Monday, November 30, 2009

Talking Points #10

Shor "Empowering Education"



1. "To educate is to adapt the child to an adult social environment...the child is called upon to receive from outside the already perfected products of adult knowledge and morality; the educational relationship consists of pressure on the one side and receptiveness on the other. From such a point of view, even the most individual tasks performed by students (writing an essay, making a translation, solving a problem) partakes less of the genuine activity of spontaneous and individual research than of...copying an external model; the student's inmost morality remains fundamentally directed towards obedience rather than autonomy." (pg. 12)

"The deficiency is the curriculum in schools, which he saw as a one-way transmission of rules and knowledge from teacher to student, stifling their curiosty." (12)

- This passage illustrates several core concepts which we have discussed over the course of our time in this class as well as in relation to our service learning projects. Concepts and ideas such as imitation, obedience, pressure (all of which are techniques we do not want to employ) versus critical thinking/discussion, equity, and understanding. By practicing imitation of gernally established "adult knowledge" and by "copying an external model" the students ability to think critically about an idea and form their own opinion of the subject matter is inhibited. Furthermore, it gives the impression that the product of "adult knowledge" is always the correct one, thereby causing the student to conform to what is gernally accepted as "right" instead of voicig theri own opinions, even if they are in opposition. Also, this passage explores the "obedience" of the student. A really great example of how we are conditioned to do as our teachers instruct us comes from the exercise we did prior to our class discussion on Anyon and Oates. Although dittos and busy work is not at all the way our class has been designed throughout the course of the semester, when we were presented with a task the majority of the students began filling ot the worksheet without a word - much less a question as to why the teaching strategies were suddenly changing.


2. "Banks (1991) described empowerment in terms of transforming self and society: 'A curriculum designed to empower students must be transformative in nature and help students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action.'" (pg. 16)

- I like this concept of "empowering education" and "empowering students." There is something distinct about the choce of the word empower, which immediately associates itself with strength, confidence, envisionment, having a voice, and many other positive relations in my mind. I also feel like the statement "empowering education" takes a look at the general direction in which public (and private) institutions and education are heading and suggests that we give education a second chance by employing better strategies and guiding students towards a future as self-sufficient and confident individuals, ones who will take personal action and responsibility.


3. "In a Utopian literature class I teach, a student once suggested that there should be no required attendance in our class or in others. She argued that attending class in her other courses had been a waste of time because she was able to do the work on her own. Instead of responding immediately, I posed her ideas back to the class, to see what other students thought. Some agreed with her strenuously, saying that they should not have to come to class if they could do the work on their own. I then asked, 'Is there nothing special to be gained by students and teachers meeting in class to talk over ideas? How often in life do you set aside time just for intellectual growth?' They were not impressed. They reported being bored and silenced by didactic lectures in classes where teachers raced to cover the material and ignored their questions. They were convinced that if they could copy a friend's class notes, read the textbook, and talk to each other on the phone, they would get just as good an education as they got by coming to class. Their alienation from the traditional learning process surfaced early and became the starting theme for negotiating our own class.” (pg. 27)

- I have mixed feelings about the ideas proposed in the preceeding passage. If all of my classes were structured in a way that stimulate critical conversation and gernal discussion about a topic or a theme that relates to the material studied and our overall objective in the class, then even if I could use outside resources to gain the information needed to pass the course I would be compelled to say and participate in discussion. I personally feel that discussions arranged in this manner open up the material being studied for further analysis and interpretations given by our professor as well as our peers, a valuable resource not available in textbooks. Further examples and relations may also be given that enlighten the essential ideas that need to be obtained. I know I always feel like I have a better understanding of even the most difficult and dense material after having discussions in our FNED class. However, I do have at least one other class where I feel like a body in a room. My professor doesn't take attendance, often strays away from the topic at hand (making even the lectures difficult to follw) and asks very few questions that would open the class up for student-teacher interaction and participation. While the information available in my textbook is limited, I am less compelled to attend class when I don't feel like I am benefitting from the discussion/lecture and when my voice/opinion does not appear to be valued.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Miscellaneous Post

I was given these valueable resources for finding and identifying quality LGBT literature at te Promising Practces Conferenc that I thought I would share for those of you who are interested in using LGBT literture in your classroom.

