as well as additional information given by Collier. Hayley first addresses upcoming events for our class, where we will be attending a local school they more than likely will have a few ESL students and how it relates to Collier’s article. She also references how coming from a Portuguese heritage and speaking a second language herself she has a way to relate to the young children who also speak two languages.  What was terrific about how she began her article was how being bilingual has helped her and how she is extremely happy to be able to speak a second language. It was also really nice to see how she wanted to use her own life experiences with two languages to encourage the students to learn to really love their own. I think this will be a huge benefit to both her and the kids that she will get to work with in the classrooms.

            As Hayley gets more into what Collier was talking about in her article she mentions a few quotes that she personally liked. She quotes on that I also really thought was interesting which was “Children acquiring a second language will self-correct their own utterances over time as they progress though the various stages of life.” (128)(Collier 224) I thought this was a huge quote that not lot of teachers or people think about when they are seeing children trying to learn a second language. As children we grow up making mistakes in how we speak all the team and as we get older we start to realize that we are saying things improperly and correct ourselves. I do not think that people give that luxury to people that are learning a second language, if the second language they are learning is the primary language of the area.  
            The other point that Hayley brought up that I really liked was her last one on Language recognition in the classroom.  I agree with Hayley and how working to teach students in standard form of English, and the student’s home language can help them to feel more comfortable with themselves and the material. Collier says “The student, because of conscious or unconscious emotional or social factors that keep him or her from taking in maximum input at that time, may miss other input.”(Collier 225) Meaning, that if children are self-conscious and are embarrassed or afraid of looking silly in front of the others around them it will cause them to not grasp the things that they are being taught. Because of this struggle, they will then fall behind even more because the things they have failed to learn the first time around may be vital to learning the next stages in what is being taught. Now, instead of being one step behind from the start they are two. This will eventually lead to failing further and further behind till it is at a point where the child is being looked at as having a problem in the particular area.  This is particularly true with ESL students that will need these skills to pass standardized testing.

            One thing that Hayley did not talk about that I wanted to just add in was that there are some people who think that we should (as Collier put it) “Eradicate” dialects that are not the “standard”. This method as Collier note is actually one of the worst in not the worst things that we could do for young children growing up. It has been proven that by nurturing the child and all language or dialects the second language will come to be much stronger much faster. Sadly studies have shown that ESL or ELL students are still behind.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

White Privilege Hyperlinks

        Peggy McIntosh wrote an article "White Privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" that dove into how our country has a way to overlooking privileges that might not be directly thrown in our faces. Her article while have a terrific point in my opinion was extremely repetitive during the paragraphs that she was setting up to list her privileges. She basically just kept repeating that white privilege is something that we do not see if we are white, and that we take for granted the things that others might not. Her examples and her point however are none the less great, I just wished she would take out some of the filler and just cut to it. With that said white privilege is something that most white Americans do not like to talk about and if they do they tend not to admit too much which perpetuates the cycle of nothing being changed to stop it.
          In our society it is easy for white Americans growing up to not realize the struggles of others in our country. Everything that we see around us as McIntosh points out reflex what we thing is the “norm”. Every magazine we pick up, every add on television or even the shows themselves, all have white people as the majority cast members or front cover headlines. I do not think McIntosh or anyone else for that matter would make the claim that every single show or magazine is this way however, the vast majority of them are.
This is a popular television series from 2001-2010 called “Scrubs”. The show would air multiple times a day and would primarily feature this core group of actors and actresses. “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, just as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.”(McIntosh 4) What McIntosh is trying to say in her article, that relates here is that while we grow up watching shows like this, it never crosses the minds of young white Americans that there are only two main character that are not white. So to the white views this is just the “norm”, but in this case to young African American or Hispanic views, they have the one person in the show that looks like them. This is a perfect example of how Americans experience the “Invisible white privilege”.
          The in this case you can also take a look into the fact that shows will throw in the “token” black character. In fact one of the most ruthless shows on television even tries to show us this through a comical point of view. This is South Park, one of the most popular animated shows ever created. They make a living off of ripping into cultural issues of all kinds. In this case they literally name the one black child in the town Token. 
           Another issue that McIntosh brings up in her list is how white privilege also affects things in the justice system. While many do not wish this to be the case our justice system is flawed in major ways. "If a traffic cop pulls me over or the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my face."(McIntosh example 25) Every day we have police pull people over simply for looking different in areas that they personally think those people have no reason to be in. They do not stop to think that maybe they just moved in, or maybe they are visiting friends, or maybe they are just cutting through. They do it because they think it is helping others when really it’s just white privilege kicking in again. They aren't getting pulled over for any other reason than the color of their skin not fitting the "norm" of the area. In 2011 a study was done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that showed black drivers where pulled over at a higher rate than white or Hispanic drivers.
          Finally in one recent event a Brock Turner a student attending Stanford University raped a young woman behind a dumpster in an alley while she was unconscious. He was caught in the act by two other men walking by and when approached by the men Brock fled. After being caught and brought to trial Brock basically got off completely for his actions. The issue this brought and why it relates to McIntosh's article is that Brock received a lesser sentence then most convicted rapists. Most rapists receive years of jail time instead Brock received months. I'm not trying to say that the same judge would have rendered a different verdict if Brock were not white for sure, but statistically with eye witness testimony there should have been a higher conviction.
         With everything that McIntosh is telling us we really need to make a better effort to acknowledge white privilege in order to top if from continuing in the future. Then as generations go by with no changes that just more and more of a barrier to overcome. We need to change the way we advertise, the things that are presented on all channels of television, the way we run our justice system, and the way we raise our kids.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nicholas Kristof's "Land of Limitations?"

