Blog Post Exploration 1

For my video game exploration, I started by searching simulation games on the video game website Steam. As an ELA and Social Studies teacher, one game, in particular, caught my eye. It was titled, “Nuremberg VRdict of Nations.” The description of this game expressed that less than 50% of young people are familiar with the historic Nuremberg trial citing a survey conducted by the “Nuremberg: Casus Pacis” project. There was no year or further information on that study so I am not sure how valid that claim is today or in different countries. However, The Nuremberg Trials are a very relevant piece of World History and I decided to play this free game. Right away it was very confusing. The initial instructions were in Russian but did have English subtitles. However, the instructions were very vague simply stating, “Grab and snap flag to flagpole.”

I realized this initial screen was intended to be a tutorial to learn the controls. However, the instructions for the controls were almost incomprehensible to a novice gamer. There was a box in the upper left corner that gave a key to the shortcuts however they were things like, “Button Press Mode Modifiers: Touch (T), Hair Touch (H).” I had no clue what button press mode modifier meant or why there was a need to differentiate touch and hair touch.

It took me twenty minutes just to learn how to use the mouse and keyboard to manipulate the VR hands to grab the flag that I was supposed to “snap to flagpole.” After I finally figured out how to pick things up I became frustrated at the fact that there was no flagpole. I will admit, the initial feeling of figuring out how to grab was extremely satisfying as I had spent 25 minutes just trying to figure that out (it turned out to be a combination of holding down control, q, and the left mouse click). Gee would describe my small victory as the phenomenon where “humans feel expanded and empowered when they can manipulate powerful tools in intricate ways.” Those command keys were nothing if not intricate. However, as I said my next task was to find the flagpole. I tried to stick that flag in everything that vaguely resembled a flag pole for the next 30 minutes.

This game was not “pleasantly frustrating” as Gee would encourage but rather tremendously frustrating to a fault. It was at that point I realized I could not even figure out this loading screen that was meant to teach you the controls. I was not finding any useful information that could be incorporated into a Social Studies lesson after an hour of just learning controls so I decided to give up and pursue a different game. If I could not figure out this game, a room full of middle schoolers would certainly be frustrated as well. 

About Me: First Blog Post 2021

Hello everyone! My name is Kate Boyer, and my preferred pronouns are she/her. I am from Wooster, Ohio which is a small city about an hour south of John Carroll. I am really into Improv Comedy and am actually the president of the club here! (A little self-promo if any of you undergrad are interested let me know we are always looking for new members). I also love reading, playing sims on the computer, hanging out with friends, and shopping. As for my plans this semester I am focusing on my classes, field experience, clubs, and I just got a job at the mail center. Other than that I am just taking things one day at a time.

My preferred learning style is group discussion. I love the size of this class as I prefer small classes and think this will foster the discussion in an organic way. In order to feel comfortable taking risks I would just want to feel comfortable in sharing my opinions. I of course don’t mind if someone disagrees with my take on a topic and would love to hear their point of view! However, with any common courtesy a welcoming environment to share these views and opinions is the best in my opinion.

I read about 15 books this summer as I was apart of the SURF (summer undergraduate research fellowship) this summer and was paid to do research in the education department. Me and my research partner (Maddie Polcyn who is also in this class) did research on mental health portrayal in YA literature. Most recently for pleasure reading however I read “Everybody in This Room Will Someday Be Dead” by Emily Austin. It was a deep read that followed the anxious protagonist as she dealt with a balance of existential dread and trying to live her seemingly pointless life. The book did have a more lighthearted ending however and I was captivated by the book the whole time.

What matters to me most about education is truly caring for my students. What inspired me personally to pursue the research on mental health that Maddie and I did was knowing that someday I will probably have a student come up to me and share their struggles with mental health. I wanted to know how best to support the student in a teacher role and how mental health support can be incorporated into the classroom. The article that relates this eloquently is cited as follows, Fisher, Douglas (2005). The literacy educator’s role in suicide prevention. Journal of 

Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(5), 364-373. 

In regards to a question about the class I do not have any at the moment but will ask if any come up. I am looking forward to playing video games and seeing how they and other technology can be incorporated into the classroom.

Current Connections 3-19-20

The topic for this week’s current connection was deculturalization of Native Americans, specifically in schools. I have a little bit of previous knowledge on this topic because it was one we discussed in my highschool AP Lang course. An idea that stuck with me from that previous lesson concerned the contrevrsy of different sports mascots which depict racist images of Native Americans. Many fans do not see a problem with the images, but a quote from an article described that the main issue with these images is that sports fans were decking out in costume-like native garb and dancing mock tribal dances around grand stands, while at the same time the native americans themselves were being deculturized and not free to wear their own clothes and practice their own dances.