Literature Selection and Review

The Rainbow Project
http://rainbowlist.wordpress.com/


Rationale and Censorship Issues

NCTE Anti Censorship Center
http://www.ncte.org/action/anti-censorship

ALA Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges
http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/challengeslibrarymaterials/copingwithchallenges/strategiestips/index.cfm

National Coalition Against Censorship
http://www.ncac.org/


Additional Resources

GLSEN
http://www.glsen.org

Advocates for Youth
http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource

PFLAG -Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
http://community.pflag.org

LGBT - Friendly Campus Climate Index
http://www.campusclimateindex.org

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
http://www.glad.org/


Articles

Fight for Your Right: Censorship, Selection, and LGBT Literature
Curwood, J.S., Schliesman, M. & Horning K.T. (2009). English Journal; 98, 4;

Reading LGBT - Themed Literature with Young People: What's Possible?
Clark. C.T., Blackburn, M.V., Gardner, T. (2009). English Journal; 98, 4;

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Promising Practices

Stephanie Mastrostefano
FNED 346
Dr. Lesley Bogad
11-12-09

Promising Practices Conference


The air was cool and brisk the morning of Saturday, November 07, 2009. It was seven o’clock and I managed to drag two of my closest friends to Dunkin Donuts before picking up my registration folder at the Donovan Dining Center. Well aware of my habitual tardiness and tendency to oversleep, I spent the night in their dorm so I wouldn’t have to worry about traveling to campus from home (although I live less than three miles away). This proved to be a successful plan on my behalf, seeing as I just barely made it to the registration table by 8am, iced coffee in hand.
Being a commuter student, it isn’t often that I spend time in the dining center. The number of people present was overwhelming and I found myself getting turned around several times because of all of the tables set up, each with a different purpose. There was a table set up for new registrants, pre-registrants, speakers, and professional development credits. After receiving my folder I sat towards the back of the room and admired the banner that hangs in Donovan representing the sorority which I cofounded as I sorted through all of the information within my packet. For whatever reason, be it the early hour or my lack of sleep from the previous night, I had such a difficult time figuring out what sessions I was attending. I had the assignments and the chart right in front of me and I kept confusing the letters and the session numbers until I finally realized that I was placed in my first choice for both sessions. This was a really exciting moment for me because the seminar I thought I would have been attending didn’t sound very interesting at all. After the introductions were made and instructions were given I made my way over to Alger Hall room 103 for Marco McWilliams presentation, “Media Made Me Do It.”
Marco McWilliams focused on “Exploring the Role of Media Ideation in Sociopolitical Constructionism.” He introduced the topic by presenting a diagram of facts related to the power and prevalence of media interaction in our everyday lives that included the shocking statistic that found that students spend 900 hours in school compared to 1,023 hours watching television. The Most recent Nielson study states that children age 2-5 view more than 32 hours of television per week. I made sure to take note of these statistics in particular because I was surprised by the comparisons being made. I remember as a child when I was asked to record how many hours of TV I watched in a given week. Well, of course I had to account for all of my favorite shows such as Wishbone, Sailor Moon, Scooby-Doo and Cartoon Network’s Japanese Animation marathon that included Tenchi Muyo, Dragon Ball, and Dragon Ball Z. Once you take into account that each of these shows are at least one hour long you figure that I spent about 6 hours each day watching television, and those numbers didn’t even include Nick at Nite! While excessive amounts of TV viewing is not a concept unfamiliar to me, I hadn’t ever made the comparison to the number of hours each day I spent in school and doing homework – let alone accounted for all of the television I watched on the weekends and holidays when school wasn’t in session! McWilliams related some of these ideas to consumerism in America which caters to popular TV images such as Dora the Explorer, Hannah Montana, and The Jonas Brothers. This concept of the American youth as the primary consumers in a culture of Disney icons and Bratz dolls resonated with me and my knowledge of Linda Christenson’s Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us. A powerful quote used by Christenson was actually a piece thought of by one of her students, Omar, who said “When we read children’s books, we aren’t just reading cute little stories, we are discovering the tools with which a young society is manipulated” (126). This idea also applies to television shows. Christenson would say, and McWilliams would agree, that with students spending more time watching television than studying in school, who is really teaching them? The answer is obviously the media. School buildings are government-run, educational facilities structured to teach children from 8am-3pm and hopefully instill the motivation that children will need to apply their lessons to the real world and continue their learning outside the classroom. Unfortunately, media is an ongoing presence and clearly has the most authority and influence over the lessons that children are learning.