   Nicholas Kristof brings an insight and perspective to how poverty in America has become a vicious part of our society. Though his article he addressed how huge numbers of Americans are unable to grow and become successful in today's society, not because they are lazy or dumb, but because they were born into a lower economic class that is unable to provide them with the resources to excel. He centralizes his thoughts around how the country has diverged from what I was founded on which was the dream of being able to make your own path and has turned into the very thing that our fore fathers where trying to escape, which was having huge gaps between classes that were nearly impossible to break out of. His point was that the way our economy is set up today, it is designed to keep the rich people at the top and the poor people at the bottom no matter what their person intelligence or strengths. Now he also made it very clear that this is not to say no one has ever been able to get rich growing up in low economic areas or that someone who is rich could become poor one day. He is simply stating that the likelihood of that happen has become smaller and smaller as years have passed. Kristof used a home town friend to illustrate this point that he was making. He uses his friend to really bring a few key problems to our attention.
          The three things really stuck out to me able Kristof's friend Ricks story. The first was that Rick was a smart young man whose parents left him early on forced to basically grow up with little help from family. This lack of parenting and guidance can cause long term effects on children. I personally have a few close friends whose parents did not play a role in their lives. I can see on many occasions that they are smart and hardworking individuals but for some reason lack the social skills to get ahead in life. For some reason they always seem to fall short even though in many areas of life they are smarter than a lot of friends that have graduated from College. This is a perfect example of what was being talked about when Kristof was mentioning things that some people have access to that others do not. "77 percent of adults in the top 25 percent of incomes earn a B.A. by age 24. Only 9 percent of those in the bottom 25 percent do so."(Nicholas Kristof, U.S.A., Land of Limitations" 16) Even though the will to learn and work hard is there the fact that College was not on the radar for these friends meant that they more than likely will not succeed as well as the friends that did go to College.
          The Second thing that really stood out when Kristof made it clear, "Remember that disadvantage is less about income than environment."(Kristof, 21) This is huge because most people are thinking about how wealthy someone is rather than what their upbringing might be like. Having a happy, healthy, nurturing upbringing will help to increase the likelihood that a person will succeed. Also this touches on the type of home or neighborhood that a child grows up in. How children from better neighborhoods are able to attain more because they are provided with more.
          Finally bringing me to the point that I felt is most important for us heading into a teaching profession. Kristof mentioned an event that happened with Rick; "IN the eighth grade, the principle punished Rick for skipping school, by suspending him for six months."(Kristof, 11) He has previously said that Rick also struggled with an attention disorder. This issue is all too common in schools today. Students with un-diagnosed  or misdiagnosed disorders not being given the attention that they need in order to succeed in the classrooms so the act out and just get punished rather than helped. When children act out there is usually a reason behind it. In this case Rick did not want to be in school, possibly because he did not have the correct guidance at home to keep him there. His way of acting out was skipping school and rather than finding a way to help Rick and keep him in school the principle did possible the worst possible thing by suspending him for a HUGE period of time. We need to work hard as future educators to not only teach other classes but help students like Rick who could have had a better future with a little more attention.

A little about me

I'll start my blog by telling everyone a little bit about who I am. I was born and raised in Rhode Island and would not want to live anywhere else. While Rhode Island is a great place to live, I love to travel the world and explore new things to make sure I am able to see and experience as much as possible in the time I have here. This was from my past summer when my friends and I went out to Lake Powell UT and stayed four days under the stars before heading to Las Vegas.

 I also live for sports especially snowboarding football and soccer. Snowboarding is was a live to do. Winter time is by far my favorite time of the year with the snow, colder weather, and just fun that comes with it. This trip was up at Okemo Mountain in VT by far one of the greatest mountains in New England for riding.
All in all I feel like I'm just a regular guy who has had the fortune of being able to travel and pick up some hobbies that have really made life great. looking forward to traveling more this upcoming year and possibly flying out to snowboard in Colorado finally.