Monday, June 25, 2012

Blog assignment Week 1 Assignment 2

For my blog this week, I thought of someone who demonstrates competent communication within a particular context; I selected my cousin Deanna because she is a doctor of education, minister, and her husband is heavily involved with politics. As a result, she is constantly speaking to diverse groups of people and she has a way of keeping each audience member’s attention by getting to the point and not being long winded but conveying the message she wants her audience to receive in a manner in which they can relate to and apply to various areas of their lives. In addition, she has the ability to listen. I often say listening is a gift, because some people appear to listen to what another is saying, but they miss the message because they are fixated on the verbiage that was used and ultimately miss the message or they are only focused on their thoughts and are unable to hear and receive the message the sender is trying to convey.

I would and try to model some of my own communication behaviors after my cousin Deanna, because I have learned you if you say too much, you lose the audiences attention and they become distracted and begin to think about all of the other many things they need to do; they may be present in body, but their mind is someplace else which defeats the purpose.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog: Professional Hopes and Goals

During the first course in this program, I helped to establish and became part of a collaborative learning community. As the courses have progressed, colleagues and I have been studying together and supporting each others goals with regard to taking on and mastering the challenges of this MS Early Childhood Studies program

As I prepare to move on to my final course before the specializations, I took time to think about my aspirations with regard to diversity, equity, and social justice, the different ways in which my colleagues have supported me and how I have supported them, and what I wish for my colleagues as they continue on their professional path.

One hope that I have when I think about working with children and families who come from diverse backgrounds are for me to leave my personal basis aside and get to know each family and student on an individual basis by spending quality time with them and developing a relationship with them where we can listen to each other and work together so that we can have a positive impact in each others lives and take what we have learned into our perspective communities and make a difference there as well.

One goal I would like to set for the early childhood field related to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice is to open the lines of communication between staff, families, and their children so that we can engage in dialogue that can hopefully bury some of our fears of not knowing each other and forming opinions of each other based on our visible identities but instead to form relationships that gives us some background knowledge of each other and form healthy opinions based on the way each person is treated as an individual and not for the way society judges us.

I would like to thank all of my colleagues for all of the encouraging posts to my blog and for constantly encouraging me to think about thinking. I would also like to say that some of the issues we discussed were sensitive to some groups and everyone was very respectful to each others differences and were honest in terms of acknowledging if they were privileged or non privileged and for giving positive feedback as to how I handled social injustice and what I can do to make a difference within my community.

Thanks and I enjoyed working with all of you and I look forward to “seeing” you next course.

Best of luck,


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blog: Welcoming Families From Around the World

For the sake of this assignment, I imagined the following scenario:
I currently work in an early childhood setting at a child care center; the name of the center is “Little Ones”. While proceeding with my day as usual, I received word that a little girl of a family who has recently emigrated from Ghana, Africa which is a country I know nothing about will join my group soon. I want to prepare myself to welcome the child and her family. Luckily, I am enrolled in a course about diversity and have learned that in order to support families who have immigrated I need to know more than surface facts about their country of origin. As a result, I went to one of my colleagues who is from Ghana, Africa, and she informed of the importance of relationships the youth have with their elders and how a strong emphasis is placed on respecting their elders. In addition, she informed me that children are taught from an early age that they need to help the family by performing house hold chores and or working in the fields and tending to their crops and when compared to American culture, some would view that form of work as child abuse; but for the people of Ghana, they are taught that you are a part of a family and each family member has a role that they must fulfill.
 I was also I was informed that children are spanked at school for being disrespectful, negligent, and ect. My colleague went on to say that parents from Ghana place a lot of pressure on their child(ren) to do well in school and not to take education for granted and that the parents/families want to work with the teacher and holds their child’s teacher in the highest regards.
 I prepared myself for working in early childhood settings which represent such diversity by getting to know the families by asking them where they are from, and by providing them with information about the curriculum we use in their primary language (if they speak a language other than English). Furthermore, I also ask them about the structure of their family. I also invite the families to come into my/their child’s classroom to visit and share stories with my class through pictures, and or words (I always tell my families that stories can be told through pictures and or words). I would also ask them if they have old traditional clothing from their country so that their child can share with their classmates in the dramatic play area.
In all, try to provide a welcoming and nurturing environment. One of my goals is to develop a relationship with each family so that they feel comfortable in leaving their child in my care. I also remind families that they are their child’s first teacher and that they know their child better than I do, and that I am there to facilitate lessons and provide their child with opportunities to explore so that they can make better sense of their world around them. In addition, during circle time, I would ask the family and the new student to share a traditional song with the class so that we can learn it and sing it together as a “morning opener”; ultimately I would want the students to sing it in the new students primary language and in English so that the students can learn of each others language/culture.
I hope these preparations will benefit both me and the family by giving us an opportunity to form a relationship. I have learned if a family feels welcomed and valued, they are more receptive to forming a partnership with the teacher and will share personal information with you so that you have a better understanding of the dynamics of their family, family structure, and of any changes within that structure that may cause a change in behavior or in the academics of the student.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

