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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Of the Search of the Meaning of Social Justice and Transformative learning

This is going to be the biggest hunt for an answer this coming year for me. I have a writing in social justice class, an introduction to social justice class, and an introduction to sociology class. This should be good!

I, of course, am very excited! I am especially looking forward to learning something new. Generally, I believe that school does not "teach" you things, rather it is designed to enforce redundant, and minimally different,  memorization. In essence, teaching should be about opening new avenues of thought, and expounding the experiences that we are familiar with through means of open discussion. Discussion, because diversified class settings can complicate what would qualify as a new experience, idea, opinion, knowledge, etc.

What is a possible way to reach an answer, or a method to reflect the composition of opinions, experiences, and knowledge within a diverse class setting? That may well be transformative learning. I learned about the term from a colleague of mine this summer. I find it interesting and inspiring.

I believe transformative learning really creates a vision of change in learning and teaching. It allows educators to develop ways of analyzing the opinions students have, and challenging and enlightening them through a well thought out curriculum. The term is not relatively well known, especially in English courses. To apply the term into practice would be absolutely ground-breaking because it is non-traditional. There is nothing wrong with trying something that is new and promising. Doing so would morph the modern, sometimes narrow, mindset and attitudes towards English courses in post-secondary institutions.     

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fellow Potter fans (and enemies),

I, and many others, cannot believe that Harry Potter has come to an end. It is not really the end. Remember, he is still around in places you do not expect. I say this because Harry Potter is not just fiction, it is not only a book and a movie. It is a very fantastic story, going way beyond extraordinary and entertaining. It is real.

I have grown up with Harry Potter, movies and books. He and his friends have done things, seen things,lived things (fictionally, yes.) that those who are the same age would never dream of doing. I believe that the message shined by Ms. Rowling's brilliant and touching gift is phenomenal. She has created a marvelous and very different world. While the magical aspect of the books speak a foreign language, the themes, motifs, symbolism, parallels, and lessons are ones we can understand.

It takes a lot more effort to truly understand this, and a lot less to discredit a work of art that has rightfully earned praise, love, and respect from people young and old. Harry's story is one of courage, endurance, struggle, love, sacrifice, loyalty, determination, strength, and unity.

Clearly, this story is not only for one to escape from everyday horrors, daunting tasks, or sadness. It is a beautiful story that shows us that we are not alone. The negativity in life is undeniably inescapable, but we can act against it. We can change the course of bad energy, one step at a time, but in honest faith. J.K Rowling wrote this story for a reason, and a very good one. To let us ALL know that it is never too late to be the change we want to see.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A career to define yourself


Being a college student is really changing me, and the person I hope to be. When I was going through the application process, I never thought I would attend an institution that revolves around social justice; I am now majoring in it!

I am still trying to figure out what that is going to mean in the future for me. I have a sense of what social justice means, and the impact of the field on human prosperity. I picture myself making a difference in peoples' lives, and helping others be aware of how vital it is to support children who have disorders, or women that need help getting out of shelters to have a happy and thriving life. I hope to do volunteer work for women shelters, ultimately to grow in understanding how torn families can harm children, and their parent's ability to give them the best life possible.

I believe that jobs are not soley about making money, because then what we do would turn into a desire to have the most money at the expense of innocent human beings. I feel that it is my duty to make sure families can resolve issues that arise in the home and beyond. I know that, one day, I will be changing peoples' lives.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why is always the best question because it is the most difficult to answer!

So, what is the rant of the day? There is a new wave trend that says that there is a disorder called orthorexia. It is believed to be a disorder of eating overly healthy. Those with the disorder are claimed to be people who avoid processed and seemingly unhealthy foods. This is a story I saw on Yahoo news. I think this is false.

How can avoiding unhealthy processed foods a bad thing, or even a disorder? This is most likely an attempt control how people eat. I believe the real sickness here is not realizing that we have choices in what we choose to eat. How could the consumption of processed foods not be considered a bad thing? This is because it feeds the disorder of mankind.