McWilliams’ presentation sought to cover three core concepts; (1) All media messages are constructions, (2) All media construct reality, and (3) Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power. The ability of advertisements to portray a perspective on reality is a tool with which media gains power. Advertising companies have the ability to construct a view of the world as it should be seen and therefore influence consumerism to purchase a particular product because in some unrelated way it will gain them more power, they will be more like ‘SCWAAMP.’ Christenson says, with regards to the manipulation employed by the media, “Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched conditions can be achieved through consumption – in their case, through new clothes and a new hairstyle” (133). This also relates to Lisa Delpit and the “Rules and Codes of Power.” Many of the advertising images used to explain the way in which media gains power and profit were built according to the rules and codes of power. For example, a shocking Dolce and Gabbana advertisement depicts three white, elitist males standing around another white male lying on top of a white woman, in what appears to be a sexually demanding scenario. One of the other people present for the lecture even went so far as to suggest that this scene represented a “gang-bang,” an example of group-rape and voyeurism. The key detail in this advertisement as well as my description of the advertisement is white elitist. How immoral such an advertisement would be if the accused rapist were a person of working class stature and/or of color! A quote by Dr. Jared Ball summarizes the relationship between Delpit’s codes of power and the role of the media by stating, “Media are part of, not isolated from, other societal institutions all of which are put in service to those in power.”
Representation (re-present) v; the way in which meaning is ascribed to the things which are depicted through the images. McWilliams asserted that this bears no necessary connection to reality, “dominant media construct images which serve to legitimate normative ideas about power relations, sexual orientation/gender roles, political discourse, social dynamics around race, youth and aging, etc.” Representation is equally about what is present as well as what is absent. Carlson deals with issues of erasure and marginalization in the school community throughout his article Gayness, Multicultural Education, and Community. When so much of our impressions are taken from popular culture and media images, we are taught early on about the “normalized community” through carefully constructed plots acted out by teeny bopper pop divas. Where is the place for the LGBT community, interracial relationships, minority groups and poverty in children’s sitcoms? If their parents and educational facilities refuse to teach them otherwise, what are they absorbing from advertisements, commercials, TV shows and music? Each of the aforementioned are common outlets for exploitation and available resources to anybody. McWilliams pointed out that these are all ideas that must be studied in correspondence with one another and connections must be made to their effect on people in real life. He said, “If we study things in isolation, we miss the other factors that coincide/contribute to the problem.” This proposal directly related to his closing example of how the music industry, partnered with cinema and television, sought to disturb the innocence of the young female actress, Keke Palmer as a means of expanding her fan base by means of becoming sexually provocative.
After leaving McWilliams’ presentation, I sought out my next classroom, not realizing that there was approximately an hour break between sessions. Having come to that understanding, I spent the time I had perusing the Curriculum Resource Fair and picking up as many potentially valuable materials as I could. I tried t visit every table, although I found some more useful than others. The table led by ‘My Wonderful World’ had a surplus of teaching sources spanning from lesson plans to world maps, brochures on East Asian Civilization and digital software. Unfortunately, most of the materials I took from that table were intended for a friend of mine who is a history major in the education department, being an English major I may not use them as often. I did, however, grab several catalogs for various textbook manufacturers as well as sample magazines dealing with issues of literacy, nonfiction readers, and learning how to become a better writer. By the time I had finished visiting all of the stations, my arms were filled with information and I had to walk back to my car so I wouldn’t have to carry it for the rest of the day!
My next session began at 10:50am and also took place in Alger Hall, this time room 105. The discussion was led by Kim Slusser and Megan Kennedy and concerned issues regarding LGBT literature and its integration into the classroom. This presentation was much more interactive and hands on, as one of the first things we were asked to do was to write an experience we had with LGBT and place it on a number line where 1 represented those who were “least comfortable” using LGBT literature in the classroom and 10 represented those who were “most comfortable.” I was amazed at the confusion this request was met with. Several of the students who attended this session did not have a clue as to what LGBT stood for. I found this to be interesting because most of those who signed up would have seen that the lectures focus was LGBT literature, one would assume they were familiar with the topics! In my opinion, this somewhat represented the marginalization of students and our figurative “normalizing community.” I made this connection not only because there were a number of students present who were oblivious to the nature of the discussion that was about to take place, but also by my assumption that everybody in the classroom would be familiar with the LGBT community.
One exercise that Slusser and Kennedy used to represent their argument that we are all taught powerful concepts early on in life that generally stick with us was to have everybody in the room stand next to a sign that represented an idea they were familiar with. These ideas ranged from “Abstinence is the only way,” “The teacher is always right,” and “Picture books are only for children” to “Boys are good at math and sports.” This resonated with me and the activities we do in class to illustrate key concepts of the various authors we have studied as well as our discussion on power within the classroom. The point that Slusser and Kennedy were trying to make was that somebody at some occasion in our lives must have taught us these ideas.
