Monday, May 10, 2010


I just wanted to take the time to conclude my overall experience as a volunteer , tutor in the providence public school system. It was without a doubt an eye opener for me. It is true that you do learn something new every day. I realized that I take a lot for granted within my life now at 21 years of age and when I was a grade student. And that there are some very unfortunate kids out there who are so grateful for the little they do have. I also realized that things have defiantly changed a lot from when I was an elementary student. I feel as though the children now know a lot more of the stuff they shouldn’t know yet and they are so advanced,and its not so much academic wise. I had some good times with the children as we taught one another, I helped them learn and they helped me be thankful for what I have and the life I live. I met some good people who helped me realize a little more each day the kind of teacher I want to be. I am thankful for the opportunity and I hope to change some of the lives of young children in the future.

Prompt 6 & Dewey

Communication is without a doubt one of the more important aspects I feel in education. I think without proper communication that there are always a lot of confusions, misconceptions, and more obviously miscommunications. A culturally competent teacher I strongly believe must use a variety of verbal, as well as non verbal communication techniques that encourage their students with positive social interactions, in which are supportive learning experiences within a classroom

Personally, while tutoring my kindergarten aged children I have found a few ways of communicating non verbally that have been a positive learning experience for my children. When going over their vocabulary words I use hand or face motions/expressions that help that remember/recognize the words. For example for the number word TWO I would put two fingers up for the word up I would use a thumbs up etc. Moreover, I also had the children write words that that couldn’t remember 3x each, and have them repeat the word each time they wrote it down. I noticed that the teacher in my classroom did similar things. She would say words aloud and have a picture to correspond with it. She made sure that all of her students were focused and paying attention whenever she spoke and did an activity. To make sure they were paying attention should would ask specific questions about the lessons. I feel it is especially important for educators to be aware of the fact that learning at a young age is essential for proper development. My teacher also likes to do 90% of her class activates in groups, incorporating social activity. And according to John Dewey he also believes that education is a social function. The more group involved activities, the more learning occurs.

Having social group oriented activities allows children to get to know one another, as well as learn how to work with others. Dewey also talks about how a child’s communication also has to do with their social life outside of school. People are attracted to other people with similar interests. For example in my classroom I tutor in there is only two white students, and they are always together. The troublemakers in the classroom are two African American boys and the most talkative, outspoken children are all of Spanish descent. So following Dewey’s belief, I would have my students sit in different groups, with different groups of children every couple of weeks to change things up and give them the opportunities to get to know one another on a different level, other than what they already know. On a personal level with my students the do not really talk about their personal lives because I don’t think that most of them realizes the certain situations they are in because of their age. I think if I were to see some of these children again in a few years they would have more to say aside from their school work.

Prompt 5 & Delpit

I think as an aspiring teacher that involving works with the students and their families, as well as some of the community, and its resources would be a great idea because that way it keeps everyone on the same page. Also the parents could be involved in what their child is learning in school and the children would like to have their parents see what they have learned. I remember as a grade school student whenever we had after school activities where our parents got to come and interact with their children in a school setting that I always had a great time as well as a great learning experience. I remember in the 3rd grade we got to invite our parents to a science fair night with a bunch of experiments that had to do with our curriculum, games, and activities, the children got to learn as well as win educational orientated prizes. I think schools now should do more of these. It’s a fun, yet good way to learn.

I think depending on what kind of neighborhood in which I am teaching, would depend on the family/parent interaction with the school and community. I think that in an upper class to middle class neighborhood parents would be more involved and as you would get into the poorer, less fortunate neighborhoods and families, parents would be less involved. I don’t think its necessarily because they do not want to be involved, but because most of the time these families have work commitments, and communication issues that conflict with their involvement with their children’s school.

For example, while volunteering at my elementary school, one day a parent of a student who attends the school came in to speak with her child’s teacher. The only problem was it wasn’t the parent physically speaking to the teacher but her child who was translating for his Spanish speaking mother. I was looking at the teacher and it seemed as though she felt awkward with the situation only because what the student was translation from the teachers English to the mothers Spanish was about himself. So nothing that was said was at all private.

