j.nahig's blog

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Our Final Presentation

First off, I would like to commend every person for her insightful, creative, and moving representation of the issues surrounding class and education. The presentations caused me to both reflect on this course and further my thoughts. One thing I thought was neat about the presentations was that the groups were integrated from both classes. The variety of approaches to this assignment reminded me of just how successful and progressive collaborative diversity can be. The diversity of the presentations really amazed me – they showed the many ways we can approach the issue of class, the wide variety of issues surrounding class (it’s not quite as simple as one might think!), the diversity of thought about class, and, most importantly, how every single one of these topics influences and furthers the “class” discussion (no pun intended.) It was also interesting to see how some people were particularly fascinated and influenced by specific authors and their ideas. I feel like understanding what has been written about class and education and either furthering it or arguing against it is one of the most crucial aspects in continuing the discussion within the academic world. I focused paper number eleven on the way in which academic writing restricts access to thoughts and ideas, so I was especially excited to see academia engaged in so many creative ways: further proof that writing is not the only way to share and change thoughts and ideas.

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Classed Academic Writing

If I could make a subtitle for this paper that wasn't a complete turn-off for every academic reader, I would say: remarks, observations, musings, and a few overall points about academic writing, packaged into a paper meant for all.

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Our visit

I'm not sure what to expect from our visit. I didn't know until last class that the school was an exam school. When I heard this, I felt an unexpected internal change of attitude toward the school - as though I changed my opinion of what I would expect the school to be. This strong emotion shocked me. Based on previous experiences with exam schools in urban areas (Boston), they tend to be the "better schools" within urban districts. Therefore, when hearing that it was an exam school, I immediately assumed that it would be less of a decrepit and "demoralized" urban school that our readings have discussed and that I have witnessed. Regardless of whether or not exam schools are always the "better schools" in urban districts, I'm surprised that my expectations changed so instantaneously upon learning that it wasn't an 'everyday' urban public school.

I'm sure that it's being an exam school will have some effect on the atmosphere, but I'm not entirely sure how that effect will manifest itself. Will it be more competitive? Will it reflect the overall racial and socioeconomic distribution in Philadelphia, or will it be somehow disproportionate? Based on the experiences I have had with exam schools, I think it will be filled with students whose parents place a high value on education. I also expect the students to be smart and motivated to learn. I'm looking forward to talking to students, and I'm hoping that they won't view our visit as an intrusion, but instead as a chance for us to learn from each other. In short: I'm excited for our visit!

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The fallacy of the "leveled playing field"

The term “level the playing field” has always bothered me- but because we are using it, I would like to extend its literal meaning to its fullest potential as an abstract metaphor (please don’t groan, I promise this won’t be as bad as you think). Let the symbolism commence.

 

Imagine two teams on an actual soccer field. Suppose that that soccer field is level only because both teams have received schooling. Supposedly, because the playing field is leveled, each team has a similar chance of succeeding in the game. One day you decide to visit the field, and see that it is in perfect condition and completely even. How wonderful! (Ostensibly) everyone has equal access to the same footing!

 

But we all know that the condition of the field doesn’t determine which team is going to win – the players do. So let’s look at the teams. One team has shoes, shin guards, and practice gear in immaculate condition. They have expensive drill equipment to practice with. The team also has: the best coach in the league; daily and regularly practices on regulation sized fields; no other commitments; the money to pay for summer camps; and parents who can come to every one of their games to cheer them on. In short, they have been groomed for success.

 

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Defining "access" and "education"

In my paper, I struggled trying to define the words “access” and “education.” The more I tried to nail them down to concrete definitions, the more trouble I faced, and the more confused I became. I thought that, maybe if I loosely defined the end goal of education, I could reason what gives us access to it. Having written my paper, here are a few musings I’d like to share:

 

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My Education Access Map

Hey everyone!

Sorry this is a little late -I've been wrestling with the formatting of this for over two hours. I did this on software that was extremely hard to convert to anything sensible/anything this website wanted to accept. I'm not sure if this is going to work....it might not. If it doesn't, I'm REALLY sorry.

I'm going to figure out how to fix it for Tuesday's class...sorry again everyone! I can't wait to browse other peoples' maps :)

 

Jess

P.S. I'm crossing my fingers this works....

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Reflection on my Educational Reflection

When writing my reflection on my education, I became aware of just how much influence my parents have had on me. I have always been aware of the amount of privilege I have, but I hadn’t realize that not all of it came from my education. I came to Bryn Mawr as a product of a series of private schools, all of which offered me the scholarly education I possess today. After I thought about my overall education however, I began to realize that while my school had taught me book smarts that will help me succeed in my future education, my parents were the ones who had inspired and encouraged me to learn. They had taught me things that can’t be found in classroom curricula, such as the value of friendship and the importance of perseverance.

j.nahig's picture

Reflection on my Educational Reflection

When writing my reflection on my education, I became aware of just how much influence my parents have had on me. I have always been aware of the amount of privilege I have, but I hadn’t realize that not all of it came from my education. I came to Bryn Mawr as a product of a series of private schools, all of which offered me the scholarly education I possess today. After I thought about my overall education however, I began to realize that while my school had taught me book smarts that will help me succeed in my future education, my parents were the ones who had inspired and encouraged me to learn. They had taught me things that can’t be found in classroom curriculums, such as the value of friendship and the importance of perseverance. I had many teachers who inspired me, but my parents were the people who nurtured my interests by having discussions around the dinner table and assisting in pointing me in directions where I could pursue my interests. In addition, I was fortunate enough that when I had a question my parents were not only around, but able to answer it. They even had a hand in my school education, considering that they were able to pay for it. After having realized the importance of my parents’ attention to and involvement in my education, I am even more aware of just how lucky I have been in my educational experience and which of my surroundings has assisted me in gaining the education I have today.

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