Sunday, November 9, 2014

Learning While Latina--Becoming Something Different

Becoming Something Different: Learning from Esme, by Fairbanks and Crooks, relates to many of the other readings we have done this semester.  I have pulled quotes from this reading and discussed their relation or significance to these other readings.  

In Lisa Delpit's piece, The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children, she says, "Children from middle-class homes tend to do better in school than those from non-middle class homes because the culture of the school is based on the culture of the upper and middle class--of those in power" (Delpit).  The culture of minorities, or simply those who are not part of the upper or middle class, has a tendency to be forgotten or ignored in public schools today.  Also, as brought up in Hunger of Memory, "bilingual schooling" is supposed to work to incorporate other cultures and languages, but it ends up being used simply to assimilate the other cultures to the culture of power: English.  These tendencies is unfortunate because it ends up alienating many students and putting them at a disadvantage from the beginning.  

"These researchers argue that perceptions of Latina/o students as lacking English proficiency, adequate motivation, and parental support, combined with the school's devaluing of cultural practices different from the mainstream, too often position Latina/o students as deficient" (4).

"Language domination leads to 'exclusion and condemnation of one's language' and is accomplished by "an ideological drive which potentially marginalizes or excludes those who either refuse or are unwilling to conform" (4).

"Why can't she remember that?": The importance of storybook reading in multilingual, multicultural classrooms by Terry Meier discusses the importance of keeping students interested in what they are learning.  If you can relate what is being taught to something relevant to the students' interests or lives, they will be much more inclined to participate and eager to learn.  

"[The teacher is] always talking about [chemistry], and I was like I didn't even know that science was going to be in cosmetology.  Learning the formulas to mix dyes and perm solutions made science understandable and relevant to her in a way that her academic courses had not" (16)

Finally, in Oakes piece, Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route, the issue of tracking and placing students on "tracks" for their schooling careers is discussed.  While some argue the advantages of tracking, there are a plethora of consequences.  Schools often stereotype students into these levels or tracks, which greatly limits what some students are able to learn and achieve by the end of high school. This leaves students feeling hopeless, helpless, and like no one believes in them. 

"Our analysis suggests how school practices largely determine students' school trajectories and potentially limit their educational opportunities.  This study's significance lies in the tensions it reveals between the power of school practices and the quiet ways that students may create space by which they can name their school lives as successful" (2).

"Recent studies of students and their positioning in school illustrates how students come to be identified in particular ways and how they respond to, resist, or reconfigure themselves in response to the positional identities they have acquired A number of studies also illustrate how such positioning shapes school performance" (3).

"Like Brookhaven, Cooper occupied a middle ground in the district, meeting academic goals by focusing on test skills in the regular tracks.  Students in honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes had more opportunities for exploratory or critical learning because students in these tracks were considered both willing and able to take advantage of such instructions" (6-7).

"…removing her from all honors classes, however, illustrated one means by which Esme's academic opportunities were constrained.  The school's actions perpetuated her positioning as struggling in an "all or nothing" way that failed to recognize her academic strengths, a process further compounded by her enrollment in a remedial reading class that even her teacher believed was inappropriate" (13).

"Although these easy classes allowed her to be positioned as successful, they did not provide her with the academic skills she needed in order to complete high school requirements" (19).

"Esme's placement in resource and remedial classes throughout middle and high school not only illustrated this misplacement but also underscored the finding that 'the intersection of race, class, and disability may play a substantial roll in facilitating differential and inequitable access to college preparation'" (20).

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