Tag Archives: Education

Matthew Lynch: Creating a Gender Responsive Learning Climate for Girls

July 15, 2011

Matthew Lynch says that we need to expose girls to great women in history as we support them in the complex modern world.

matthew_lynch
Matthew Lynch

 

In a responsive model of instruction, teachers seek out and include examples of achievements from both genders. While women and women’s classroom parity has come a long way since the days of Dr. Edward Clarke, it is still difficult to find curriculum texts that reflect an equitable picture of female accomplishments. Progress has been slow to incorporate gender-fair terminology into textbooks. Girls need to read about role models in science and mathematics—not just see pictures of women in lab coats with occasional references to females in the text.

The accomplishments of minority women, women with disabilities, local women from the community, and working class women all are important to help present a complete, realistic and equitable picture of female role models in society. It is valuable for young women to see the variety of ways in which females can impact their communities and their society, regardless of race, ethnic background or financial status. Teachers help overcome the gender inequities and change present perceptions by presenting accomplishments, experiences, and hard work of both men and women.

A balance of the particularistic and the inclusive is required. It is not healthy or productive to promote the historical female experience as completely negative—or to emphasize the struggles and minimize the triumphs—such an approach presents an unrealistic picture and may produce bitterness. Nor is it positive to emphasize men as the “oppressors”—this fosters resentment. Balance promotes equitable, respectful, and cooperative relationships with men in society.

There are many important reasons to emphasize women’s achievements. One of the most important is to build girls’ self-esteem. Blame the magazines, the movies, the models—blame Barbie—pin it on the pin-up girls, but the fact remains: girls struggle with the mixed messages about body image. Particularly impressionable adolescent girls struggle with bulimia, anorexia and the obsession with weight, and sometimes self-inflict injuries and other damage to their bodies.

Many girls who are bulimics and/or cutters have indicated that these actions are the only aspects of their lives over which they have control. Teachers lack the ubiquitous influence of the media to manipulate girls’ self-image. Advertising often pitches to the fundamental needs of the subconscious mind. Sex sells, to be frank—and while we cannot deny it, we do have some means to counter it.

Girls must be guided to see their potential in areas other than the physical. One helpful strategy is to acquaint young girls with the accomplishments of great women, including: Phyllis Wheatley, Marian Wright Edelman, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Mary Shelley, Jane Addams, Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Blackwell, Sacagawea,Wilma Mankiller, Isabel Allende, Deborah Sampson GannettDolores HuertaFrida KahloMaya AngelouSonia Sotomayor, Margaret Sanger, Unity Dow, Sally Ride and other women who overcame great odds to be strong and successful.

Each of these women is a standout figure in history or in society because of her hard work, her inner strength and her determination. In a society where supermodels and sex appeal are overvalued, adolescent girls must be reminded of their important inner qualities.

Dr. Lynch is an Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University. Dr. Lynch’s scholarship is intended to make a redoubtable, theoretically and empirically based argument that genuine school reform and the closing of the well-chronicled achievement gap are possible. Dr. Lynch is the author of three forthcoming books; Its Time for Change: School Reform for the Next Decade (Rowman & Littlefield 2012), A Guide to Effective School Leadership Theories (Routledge 2012), and The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching and Learning (Pearson 2013). He is also the editor of the forthcoming 2-volume set, Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians(Praeger 2012).

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…with liberty and justice for some.

I don’t remember the exact time I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  I know it was primary school age, because I remember vividly protesting against it at first, by not placing my hand over my heart, then by not saying anything at all, and finally, not standing all together.  It had to be primary age because in middle school, the pledge wasn’t played over the loud speakers, and in high school there was upheaval about the word “God” being a part of the pledge.  So, at an early age, I realized I wasn’t American.  It was if I already knew that “dream” didn’t include me.  No one told me to protest, no one said to me directly that I wasn’t protected by it’s promises.  But somehow I was aware that liberty and justice did not include me…

As I reflect on my life as a citizen of the United States, I would have to be blind to say that I don’t have it relatively better than perhaps most people on the planet.  Even though I struggle financially, and I don’t have healthcare, or even my own place at this very moment in time, I have the basics.  I have hot, running water, I have literally all the food I can eat.  I have an education and even a full-time, decent paying job.  But what I don’t have (and what many others don’t have as well) is a guarantee that tomorrow will be the same.  When my campus job is over, I’m technically homeless.  If I fall ill today, I can’t go to my physician, and if I go to the emergency room, my credit score will plummet even further into the depths.  I can’t go to the movies, or out for ice cream because I’m waiting for a paycheck (after three and a half weeks of work).  These things are all miniscule in the eyes of many people my age across the world.  But what this does represent is a false sense of freedom, and an immeasurable injustice.