In a previous week, I learned about, observed, and shared examples of microaggressions. I also moved on to learn that personal biases as well as institutional prejudices are sources of inequities and oppression, and that bias and prejudice themselves are learned. To complete this assignment, asked self the following questions:
  • What memory do you have of an incident when you experienced bias, prejudice, and/or oppression, or witnessed someone else as the target of bias, prejudice, and/or oppression? Keep in mind that one can encounter such incidents in real contexts, including online environments, as well as in fictional ones, such as movies, books, television shows, and the like.
One memory that I have when I experienced prejudice occurred over 20 yrs ago but it seems like it just happened yesterday. On this particular day, one of my girlfriends and I went to the mall which was located in an area that I consider to be diverse. My girlfriend and I were talking and walking through the parking lot to get to the main entrance, as we proceeded to cross the street, a female stated “get out of the street you n-----(the “n” word). I was livid the girl drove off but to our surprise she was blocked in by a car that was backing out so she had to stop; at that moment, my girl friend and I didn’t think we immediately ran after her car and kicked it in and we told her to get out of the car…..thank God she got scared and drove off…. It was a huge scene…other African Americans that heard and saw what happened were in support of my girlfriend and myself. But the thing that surprised me the most was when an older Caucasian couple approached my friend and myself and stated “I am soooo sorry for what you girls experienced, we feel so bad that in this day and age people still use that word and for no reason”.  I found it to be interesting that people from other walks of life felt my pain and tried their best to calm my friend and myself down. But one thing that baffled me was that the girl that called us the “n” word was a minority just like us ( but not African American). As a mature woman I am not proud of my reacting to someone’s ignorance, but in that moment I was devastated because I never experienced that and I didn’t know how to react…I am just happy the girl got scared and eventually drove a way and that I eventually calmed down and let it go.
  • In what way(s) did the specific bias, prejudice and/or oppression in that incident diminish equity?
Equity diminished in that incident because I had the power to not react in a stereotypical manner. However, I felt as if I was empowered because of the many kind comments from looker on’s and from people of  both minority and majority groups… that moment I felt as if humans were being empathetic to other humans and all groups of people regardless of their race and socioeconomic status was appalled  and apologetic to my friend and myself…..that experience gave me faith and hope for change in the way we treat each other as humans.
  • What feelings did this incident bring up for you?
This incident brought feelings of hurt and confusion as to why a person from one minority group would make such a hurtful comment especially when we were only crossing the street. As a mother,  I now think of my son and what he may face and all I can do is tell him not to react the way I did and to try your best to walk away.
  • What and/or who would have to change in order to turn this incident into an opportunity for greater equity?
I think I could have walked away and handled myself in a mature way other than reacting and kicking her car and telling her to get out of her car ….I have learned that no one wins when being ignorant or reacting to it…..but keep in mind I was young at that time and as an older woman, I would not react that way.