Native American deculturalization began around the 1800s and continued into the 1900s however, the issues deeply rooted from this act of stripping away ones identity, have left racist undertones in schools and society. The current connections article I found is titled, “Restorative Education, Reconciliation, and Healing: Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonizing Leadership Education”, it discussed how we can continue to heal, what teachers can do in the classrooms, and how Native American students can reclaim history lessons.

The article I chose for current connections opens by providing examples on the hurt that still goes on today. From an example in 1975 of Native Americans being kicked out of class for speaking their tribal language, described as “dog grunts” to more recent and just as harmful hate speech in 2018 where there was a viral video of a white student mockingly giving a thumbs down to a native american student performing a tribal dance at a school assembly. Not to mention, we have constant reminders all around us of who our culture deems “dominant” or the “winner; we see monuments and statues that glorify colonizers and are placed right on old Native American ground in front of schools. These hateful words and actions lead Native American students to feel not only ostracized but targeted. And really how is a student expected to be able to focus on math problems when they have a constant fear of being physically or mentally abused. The article describes the effects fear has on learning, “the Indigenous brain is in a hyper-alert state poised to fend off threats to the cultural self and therefore less available for engaging in deep critical thinking.” On a fundamental level, discrimination is barring Native American students right to FAPE.

As teachers it is our duty to ensure all students, most importantly those at risk for being discriminated against, feel safe and protected. We can do this by setting standards right away that this classroom is not a place for discrimination, bullying, harassment, or anything of that kind. We need to ensure ample representation exists in the classroom perhaps through Native American thinkers, authors, or other professionals that can be used as examples in different subject areas. Of course, one of the most important things to do is also the most obvious; we must ensure that history is being taught accurately from the beginning. In second grade I learned about the first thanksgiving and how swimmingly the Native Americans and the Pilgrims got along. Now, obviously spare the gory details from a second grader, but teach right from the beginning so students have a foundation to build off of. It is important as a society that we first recognize our mistakes so we can learn from them, “reconciliation could not be achieved without racial healing and risked being temporary unless sustained through transformative actions.” The current connections article I found, discusses one method used to bring about realizing our errors and how to reconcile and correct, is called a “Racial healing circle”. In this circle the perpetrators listen to the victim from the victims point of view and vice versa. In our classrooms we will most likely not have any one who has modern day first hand experience of being deculturalized or of being a colonizer (however it is possible, especially the former). However, perhaps we can have roleplay in the classroom where a Native American student reads aloud a first hand experience of a Native American living in the time of assimilation and a different student can read a point of view of a school teacher from that era. Listening to each point of view validates everyones experience and the ultimate goal is to, ” form transformative relationships across racial, class, gender, and cultural lines… to reject the false hierarchy of human value based on race”. Creating an inclusive environment can also come from inviting Native American speakers or other professionals into the classroom as ways of representation and noting that Native Americans have vitally important thoughts to share. I am a middle childhood education major and I am currently studying the importance of establishing a positive identity in adolescents. It is so important developmentally for an adolescent to have a positive self identity, we must embrace Native American cultures in schools so these students don’t feel underrepresented or even ashamed of their identity.

The original article read for class described the practice of assimilation which held the motto, “kill the Indian save the man”. We see the blatant racism in these acts as well as the error of our ways. If we ignore this crime committed we only ensure that it will happen again. It is important to recognize our mistakes and teach it in the classrooms so future generations can learn from the past. It is also important to teach in our schools because we need to teach acceptance and equality. We must make active efforts to decolonize our schools and our society to ensure Native Americans have a safe and inclusive learning environment; in doing this Native Americans can academically succeed and we can all get one step closer to harmony.

