Diversity and Culture in Education
Hello beautiful Serendip world!
My name is Briana Bellamy, I'm a BMC alum '11. Recently, I returned from an incredible year of living in Nepal, working on a project funded by the Davis Projects for Peace grant. The project was called Sharing Knowledge for Peace, and its basic structure and philosophy grew from something that may be very familiar to some of you: the Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI). As a sophomore at Bryn Mawr, I became involved with the staff-student branch of the TLI as a student mentor with a wonderful man from transportation services. It completely transformed my experience at Bryn Mawr, and became a huge part of both my sense of community and personal development. The relationships I built through the reciprocal model of the TLI and the deep learning I experienced both in these relationships and in the reflection meeting had a deep impact on me. I went on to become a coordinator for the program, and even wrote my thesis about it, exploring the inner workings of friendship, community, and shared spaces. I knew there was something powerful about the dynamics at play, and I was curious as to how the model of intentional reciprocal teaching and learning relationships could be valuable in other settings.
Of the many riveting cultural situations that we have only begun to explore in class so far, one of the most striking were those of men and women born in the body of a sex that they do not identify with and how society responds to them as transgendered individuals. As I approach the question of feminism and how it differs geographically, I want to take a look into the transsexual community in America and compare it to that in Iran, specifically after having watched the film “Be Like Others”.
In the United States, transgender issues are rising to the forefront – in films such as “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Transamerica” and in news stories about transgendered children and the increase in support for these individuals and their families. Coming across the color photography project My Right Self was an experience that provided me with a more personal and moving account of what it is like to be transgendered and hopes to do the same for the public.
The website is an informative project while the photographs are intended to be a traveling show and part of advocacy to benefit the healthcare community, those who are transgendered and their loved ones. The website’s eager invitation to use photography as a vehicle to initiate conversation shows that part of America, even if a slim one; is becoming more accepting and actually attempting to understand this point of view on some level.
I was in the group that presented on language diversity in Ghana. I was talking specifically about language within the school system, and how English is currently the accepted language of Ghanaian education. It isn't until Senior Secondary School that Ghanaian students are explicitly taught Ghanaian language. This policy makes me feel sad and a little angry, the same way that it does in American schools. Last semester in Empowering Learners, I defined agency as "the learner’s decision to take ownership of the world in which he/she lives and to apply his/her skills to shape that world." This definition was very much attached to language. I see literacy as a crucial skill for shaping the world. When a school system denies a student access to literacy in their native language, the system is taking away some of that student's agency. Waiting to provide this fundamental access to students who make it into schools that have stringent academic requirements is completely in opposition to what I think needs to happen. Language skils should be built upon, not limited. It's sad that this can be influenced by politics or ideology.
Titagya Web site http://titagyaschools.org/wordpress/
Leslie Dodson, Don't misrepresent Africa.
Chimamanda Adiche, The danger of a single story. http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html
Haverford's home page features an interview with Rich Espey, who teaches middle school science at the Park School in Baltimore, and recently received the GLSEN Educator of the Year award. (Rich, who is a gay man and an accomplished playwright, did his senior thesis research in my lab.) Rich was honored for his work in developing the program, "Putting Gay in a Positive Context," with other teachers at his K-12 school. They created a superb website of gay resources for teachers, which are organized by age of students, subject, advocacy, and support for teachers. I hope you will check it out!
Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom: Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom:
Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Summary: This project was undertaken with the hope of changing the ways we think about teaching and engaging with science. This paper will discuss ways to help students recognize that science is interdisciplinary and can both affect and be affected by the social and/or political context it exists in.
By asking students to think about the way science is presented and conducted, and giving them the tools to think about science not as an isolated body of information, but as a dynamic and shifting discipline, we will not only be encouraging more engaged science scholarship, but will also help students begin to notice the ways science is used as evidence in different contexts and evaluate these uses.
The goals of this project are two-fold. I hope to suggest ways for biology teachers:
Both the conversation and the letter are fictitious. I do not know what the college's response would be to a student who sent in a letter of a similar manner. I can speculate based on informal conversations and in these conversatinons I was never given a definitive answer, which is what inspired this project.
Sex: biological distinctions between males and females
Gender: based on societal factors such as values, perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes
Casey- A high school senior in the process of deciding what colleges to apply to. She is a trans woman who has male biological sex organs.
Mom: Hey Casey, how is the application stuff going? Can I help?
Casey: Good and I think I'm ok
Mom: Just okay? When is everything due? Are you on top of it?
Casey: I still have a few weeks before the apps are due. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to apply to Bryn Mawr College ED
Mom: ED is really serious. Are you sure? Tell me more about Bryn Mawr
Casey: I really think it's the right place for me Mom. Bryn Mawr is an amazing liberal arts school, it's not too far from home and it's an all women's college
My name is Sam Saludades. My family is from the Philippines; however, I am part of the first generation to be born here in the US. I lived in Moorestown, a small town in Southern Jersey which is a short Patco train ride away from Philadelphia. For 12 years, I spent the majority of my education at a small private Quaker school. Up until middle school, the student population was predominantly white; however, in middle school, the school established a new initiative to promote and encourage diversity, recruiting more people of color and of different socioeconomic backgrounds which interestingly and positively changed the dynamic of the classroom and community. In any case, as a result of my educational experience, I developed an interest in how people's backgrounds affect who they interact with, how they interact with others, their approach to obtaining knowledge and education, and in turn, their outlook on the world which is why I was very excited to take this class.