This history, like all histories, is from one perspective. What is left out of this history of peace education?
What has always concerned me about peace education is that it has been written by men while the majority of those hurt by conflict are women and children. One of the most important books I read last year about conflict was by Ishmael Beah; although male, he wrote the books from the perspective of a child which gave the book greater import. During times of social upheaval, as evidence recently in Egypt, women are essential to the fight; we are the ones who run the home, bear the children and support the world. In order for peace education to be effective, one must be able to identify and tell all perspectives so there is equitable and fair discourse.
One of the areas that has always interested me is the feminist writers of the 1800s in America. Many of these women (Angela Haywood, Lois Waisbrooker) wrote about an utopian society where women either decided to strike and left men in chaos or ruled the land. Their points were clear - without women, society would fall its knees. Leaving out the perspective of women and their children leaves us with a half written history, one that is far from complete.
Locally focused but with a global scope...I love the idea of this as part of not only the MDGs but also of education. We must focus on local issues with a students but broaden that focus to include the world; we live in a global community where social media allows us to support revolutions that occur half way around the world and must acknowledge this change. It is essential that we prepare our students, and ourselves, for the fact that borders are falling and that we are becoming citizens of the world.
A teaching portfolio is described in Course Five as “a coherent set of materials including work samples and reflective commentary on them compiled by a faculty member to represent his or her teaching practice as related to student learning and development.” What are the benefits of compiling a portfolio? How can it promote and support teacher professional development? How will you support your colleagues in the process of collecting and reflecting on artifacts that represent their professional knowledge and practice?
I love the idea of creating a portfolio that includes my work and my experiences with my students as this can be something that I use to better by work and to review what I have done and where I want to go. In addition, such portfolios can serve as helpful ways to open dialogue between faculty members as a means to identify interesting lesson plans or methods of teaching. These elements that make up a portfolio can serve as a review process that is both reflective (internal) and externally discussed.
Write a paragraph for each of the items below.
I believe that everyone deserves an education that allows them to grow, to further their goals, to identify who they are and what they want to be and creates an individual who cares about others. It is my belief that everyone, no matter age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, deserves the right to enter a classroom that is free and democratic where they can be educated.
I teach because I am passionate about the future of the young, the retraining of the middle age and the history of the elderly. I teach because I have had many other careers and have never found the sense of self and importance that I have found when engaged in educating others. I teach because I do not want to, can not imagine doing anything other.
I teach English literature, writing, reading and analysis. I teach new ways of thinking about old things, new ways of learning the same old material and new ways of comprehending the written word. I teach students to have self worth, to challenge, to analyze and to be global citizens.
I teach but I am also a student; there are times when I speak and there are times when I listen.
Please write at least one paragraph each to respond to the following questions:
Currently I am an assistant professor on a tenure track, three years away from tenure. I would like to be an experienced, well educated educator who uses everything she can to teach her students; who thinks of new and interesting ways to disseminate information. I would also like to be tenured so that I have a sense of freedom and the ability to be a little less fearful; to get there I need to continue to work incredibly hard, continue to be the educator I would want to have and continue to be concerned about the students I teach.
Personally I would throw away the current grading process and revamp it; it is incredibly difficult to grade writing as it is a truly subjective thing and accordingly, it would be nice to simply work with students and focus on bettering their ability. I would continue to be a mentor to my students and be there to answer their questions, to support their growth and to instill confidence.
There are incredible challenges for teachers in the US as the political climate is one that demonizes us. I feel that I will be asked to focus more on test scores and retention rates rather than on the individual student and this terrifies me.
1. What are your thoughts on the inclusion of the Millennium Development Goals in the CTM and requiring teachers to either teach about these goals or volunteer in initiatives devoted to the MDGs? How would you explain the value of this approach to the colleagues you will be mentoring?
The MDGs have been a pretty important part of my educational focus during the last year as both a Malaria Griot Fellow with ONE/Malaria No More and as a current fellow with Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur so I feel strongly that they should be part of curriculum. The value of including these goals are many including, but not limited to:
a) What have you learned about yourself as a teacher? Please consider the impact of the CTM content, your weekly review/reflections, and your discussions with your colleagues.
I feel that I have learned how important teaching is through the weekly content, reflections and discussion; my colleagues have given me much to reflect upon including the challenges that teachers face throughout the world and the serious issues that we will face in the future. One of the goals that I have now set for myself is to continue to learn and grow, to become the best educator I can be in a society that continues to demonize teachers and to work as hard as possible to further the success of my students.
b) How has the program enriched your professional knowledge and classroom practice?
The program has continuously made me review my classroom practice and think about new ways of engagement and assessment. In addition, I feel that areas where I need to progress have become clear.
c) Do you feel that the program prepared you to be a mentor who can support, guide, and empower his or her colleagues? What are some of the tools, approaches, and strategies you now have at your disposal that will enable you to accomplish this goal?