Lisa Delpit had a lot to do with my understanding of teacher, student communications and relationships as well as student, parent teacher relationships.. I think it is very important to have a good relationship as a student with your teacher and as a teacher with your student and their parents. Delpit seemed to focus a lot on the communication of poorer, African American students and their families. But she did mention how regardless of background some way of communication was essential in the learning process. And for children who are less fortunate than others that communication is absolutely necessary. Not only from an education standpoint but in all aspects of life I strongly believe that commuication is key no matter what it has to do with.

I would try to communicate with parents as much as possible. I would like to communicate with them through a school based e-mail system. If parents were not able to communicate through email I would communicate through letters that would be available in their native languages. I would generously give my spare after school personal time to parents who wanted to speak with me personally as well, and possibly have an appointment book to be organized.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Prompt #4 Johnson

As an aspiring culturally competent teacher, I must be aware of the diverse and cultural groups that may be represented in my classroom. I must investigate the sociocultural factors that may influence my students learning. Since no students enters the classroom without a personal history, I think it is quite obvious that no matter who you are, or where you go, that you’re going to encounter someone or something that you are not used too. I think that is part of life, and the way things work. As a teacher you might find yourself in some situation that you may have thought you would never be in. I think this comes into effect when a teacher who went to school in a different community or area, finds themselves teaching in a whole different atmosphere. As far as a teacher is concerned, they should be aware of the fact that No one enters a classroom without a personal history; thus, no one enters a classroom completely free of bias. I think that people are products of their environments and you are what you live in. Therefore in you were brought up one way, and for a while you may think that way is the only way, or right way, your wrong. Teachers have to be very open minded and be willing to learn and understand new ways of doing things.
Where I went to school as a child, that schools itself were not very diverse but my city was. I live in a relatively big city, and I feel as though we had a little bit of everything having to do with races and ethnicities. But depending on where you lived in the city, depended on what kind of kids you went to school with. Although I have always lived in the “better”, “nicer” end of the city, my parents put me in schools somewhere in the middle of the “bad” and “nice” parts of the city so that I could get the full public school experience, and I’m glad they did. I know some people who have never went to school with a black or Latino person up until college. And when they were in college they felt as though they did not know how to react to them. I am thankful that I never had to deal with that issue. My schools never had the best resources, and my high school had over 3,500 students in it. I think because of me going to school with many different kinds of students that it allows me now as an adult to be open minded and comfortable around all different kinds of people. I think people should be open to learning new things everyday and that as a teacher you have to really be open. What one may think about a certain kind of person of a particular race or ethnicity they might have a different opinion after working with one or meeting one. More over I would like to include the theorist Allan Johnson when discussing this issue, as I stated above it is very unlikely that someone can go through life without any kind of bias, therefore Johnson is his article, “ Our House is on Fire,” focuses mainly on how people say they are not racist in any way and that they have nothing to do with the problems around it, but in reality that is not the case. It is very important that as educators you go into a classroom as free of bias as possible and give every student the best support and education despite their personal histories. Johnson also says that one person cannot change the bias of people but if a person recognizes and accepts their own personal beliefs that eventually things could change. To promote tolerance, and celebrate difference.

Students should feel as though they are all unique in their own ways. That school should prepare them for their futures no matter, what school they go to or where they live. If I was the head teacher in my classroom where I tutor I think I would sometimes have issues with parents. They would probably think because I am white that I don’t completely understand their personal issues and hardships. Some parents might even think that I think I am better than them. The teacher in my classroom is a white woman. There are only about 2 white students in the class and the rest either Latino or African American and mixed races. But the assistant teacher in the room is an African American women. Right there though I think that is telling in itself because the head teacher in the class in white, but the assistant is black. Going into this experience I didn’t really have any misconceptions only because like I said before I went to school with all different types of children and people, so it really had no effect on me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prompt # 3 Shor

