Sunday, November 28, 2010

Final Blog

This class has broadened my views about education and made me more aware about the field. I have learned many techniques and philosophies about teaching that I know I will take with me into my future career. I have learned that teachers are much more than they appear. They not only do their job on a daily basis, but they also deal with many other issues that aren't in their job description. Teachers must rid themselves of any former biases and open their minds in order to be successful. They must be willing to accept all types of students and treat them as equals. They are in charge of giving students the tools needed to succeed in life, which is a big task. If they do not do their job with an open heart and mind, then they will fail. Teachers must also be ready to learn whenever an opportunity comes up. If teachers believe they know everything, then they are not going to continue being good at what they do because society is constantly changing and they need to keep themselves up to date with everything that is going on. Not only do teachers need to work with students, but they also must work with parents to keep the children on track. Teachers are pretty much like the students guardians during the school days and are in charge of much more than teaching. They are in charge of keeping the students safe, happy, and engaged.
byemyspace6.jpgI feel that blogging is a good way to get your thoughts out there and receive feedback. This allows you to voice your opinion and see what other people think as well. This is a good way to get new information and learn more about people and subjects you don't know too well or want to know more about. It is also a good way to communicate with others on a more personal level.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dealing with abused children in the classroom

How does a teacher know if a student is being abused at home and how should they go about addressing the issue?


Teachers have the special ability to watch students over the year. They get to know the children individually and on a personal level. They understand how the child works, acts, socializes, etc. If a teacher knows their students and does their job, then they should be able to quickly notice any change in the students behavior, especially drastic changes in a short period. Teachers who notice dramatic changes in one of their students must be on their toes and must really pay attention to signs that they child may be being abused mentally or physically outside the classroom. Teachers must also take into consideration the childs home environment. They can learn about the parents/guardians by holding parent-teacher conferences. Some signs teachers should look out for when trying to decide if a child is being abused are:
      • agressive behaviors 
      • sudden drop in grades 
      • lack of motivation 
      • antisocial behaviors
      • signs of depression/anxiety
      • sudden mood swings
      • low self esteem
      • numerous absences
      • Stays at school longer than needed and doesn't want to go home
      • always on edge
      • states they do not like their home/mom/dad etc.
      • and obvious physical signs 
These factors alone do not necessarily mean a student is being abused, but if they show numerous signs then the teacher must be alert. Children who are being neglected at home look for a sense of belonging somewhere else and the teacher can be this for the student. Teachers can be a sense of safety for a child. They must take advantage of this and try to get the student to open up to them. Abuse is a serious accusation so the teacher must be careful and really watch the student over time. If they believe abuse of any kind is occurring to a child, even if it is not their own student, they have the responsibility to report it  according to the state statutes. Even if the teacher is wrong and the student is not being abused they can not get in trouble because they were just looking out for the best interest of the child. Schools are supposed to be safe and teachers are responsible for looking out for their students, not just educating them. It is not in their job description,but morally I feel it is a necessity because if teachers do not do so and the parents do not care, then who is going to help these children?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gregory Cajete-- Blog 9

Gregory Cajete

I decided to research Dr. Gregory Cajete. I chose him because I had never heard about him and found he would be interesting to learn about. Dr. Cajete is a Tewa Indian from New Mexico and a Native American educator. He focuses on indigenous culture and science from a Native American perspective. He obtained a bachelors degree in biology and sociology as well as a doctorate in philosophy. His doctorate emphasizes Native American education. He has had the opportunity to lecture at prestigious schools all around the world including countries such as England, Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, and Russia. He has had many accomplishments in his life. He was the dean of the Center for Research at the Institute of American Indian Arts for 21 years and was also a professor there. He created and ran the National Native American Very Special Arts Festival. He is a director of Native American Studies currently at the University of New Mexico, which is where he received his masters in adult and secondary education from. He also designed a specialized curriculum for Native Americans which focuses on their specific views and way of life.  He has also written and published five books. He seems to be a very influential member in the education society. He has opened up a new type of education that was not really brought about before. He understands what it means to be a Native American and focuses on teaching about their history, thought processes, spirituality, and ways of life. His book “Look to the Mountain” shines light on his ways of teaching and his beliefs. He believes that current culture needs to open up and teach students about their culture and how to connect to it. He uses indigenous ways of teaching rather than the “modern ways”, which includes story-telling, art, and rituals that the Native Americans used. I feel this is great because the Native Americans have such a rich history and deserve to be able to learn about it and become part of their culture. Not all students are the same and this allows them to learn about what is important to them in a way that means something to them.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Social Justice Blog-- Immigration