The disorder is the sacrifice that the wealthy take on the weak and the innocent. Who is the wealthy? The wealthy are the big companies that keep filling the Earth with destruction. They want us to continue to consume food that we are clueless of their effects. There are many things that we eat that are processed in which we have no control of what is being put into them. If we really think carefully, we have never had a choice as to what we can eat. This is because we do not choose what goes in and what stays out. So called healthful fruit juices are not what they claim to be. Many of them actually contain the enemy: high fructose corn syrup. So if you think you are in so called control of your diet, you are most certainly not.

So what is the deal with obesity? What is it? While it is the disorder of over eating, it is not the disorder of eating processed food. There are many reasons why eating that type of food is dangerous, but there has not been a real categorized disorder that says that. Why? Because it disrupts the order in which these big companies make their money. Why is supposed “over” healthy eating bad categorized? Well, so that people can get their supposed “treatment” for an illness that is not real. Rather, it is an excuse so that people can go on medication (the solution to rebellious disorganization) and visit doctors. I am sure that is an exaggeration of the situation and it is far too young a battle to determine whether or not to believe this. All in all, I think this is a fake and that it is a scam to get people to eat more of the things they shouldn’t.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fake Haikus

Day lily

Lily, where are you
I saw you weeping tonight
All alone, dying

Douglass Fir

Prickly Friend of mine
Speaking tall and silently
I, your gentle muse

Butterfly

I saw a soft trap
Hoping, I look to the sun
A most breathless dream

Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Insanity

From birth
Love fades, mother nurture is forever in the sky.
My body separates from reality
And I live in a question mark,
Wondering about my existence.

Trapped in a lonely world with ceaseless voices, echos, and cries,
The mind wanders to places I never hoped to cross.
Suppressed life within the self becomes a being within a being.
How can one begin to be sane, when all humanity impatiently counts the milliseconds that you take in formulating incomplete thoughts.
Am I alive?

Working on a new research paper...what do you think?

The CPS Student Code of Conduct has enforced a punitive approach to handling delinquency in schools since 1998. But, what exactly is considered delinquent behavior in CPS? Many offenses considered delinquent are often minor, such include: swearing, uniform infractions, frequent tardiness, and the like. Though these offenses can be considered as disruptive to the school community and possibly the safety of students, they can also be resolved through peer jury. Another restorative justice approach that can accompany peer jury is peace circles. Peace circles consist of, but are not limited to, students who volunteer to gather together with teachers and members of community organizations who help administer discussions about various issues pertinent to the area, school, and individuals. Students take turns using a talking piece to talk about a topic or answer a question that was presented by the facilitator. Students are able to connect with their peers, and express their concern for issues without worrying about being wrong. Participants of peace circles are also free to propose possible solutions for problems in their school such as: inviting parents for discussions, asking security guards to listen to students, or going to classrooms to encourage their peers to speak out.

Though the CPS Student Code of Conduct has been revised to adopt restorative justice as an option for misconduct, it is still not properly enforced to effectively serve students. There are roadblocks that limit the influence of progressive coalitions like the High H.O.P.E.S Campaign that have worked excessively to represent the juvenile justice system and restorative justice programs. On April 2, 2011, the coalition invited Mary Richardson- Lowry, President of CPS Board of Education to Roosevelt University to endorse their campaign. However, Lowry denied ever receiving any of the information about their cause and the actual endorsement sheet.

Mary Richardson- Lowry

So, how did the public meeting at Roosevelt University go today? Not great. CPS President Mary Richardson- Lowry showed up, but made an excuse for not endorsing the High HOPES Campaign. She said that she received none of the Campaign's informational materials. However many of her representatives stated that she, in fact, DID receive the materials. So what is the problem? Power. She would rather sacrifice the education of thousands to the "school to prison pipeline" rather than supporting a cause. What is next? Well,it will not end here; CPS has not seen the last of this. Please support the movement!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ghost Human: Part I.I

Hello? Is anyone here? You don't hear me, I just know it.

Did you hear me? I knew you wouldn't, no one does. I am like a ghost among humans, yet I have gone to more dimensions than humans can ever imagine. That's not why I am telling this story however. I am, or at least mortals have called me, Lavinia. You may be wondering what all this fuss is about and why I have not moved on. Patience is the essence here, so please do not interrupt.

