Over the past few weeks I have been studying NGOs in Ghana. I was not very surprised by the information that I learned by specifically looking at Ghana but I was surprised by the role of NGOs on an international level. The first question I wanted to learn when I was assigned this topic is what exactly is the role of an NGO? Why does its name only describe a thing that it is not? Couldn’t there have been a more descriptive title than “non-governmental”. I was interested to see how people in our class would respond to being asked to describe NGOs in one word. I was not surprised that it was difficult for people to do because NGOs cover such a wide variety of interests. Depending on the area of need, NGOs will help with poverty, healthcare, childcare, nutrition, microfinance, and education.
This week I decided to write my post on music as a means of developing literacy because I will be bringing my Ukulele to Ghana. I am still unsure of how to use my instrument as an educational tool. I want to use it to teach but I still have not completely figured it out. At the very least I can use it as a tool to show how fun and easy learning an instrument can be. I would like to use my ukulele to help improve literacy through song but I would also be happy if my ukulele can be music education on its own. I think it is incredibly important for kids to learn instruments and I wish that I had started at a younger age. That being said, I wish I had more time and knowledge to use my instrument as a teaching tool. There are so many ways that music can be beneficial in teaching languages. First of all, almost everyone loves music, there is so much appeal in everything that has a tune. Little kids are always humming and trying to whistle. They view it as a fun thing instead of an educational thing. I remember when I was little, I always liked it when people sang to me. I liked it when my teachers sang my class songs, I also liked learning educational songs (such as songs about the names of 50 states), and my parents even sing to me before I went to bed. When I was little I had so many different people singing so many different songs that I became really interested in learning how to do more with them and actually learn an instr
This week I wanted to focus my blog post on the value of education. I am currently taking an economics class at Haverford entitled Microfinance. The first segment of the course is on poverty and this past week we have been focusing on education. I think most people in the developed world would argue that education has value but what about the people on the other side of the world whose children have been in school through fifth grade but still cannot read a simple paragraph? Literacy is a difficult tool to develop but some progress should be made in five years. The majority of families around the world are educating their children but how much are they actually getting in return? How can families below the poverty line in developing countries measure this value? How do parents decide whether or not they should send one of their 4 children to school for 15 years, or send all of their children to school but only through basic primary education? In this class we have been looking at how literacy is defined and its cultural value.
Since my post last Social skills, cognition, and emotional intelligence fall under the category of social literacy. Social literacy can be associated with an individual’s ability to connect with the people around them. Would someone be considered socially illiterate if they cannot express their ideas in a way that people can understand? I don’t think being coherent and being literate are the same terms. I think someone can completely understand what is going on around them but they cannot express their ideas because they are incoherent. I think that using literacy as an umbrella for multiple capabilities is limiting in a way. By saying someone is illiterate socially or musically, it promotes the assumption that they have absolutely no skills in that area. When the words literate or illerate come to my mind, I assume black and white. Either someone is completely capable, or completely incapable. There is no grey area. That is why I don’t think describing someone as socially illiterate is an appropriate term for a person with some sort of social disorder.
This is my second time using Serendip for one of my classes. Before I took interdisciplinary perspectives on gender and sexuality last year I was really not looking forward to having to blog each week. I did not think anyone else would ever read the things that I posted. I was surprised to find myself in a conversation with my entire class that existed outside the walls of our classroom. Every week we had to do a blog post and our posts often created topics that would fuel discussions inside and outside of class. One week, one of my classmates wrote in her blog post about how much she disliked one of the books we read. A few days later, the author of that book responded to her post stating the reasons she wrote the things my classmate disliked in her book. I am excited to see where the online Literacies and Education class discussion will take us.
I am also looking forward to really understanding what this class is about. I want to truly break down what literacies actually mean. Could you consider socially illiterate when they can read and write but they have no comprehensions of meaning and symbolism through body language? What does multi-literacy mean and how is it achieved within an academic setting such as Bryn Mawr? What are the implications of not having computer literacies in the growing technological era? These questions are just starting points for me with this course and they will be some of the points I plan on addressing throughout the semester.
Disruption in the Interpretation of Embodied Symbols
Final Web Event
Assumptions are made about individuals through the expression and interpretation of embodied acts and body language is the conduit for social meaning. The social meaning behind bodily acts are disrupted when the movement itself is not completely controlled by the individual. Disability, gender, and communication are all entangled in a web of perception, symbolism, and agency. This web of entanglement causes people to not see an action for as it was intended and make assumptions about a person on their limited controls on bodily action. Interpretations of bodily actions are often misunderstood when an individual is not completely able bodied.
During class tonight I drew this, thinking about some of the main themes of our course.
Searching for the Right Relationship Between Agency and Subjectivity
Web Event #3
December 4th, 2011
Every person has the capacity to obtain agency to an extent. Agency is the ability to make active decisions about one’s life. Agency is something that is impossible to completely achieve because of cultural, gendered, ethical, and economic restraint. To possess all-encompassing agency involves removing a right relationship between the individual and their society. The amount of agency an individual has is determined by their culture, ethics, gender, and socio-economic status. Agency is subjective. For example, one woman might see the act of wearing a veil as restricting a woman’s agency or even worse, judging the woman for denying her agency while the woman wearing the veil feels empowered because of her devoutness. Agency can be seen as “the interaction between our self-conscious self and the social context we find ourselves in. It is embodied in that individuals may be more, or less aware of how their environment, social context and upbringing affect their lives and their decision-making. (Williams, 39) Transnational marriage migration of ‘bought brides’ in East Asia is a phenomenon in which agency meeting subjectivity.
I found Judith Butler’s lecture on Monday night very intriguing. I was a bit apprehensive before the lecture because I expected her to deliver her speech in the same way she writes, which at times can be quite dense, but I think Butler did a very excellent job making her speech much more accessible. In her speech Butler said that gender is assigned from birth when a stranger checks off a box labeling one as male or female, and that person is expected to reproduce the norms of that specific gender. I am curious to find out how Butler feels about all woman’s colleges. All woman’s colleges categorizes and excludes people as well as empower people. I wonder if Butler finds all-woman’s colleges to be a more positive or negative thing.
In class we discussed sex-selection and on some of the posters the idea of natural versus artificial was written down. Many people consider IVF and sex-selection and unnatural process that tampers with the biological equilibrium. IVF pregnancies are considered “artificial”. I am curious when the line between natural and artificial was initially drawn. Since everything that humans make, comes from nature in the first place, when does an object or an action pass over from natural to unnatural or artificial? How were these distinctions created and why do they have such an enormous impact on the ethical decisions our society makes?
I believe that part of the reason this happens is because with new technologies and modern science, humans feel a dominance over nature. Nature is something that people are a part of, but something that people feel they like they own. The more detached from technology, the more natural and the more complex and creative the object, the more artificial it becomes.