Sunday, February 24, 2013

Powerful Piece- REFLECTION

        This blog post is based on readings from Safe Spaces by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy. Have you ever felt discriminated against for a characteristic that you have no control over? No, I am not speaking about one’s race. I am referring to a person’s sexual preference. While LGBT organizations around the world are places where men and women can embrace their sexuality comfortably, society as a whole gives these men and women a very tough time. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are constantly being discriminated against for something they cannot control. Because some people are only comfortable with relationships that consist of a man and woman, any other combination appears as a sin that these men and women should be ashamed of. Although I am not a member of the LGBT community, I was very touched by this text.
             The quote, “Assumptions that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual shape most classroom interactions, whether academic or social” (84) is very powerful and unfortunately true. Thinking of an elementary school classroom, many projects and assignments were based on our mommies and daddies. If someone had two moms or two dads, they were forced to feel like their situation was wrong and didn’t belong. This quote also applies to older students such as those in high school. One of the most common questions a teenage girl is asked is “do you have a boyfriend?” Because this is society’s “norm”, the question of is she has a girlfriend will most likely never come up and therefore causes that girl to feel guilty for her sexual preference.
            While reading this text, I became aware of the daily struggles LGBT youth face every day. I could not imagine living in a world where what I felt was right in my heart caused me to be viewed as a disgrace to society. I also found it difficult to fathom feeling this way in school. If there is any place that you should feel comfortable enough to display who you truly are, it is in the classroom. Teenage years are difficult enough, never mind if those years are filled with confusion and shame for your sexuality.
POINTS TO SHARE: The quote, “One reason educators take the path of least resistance is their fear of negative repercussions from parents or administrators” (91) really stood out while I read this text. I feel that students should be exposed to LGBT formally in classrooms. I feel this way because they are already being exposed to this community every day whether they know it or not. If teachers and administrators attempt to shelter children from LGBT, that does not mean that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people do not exist. Although some parents may react negatively, it is crucial for students to recognize LGBT youth because they are not outcasts and do not deserve to be treated that way. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Interesting Read- HYPERLINKS

      For this blog, I read “Teaching Multilingual Children” by Virginia Collier. This blog assignment gave us two different options to speak about and I chose this one because it closely relates to situations close to me. Having just begun my Service Learning Project, I am currently exposed to some children who speak languages other than English. Although the two students I work mainly with speak English, some parents of students in the class do not. I am lucky that there is no language barrier between the students I am tutoring and myself. However, many teachers are forced to deal with this struggle on a daily basis, making their job even more difficult. In this reading, Collier discusses the different guidelines for teaching a multilingual child and why those guidelines are important. 
     Teaching multilingual children is not just a struggle the teachers in Collier's reading deal with. Teachers around the world are forced to teach a different way to these students. This site displays easy and fun ways to help a bilingual or multilingual child learn to read and write in more than one language. This can be a real challenge and may cause the child to be confused and mix up the different languages. Another helpful tool is a video I came across. The woman in this video is a bilingual speech therapist who focuses on teaching children multiple languages at home. She discusses key aspects to successfully teaching another language. I believe Collier would appreciate this video because they focus on similar rules such as Collier's third guideline. This states "Don't teach a second language in any way that challenges or seeks climate the first language" (227).
     Virginia Collier raises many important issues in this reading that are on the more professional side of this issue. In my research, I found other scholarly articles that do the same. For instance, the article "Effective Teaching Strategies for Middle School Learners in Multicultural, Multilingual Classrooms" by Barbara N. Allison and Marsha L. Rehm. This article along with Collier's text discuss ways to go about teaching multilingual children. Allison and Rehm's article focuses more on teaching this on the middle school level.

QUESTION: As I said earlier, I am lucky enough not to deal with this issue personally. For this blog, I would like to ask my classmates if any of them have to teach a bilingual child. If so, what is the most difficult part? Are the students able to communicate clearly? I would absolutely love some feedback on teaching multilingual children.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Started service learning today

Started service learning today. It went so well! I'm in a class of kindergarteners and I had such an amazing first day! I was there for 2 hours and wanted to stay even longer. The kids were so well behaved and respectful even though a classroom of 25 kindergarteners can get pretty hectic at times. I worked mostly with 2 children but helped others too. I had a few "teacher moments" where I got so excited when students would finally understand something. Witnessing the lights turn on in their brains and knowing I helped them to really understand what they were learning made me feel awesome!!!!!! I wish they didn't have vacation next week because I can't wait to go back!
Xoxo Kerri

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


In my last post I simply posted "QUESTION: (Directed toward white students) Have any of you ever felt discriminated against?". I would like to explain why I chose to ask this question. I am very fortunate to have lived a life where I have never felt discriminated against. I am curious to know if that is simply due to my skin color. I wonder if race or where you are from play into who is discriminated against. McIntosh and Delpit both delve into discrimination and hearing a real-world example from a fellow classmate would be very helpful.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Really Enjoyed This- QUOTES

For this post, I read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh. I was unsure which reading to blog about until I read the first line of McIntosh’s piece. She says, “Through work to bring materials from women’s studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men’s unwillingness to grant that they are over privileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged” (1). This quote spoke volumes to me because I am not black, therefore I do not understand how it feels to be discriminated against due to my skin color. However, I can relate to this statement which states that men are held to higher standards than women. This quote says that some men view women as both over privileged and disadvantaged which is a contradictory statement. Yet I do agree with that statement because as women we can fall into both categories.
                The next quote that caught my attention is in the section Earned strength, unearned power. McIntosh writes, “Privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate” (4). This quote spoke volumes to me and is one of the most crucial points McIntosh makes in this reading. It is true that privilege can look like strength due to the fact that one essentially “earns” what they achieve. However privilege and strength are not the same things. Privilege is something you are born with while strength is something you work hard and fight for. The part of the quote where McIntosh says it is permission to escape or to dominate represents that those who are privileged are faced with a choice. They may either pretend that the issue of racism does not exist or they may stand up for what is right. Either way, this privileged choice is not a sign of strength.
                Finally, McIntosh says that, “Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see ‘whiteness’ as a racial identity” (5). This is a very powerful quote because it is unfortunately true and sums up the entire reading. McIntosh brings to light the fact that “racism” is mostly interpreted as discrimination against black people and those who are white can never be affected. Although white people are not of color, they are still a race and still vulnerable (although less common) to be discriminated against. It is important to keep this quote in mind because if Americans do not realize “whiteness” is a racial identity, the world will be an ignorant place. 
QUESTION: (Directed toward white students) Have any of you ever felt discriminated against?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hi! My name is Kerri Johnson and I'm a freshman at Rhode Island College. I'm 18 years old and majoring in Early Childhood Education. I'm very family oriented and I love spending quality time with my family, friends, and two dogs. I love sports and have played softball my entire life. I've never blogged before so this is a totally new thing for me so be patient with my posts! I'm looking forward to blogging with everyone!
xoxo Kerri