Citation:

Cross, T.L., Pewewardy, C. and Smith, A.T. (2019), Restorative Education, Reconciliation, and Healing: Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonizing Leadership Education. New Directions for Student Leadership, 

LC 1 Current Connections

The reading assigned to our LC which we would make a current connection to was titled “How education turns school choice into a commodity” by Blake Lively. The article focused mainly on the concept of school choice and creating our education system into a market system. Market systems inherently favor the wealthy, therefore it is the poorer communities which are suffering. The article was very recent and specifically described how Donald Trump and his secretary of education, Betsy Devos have been proponents of this neoliberalism policy. With these themes in mind, I found an article titled, “Charter Schools Fail to Eradicate the Achievement Gap”. This article focused mainly on Charter schools with a required background knowledge of school choice vouchers mentioned in the original article. This was an aptly strongly worded article describing the current failings of the education system. The article started off by mentioning the market system that school vouchers perpetuate as stated in the previous article. If these themes were not already prevalent enough in today’s modern day I compared this sentiment of “the majority produce the wealth but only a handful own it ” to the French Revolution which had obviously detrimental consequences. The article outlines charter school’s main goals which were to close the achievement gap and rescue kids from failing schools, empowering parents with the choice to send their kids to a better performing school. However, research has shown that charter schools have not even slimmed the achievement gap they were so focused on eradicating. Charter schools have been doomed since their beginning with at least 3,000 closing in that time. This creates an endless cycle for students who went to public school, had their school shut down on the grounds of them being “underperforming”, moved to a charter school via voucher, then had the charter school shut down. Research has already shown the negative effects on academic performance for kids who are forced to move around due to a parents job change or other reasons, now the school system is giving more possibilities for students being forcibly relocated. Even so, charter schools have not been shown to strengthen academic performance in any subject. Keeping in mind all of these problematic issues, charter schools have been known for corruption and deception. During class discussion there was one student who attended a charter school, they gave input on this topic of corruption by stating that their charter school claimed to have higher attendance records then in actuality, therefore they received more funds, which they did with as they pleased. 

The most troubling part of all of this to me was a section in the article that stated, “people do not think education should be for sale. They want an end to the neoliberal wrecking of public education.” It still stuns me how undemocratic our country can be sometimes. This example of people wanting an end to neoliberalism, while neoliberalism continues to take over, reminds me of other unpopular legislation that still gets passed; for example most of the population, despite political party, can agree there should be some sort of gun control. And yet no action has been taken. This is because politicians are making money from lobbyists such as the NRA and benefit from guns not being regulated. Just as rich politicians make money from lobbyists, so do the rich in this school system. Our society already runs in such a way that the rich have everything and the poor have nothing, our school system should not run this way. 

Charter schools claim to provide “parental choice” and “parental power” however the choice is not truly there. They have a choice between a public school predetermined to fail by the rich people offering vouchers to get students out as soon as they get in or they have the choice of a problematic, corrupt, and unstable charter school. The biggest problem is summarized well by the article, “the rich are obsessed mainly with maximizing profit with impunity”, meaning they know they will not face retribution, because money is power. 

I asked the class for some suggestions on what should be done about the corruption of these schools. There were a wide range of answers, one that stuck out is that charter schools should have some sort of regulation to hold them accountable. While this is very true it poses the age old dilemma of the government cannot interfere with private institutions. A parallel exists here with other corrupt private organizations such as private prisons making profit off of their prisoners. Especially when the prisoners are forced to do work with little to no pay. I believe the problem exists in the institution itself. Even when public schools are “held accountable for their actions” it is not done it the proper way. That leads to legislation such as “no child left behind” where school funding gets cut when schools most need it. I believe there needs to be people who are actually teachers or educators mandating the school policy, not politicians who only see money and success without caring about any individual students future lives. 

Source: Tell, S. (2020, February 8). Charter Schools Fail to Eradicate the Achievement Gap. Retrieved from https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/02/charter-schools-fail-to-eradicate-the-achievement-gap/#footnote_ 0_101238 

LC 1 Pedagogic Creed

Our Learning Community was assigned to examine John Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed. Pedagogic Creed means one’s beliefs on teaching. For John Dewey this meant splitting up his belief into three articles. First, John Dewey stated that education has both psychological and sociological components. Psychology is the basis from which to begin, the child’s psychological ability should be examined and realized how exactly their abilities can be turned into their role in social service for society. Their role in society is where sociology comes into place, because sociology is the study of how society influences the world around us. Dewey emphasized that neither psychology nor sociology can exist without the other, in regards to their role in education. Dewey also stated in his first article, “what education is” that educators should make students apart of a community so they have a sense of belonging and obligation to group. I thoughout this was an interesting point, because in another education course I am currently taking, The ADolescent and YOung Adult; we are discussing the importance of belonging to an adolesectn. IN this stage of their development, it is vital adolescents feel like they belong to a group. Dewey believed community was a good way to relate to their surroundings, community is also a good way for students to feel important.  In Dewey’s second article, “what the school is”, Dewey stated school is primarily a social institution. Schools should focus on the process of living right now, not preparing for a hypothetical future. The future is not definite and ever changing, therefore it is more logical to prepare students for right now. This version of present life should be simplified, however, in accordance to the grade level of the student; the student should be able to understand the concept without too much conflict. On another point, school should not be creating completely new and foreign ideas, school should deepen values from home life. The teacher shouldn’t give restrictions on education, the teacher should select influences which affect child. Therefore, the child has the freedom and forms the ability to grow and learn independently. Finally, in article three, “The subject matter of education” Dewey reinforced ideas previously aforementioned. Such as, the subject matter should correspond with current events in children’s life. In reference to the communities children should be placed in, all academic subjects should refer back to their social community/ real life. This way, life is very real and relevant to the child.

