Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kahne&Westheimer: In Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning

“...ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country"
This quote is in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. It means that we should not only better ourselves, but better our environment and others around us as well. It connects to the service learning that we do every week for this class. In doing the service learning we are helping shape the minds of the youth of America. When we become teachers in America, we will be shaping the minds of children in our classrooms and giving them knowledge that they can use in their lives. Especially elementary school teachers because they are the first teachers than children are exposed to in the school system and create their foundation for their education and learning.

“… More attention has been focused on moving forward than on asking where we are headed”
Instead of looking at the big picture, teachers recently have been focusing on just getting their students through a lesson. In this state of mind students pick up a bad attitude towards learning and school. This is exactly what I want to try and avoid in my classroom. Retaining and applying knowledge is important, spitting back facts is not learning. The children need to know how to think analytically and ask important questions. This is what I am trying to do in my service learning. Just because a child knows what an answer is on a test does now mean that he/she retained the information. I try to use tricks and devices so the topic sticks in their brain. It shows that I am in this for the greater good, not just to get through it. I want both the students and myself to get as much out of this experience as possible, as well as my other community service opportunities.

“In contrast, much of the current discussion regarding service learning emphasizes charity, not change.”
There is a difference in answering phone calls for a CEO of a company and hands on working with children with learning disabilities. Both count as community service but one is much more meaningful than the other. They both count towards hours of service but there is a huge difference in the amount of effort and worldly change that is put into the projects. In high school I was part of the National Honor Society. This means I did not only need to reach my high school requirement of hours of community service but I needed an extra number of hours to stay in the society. I tried my hardest in high school as well as college to volunteer in many helpful situations rather than just to get it over with. I helped an elderly couple multiple times per week with errands and just talked to them and listened to their stories until their passing. I worked hands on with children of all ages. I taught fourth graders basic French, and I did some other projects that I feel actually contributed to bettering the world rather than getting coffee for someone who barely would know I exist. I believe the point of community service is to actually serve the community in a helpful way.

Point to bring up in class: What community service that you have completed opportunities changed you or moved you the most? Why do you think that is?
Image result for community service logo

Monday, March 2, 2015

Christensen: Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us Quotes

“If I want my students to wrestle with the social text of novels, news, or history books, they need the tools to critique media that encourage or legitimate social inequality” (127).
True death equals a generation living by rules and attitudes they never questioned and producing more children who do the same” (129).
These two quotes really stuck out to me and seemed to be about similar things. If people are not informed about this conditioning being done to children nothing can be done to stop it. Students should not just retain information, they should be able to question it and fight it if necessary. In order for the action to change, people need to feel strongly enough about it to change it. Personally, I would want my students to be able to fight for something they believe in, so it would be my job to not only teach them to do so but to give them to necessary tools to be able to analyze the text that they are given.

“We are not only taught certain styles of violence, the latest fashions, and sex roles by TV, movies, magazines, and comic strips: we are also taught how to succeed, how to love, how to buy, how to conquer, how we forget the past and suppress the future” (128).
This quote shows the affects that media can have on children at an early age. They are taught all of these aspects without even realizing it. Their parents think that they are just watching a movie but in reality they are getting more of an education on the world that they do in schools or at home with their families or friends. Children are taught these societal values and then act upon them without realizing where they come from. Some are harmful and some are good. I did an entire psychology presentation on dolls (specifically Barbie) and their effect children. The results were astounding. Mothers found notes in their daughters’ rooms on how they could keep thin and have the ideal Barbie image. A lot of what the children are learning is aspects of SCWAAMP. Straightness, Whiteness, and able-bodiedness, 

A not that a mother found in her seven year old daughter's bedroom next to her Barbie dream house
“I don't want students to believe that change can be bought at the mall, nor do I want them thinking that the pinnacle of a woman's life is an "I do" that supposedly leads them to a "happily ever after." I don't want my female students to see their "sisters" as competition (or that scarce and wonderful commodity _ men” (133).
In every fairy tale and Disney princess movie that I can think of, it’s about a girl getting a guy, even if it’s not the mail story line. Women are taught at a young age that they are to get married and have children. Even if they have a career and another life, it is expected that all women are to love children and want to start a family with their “only reason for existence”-her husband. Sisters in these tales never seem to get along-up until Frozen was released in 2013. There is no sibling competitions in this movie, but prior to that there was much rivalries between siblings-especially step siblings. The evil step mother is also a major role. It teaches children that if a parent was to remarry, their stepmother will be evil and horrible. There are many misconceptions about life in Disney films and fairy tales. I actually took the Grimm and Glitter first year seminar and we did a lot of comparing and contrasting with original Grimm tales and Disney's take on them. We also noticed all of the common themes within the tales. It was a great class to take.

Reading this I remembered that a Cinderella was made with primarily dark skinned characters and it was my absolute favorite movie when I was little and I remember thinking that something was different about it, but it never really "bothered" me and I didn't put too much thought into it,