We had the opportunity to read another example of LGBT literature as a class entitled Tango Makes Three. This book was based on a true story from a zoo in New York City about two male penguins who made a nest together and the zookeeper who provided them with a foster egg to care for. This book made the ‘Most Challenged’ list in 2006. We talked about ways in which we can deal with challenges in the classroom and some useful strategies for selecting literature as well as integrating the LGBT theme into the curriculum. Similar to Carlson’s argument surrounding marginalization and erasure, Slusser and Kennedy lectured against the “heroes” and “holidays” approach – teaching a subject surrounding diversity only when occasions such as these arise. Two of the resources that were made available to us that I found the most useful were The Rainbow Project, a tool for selecting quality LGBT literature, and the concept of creating ‘literature rationales’ as a means of establishing your lesson plan as well as arguing your case for the selection of this particular book to illustrate whatever point it is you are trying to get across. As the presentation was concluding, we had the opportunity to look at various examples of LGBT literature ranging from elementary age levels to middle school age levels. It was sad to see that there weren’t many examples of elementary level literature that dealt with these topics, although I felt slightly advantaged because I was already acquainted with King and King. However, one of the teachers who were sitting in on this lecture commented on the fact that they have yet to find any books dealing with transsexuality. This intrigued me, as it is clearly a lifestyle that is commonly overlooked or taken with little serious contemplation and consideration by those who don’t experience it firsthand.
Somehow over the course of the past two weeks I had failed to make the connection between the videos of Tricia Rose we viewed in class and the keynote speaker for the Promising Practices Conference. Once I realized that I already had a familiarity with this woman’s line of work, I felt more excited about listening to her speak. I am still amazed by how eloquent and fluent her speech was. She raised many important issues, some of which we’ve discussed and some which I had never heard of before such as a proposed raise in health care coverage for women because of our “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy. I really liked how Rose incorporated humor into her speech and related to the audience by sharing stories about her personal experiences with racism and difficult subjects in the classroom. One of her main focuses for the lecture was to show that multicultural education shapes/affects who is in the classroom and how we interact. I was personally affected by her discussion surrounding group versus individual identity. These traits are both inherently present in our being and cannot be separated from one another. Therefore our group identities directly affect who we are and how we are represented by our individual identities. We cannot separate ourselves from our ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Privilege is intrinsic within these qualities as well as others concerning class, political discourse, and age. However, one of the most important and valuable things that I took from this was when she said “our privilege does not disempower us from forming alliances with others who do not share in our categories of race, class, gender or sexual orientation.” These ideas were continuously supported throughout her speech and more so in her pledge where she asked everybody to take personal responsibility for themselves and their own actions, without taking the blame for the condition in which we were placed. Our group identities should not act as a handicap for us but as a resource for helping others.
Tricia Rose gave four suggestions for dealing with difficult subjects that arise in the classroom; (1) We have to be painfully honest about the subject and its most painful elements, (2) Students and all of us have to be seen as both individuals and members of groups, (3) Teach the structural implications of reality as well as acceptance and resolution, (4) We have to figure out how to distinguish group actions and individual voice. While her second and fourth suggestions dealt with the aforementioned group vs. individual identity concepts posed, she also spoke about managing the emotional subtext of difficult information. While personal feelings will be evoked you cannot run away from them as this will breed ignorance. In Johnson’s voice you have to “say the words.” Our choice of words clearly makes a difference in the impressions we receive about the topic as it is introduced into the classroom. Something that I thought to be really interesting was her argument against the notion of living in a “post-racial” world. While she expressed that she did not agree with the idea that we are currently in a post-racial world, she also explained that she hoped we would never experience a “post-racial” world, rather a “post-racist” world.
I was surprised and a little taken aback at the end of the keynote address when one of the audience members challenged some of the ideas brought up by Tricia Rose. While it was a suitable endeavor given the content discussed throughout the conference, I personally found it to be rude and somewhat ignorant. This wasn’t so much because of the opinion she expressed but mostly because of the aggressive manner in which it was presented and the implication that Tricia Rose did not have extensive training and experience by any legitimate means as it did not conform to her idea of society and the world.
Overall, my experience with the conference was an enjoyable one. I found that upon leaving I had a better, clearer understanding of the subjects we tackle in class each week as they were presented in a more applicable setting which focused solely on what is happening now. I was able to take all of the knowledge acquired about the aforementioned that I collected while in class and use my own mental resources to make the connections to various issues discussed and formulate my own conclusions about how to use these ideas in a classroom as well as life in general.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Talking Points #8