What is your view on immigration? Do you feel that we need to put a stop to it or should we continue to allow it?

     Social Justice focuses on equality and considering people equal on all levels. The topic I chose to research in this category is Immigration which has become a hot topic in the US today. Many people have different views, both positive and negative, about this issue and I feel that people need to be more educated about this before considering whether it is in fact "good" or "bad." I do not necessarily feel it is either good or bad, but a combination of the two depending on the factors. The US is the third largest country in the world and is continuing to grow rapidly. According to the US Bureau of the Census, one international migrant enters this country every 30 seconds! If this rate continues, soon we will not have enough room to put all of them. California has faced this issue and has been forced to relocate immigrants to other states such as Arkansas and Georgia. 
     Illegal immigrants are causing a lot of issues within our country. They come into the country without consent which means it is commonly done hastily and without much preparation. These people are not screened before they enter the country allowing a much larger opportunity to bring in some sort of foreign disease that we as Americans are not immune to or do not have medication for. One of the biggest ones is Aids and others include tuberculosis and malaria. These last two have not been around for many many years and we are unable to fight them off. 
     Jobs are another issue with immigrants. People feel that immigrants are taking all of our jobs, but there is more to it than that. By 2020 there is a projected need for 10 million new skilled workers. This leaves low level, low paying jobs open without anyone willing to complete them. Immigrants are more than happy to take these jobs. Not only that, but they also create jobs through entrepreneurship, innovations, and purchasing food, homes, cars, etc. 

    We, as teachers, are supposed to be teaching students to accept everyone for who they are, but then we make a huge ruckus about immigrants. I understand that illegal immigrants should not be allowed, but legal immigrants are paying the price as well. They are judged and viewed as low in society because of the reputation the illegal immigrants have set for them. We need to shine light on this topic and educate people about it because many people are naive and believe that no immigrants whatsoever should enter our country, but the truth is we do have a need for them as they are people just like you and I. They should not be labeled because that is not teaching our students to be accepting, that is simply teaching them to be closed-minded and prejudice. 


The New Americans, National Research Council, 1997, p. S-5.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Education is like a road trip

 Education Is A Road Trip

I decided to compare education to a long road trip. Time has to be spent planning the destinations and stops along the way. This compares to education in two ways. Teachers spend lots of time planning the curriculum and students have to plan their destinations in life and decide what they want to achieve and go about doing it. They plan their classes based on what they want to be. Then after planning you embark on your journey. The thing is to enjoy your time and soak up as much information as you can at museums, parks, shows, etc. on the way to your destination rather than just hurrying and getting there as fast as you can. In school if you just rush through everything to get through it, your really not helping yourself. You have to enjoy the learning process and make the best of it. In road trips you have time to wonder and reflect and imagine which are essential for children to learn. Also along the way you see new things, meet new people, and learn new facts about the places you stop at. Going to new places broadens your mind and allows you to learn about other places and peoples behaviors etc.
I have learned a lot in this class this semester. But out of everything three points that have stuck with me include:
  1. Finding ways to teach students who are all different and being able to suit their individual needs as well as the rest of the class can be a struggle but is necessary to ensure all students have the same opportunity to succeed.
  2. Teachers go through many licensure procedures, training, testing, and assesments before becoming a teacher. These include competency tests, performance evaluations, student teaching, authentic assessments, and they have to put together a teachers portfolio.But some schools have such a high demand for teachers, and there aren't enough qualified teachers so they hire people who are not fit for the job which takes away from the students learning experience.
  3. Diversity is a large part in schools and teachers need to be able to put away their prior bias opinions and treat every student the same. They can't play favorites, be racist, sexist, and they need to understand how to handle children with disabilities, etc. Many teachers don't realize they take their opinions into the classroom and this can pose problems. To be a good teacher you can't have bias opinions and you need to treat every student as a person regardless of their differences. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Social Reconstructionism