I was sitting on the pavement one breezy August day, when I heard rustling near the trees. I of course would never be seen. For, you see, I am not like common folk. My perception of the outside world is that everyone is wasting their time on useless things that only worsen our world. I lead a life of thought. I walk among others, but I scrutinize everything. I am always silent, but have more to say than one can think. Anyway,I noticed that the noise was actually a person, a young man.

He was extremely handsome behind his inquiring facade. He had dreamy, but fierce sea-green vision portals. His honey brown hair waved gently in the tickling breeze. But, I jumped up quickly shooing away my invisible mystification clouds.

"What are you doing?" his voice inquired.

I tumble clumsily in a pile of leaves. He comes to me, with his hand reaching for mine. I swat his hand back.

"Who are you? What do you want; I have to be dreaming," I said hopelessly. "Come now, why have you just appeared out of thin air like this? Don't you know it is a wretched thing to do!"

He raised his hand to my lips to silence me. He sat down beside me, like an old friend.

"So, you can see me too...

To be continued.....

*Do you want more? Please offer some suggestions. And, yes, there will be more.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roosevelt University Public Meeting: High HOPES Campaign

Hey Everyone,

I know that I probably will not get any responses, but I thought this was important. There will be a meeting held at Roosevelt University on April 2nd at 11am. People from the High HOPES Campaign will meet with CPS Board of Education President Mary Richardson-Lowry to encourage CPS to reduce suspensions and expulsions by 40% through the use of Restorative Justice programs. There will be discussions about the "school to prison pipeline", and the organization is pushing for Rahm Emmanuel to attend as well. Please help us reform the discipline system in schools; your voice and actions matter!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Power Real? The idea of a radical

This is a recent question that I had, and I do understand that it is very complex. It is more of a philosophical argument, but I am not sure if anyone would agree with me. The argument is that power is something that was created to justify hierarchy and discourage self- worth of people who have less. 

Everyone has something to offer humanity, but it is hard to convince people that that alone is enough. Economic disparities make people believe that they are less and that they are "have nots", this being the very reason why one would want to be powerful (power itself having a very long history of dismay). This would be a very hard point(s) to argue, but it would be radical and possibly interesting, but I doubt that anyone would want to advocate this.    


Any thoughts?

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Deal Service Days

Special event for Roosevelt Students to help people who need it most! I am going to my first one, with a new cool friend. Twill be fun!! =D

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

I remember reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner in my AP English class, but I never knew why exactly we did. It is a very beautiful poem and I can understand it better now. What I find interesting about it is, that Mary Shelley makes a lot of allusions to this work in her novel "Frankenstein". Cool huh? It really makes the story easier to understand! I love it!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I am Not Here

One day, I decided that I was going to change the world,

But does the world hear me; does anyone see me?

For I wander in existence with myself,

Knowing that I am a wave in time;

Simply coming, always going.

One day I dream to be alive

And prove that I am real.

My brain works quicker than a car on I-80 in hyper-drive

Thinking of the obscure and of human-kind.

If I were alive, I would deem myself insane and shrewd,

As I give commentary like a narrator of life through the eyes of a mere

observer.

Sometimes I ask myself if I truly think;

I do not believe that I do.

I pass the time believing that I can do everything and anything,

Alas my health and dreams collide and conflict until I am drained.

How I long for the day when my weary eyes would wake

For all I live for, my work and for change, I would die for eternity.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Research Paper II- Bullies (Are they real?)

I must come up with a new topic to do my research paper for English 102. I am not sure what to do. As usual, the internet really has a way of leading me to precisely the right idea. I stumbled upon a web school news paper. I like to see what goes on at my old school sometimes, hence the article. I found two about bullies. I really am intrigued about the trending perspectives on what a "bully" actually is. 

It is a known issue, but how does one begin to define it; can it be defined? Why is it an issue? How can we resolve it?  Is it correct to believe that bullies need to be stopped? I do not think so. I believe it is much deeper than what most think. I think this topic has potential, so I will run this by the professor. 

What do you think?

Beka 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring Break....

Is it here?
Oh, what to do!
I haven't a clue.
I will probably mope
Maybe hope,
That one day it will come.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Neo-Prejudice; what do you make of this?