As a teacher, I believe that it is extremely important to be aware, and acknowledge the individual and different specific needs of all of your students. Teachers should be open to the idea of being able to use a variety of different assessment techniques while making sure that their students are active and participating in them. Teachers should come up with as many different appropriate activities and assignments that they can to help their students succeed in any way they possibly can. Teachers should understand that their students are diverse learners and students may need to learn in different ways than others. Especially because they all come from different linguistic, ethnic, and sociocultural backgrounds.
Teachers need to accommodate the needs of their students. For example a student with different linguistics than most of the other children needs extra, and or special attention. The teacher could come up with ways to make the student understand better, or even take more time with this student before or after school. The teacher could send home specific homework assignments that would allow the student to practice on his/her free time. Moreover, at my elementary school where I tutor kindergarten students there are MANY students that speak another language other than English. The school does consist of mostly minority students. I also believe that for many of the students at this school that English was NOT there first spoken language. When I am tutoring my three students I pay special attention to one little girl. Over a few sessions with working with her I realized that she did not speak English, and that english was not her primary language at home. And that she was also in one of the bilingual classes at the school. She is my one student that has the most difficult with her studies as well. With her I will exaggerate things more and reinforce a lot of different concepts to her.
Also i believe that as teachers we should all consider the students ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds when we teach. We should consider all ethnicities and allow our students to ask questions and to actively participate in their learning. A theorist that comes to mind when I think of participating being an important aspect in a classroom in Ira Shor in his article, “Problem Posing: Situated and Multicultural Learning”, He believes that teachers should teach in such a way that the actual teaching process encourages students to question what they have been taught. For example when teaching a Spanish speaking bi- lingual student a social studies lesson in English where they might not completely understand, then repeat the lesson in their native language. Then have the student ask questions comparing and contrasting what they just learned in both languages.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prompt # 2 Goldenberg

The linguistic, ethnic and sociocultural characteristics of the students in the classroom that I tutor in are very different from my own, and are basically what I expected overall. They vary in multiple ways. When I was in elementary school, middle school and high school I would consider the schools that I attended, somewhat multi cultural but the majority of the students were of Portuguese decent, but at the same time I did attend school with other people from many different ethic groups and with many people who had different sociocultural characteristics than my own. I was used to being around people from all different backgrounds and I am comfortable with that. Therefore it was easy for me to get comfortable when at my school that I tutor at and in my classroom.
The linguistic characteristics of my students vary because of the fact that some of them speak English as a second language, and some live around or with people who do not speak English properly therefore they speak not as well as they should. I have a child who speaks Spanish as her first language. Ironically enough I found that out because she travels to my classroom for our tutoring session, so I checked out her classroom that she travels from and it is one of the bilingual classrooms in the school. During that same day I noticed her walking in the hallway after our tutoring session with a friend and she automatically started speaking Spanish so fast and quickly. I was surprised because although her English is not the most proper, I can always understand her well. What i did observe was she is the student out of my three that has the hardest time who simple vocabulary that the other two students do not. But I thought it was so amazing how a child at 6 years old could actually speak another language other than English so well. For whatever reason it made me happy to hear her speak. I actually had an opportunity to meet with one of the mother's of the of the children I tutor one day. He happens to be my best student as far as academics, and his mother spoke very well and proper, which makes sense that he speaks English well, and from what I can see, is a good student academically. My third student likes to use slang words when she speaks such as " aight" and "k" " nosa" But I know that English is her only language spoke at home. But overall, they can all speak English, but at the same time they could all use some more help. I wanted to point out also that I found an automatic connection to Goldenberg when I heard one of my students speaking Spanish after class that one day. My connection was how I realized that out of my three students, she was the most far behind in our "Reading Buddy" activities. Goldenberg talks about how students seem to fall behind because of the language barriers with speaking one language constantly at home and then English at school. His observation was to teach dual language speaking students in both native and English language.
The ethnic and sociocultural chracteristics that I have observed while tutoring is that right around the time that I am getting ready to leave, the kids have snack time. I tutor in a kindergarten class, and they get to have snack time. It is so interesting to me to see what these kids pack for snacks. They bring things I have never seen before. Home made little sandwitches, and cracker combinations. For example in my household we have certain cookies that are "Portuguese" cookies, so someone from a non Portguese area would probably not know what kind of cookie I was eating. I also find it interesting how some kids snacks and lunch boxes are neatly organized, and some look like they were tossed in a brown ripped, paper bag two seconds before the school bus came to pick the child up in the morning. I think that has to do with the parenting, and how they take care of time managment and organization. Also I always observe how the students come dressed to class. Whose shirts are ironed and whose pants are wrinkled. I think that is telling. A child in a kindergarten class, in my opinion should not be responisble for getting him or herself dressed in the morning and I think that all has to do with the household in which they live. Its obvious that some of these children are less fortunate than others, just by looking at the clothes they wear.