Our LC chose to focus on the ways that Dewey’s teaching relates to different types of schools such as Montessori and Lab Schools. These schools can be very child centered and challenge the students to relate to the world around them. To organize our projects we created a google doc to outline our work, and presented a slideshow to display our work. Both are shared with you under the title of “lc 1”

My contribution to the design of the learning experience is as follows. We decided upon a time where we could all meet and discuss the layout of our project. I opened up the google doc and created the outline of our thoughts as we talked. We decided the makeup of our project would focus on key points of Dewey, the structure of his essay, three other examples of current structures which relate to Dewey, and then finally a Kahoot to review and engage our fellow students. Finally we would have a discussion on what everyones thoughts or concerns were. Among our LC we decided who would do what part of the project and then split up to work independently. I created the layout of the design and began working on my portion. I read through Dewey’s essay again, keeping in mind what I needed to focus on, and annotated thouroughly. My portion of the project first included giving a brief summary of Dewey’s esssay and main points. The next portion I was in charge of focused on Montessori schools and relating them back to Dewey’s essay. The idea of discussing Montessori’s schools was mine, I had grown up around a Montessori school, based on what I have heard they sounded like something Dewey may have been on board with. I did further research on the pro’s and con’s of Montessori schools and related these points back to Dewey’s essay. I then contirubted by leading the conversation of the classroom requesting a question or a comment from everyone. The website I used for research on Montessori is cited on the google slide and I will attach the link here as well.

Meinke, Hannah. “Exploring the Pros and Cons of Montessori Education.” Rasmussen College, 4 Nov. 2019, www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/pros_cons_montessori_education/

I thoroughly enjoyed this reading and project. Completing the learning experience project really deepened my understanding of what Dewey was stating. As a future educator I will try to enforce the ideas given by Dewey which I believe are the most applicable and important.

Web Post 1: Class Survey

Hello! My name is Katherine Boyer, but I go by Kate! My preferred pronouns are she/her. I am from Wooster, Ohio which is a small city about an hour and a half away from John Carroll. I am a first year student at John Carroll and I hope to teach at the middle school level, grades 4-9. I am specializing in English Language Arts and Social Studies. I love to read and spend time with my friends and family. I love a variety of TV shows and movies, especially The Office and Harry Potter. I am currently Vice President/ Financial Officer of John Carroll’s improv club. I love to perform and act, I did theater and speech and debate in high school, but for now I am just enjoying the freedom and creativity that comes from improv. As of right now I don’t have any extremely noteworthy items on my agenda for this semester, however I am going to try to be open to new adventures and experiences.

On a serious note, there are many matters that are important to me. I am very passionate about politics and often read articles to keep up to date. I believe in equality for all regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, immigration status, etc. There are countless articles on these very serious matters which are near and dear to my heart. Instead of choosing one of those, however, I am going to insert an article that I remember vividly the day it was released, about a confirmed UFO sighting. In knowing the infinite expansion of our universe, I believe it is almost narcissistic to think that humans on our tiny planet are the only possibly life forms out there. https://www.history.com/news/navy-confirms-ufo-videos-real

For my service project I chose the Fatima Boys and Girls Club.

To feel comfortable taking risks in class I would want to be in an environment where I know it is okay to make mistakes. As well as having help fixing mistakes. I would be most comfortable if I knew my peers well and had confidence the professor was a kind person.

I feel like a lot of concerns for education right now come from a lack of budget in the school systems. Teachers are often paying for classroom supplies out of their own pocket, while also being underpaid in the first place! Another significant problem is that many decisions made on behalf of educational standards are decided not by educators, but by politicians; it should be the other way around.

I would like to know what inspired you to become a teacher.