Why is it that we celebrate our Independence, anyway?  Yes, we outsmarted the King and found a new home to call our own, but it was never ours to begin with.  So in this case, one man’s (or nation’s) freedom is another man’s bondage?  Our “forefathers” came to this country with fine garb and livestock, while my people came in chains.  Talk about independence!  The indigenous people of the Americas, those to whom this land rightfully belonged, became savages and squatters in their own home.  Talk about independence!  Women, who bore the brunt of population growth, didn’t have much choice in the matter to begin with.  And we talk about independence?

So the way I see it, what we are truly celebrating on this fourth day of July is conquest.  We loot and we pillage for our own self-gain.  We don’t care who we have to step on, spit on, or kill to gain our personal freedom.  And really, our liberty comes at a cost for others.

So today, as I listen to the slap-happy banter about cookouts, fireworks, and freedom, I can only pretend to believe in the American Dream.  It’s the greatest fantasy of all time!  I don’t mean to kill anyone’s dream of one day actually enjoying freedom, but sadly, that day and that time isn’t amongst us.  And to those few that are experiencing the sweet taste of liberty, I hope you paused today, and contemplated the cost…

 


Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.

Why you should listen to her:

In Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun has helped inspire new, cross-generational communication about the Biafran war. In this and in her other works, she seeks to instill dignity into the finest details of each character, whether poor, middle class or rich, exposing along the way the deep scars of colonialism in the African landscape.

Adichie’s newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope with a corrupted context in their home country, and about the Nigerian immigrant experience.

Adichie builds on the literary tradition of Igbo literary giant Chinua Achebe—and when she found out that Achebe liked Half of a Yellow Sun, she says she cried for a whole day. What he said about her rings true: “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.”

“When she turned 10 and read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, about the clash between Igbo tradition and the British colonial way of life, everything changed: ‘I realized that people who looked like me could live in books.’ She has been writing about Africa ever since.”

Washington Post


The Case for High Expectations

Children are mostly likely to live up to what you believe of them. -Lady Bird Johnson

 

My first year teaching; learning from the experts!


O meu Brasil, eu voltarei

It’s been two years, almost to date, since my last trip to Brasil.  In Bahia state sits a city with so much culture, so much passion, so much life.   That city is called Salvador.  It’s no coincidence that Salvador means savior in Portuguese, as I and so many others have found ourselves there.  I was awakened at a time in my life when I least expected to be asleep.  The first time I visited was in 2007, as an undergraduate student.  I had so many ideas, questions, and concerns when I left, and I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer before I returned.  In 2009 I had my second chance, and I took FULL advantage.  I met people that have truly changed my life, did things that I would both brag about and keep secret, touched a few lives, but was transformed by those who touched me, learned what “dancing” truly meant, ate like a queen of the Jungle, and connected with my roots.  And I’m not even Brasilian by nationality!  But when it was time to come back to the states, I was Brasilian, by experience.

This entry is not to recapture my trip to Bahia, but rather, to connect the events that have occurred thereafter, which only proves to me that Brasil is calling my name…

Teaching- In Salvador I was a volunteer English Teacher for a non-profit.  Because I had taught Kindergarten prior to my arrival, I thought I would be in a perfect place to reach my new students on the most basic level possible.  I was wrong.  My teaching style, and everything I was trained to do was challenged.  I didn’t get it right, but even more profound, when I returned to the states, I didn’t believe in what I had been taught, and that belief continued to crumble (and is still crumbling!) to the point where now, I no longer “teach”, I facilitate in a new environment, where my role is to unschool and allow students the freedom to develop their own path.  I am anxious to revisit the Brasilian classroom with this newfound understanding!

Friends- I made some lifelong friend in Brasil, and miss them dearly.  But even here in the states, I’m meeting the most unlikely people, like the governor of Bahia, and his wife!  I was in line at the beauty counter in an Indianapolis Walgreens when I met the first lady Fátima Mendonça!

Diet/Exercise- Since leaving Brasil, the way I eat has been altered.  Fresh fruit is a staple for me, but particularly, the tropical fruit I ate in Brasil.  The way I cook is also different, and I can tell my palette has matured for things I wouldn’t have eaten pre-departure.

