"Where writing once meant print text- black marks on white paper, left to right and top to bottom - today 'writing' is in full Technicolor; it is nonlinear and alive with sounds, voices, and images of all kinds" (Lunsford, 2007)
I really appreciated the views of Paris and Kirkland on the use of AAL vs DAE. I feel that because students are often caught between 'a rock and a hard-place' (as my mother would say) when it comes to writing, students are not feeling confident in their communication skills. Traditional writing and grammar practice can often be exclusionary. The use of AAL through text-messaging as well as social media interactions allows students to have a "second space" to express themselves, their feelings, and their thoughts in a manner that is not necessarily academic. I feel that students should be encouraged to write as often as possible and through any and all creative outlets. I never was really "into" my English classes in high school, though I often found myself writing slam poetry and entering competitions because I was able to express myself and my feelings without the constraints of traditional grammar and structure.
What Delpit described in her readings as the "Warm Demander" is exactly the kind of educator I'd want to be, ideally. It is also my biggest fear, in the sense that I would fall short of it, or not be able to find the balance between the "warm" and the "demanding" and leave students feeling like I only served them halfway. What's hardest about teaching, for me, is learning how to subtly and fully incorporate values and ideals into every part of your lesson plan and curriculum and how you present yourself in class - in other words, showing that you want to validate your students and raise their expectations of themselves without outright saying it.
The reading by Delpit was extremely interesting for me, mostly because this is something that I have been trying to find for my inquiry project. I have been trying to look at what makes a productive classroom and what role do teachers have in the academic identify of their students. In this article they talk about how teachers can and should push and expect more of the students. In a core way I understand this, as a teacher should always respect and admire the intelligence of the student, and try not to underestimate them in their classroom. While I was uncomfortable with the idea of a fearful respectful relationship between a student and a teacher, I was happy to hear and learn more about self confidence from a teacher and a student knowing that the teacher was there to teach them and was incented in their learning. I can tell from my own experience, that most of the classes I enjoy-in college and in high-school-are with teachers that I admire, respect, and who I know respect my time in their classroom. I find that I am more willing to work hard and push myself and understanding knowing that the teacher or professor has created the space in their classroom for this kind of low stakes challenging but with high-stakes results.
I would like to read further into this article to figure out how to teach STEM felids, and how teachers and students usually fall short in these fields and how students often fell less than able to study these field and are intimidated or uninterested in them.
In the beginning of her writing, Delpit talks about how teachers touch students in various ways. Teachers impact the students in ways that they do not even realize. This is the reason that there needs to be teachers present in schools who genuinely care about students and are willing to push students, demanding them to learn. Students from “disadvantaged backgrounds” particularly, rely on teachers to academically support them because students, often time, do not get this support from home. This whole idea makes me think in depth about my placement. There are specific students who have IEPs and are separated from the rest of the class. While the majority of the class sits on the floor in a circle to listen to stories, these students with IEP have to sit in a chair. In addition, when there is an activity that occurs, like drawing an animal, the teacher pushed some kids to do better, but not the students with an IEP. When one little boy did not draw the animal to her liking the teacher explicitly stated, “He can do better, so I will not accept anything less of him.” But when a student with an IEP drew an animal she stated, “I don’t expect much from him.” When a teacher has low expectations for a student and allows for mediocrity, this goes against Delpit’s idea of pushing students and demanding success. I can’t help but to question how these students with IEP’s will succeed. One, they have an IEP. Two, they are expected to only speak and learn in English in the kindergarten, but only speak and, for the most part, only understand Spanish.
I'd promised you some links to the work of Peter Singer.
