Sunday, September 29, 2013

¿Dónde Está Aria? (Exploring Aria by Richard Rodriguez)

Talking Points #2 - Quotes 

The article I decided to explore this week was Aria by Richard Rodriquez because I found it to be an interesting and personal depiction of a english language learner.  There were parts that I totally found heart breaking and I felt for Richard.  

1."Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom.  I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease.  But I would have delayed---for how long postponed?---having to learn the language of public society. I would have evaded---and for how long could I have afforded to delay?---learning the great lesson of school, that I had a public identity." (p.34)
  • I feel like this quote sets the reader up for the main point of this entire article.  This article is about a young boy struggling to find his identity as a spanish speaker in America.  I have to say some things did bother me while reading this text which I will get to later.  All he wanted to hear was that he had the right to be allowed to learn the public language of "los gringos." This article stresses the issue with the melting pot! We focus too much on changing someone's culture. Instead, we should embrace it! 

2. "The family's quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents." (p.37)
  • I couldn't help feel really sad for Richard!  Even though, he was learning English and able to communicate with his peers, he was growing distant to his immediate family.  At one point, he said in the article that the loss of his spanish culture and those endearing words drove a wedge in between the closeness of his family.  I couldn't help but wonder how hard that must've been.

3. "They do not seem to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized.  So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality." (p.38-39)
  • Richard Rodriguez makes the argument for the necessity of assimilation. He states that someone can be an individual in two ways through private and public displays.  Therefore, he argues that one can maintain their private and close culture while joining a bigger culture.  He says their are ways to integrate the two together.  You don't need to lose yourself and your heritage to be assimilated. 

It was hard to just pick one article this week because I believe this article and the other one by Virginia Collier are great companions to one another.  I read Aria first and while I  was reading Teaching Multilingual Children I kept thinking back to the Rodriguez piece.  If Rodriquez's teachers followed some of the steps that Collier, presented in her piece then I think he would've still been able to maintain his closeness to his family.  Take for example, Collier's third rule for ESL teachers "Don't teach a second language in any way that challenges or seeks to eliminate the first language." This was the big mistake that the nuns made at the very beginning by implying to Richard's parents that he was a bad student because his English wasn't as good yet.  They wanted his parents to only speak English which kind of diminished the culture of the family a little bit.  

Richard Rodriguez

Personal Reflection:

I found this article to be very interesting because it provided me with a different viewpoint for all people that are trying to learn English as a second language.  This made me think of my Mom because when she was young, she came to America from Portugal and had to learn English.  I never realized how difficult that must've been for her or how much she felt like she was giving up of her own self-identity.   I mean I know it's hard to learn English but I never realized how much more than just learning the language is involved; it's a very personal thing.  You really have to struggle to find your identity, so I have a tons more respect for all the English Language Learners out there!

Point to Share:

The point that I believe is essential to share is the points that Rodriguez was trying to make.  Is it ok for someone to feel like they're losing a part of who they are to be assimilated to the American Culture? What are some things that we can implement in schooling systems that will be more beneficial to the English Language Learners?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

From Student to Teacher (First Day of SLP)

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So, today was my first day doing my service learning project and to say I was nervous is an understatement.  Although I had anxiety all morning, I knew once I stepped into that classroom I was going to rock it. And that's exactly what I did!  I was pleasantly welcomed by all the amazing students and teacher.

Since it was my first visit, I was focused on observing the teacher's style and method of teaching.  I was pleasantly surprised when the teacher explicitly gave directions to the students; it was obvious that she knew her Lisa Delpit.  I was able to work with a small group of kids and helped them with their reading assignments.  Although, it was hard to wrangle them up at times, I enjoyed my first experience.

Looks like I was nervous for no reason because I totally rocked it!!....obviously ;)

"Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" in Visuals!

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Anything But Amazing...(Exploring Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace")

Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol depicts the lives of those who lived in the Mott Haven area(a neighborhood located in the Bronx) in the 1990's.  Dubbed as being one of the "largest racially segregated concentrations of poor people in our nation", Mott Haven plays host to an epidemic of crime, disease, and addiction.

"What is it like for children to grow up here?"  Kozol presents his first major argument, by implying that the disastrous conditions of the city affect the lives of the innocent children who live there.  To give his argument validity, Kozol provides us with a personal story.  A personal story, that focused on the life of seven-year-old Cliffe and how the city had influenced certain areas of his life.  Cliffe was to take Kozol on a tour of the city, and to Kozol's surprise Cliffe appeared to be cheerful despite "the miseries and poisons that the world pumped into his life."

St. Ann's Church where Kozol met Cliffe
The walk that both Kozol and Cliffe went on was both heart-breaking and shocking, to say the least. When they walk past a tree that has teddy bears hanging from it, Cliffe who avoids answering directly what those stuffed animals represent, says "I saw a boy shot in the head right over there."  Immediately after, he asks Kozol if he would like a cookie.  This indicates that these children are so accustomed to these bad things that they just dismiss them and learn to deal with them.  The fact these children have to deal with these issues, puts into perspective that you really don't know how bad someones family conditions may be.  Children are very important and I believe Kozol is trying to say that the government needs to help more before these innocent kids find themselves in the same awful predicaments as their adult counter parts.  However, one thing that I found refreshing was Cliffe's sense of religiousness.  Even though, he's living in such hard times, he finds a way to be happy and do the right thing according to the word of God.

In the 90's this was the major hospital
that never received accreditation. 
Another argument that Kozol presents in Amazing Grace, is the fact that these people are being overlooked when it comes to health care.  I found this part of the text extremely heart-breaking especially when he included the story about Alice Washington, a woman living with AIDS.  I found it disgusting when she talked about going to the hospital and sometimes waiting days to get admitted. When she did finally get admitted she had to prepare her own bed and the excuse she got was "Ms.Washington, you've been here before, you know we are understaffed." Like really?  Another thing I found disturbing, is when this woman had cancer and she was denied SSI because she wasn't "sick enough."  Again, I say REALLY? Like what the hell is this government doing to help these people? You would think that since a neighborhood that is so high on the sickness rate, people would be more compelled to help.  But, I guess not!

Before I conclude I just wanted to point out a quote that I found interesting made by Washington's son. "I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher could call evil.  Somebody has power.  Pretending that they don't so they don't need to use it to help people-that is my idea of evil."  This brought me back to the articles we read by Johnson and Delpit where they argue that sometimes those who have power don't want to admit that they do because it makes them uncomfortable.

However, I believe those who have power, need to use it to help these people who are dealing with these diseases because WHEN IT COMES TO BEING SICK:

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

All About Me...

Hey everyone I'm Alex and I think it's fitting if I told you a little something about myself.  First off, I'm obviously a student at RIC who's majoring in English Secondary Ed with a minor in creative writing.  For as long as I could remember, I always wanted to be a teacher and I'm very happy that I'm pursuing that dream.  But enough of the boring details, let's get to the fun stuff! Pawtucket is where I was born and raised and it definitely has become my playground. I love to make people laugh and have a good time! When I'm not working/doing school work you're most likely to find me going on crazy adventures with my friends.  I drive a '96 Chevy Caprice Classic so you will definitely notice me barreling through town jamming to my collection of the dirtiest songs imaginable.  If I could describe my self, I would say I'm a fun, educated, smart individual frosted with a little hood/street smart lol. Oh yeah, I'm a total fiend for reality t.v. and anything pop culture.  Yes, I admit it's sort of an addiction! What are you waiting for? Click around my blog!

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