What is Social Reconstructionism and how is it used in the classroom?

     Social Reconstructionism, also sometimes call the Critical Theory, is based on the belief that people are responsible for their social conditions. This theory was founded by Theodore Brameld and George Counts in the early 1900's. They believed that people needed education in order to reconstruct society. Many of these theorists were bothered by the fact that minorities were being deprived of many important criteria in life. The main goal of this theory is to educate people about social injustice and societies problems, and how to work towards immediate changes to ensure an ethical society. Students need to be informed about the world when they are young. Some philosophers believe that schools are isolated from mainstream society. Children are not prepared or knowledgeable about the "real world" and what lies ahead of them in their adult life, because what they experience in school are not problems reflective of problems in society. 
     Teacher's who use this theory try to instill strong moral values in their students to help guide them towards finding a common good. They also teach students to commit to the life they are pursuing. This is very important because student's need to be given options about what they can achieve in life, but they must also believe that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to. I feel that if students are taught about the world around them and how they can influence society, then they will be more likely to be involved in changing society. This theory is based on the idea that people need to work together to solve their problems. If people can manage this, then we will not need third parties to intervene so commonly and wars could possibly be dodged.

     There are different types of movements in social reconstructionism. The first was used by Karl Marx and the Soviet Union. They spread the idea to the youth, that man is both the constructor and builder in all aspects of life. By engaging in social interactions, these theorist believed that men could develop fully mentally, morally, and spiritually.  The second movement was in Israel. This is called the kibbutz. This movement involved parents giving up the right to educate their children, and handing them over to education professionals early on in life, even as early as right after birth. 
     I believe that it is a responsibility of the teacher to inform students about social injustice and how to go about changing society. This is the only way we are going to detach ourselves from discrimination of all kinds. I believe that teachers and parents need to work together to instill positive values in children and teach them that they are the ones who are in control of the future and are the only ones who can rid society of these injustices. 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Class size: Smaller classrooms = better education?

Are class sizes too large? What can be done to reduce class size and why is it important?
     Class size is an important topic in schools, especially in present time because there are so many students, but not enough teachers to allow the students and teachers to develop a personal bond and work closely together. Large classrooms tend to make students feel obsolete. They may start feeling that since they are just another face in the crowd, they don’t need to do well because it doesn’t matter. This can become a large problem. If students feel that their teacher won’t notice if they don’t show up, attendance rates may start dropping. Students who receive individual one-on-one interactions with their teachers and are a part of a smaller classroom, tend to focus better on learning because they feel more comfortable with both the teacher and other students, and have more resources available to them. The solution can not be to simply hire more teachers. This could pose several problems. The teachers being hired may not have high credentials or training because they are being hired in large amounts, or the school might not have enough money to hire new teachers. 
     Smaller classrooms have a lot of advantages. Students can work closely with one another and small groups can be formed during class time. If the classroom had say 45 students, it would be a lot harder to form small groups with enough room to work together and enough resources to use, other than the internet. Also students in smaller classrooms tend to learn better and pick up more information. This applies especially to children who are at higher risk of failing. According to Finn, J. D., Gerber, S.B., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. , “students who attend smaller classes in the early elementary grades were significantly more likely to graduate high school.” In a STAR study done in Tennessee, research found that 17% of inner city students who had been placed in small classes in the early grades were held back through the ninth grade, compared to 44% of those form similar backgrounds who had been put in regular sized classrooms. This is quite a large gap and shows that smaller classrooms are important especially during the elementary years and especially for children from low income homes who tend to need the extra support. Small class size can increase test scores as well because they allow teachers to focus more on actually teaching the children instead of making sure everyone is listening and behaving. Teacher-parent interaction tends to increase as well. The teacher has less students allowing them more time to talk to parents and set up meetings if needed which can also help the students learning process.