Unspeakable Conversations, by Harriet McBride Johnson, is the 2003 NYTimes article I referenced, written by a disabled activist who agreed to two speaking engagements with Singer @ Princeton. You might also have a particular interest in Animal Liberation, his 1975 book which is pretty much thought to be the founding philosophical statement for that movement; and "Family, Affluence and Morality," written in 1972, is probably his best-known essay. But there's PLENTY more @ http://www.utilitarianism.net/singer/
I always love reading Lisa Delpit because I find that her writing challenges me and my conceptions of myself as a future teacher very directly. In this week’s reading, she wrote about the importance of pairing high expectations for students with “social support.” She called this the “warm demander.” What struck me most in this reading, though, was what this warm, though tough, support looks like. Delpit discusses how often for African American children high expectations are manifest in tough (and sometimes harsh) language. For example, Delpit writes that her great niece DeMya turned to her once and said, “When people’s mamas yell at them, it just means they love them.” After reading this and other passages with similar messages, I had to re-acknowledge (its something I’ve known and gappled with for a while) that this type of language and way of expressing oneself is not a practice this a part of my culture. I am not used to love and support being expressed in this way.
I really appreciated the Paris and Kirkland article "Urban Literacies." Their discussion of alternate forms of literacy as well as alternate froms of English resonated with me because of the students in my Praxis. The majority of them are African-American, and they speak a form of AAL, as described in the article. There is major difference between the way they speak and the way they are expected to write. Little respect is given for the home English that they speak.
I liked the idea of using books written in AAL to show students that their language is valid and that literacy does not always have to be in standard English. However, my students are in third grade and the texts mentioned are much too advanced for them. I wish there were children's books written in AAL that could be used in elementary schools. I think this would help students bridge the divide between the language they speak and the language that they read in school. I also think using projects that involve alternate forms of literacy- for example, writing a story that inlcludes a text message conversation or doing a project using twitter, would open students eyes to what literacy and literature can be and would encourage them to "learn from vernacular literacies to push against the oral/written and digital/embodied dichotimies in ways that contemporary writing expects and demands" (190).
I'm going to be completely frank here (and probably expose myself as a bit of an emotional mess) but I teared up multiple times while reading Delpit's "Multiplication is for White People." I felt so inspired and so empowered by her highlighting of good teachers – "warm demanders" – and it brought back memories of teachers who did that very work for me. I'm also having a really meta moment: recognizing that I'm pushing myself to stay awake now to post this instead of going to sleep and doing it in the morning out of my respect for Jody as a professor (still coming in late –– but hoping my presense at both the Race and Diversity Town Hall and Toni Morrison's talk at Swarthmore this evening act as a reasonable excuses!). In the same way that students in Delpit's writing were willing to be pushed and to push themselves, I've found myself voluntarily doing more work and spending more time in courses where I know my professor or teacher really cared about my learning and my identity as a whole person. And I appreciate this meta-cognitive moment for my learning.
Whenever the weather finally became warm enough to stay outdoors, when the winds died down and the rains more or less stopped for the year giving way to sun, someone always asked the question: "Can we have class outside?" Something about being free from the four walls of the classroom always felt better to me and those classes outside are the ones I remember most. Even when I truly enjoy what I'm learning, classrooms sometimes start to make me feel a little claustrophobic after spending several hours a day five days a week within their confines, so those classes outside give me a chance to breathe some fresh air and get some vitamin D (I actually had a Spanish teacher in 8th grade who would take our class outside on what she called "vitamin D breaks").
I think when it comes to creating a platform for conversation, there are many aspects to remain mindful of to ensure some sort productive dialogue. However, even that phrase, “productive dialogue”, I feel can have a layered meaning. Sometimes, even an incredibly problematic, unproductive, skewed, or even downright absurd dialogue in regards to any topic, not just meat-eaters vs. vegetarianism, can have so much value. I find value in knowing how I don’t want certain conversations to go. I find value in having experiences that make me realize what I think isn’t right, or productive, or problematic. For example, I read the The Lives of Animals with Jenna, and whenever we would get to a part the either shocked us, bothered us, intrigued us, etc, we would show one another and discuss it. Through trying to follow Elizabeth’s argument and point of view, and disagreeing and feeling frustrated at points with the strange deadlock dichotomy between vegetarianism and meat-eaters, I was able to gather and form my own ideas in where I could perhaps place myself on this spectrum of this debate. I agree with Kelsey’s sentiments of perhaps we place too much emphasis on dialogue sometimes, and perhaps in a way where the emphasis is more so on the end result of the dialogue, rather than the experience itself. Simply reading this excerpt, “However, there are still animals we hate. Rats, for instance. Rats haven’t surrendered. They fight back.