Yes, I would love to be a mentor to some of my colleagues, especially those who are just beginning to teach. Some of the tools/approaches/strategies that would help me to enable this goal include constant discussions that move towards a sense of self as an educator, approaches in classroom management and assessment and strategies on how to help different types of students in different types of classrooms.
How would you define Appreciative Inquiry? Give two or three specific examples that you would give to explain its advantages in the classroom and potential impact on students and their learning.
I actually experienced appreciative inquiry (or at least my definition of it) this weekend. Fifty of my college's students and five professors/administrators went away for a weekend to focus on diversity. We spent a good portion of the experience engaged in discussion focused on the meaning of diversity to them, how they have experienced same at the college, what they would like to see in the future and how these experiences have defined them. The students, and the faculty, were really forced to identify issues that we faced both internally and externally and address how to actually assess these in a meaningful way. It was an incredibly moving and dramatic experience where students who had never spoken with one another were suddenly engaged in deep conversation.
In my classroom, I have to admit that I don't use appreciative inquiry enough and would really like to. In my American Ethnic Literature class, I do have the students research and write their own family's immigrant story and this requires really identifying questions that must be asked and answered before they can begin. I see them engaged in the process as they are learning about themselves and finding out new things about their own history; it serves to bring alive what can be very dry material.
How would you define the two concepts listed below?
a) Sensitive Eye
This is when we become open to the world around us and to the students in our classrooms and start to ask questions. We begin to recognize the cultures and the society around us and appreciate the differences that make us human.
b) Compassionate Listening
When I think of compassionate listening, I think of the story of Maya Angelou. When she was about 7 she was raped; after she was told that the rapist hung himself, she became silent for the next six years as she believed that her words had brought about his death. During this time, she became a true listener and observer. Think about what we could hear if we stopped speaking long enough to really listen. In today's tech world, we tend to become impatient quickly and tend to stop listening if not engaged. Compassionate listening means taking the time, the breath, to stop and hear.
Do they manifest themselves in your classroom now? If so, how? If not or not entirely or as effectively as you would like, what steps do you plan to take to change that?
I believe that I embrace both but need to work with my students to embrace them. My students tend to space when not entertained in class (this is one of the constant conversations in faculty meetings) and don't really listen to anyone else. I spend so much time trying to deliver material in an interesting and unique way that I am only servicing their inability to see or listen. I love the activity in the reading - where one asks their students to repeat a classmate's statement and intend on trying that in my classroom.
Review the ideals and goals of multicultural education. Which ones resonate most strongly with you? How can these ideals and goals help learners? How will you use them in your teaching?
The goal that resonates with me is "every student must have an equal opportunity to achieve his or her full potential." I believe in this idea/goal very strongly and yet struggle daily with how to insure its outcome as I teach such diverse large groups. Each student's potential is different - there are some students who are simply in college because they have been forced to attend and for them their full potential is simply graduating with a C average. Other students wish to transfer and accordingly their full potential incorporates a grade point average that will allow them to attend a 4 year college of their dreams. Other students are being retrained for new employment and their potential is all about obtaining real world skills so they can make a living. It is up to the educator to determine the most viable ways to meet each student's potential within a defined semester and class period; I try to learn about my students early on so I can identify what they want from their educational experience and then attempt to work with them to move towards that "want." When i see a student succeed in some way (transferring, getting a job or graduating), I feel that I have done my job.
One of the key principles of multicultural education is that students must feel included and validated, and have opportunities to see that their culture and other cultures around them and around the world have value. How would you accomplish this in your school? How would you motivate and support all teachers at your school to work together towards this goal?
This is a prinicple that is highly valued and consistently evaluated where I work as we have such a diverse cultural student body. As the reading states, education should be student centered and teachers must "facilitated learning for every individual student." My colleagues and I are always aware of the need to introduce work by authors of different backgrounds and to identify works by emerging cultural voices. Educators must become students in order to work towards this goal - always willing and ready to learn and create.
Assessment literacy means being able to understand different forms of assessment, being able to identify which forms work in your classroom and being able to edit such assessments in a fluid manner. While many educators may claim to be assessment literate because they have a rubric attached to their syllabus, this is simply one part of the equation. Assessment literacy occurs when a teacher conveys in a clear way what is required of the student, conveys what works in the student's assignment and what needs to be revised and listens to the students concerns and questions. My department focuses a great deal on assessment (we spent three days last year in a summit on the topic) and are quite aware of the issues surrounding the topic; writing and reading educators need to be literate when it comes to assessment due to the subjective nature of grading writing. One needs to truly be able to express to students how they will be graded.