Monday, May 11, 2009
Through my experiences in this course, I have realized that this mentality not only affects how children act in an educational setting but also how the educators interact. We cannot simply point fingers and state that a certain educator is not doing their job because we do not know the complete details or the “behind the scene” information. There are many educators who are treated in such a disrespectful manner by their authorities and then turn into the “I don’t care” professor who does not want anything to do with the children in the classroom. These educators are belittled at meetings or ignored when they have opinions on ways to improve the system. I have learned to view the educational as a full spectrum and not just through an ignorant and biased view point. I now believe that I will be a more efficient and successful educator because of my new definition of the purpose of public education in a democracy.
I believe that I stood up to the challenges of reading, understanding, and analyzing all of the material that was presented throughout the semester. Some of the readings were very intense but I felt a type of reward when I went to class and learned deeper knowledge from the information in the readings that I attained. The time spent at Arts High School was also a great eye opening experience. This was my first time student teaching and I was able to see the entire spectrum of the educational system (i.e., administration, student/teacher interaction, lesson plans). The inquiry project was a great jump-start for future projects that I was planning on working on. My plan (which has actually already begun) is to create a non-profit organization that will bring Arts programs to the children of Jersey City while at the same time building their character and exposing them to a more positive lifestyle and new visions of life. I was motivated by this class because it made me realize the different point-of-view’s that there are for each and every topic. I also learned to be a more justice-oriented citizen and get up and active in my community. Overall, I believe that I have a stronger character because of this class and am glad that I took it very seriously.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
* What programs are available, in your city, to help you out with an array of problems (i.e., financial, relationship, educational)? What organization can you turn to when you feel that you are at the end of your line? When you sit down and think about these questions, you realize that the answers to these questions are very difficult to find. Not all cities proudly promote the services that are available to support everyone in their community. Through my research and interviews, I have realized that community-based organizations have strong ties with the communities and actually support the individuals by giving them assistance and teaching them various skills needed to be successful in the future. For instance, there are various programs which take an active role in changing things that are negatively affecting the community; community based participatory research (CBPR) “involves the systematic inquiry, with the participation of those affected by the issue being studied, for the purposes of education and taking action or effecting social change” (Victoria Breckwich Vasquez, 2006).
* After-school programs are defined as safe, structured activities that convene regularly in the hours after school and offer activities to help children learn new skills, and develop into responsible adults. It has been stated that approximately “6 million of the 54 million K-8 children in the United States participate in after-school programs that are school based or community sponsored” (Kanter, 2001). In general, that leaves a large percentage of the children between the ages of 5 and 14 without any type of support or supervision. These programs can assist children in many areas of life that go far beyond the inner sanctuary of the school building because “child and youth development is influenced not only by families and school, but by an endless variety of community organizations” (Paul W. Speer, 2002).
* There are also programs available where students are given a formal education similar to the education that is taught in schools. The only difference is that the program actually gets the children involved in their surrounding communities while ensuring that they learn a particular lesson at the same time. These types of programs use a method called experiential learning to ensure that the children understand the message and lesson that is being presented to them. Experiential learning is known as “an approach to learning that encompasses service-learning and is a term used to describe learning undertaken by students who are given a chance to acquire and apply knowledge and skills in an immediate and relevant setting” (Suzanne B. Cashman, 2008). This is a great form of education because the students get a hands-on approach to the lesson they are learning and are able to see its true effects on their own community.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
“What community-based programs are available to educate the surrounding community?”What programs are available, in your city, to help you out with an array of problems (i.e., financial, relationship, educational)? What organization can you turn to when you feel that you are at the end of your line? When you sit down and think about these questions, you realize that the answers to these questions are very difficult to find. Not all cities proudly promote the services that are available to support everyone in their community. Through my research and interviews, I have realized that community-based organizations have strong ties with the communities and actually support the individuals by giving them assistance and teaching them various skills needed to be successful in the future. For instance, there are various programs which take an active role in changing things that are negatively affecting the community; community based participatory research (CBPR) “involves the systematic inquiry, with the participation of those affected by the issue being studied, for the purposes of education and taking action or effecting social change”
Friday, April 10, 2009
The community service that was performed at Arts High really gave me some personal information regarding the various different functions that occur within the different areas of the High School. I began my community service by organizing the files of various students in the guidance office. I was organizing the files by the year that the student took the HSPA exam. As I skimmed through some of the files, I saw that some of the students had to take the exam more than once in order to pass it. I personally do not believe that these standardized tests are pertinent information as it pertains to the future success of the students; but it was interesting to get a first hand glance of these scores. The next day I helped Mr. Waldron (Athletic Director for Arts) by being a referee in the Junior/Senior Basketball Tournament that took place in the gymnasium. This was a great experience because I was able to witness how the students interacted with each other and the administrators. You were able to see the different types of students and the groups that they were a part of. For instance, there was the group of arrogant students who acted like they knew it all; or the dance major students who did not participate in the game but were cheering everyone else on. I loved this experience because I was able to interact with actual students and realized that I can control them if they get out of hand. This is mainly because I can relate with their experiences and this allowed me to get some sort of respect from them. It was very interesting to see that Mr. Waldron was able to run such a great tournament and control the large number of students with only one other member of the Arts High faculty helping him.