Anyon "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work"


1. "Basil Bernstein, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michael W. Apple focusing on school knowledge, have argued that knowledge and skills leading to social power and regard (medical, legal, managerial) are made available to the advantaged social groups but are withheld from the working classes to whom a more "practical" curriculum is offered (manual skills, clerical knowledge)."

- By participating in these practices, educators are creating "self-fulfilling prophecies" and thereby determining what a student will ultimately become based upon their given situation (i,e, terms of privilege). This action perpetuates an ongoing cycle of ignorance and stereotypes by placing students into categories and limited the opportunities available to them. Limiting such resources causes them to become "stuck" and will negatively impact their self-confidence as well as their outlook on the classroom and their instructor. This is primarily because it is alluded to that they are less intelligent and their teachers have lower expectations of them, these pre-determined factors will eventually make the child internalize this opinion and they will act out in such a way that is consistent with what they believe to be true about themselve and their abilities.


2. There were several writing assignments throughout the year but in each instance the children were given a ditto, and they wrote answers to questions on the sheet. For example, they wrote their "autobiography" by answering such questions as "Where were you born?" "What is your favorite animal?" on a sheet entitled "All About Me."

- This passage made me angry. I was angry because the questions that were specifically asked of the student to answer were supposed to represent some form of a "biography" and suggested that the information the student was providing was all of the characteristics and facts the student had to offer abotu themselves, hence the tite "All About Me." I cannot write "all about me" in one paper and certainly not with several fill-in-the-blank questions. Aside from the fact that the proposed questions that the students were asked were narrow and provided no mental stimulation or act of thinking, they also limited the student's creativity in selecting their answers. There is little to be said about where you are born or what your favorite animal is. Also, this doesn't give the student the opportunity to offer any information about themselves that they feel is invigorating and important, any information that they may want you to know as you build on your relationship with them. For example, my love of dance is important to me. I like the new people in my life to eventually understand this about me as it may explain some of my fidgety behavior. Allowing students the opportunity to share information with you will cause you to have a deeper relationship with them.


3. She discusses two-digit division with the children as a decision-making process. Presenting a new type of problem to them, she asks, "What's the first decision you'd make if presented with this kind of example? What is the first thing you'd think? Craig?" Craig says, "To find my first partial quotient." She responds, "Yes, that would be your first decision. How would you do that?" Craig explains, and then the teacher says, "OK, we'll see how that works for you." The class tries his way. Subsequently, she comments on the merits and shortcomings of several other children's decisions.

- This just blew my mind. I'm not confident in my ability to answer that question myself, let alone posing it to elementary level students. Ultimately, I like how the teacher approaches the math problem as a decision-making process. This enables the students to help teach each other the steps necessary when solving these types of problems, as they are all providing a piece of the equation in their discussion. Another strategy mentioned later in the article that I thought was both interesting and effective was the method in which the elitist teachers discussed correct vs. incorrect answers. They posed this concept as a discussion where students chose to "agree" or "dsiagree" with their peers answer in which case they would have to explain why they made their choice. I like the termonology used as it stimulates critical discussions and places the students all on the same level whereas using words such as "wrong" or "incorrect" have less positive implications.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Talking Points #7

Gender and Education

When I started researchng current events information on gender equality in the classroom environment, I came across an organization that indirectly related to the topic and whose efforts were truly inspiring.

The name of the organization is UNICEF andthey tackle issues with gender and equality on a global level, giving attention to issues in the classroom, in society, and in general living siuations. The organization focuses on children who they consider the most vulnerable including girls, the disabled, ethnic minorities, the rural and urban poor, victims of war and natural disasters and children affected by HIV and AIDs.