I feel that smaller class sizes are extremely important. They may be more expensive due to the higher amount of teachers needed, but in the long run it is well worth it. Students learn more and tend to do better later in life which is very important because the children are going to be our future. If we give them what they need now, our society will be better off later. I also feel it is important to be able to have that one-on-one with your teacher, especially during the first few years of school. Students learn by asking questions and working with others, and in smaller classrooms this is much more possible. Large classrooms seem to take away from the children’s education, which in my opinion defeats the whole purpose. Children go to school to learn and with smaller classes they can actually enjoy this process, whereas in larger classes it just becomes an everyday chore that doesn’t really matter. 


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog 4: School Violence

School Violence 

How prevalent is school violence and how does it affect children now and in the long run?

     Violence in schools has always been a problem but having younger siblings and cousins I have heard a lot of stories making me worry that it is getting much worse. When I was in elementary and middle school I didn’t really even know violence was much of an issue. I knew children sometimes bullied others, but that was about it. Now it seems that bullying has turned into fighting, brutal beatings, and even stabbings/shootings. I believe this to be mostly societies fault. All the television shows, games, media, etc. portrays violence in a positive light. This is very influential for children because they see the bad guy getting the girl, the superhero killing to do good, etc. According to a study done in 2000 by CBS News, 22% of children admit they know of at least one student who carries a weapon to school daily. This is a major concern. 0% of students should be carrying a weapon in school, and the school should have a way to make sure of this whether it be a metal detector or another way to check and make sure any person entering the building is not concealing a weapon. The majority of deaths in schools has been due to shootings. In 1993 more than 17 years ago, 270 deaths occured in schools throughout the US, and 207 of those were shootings! Why were these children not stopped before this happened? These could have been easily prevented by both the school and parents. Parents should not have guns in the house that can be accessed by their children. They should be locked away. And the school should have a system for checking for items such as guns. I understand not all schools can afford this and not all parents are around for their children. I also understand that children can get guns easily outside the home, but if these two factors were eliminated I feel it would be a lot effective in lowering this statistic. According to a NCES survey 84% of schools have “low” to “none” when it comes to security, and only 2% have high security including metal detectors. Our government is spending billions of dollars on useless things when we could be putting it to better use saving our future generations from violence in their school, where they are supposed to feel safe. Our government spent $92 billion on corporate welfare, $25 billion to maintain UNUSED or vacant federal properties, $2.6 million teaching chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job (, and billions of dollars on other useless things. All of this money could have gone towards making schools safer and protecting our children. If we do not protect our future generations, then who are we protecting. They are the ones who are going to take over when our generations die off etc., but we care more about people who really won’t make much of a difference. These aren’t the only problems dealing with violence in schools.bullying.bmp.jpg
     Other acts of violence such as emotionally or physically bullying a child can cause serious damage to the target. Students who are constantly bullied and teased may end up with a low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness, depression, anger issues, anxiety, and many other mental health problems. These problems will most likely travel through life with the person and can cause problems for the person even after the bullying stops. I feel that I can make a difference, even if it is just a small difference, by teaching my future students the effects of violence and just making the students more knowledgeable about the topic. Also collecting money to get proper security within the school system could help. I feel that our communities need to come together and work as one to stop school violence. And even though I know it will not go away completely, even if I help decreasing the stats I would be happy.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog 2 Uniforms