These days I also find myself more active, and have incorporated different styles of dancing into my routine.  But what fascinates me the most is how quickly I pick out all-things-Brasil when I work out, go out dancing, or listen to music.  The connections that I make today seem profound, like everything leads back to that enchanted place.

Love- I see love differently today.  In Brasil, people are flowing with love.  Before I really understood Brasilians, I must admit that I believed what everyone else was saying:  Brasilians are hyper-sexualized, sensual, too free with themselves, etc.  But what I understand today is that the people who made those generalizations were not in touch with true love.  I believe you can’t put a cap on true love, and that when you feel it, you can’t help but share it with as many people as you can.  So all the touching, the closeness, the openness that we see many Brasilians demonstrate, actually comes from this awareness.  I can only hope to be as comfortable with sharing my love with more people.  What are we afraid of?

What I also realize today, is that this awareness and affinity that I have separates me from some, but brings me closer to others.  It seems like the people I meet today are either inspired by my story, or also have a story to tell!

My goal is to return within a year, which is a little past my previous goal, but because I know the Universe conspires, I know the timing will be right.  I want to return to uncover some truths that I believe awaiting me.  I want to share this place with my loverboy as well, in hopes that we will be transformed together…


Zombie Nation and the Unnatural Selection

Charles and his Darwinism 

I was doing a little research yesterday, brought about due to my restless brain waves and reminiscing about my college days studying Anthropology.  I recalled Social Darwinism– Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution, natural selection, and the survival of the fittest– and how at that time I thought many of his theories to be racist.  Well Yesterday, I couldn’t remember why I felt this way, so I decided to have a look.  Much to my surprise, I was taken aback with how many of his ideas I actually now agree with, including his views on the institution of religion, as well as how different species survive and adapt.  However, I can’t say that Darwin and I are soul brother and sister.  His life of privilege is what I believe prevented his notions from being fully translated across human lines: social, ethnic/racial, or economic situations, as they were all relevant to his lifestyle and his understanding of the world, which were arguably limited.  And I also don’t believe that Eugenics is the means of determining who is fit and who is doomed (as I know many of his ideologies were used to promote and support racist (among many other) theories about the “chosen ones”, and how to “clean up” the gene pool)).  BUT I have to say that he was obviously on to something that is proving to have detrimental implications on societies today.

This book is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.

My question is this:  In today’s evolving world, who are the true [human] survivors?  As I sit around watching “smart people TV” (Discovery, History, and Green Planet channels, oh, and sometimes CNN) as Dimitri Snowden likes to call it, I’m piecing together my own hypothesis, one that I’ve always believed in the depths of me, but could never truly express or even understand like I do today.  This hypothesis is that the most marginalized communities of the world–the ones where very little technology is available, the natural world is a playground, and the knowledge of the earth takes center stage– are the ones most equipped to survive.  This hypothesis has not yet been tested, but I’m not completely sure it even needs to.

It both excites and startles me when I think about getting back to the basics.  What does this even mean for a person like me, who, although has never lived a lavish life, comes from very humble beginnings, and isn’t even exactly sure what the next chapter holds, is still determined to embrace a necessary, modest, and rewarding existence, honoring and caring for the earth before it’s too late.  Sounds crazy right?  Well not if you look at the all the zombies lurking in your backyard.

I wonder if Darwin knew that one day, natural selection would no longer be, natural?

Today, aside from the celebrity lifestyle options of designer drugs and botox, there are even more frightening concoctions on the market aimed at making humans not feel a thing.  And we might need it for what Mother Nature has in store for us in the coming days.

I’m talking about prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies for everything!  From headache and depression, to birth control and bleaching cream.  The end result is a doped up population of look-alikes and feel-alikes, dangerous video game playing, gun carrying, cough syrup drinking, war praising, rape imposing, skin bleaching, tan craving, pill-popping, eyes wide shut, can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality synthetic human that is probably you or your next door neighbor.

Feel something?  There’s a Drug for that!

Nowadays our children are born with disorder, and with disorders that are thought to be genetic, but were never even considered during Darwin’s day.  I don’t know about you, but this thought, as bleak and dismal as it sounds, is the very society that we are living in.  Walking, talking ZOMBIES!  I often times find it extremely difficult to have meaningful conversations with even my closest counterparts because the awareness of what is happening to us as a species isn’t recognized.  I don’t mean to be a pessimist, especially considering that I do believe there is hope, but I’m not sure if this hope resides in our current leadership (and I’m speaking beyond President Obama, and the United States of America).  I think it will take the very people who fall victim to this confusion and illusion, to take a healthy dose of reality, perhaps having everything  they’ve worked for (including their houses, neighborhoods, and schools) crumble before them.  It may even take abandonment, loneliness, and the very things we call disorder(s) to destroy us, before we learn our lesson.

