Simultaneous Participation

The first time that we, as a class, read sections within The America Play book by Suzan Lori Parks, I had a very hard time as an observer and a listener comprehending everything that was being read during the parts where sections were read out loud at the same time. Last Friday, April 12th, I volunteered to read out loud the left-hand side of the page. I volunteered to do this mainly to see if I was able to have a better understanding of the significance of this strategy when I was actually on the other side of it. Unfortunately, it left me even more confused than before. I have been thinking about this a lot and I am still having a lot of trouble understanding the significance of reading a text simultaneously.

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What Role do Symbols and References Play in Literature?

Symbolism has always been a complex thing for me to grasp. My freshman year of college for one of my education classes I had to listen to a podcast that discussed standardized testing. Please note that I was unable to relocate this podcast online, so I will be discussing from my own memory. From what I can remember about this podcast it told the story of how a poem was published within a Texas State standardized test. When the poet of the particular poem saw the questions that were asked in relation to her poem she could not even answer some of the questions. For example, one of the questions regarding symbolism asked, “What does the color red of the door symbolize?” In the podcast the poet explained that picking red as the color of the door meant nothing, it was just the first color to pop into her head. In Jennifer Galvao’s blog post “What I Mean to Say Is…” she explores an idea that I believe this particular poet was probably feeling when she came across the standardized test questions. Jen writes, “every time I choose a word in my writing, I am unknowingly trying to find that symbiosis between content and form- a way to express what I mean. At the same time, going back to the ‘plugged in’ idea, the word I choose sometimes bears a meaning that I did not intend.” Connecting Jen’s astute thought to the story told in the podcast, it seems to me that the creators of the standardized test selected a meaning behind the red door that the poet did not even intend. Continue reading “What Role do Symbols and References Play in Literature?”

Production and Consumption in the Classroom

This semester I have to complete a thirty-seven-hour practicum for one of my education classes. The school in which I have been placed in is a very small and rural school not too far from Geneseo and also not too far from my own personal high school that I attended. Although, not very far away the culture shock that I have experienced has been substantial. Throughout the time that I have spent at this school so far, I have learned that a great deal of the students within the high school is at a reading level that is significantly lower than what it should be. With so many struggling students within the school I have interpreted that many of the teachers feel as if there is nothing to be done, other than just present them with the curriculum and hope for the best.

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The Absence of Dichotomy with Gun Violence

Last week Dr. McCoy passed out a packet which was comprised of some of her favorite poems. While reading through the poems together as a class I was immediately drawn to one of the poems due to a personal connection. When the line “what do you call it when a man sets his own house on fire, takes up a sniper position, and waits for firefighters?” was read out loud I instantly felt a connection to Jamaal May poem “The Gun Joke.”

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Culture Viewed with a Mask or Veil

            After Dr. McCoy passed out the essay prompt on Friday for the Spring 2016 African American Literature course I found myself immediately gravitating towards a particular epigraph stated on the prompt. I found the words of Glenn Ligon, an American conceptual artist who explores things such as race and identity within his work, to be compelling and interesting. On the prompt Ligon’s words are stated as such, “Perhaps it is a feeling that cultural products are used as substitutes for sustained and meaningful contact between people. It’s like send me something from where you are, but don’t come here.” Continue reading “Culture Viewed with a Mask or Veil”

Consent as a Grey Area

Recently I was having a discussion with my of my friends who has a learning disability. She was telling me that this semester in one of her classes her professor does “popcorn reading,” otherwise known as calling on a student randomly to read out loud. Although, her learning disability is something that she does have a good grasp on at this point in her life, she still struggles with reading out loud. As a result she dreads going to that particular class. This brings up a very interesting question for all of us who are apart of the collegiate community. Should professors ask their students for their consent when it comes to things like randomly calling on them in class or as students of the college do we automatically give our consent when we pay our tuition bills and register for our classes? Continue reading “Consent as a Grey Area”

My Future Classroom Awaits

To be honest, I really did not know what to expect coming into this class. I have never taken a class that focused this kind of context, however, I have already found my future teacher self very inspired. I am a junior English major striving for a certification in adolescent education. Within my education classes over the past two semesters we have spent much time discussing how to connect and engage students of many different backgrounds and cultures. I have concluded that it is important to include a wide range of curriculum that would attract a wide range of students and yesterdays in class activity only enhanced that understanding

After participating in the straddling activity, I found myself thinking about the activity in terms of education. This activity made it clear that every person has their own personal way of dealing with obstacles and struggles. When the activity was over, and we were all describing our experiences with the activity, no two people described the same experience. I found this very captivating due to the fact that the activity exhibits the diversity among all of us as humans and I think that idea is something teachers should always have in the back of their minds.

It has been empowering to me that so much of what we have already discussed within this class has already got me thinking about how I could apply it to my future classroom. Out of the course epigraphs one that has stood out to me was said by Dionne Brand and it states, “my job is to notice… and to notice that you can notice.” I found this epigraph very fitting when thinking about my future. I believe that every teacher should strive towards creating a safe and understanding environment that puts an emphasis on the importance of noticing, accepting, and implementing curriculum based around different cultures and backgrounds.