As for the meetings, it was interesting to view the different aspects that go into running a Department within a High School. The only problem with the Department Meeting that I attended was that there is not a Department Chairperson available at this point in time. For the time being, there is an Interim Chairperson overseeing the Physical Education department. As an unbiased observer, it seemed that there were many points of conflict within the Department and that there was some restructuring and organizing going on. It was great to see a different perspective of the teaching experience because I was able to see how many different activities (i.e., grading, scheduling, and collaborating) a teacher has to take part in. This proved that teacher’s job does not end when the bell rings because there is more to teaching then lesson plans and administering tests. The final meeting that I attended was a meeting of the Athletic Department. I enjoyed attending this meeting because I would like to become a coach in the future. This meeting helped me realize that sports and academics go hand in hand. There have been many changes that make this possible and I viewed it first hand at Arts High. A student did not want to participate in gym class and because of this he was unable to participate in the School’s baseball game that was taking place after school. These meetings gave me different perspectives from both sides of the school (athletics and academics) and I am very thankful and appreciative for it.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
This topic touched close to home because I am from an urban community and am currently working with a community-based organization that had various programs to keep the young adults of the area focused on going to college and making something out of their lives. I will use various forms of data to come up with a conclusion and somewhat definitive answer to the question I have posed. One form of data would be my past experiences with this and various other community-based organizations that I was a part of as a child. Another form of data would be all of the journal articles that I have through Google Scholar and the JTSOR database. These articles give me actual data from tests that have been performed to find the impact of the programs created by community-based organizations. Most of them show the positive influences that are give by the programs. I will also use my current job with a community-based organization to provide more facts and information into the business and political processes that have to occur in order to create and get funding for a successful program. Finally, I will try to get in contact with administrators and city officials from Newark to find out which programs are currently offerred in the area that are on the future success of the young adults of Newark. Some of the questions may be: How does the government help the community-based organizations fund these programs? Do you believe that these programs are successful? If not, what would you do differently to improve it? In the end, I believe that the information attained from this project will help me get a great deal of research done for when I begin the process of developing my own programs to assist children/young adults in the urban communities.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I can honestly state that I believe the No Child Left Behind Act does not work at all. During the last class, I found out that many of the individuals in my group completely agreed with my stance on the Act. There are some areas of the Act that can work once some modifications are done to it. For example, it is very important to identify the schools that are in need of improvement, but standardized tests are not the best way to identify them. Standardized tests are actually one of the biggest weaknesses that make this Act hated by most of the educators in America. The Department of Education should get together and find a new way to identify these schools in need of assistance. I also agree that it is important for the State and District to devote “additional attention and resources including funds for supplemental services” to help improve student achievement. This should be worked on more intensely because there are many schools that are not getting the proper funding to create programs that can improve the success of the students. It is also very important for the government to understand that they should assist in paying for the tutoring of children with low performance levels. The schools and teachers are wrongfully accused for the low performance of these students but they are not given government assistance to increase it. Finally, one of the strengths of the Act that actually hits close to home is the ability to provide an equal educational opportunity for low-income students. I personally understand the truth between the discrepancies in the educational programs between low-income, middle-income, and high-income neighborhoods. Something that ties closely to that portion of the Act its request to close the achievement gaps between these groups of students. Like I stated before, the only way to do this is to minimize the discrepancies between various economic classes. Hopefully President Obama and his Department of Education will work diligently to fix the poorly organized NCLB Act.