There is no hope for survival if we can no longer feel the pain.  If we are numb to life, we will surely burn in the fire.   It burns me up when I think about how genetically modified we are as humans.  How synthetic our existence has become.  As a child you don’t think about these kinds of things, you just do what you are told, believe what you hear, and take each day as it comes, until one day, you are programmed.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Those that are “marginalized”, humans that still have the knowledge of the earth, and live in ways that we in the “developed” world consider primitive, savage, or uncivilized hold a secret weapon that may be as natural as it gets.  But this weapon isn’t attained by colonization, and it  isn’t attained by participant observation (as Anthropologists would do).  It’s a simple as making a decision to minimize your synthetic intake.  That’s a start.  Recognizing that depression isn’t something to be medicated, it’s something to work through.  It’s related to a deeper issue, one that can be conquered by living.  Synthetically releasing hormones that are supposed to occur naturally means we need to alter our situations, not dope up on drugs.  Life is not supposed to be all roses.  Things happen, people get sick, people die.  And unfortunately, we experience things that may break us down.  That’s the gift of being human.  What purpose does it serve to live a long life if you haven’t felt anything along the journey?

This will work for YOU!

Now, I’m not naïve or jaded to believe that phenomena such as the cancer epidemic, global warming, and extinction of species are issues that we shouldn’t combat, or that education is indoctrination and all kids should be removed from school.  I just think we need a new approach, and while many people are in no mood to change, it shouldn’t discourage others not to.

A few ways to get started:

1.) Know the issues– what is happening around you, in your world, and in someone else’s.  You can’t turn on Fox and expect to know everything.  Get the other people’s facts too, and make your own informed decision. Be curious and discover for yourself!

2.) A mind and body to do– If you hear it, and you think it’s terrible, do something.  We often times flip on the news and say: “awww…” or “glad it’s not me”.  But the reality is it could be you, and what a lonely reality if no one comes to your aid.

3.) Create your desired lifestyle-  It’s one thing to say, “I wish I could look or feel like that”, and something completely different to start living.  You don’t have to be rich to be healthy, be in shape, or help others.  Want to live an organic lifestyle?  Start with just buying organic eggs!  Want a new dog?  Adopt one!  There are solutions to every problem.  I didn’t know how to get my mom to fully understand that what we put on our bodies isn’t always safe, so I bought her a small care package: sulfate-free shampoo, natural crystalline deodorant (bye bye anti-perspirant!) and paraben-free lotion.  And it’s all starting to sink in!

4.) Love yourself and others–  As cliché as it may sound, it’s probably the most important thing you can do for the planet.  Love inspires peace, peace inspires harmony.  If there is harmony, then Zombies can’t exist!  We have to be one with the universe if we expect to reap the benefits.  We have to know that death is a natural part of life, and that we can’t erase age or outlive ourselves.  This understanding will help us to live in the now.  Love will give us back the life we’ve taken for granted…

5.) Prepare- somethings are out of our control, while others can be prevented.  Have a plan, even if you never have to use it.  It can be as simple as a fire escape route, or as elaborate as escaping an alien attack.  I’m just kidding! But whatever your fear or anxiety is centered on, having a plan to survive it can definitely help.  Especially if you live in an area prone to disaster.  Your plan can simply be related to preparing for a great future.  Simply put, having a plan of action often leads to significant gains.  I think it has something to do with expecting of yourself:-)

and lastly

6.) Only bite off what you can chew-  Excess of anything can lead to undesirable results.  Too much alcohol= abuse and liver sorosis.  Too much cursing= limited vocabulary.  And Too much fishing= decline of sealife (which alters the ecosystem significantly and has horrible affects for humans too!).  You get my point.

Perhaps I’m an ideologist, some might even call me paranoid.  But one thing is for certain, I refuse to be a Zombie and risk my chances of surviving my so called LIFE!


Should kids get $100,000 to drop out of college?

Billionaire Peter Thiel is paying 24 overachievers to leave school and focus on entrepreneurial pursuits. Will this create the next Mark Zuckerberg… or just waste talent?
POSTED ON MAY 26, 2011, AT 11:50 AM
Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2004, dropped out of Harvard after creating Facebook, and billionaire Peter Thiel wants to make sure more Zuckerbergs aren't lost to college.