Topic: School Uniforms
Question: Why should school uniforms be used or not?
My opinion: They should not be used
      Appearance has become very important to young people and can pose problems for those who can not afford nice clothing or those who just don’t care. Bullying can arise from looking “different” because children tend to have a shallow view on what they are supposed to look like and have a harder time accepting that people are different. Children are into the latest trends and if they can’t afford these clothes they may face bullying or teasing within the school. They may become the “loner” or an outcast because they are not up to date with the latest trends. For some children this may not affect them, but for most it can dramatically decrease their self esteem causing numerous issues later in life.If uniforms were used there would be no difference in appearance and thus less reasons for bullying. Teacher’s and parents believe that if children spend less time worrying about what they look like, they will do better academically. They also believe that taking away differences among students can reduce violence within the schools, but some believe that just because the students wear the same thing doesn’t mean bullying will disappear. Children can be cruel and will find other things to mock at or laugh at such as hair, makeup, weight, economic status, etc. Wearing uniforms can also pose problems for children. Uniforms take away the child’s right to look the way they want and wear what they want. They take away from the child’s creativity, especially those children who wear different clothes to show their individuality. Some children need to express their individuality to be happy, and taking that away from them is wrong in my opinion. Teacher’s may feel that wearing uniforms reduces a lot of tension and violence in the school, but once the children are out of school it poses a whole other problem. Children can still be bullied and teased just as much out of school as they can in school. I feel that student’s shouldn’t be forced to wear uniforms because they can cause more problems for students. Children need to be able to explore and find out who they are and uniforms don’t allow them to do this. They need to be able to express themselves and find their true identity. Just because they wear uniforms doesn’t mean there wont be other forms of bullying or violence. Children will find any and all other things to tease others about, not just what they wear. 


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why people choose to teach

    There is a big question people should ask theselves before they choose to become a teacher. They should ask themselves "Why do I want to teach?" Below are different reasons people have for becoming a teacher.

    There are many reasons people have for becoming a teacher. many of the reasons have to do with helping the students become successful adults in some way or another. Other reasons are much more personal. I have done quite a bit of research and there seems to be a common reason between many of the teachers. A teacher named Welborn, from Amherst mass., states her main reasons for becoming a teacher are because it gives her a purpose, she can make a difference in the lives of her students, and to be able to give quality education to all students. A second teacher from Phoenix Arizona teaches because he likes to watch children grow and ":find their depth." He believes he gives them the opportunity to create power and purpose within themselves. I really like this view because it is true. A good teacher empowers a student and makes them believe if they give it their all, they can do anything they put their mind to. A teacher is to support their students and give them the knowledge and tools needed to achieve this.

     "Youth is where character, questions, and desires are born." (Gordon, Boston ma.) This quote was inspirational to me because it is so true. Childrens minds are like blank slates, and the teacher helps them shape and learn who they truly are. Through schooling children learn who they want to be, what they want to do with their lives, and how they view the world/society. If a teacher doesn't care much about their job they may damage children's views on these topics. They may cause the student to feel like they are "dumb" or like they can not achieve their dreams. If a student is not praised for their good work and ideas, then they may start to feel like they are wrong or may feel intimidated and not live up to their full potential. Another good point made are that teachers are supposed to empower their students and teach them not to succumb to the cultures lowest expectations. This is especially important in schools with more diversity.
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Post 2010

Hello :)
     My name is Nicole and I am a Junior in college. I am, as of right now, a psychology major, but I am changing to Education with a minor in Psych. I have always been interested in teaching since I was a little kid. I also love animals. I have 2 cats, a golden retriever, and a dwarf hamster right now. My golden is a puppy and is quite the hand full! He has more energy than a toddler and constantly has us running around, but its all in good fun and overall he is an awesome pet.
my puppy champ
     There are many reasons why I want to teach, but the main reason is having the satisfaction of knowing I have been able to help children grow and learn in a way that is fun and interesting to them. Children all learn in different ways and have different needs, and it is my goal to gain the knowledge needed in life to be able to find a happy medium and hopefully change some children's views on school. I want them to know that they can be comfortable and that they have a say, but it is always important that they know you are the teacher, or you will not gain any respect.