On their website they have five corealues they are wrking for with regards to eduction. These include:

1. Equal access to education and universal primary school education
2. Empowerment of women through girls’ education and gender equality
3. Education in emergencies and post-crisis education
4. Early Childhood Development (ECD) and school readiness
5. Enhancing quality in primary and secondary education

Here is a link to the article where all of the aforementioned information was derived from...





UNICEF's homepage is located at http://www.unicef.org/index.php

Monday, November 2, 2009

Miscellaneous Post

I was at my dad's house the other night and he was telling me about Wanda Syke's new show. I've only seen one episode where she spoke out about Barack and Michelle Obama, but I found few of these clips that I thought I would share with the class off of youtube.

This is one about Michelle Obama:




This one compares homosexuality with black heritage:





I originally decided to post these two clips because I wanted to see what everybody's thoughts were on the content of her comedy routine and whether you would consider them to be offensive or in some way helpful? However, something that I noticed while I was copying the embed links for these videos was that the commentary left by viewers were very different for each video. The comments left on the post for the first video were primarily harsh, offensive, and racist. The comments left on the second link were mostly all positive.

Here are the youtube links for those of you who are interested in checking out the comments as well.

http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=KLxOhg7Fzvc&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DKLxOhg7Fzvc

http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=8L1PQBeymZQ&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3D8L1PQBeymZQ

Monday, October 19, 2009

Talking Points #5

    Kahne and Westheimer "In the Service of What?"

1. "As is commonly the case with new policy initiatives, however, more attention has been focused on moving forward than on asking where we are heading." (pg. 2)

- While this quote was presented early in the article, I feel it arrives at the same basic point that Kahne and Westheimer are trying to make through their comparison of the various methods used when executing service learning projects. By focusing on the end versus the means, not only are we deprived of the wonderful experiences and learning opportunities to be gained by the process of doing good, but our efforts are also much more valued and effective as become a factor in change as opposed to charity. Also, it is important to understand what our goal is to be attained so we can set a focused path towards reaching that goal. By simply moving forward, we lose sight of our ultimate goal and it becomes difficult to determine whether or not we are on the most effective and efficient path for reaching it.


2. "The approach to service learning taken by Mr. Johnson stresses charity and the ways in which participating in service and reflection can develope students' sense of altruism. ... Mr. Adams' students, by contrast, began their work with a systematic and critical analysis of the causes of homelessnss and of the strategies employed to prevent it." (pgs. 3-4)

- At first glance, I initally thought that the work proposed by Mr. Johnson would prove to be more effective in the long run because the students were given the opportunity to place themselves in various communities and work with those in need. It appeared that they were gaining more hands-on experience, and therefore helping the community. While charitable acts such as these are no doubt helpful, they don't suggest the kind of change necessary to really make a difference in the lives of others. Mr. Adams' students were able to educate themselves about the conditions of hte homeless and the causes of homelessness, therefore instilling a sense of understanding and tolerance that most cannot grasp. After having this preliminary information, they can put themselves into the community where they will work beside the homeless for a common, greater cause. They place themselves on an equal-playing field with the homeless, although they are in less fortunte circumstances, whereas Mr. Johnson's students may naturally view those that they are helping as "clients."


3. "Others argue that educators may miss important opportunities if they disconnect the act of service from a critical examination of the setting in which it occurs. While requiring students to 'serve America' (the rhetoric of the federal legislation) might produce George Bush's 'thousand points of light,' it might also promote a thousand points of the status quo. Indeed, the emphasis on altruism and charity, so common in many recent service learning initiatives, is often used to back a conservative political agenda that denies a role for government." (pg. 8)

- One key concept that I found interesting in this quote was the "thousand points of status quo." Many view charity as an act for the better good of the community, the nation, and people as a whole. Most wouldn't associate charitable acts with the emphasis of negative stereotypes or even just reinforcement of already established ideas about those who are less privileged. I personally feel that it is necessary to having both the educational component and the service learning component. An abundance of knowledge about any situation won't be very beneficial if you don't take any form of action, however action without understand can prove to be more detrimental. One could argue then that inaction does less damage than action - even if done with good intentions - because even if somebody does nothing with their newly acquired knowledge, they have found understanding and tolerance for the group in question which places them on a relatively equal playing group whereas someone who just does service still views the other individuals as "unfortunate" or "less priviledge." In order to have true change, you must find a delicate balance utilizing both materials and resources.