Mark Zuckerberg, pictured in 2004, dropped out of Harvard after creating Facebook, and billionaire Peter Thiel wants to make sure more Zuckerbergs aren’t lost to college. Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis SEE ALL 18 PHOTOS

Best Opinion:  Atlantic, Discover, Economist…

On Wednesday, Peter Thiel, the libertarian billionaire who founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook, announced the first class of his “Thiel Fellows.” The 24 overachievers, all under the age of 20 and in possession of ridiculously impressive resumes (MIT at 14, Stanford Ph.D at 19), will receive $100,000 each to drop out of college for two years and pursue “innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology companies of tomorrow.” Given the great expense of a college education — and the fact that tech stars like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are all dropouts — does it make sense to encourage exceptional young people to forget the ivory tower and head to Silicon Valley?

No, there are a lot of benefits to a college degree: “College dropout success stories are still a rarity,” says Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat. Sure, a college education comes at a great cost, but it also comes with great benefits. It helps students become more well-rounded, and gets them the credentials many employers require. Plus, school is “an incredible networking hub that connects and rewards people long after the debts are paid off.”
“Peter Thiel pays kids $100K to drop out of college”

And college is worth it financially, too: According to a recent Georgetown University study on the value of college, “Thiel’s assumptions are way off base,” says Adam Clark Estes in The AtlanticThe study showed that earning potential for college grads varies greatly, depending on what they major in, but ultimately a college education “is an investment that, on average, pays off big dividends across the board.”
“Peter Thiel bets $2.4 million against the value of a college degree”

But for a tiny minority, dropping out makes sense: The criticisms of Thiel’s program are “just plain stupid,” says Razib Khan at Discover. There are a few very exceptional people — those who will change civilization — who have nothing substantive to gain from college. Even if these Thiel fellows don’t change the world, Thiel should still be applauded for sending the message “that there is social and cultural value in being an oddball who doesn’t aspire to be a prominent and licensed professional, let alone a banker at Goldman Sachs.”
“Let a thousand Thiel fellows bloom!”

Besides, they can always go back to school: Thiel’s “initiative may be less controversial than the headlines suggest,” says M.B. in The Economist. “With luck, some of the 24 under 20 will follow in the footsteps of other notable stop-outs such as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg.” But if they don’t, they can always return to school and get a college degree.
“$100,000 drop-outs”

View this article on Theweek.com


Infographic: School Cafeteria Food vs. Prison Food

GOOD, Infographic, School lunch, Prison lunch, Column Five Media, transparency, Spending
Hopefully you haven’t gotten the chance to taste jailhouse cuisine, but if you’re a product of the American school system, you probably have childhood memories of standing in line for grey mashed potatoes, half-thawed mystery meat, and slimy canned peaches. How do the trays measure up?

A collaboration between GOOD and Column Five Media


ion360: bringing strategies full circle

ion360 is a team of expert designers, technologists and strategists. We are smart, curious and tireless — filled with high energy and intensely involved with our colleagues, families and friends <– we are the bomb! The ion360 team gets a blast out of looking under every rock and in every crevice to uncover surprising insights that at first seem to have nothing to do with the inquiries we receive and the projects we’re given. But that’s what gets our cranial juices flowing…and leads to unexpected ideas and creative solutions that go far beyond what our clients ever thought was possible.

At ion360 we bring the same curiosity and inquisitiveness to your project that we bring to everything we do. Specifically, we solve your business challenge with intelligence, creativity and strategic thinking to buff up your image, increase your revenues, delight your customers and grow your market share. We consider both the realities of the market and the defining elements of your operating environments in order to deliver compelling outcomes using clever strategy and smart technology platforms. This is our unique total company approach to building successful brands.

Learn about our 360strategy.    GENIUS!


Pet Owners Beware: Plants that Kill

I was watching OWN today (first time, I acquired some pretty good information from Oprah’s All Stars 🙂 ) and I learned of a woman who lost her dog because it ate a Sago Palm.  I don’t have any pets myself, but it seems like something that could easily be prevented with a little knowledge.

So please be aware, the following plants can be lethal to your furry friends:

Azalea Plant/Flower

Aloe Plant

Sago Palm

Do you know of any other plants that pet owners should be aware of?  Please share!

Consider adopting a pet vs. buying one.  You can help save a fellow earthling, and our planet!


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