In conclusion, I agree with Goldenberg and to better then English speaking children of our school system we as educators should use both a childs native and the English language when teaching a student. I also think that schools should try to inforce having to wear uniforms so that all children are looked as as equal and all look the same.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Promt #1

The neighborhood in which my school is located, is an urban, busy environment. Located very close by to local hospitals. There are a lot of street lights, and people always seem to be in a rush. The outside of the school building is made out a brick. The railing adjacent to the stairs look old and rusted. To get into the building one needs to ring the buzzer, in order to be allowed in. The school building does not stand tall, probably only consisting of two floors. The signs outside of the school building are not only in English but in Spanish as well. Right away I knew that this school was going to have many Spanish, oriented speaking students, coming from Spanish cultures and back rounds. Where I am from, there were never any signs outside of schools with different languages on them other than English. Inside of the school building it smelt just like I remembered an elementary school smelling. I saw smiling,grumpy and tired looking faces as I walked in for the first time.I heard whining and the sniffling of stuffy noses. Right inside of the main entrance to the building there were kids waiting outside the main office, for late slips to class, for they were late to school that morning. It was evident to me already at that point that I was in a school community where minorities were the majority. I thought the space and the surrounds of the school were welcoming, and I imagined the school to look a lot different than what it did. The lighting in the building is dull, but the brightly colored signs, and paintings seemed to brighten things up within the schools corridors. The signs on the hall way walls were all educational and positive sayings, for example " Today is a great day to do your best!" More over, I was happy to find out that I was going to be tutoring in a particular room because it is a large, open, colorful room with space and versatility. Right away the children were very welcoming and happy to see me there. Some of the kindergarten classrooms were very stuffed and cluttered. Classrooms with the same amount of children in them varied in size. Over all, the school felt welcoming, although at times the adults inside it did not. My teacher seems very focused on her students. She adapts to certain children to accomedate their individual needs. She shows motivation and great concern. She is caring and friendly as well. Right away I was introduced to what this school values. My school values the three words, respect,responsibilty, and safety. In order to exagerate the importance of those words, definaitions and examples are posted throughout the school. Students are rewarded feathers(feathers because their schools mascott is a bird) everytime they show either of those vauled words and after recieveing a certain amount of feathers, they get to choose from prizes, which for school aged children is very rewarding and exciting.

Monday, February 15, 2010

About Me

Hey guys ! My name is Taylor I am 21, and a junior transfer from CCRI. There I played soccer for two years. I also played soccer for RIC this past fall, and look forward to finishing my last year of eligibility for soccer in fall of 2010 here at RIC. I have played for 16 years and I love it! I am an elementary ed major, intended to be an educational psych counselor sometime in the future. I am all about my family and dogs! I have a Yorkie terrier and a pit bull. I am from MA and during the school year I live on campus. I work in the Murray center, in the athletic training room here at RIC and I also work in a shoe store that I have been working at for the past four years. During my free time, (if I ever have any) I like to relax, spend money and SLEEP! I am hoping to have a good spring semester and planning on taking summer courses as well. :o)