So, I was on this forum site and I found this post. The topic was: Do blacks deserve to move into predominately white neighborhoods? I know, this seems strange, but it is for a research paper I am writing for a class. I believe that people who believe studies done by "noteworthy experts" only do because they want to justify their prejudice towards African Americans. I believe that the historical reasoning gets left out, and as a result we have ignorance. The post that follows is trying to use "scientific journals" to justify the claim. What are your thoughts? Do you agree that it is neo-prejudice or that the argument is valid? Comment!!

Post:
CLAIM: Blacks ruin everything

"Evidence":
Facts

Though only about 13% of the U.S. population, Blacks commit more than half of all rapes and robberies and 60% of all murders in the U.S.

Blacks adopted into middle-class White families had IQs averaging 89.4, just slightly above the average of 88 for Blacks of the North Central U.S. region from which they originated. This was 9 IQ points below the average of the adopted Black/White
hybrids (98.5) in the same families, 16 points below the adopted Whites (105.6), and 20 points below the White biological offspring (109.4).

Black males are twice as likely than white males to have MAOA-L which has been linked to crime, violence and aggression in scores of studies. Black males are also 13.5 times more likely to have a rare version of the gene associated with extreme violence and extreme aggression.

Welfare by race 38% white / 37% black. But, blacks make up only about 13% of the U.S. population. While there are more whites on welfare than blacks,
the percentage of the black population on welfare is greater than the percentage of the white population on welfare.

One in three food stamp households is headed by an African American. More than a third of food stamp benefits are issued to African-Americans.(According to Census data, African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population.)

Asians score higher on tests of mental ability than do Whites, both within the U.S.A. and in Asia, whereas Africans and Caribbeans score lower. Asians populations in East Asia and North America typically have mean IQs falling between 101 to 111. White populations in Europe, South Africa, Australasia, and North America have mean IQs of from 85 to 115, with an overall mean of 100. Black populations living south of the Sahara, in the Caribbean, in Britain,and in North America, average IQs of from 70 to 90.

Speed of decision making (reaction time) in 9 to 12-year olds, in which children decide which of several lights stands out from others,shows that the racial differences in mental ability are not restricted to paper and pencil tests. All children can perform the task in less than one second, but more intelligent children, as measured by traditional IQ tests, perform the task faster than less intelligent children. Asian children from Hong Kong and Japan were faster on average in decision time (controlling for movement time) than were White children from Britain and Ireland, who in turn were faster than Black children from South Africa. Using the same decision time tasks, the same racial ordering in California school children.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), has confirmed the White/Black difference. The preponderance of evidence from studies using different techniques, conducted by different researchers, on different samples, confirms the conclusion that the brains of Asians and their descendants average about 17 cm3 (1 in3) larger than those of Europeans and their descendants whose brains average about 80 cm3 (5 in3) larger than those of Africans and their descendants.

Black\White IQ differences have been demonstrated repeatedly by every test ever conducted by every branch of the U.S. Military, every state,county, and local school board, the U.S. Dept. of Education, etc.

With an average I.Q. of 85, only 16% of Blacks score over 100, while half the White population does. The Negro overlap of White median I.Q.'s ranges from 10 to 25 percent, equality would require 50 percent.

The U.S. government's PACE examination, given to 100,000 university graduates who are prospective professional or administrative civil-service
employees each year, is passed with a score of 70 or above by 58% of the whites who take it but by only 12% of the Blacks. Among top scorers
the difference between Negro and White performance is even more striking: 16% of the white applicants make scores of 90 or above, while only
one-fifth of one percent of a Black applicants score as high as 90--a White/Black success ration of 80/1.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the silence? What is meant by that statement? Breaking the silence in dating, in conversation, in class on the first day of school? No, it is referring to learning how to break shyness.

I, being a very shy person, have a difficult time being the first person to talk. This simply being because I do not want to be put on the spot, like most shy people. That, having its negative effects such as: coming off as a mean, boring, or arrogant person. I really do not enjoy the thought that people may believe that I am any of those things. I also do not like to think that people will merely see me as a dreadfully shy girl. So, why? Because, everyone has a reason for what they do and the way that they act. So, I know that maybe no one reads these, but I you did know me, you will know me even better.

Growing up, I lived away from my family. I did not know my mother and I barely knew how my father and siblings were. When i finally learned the truth about where and who I came from, I felt like and outsider immediately. I knew that my family loved me very much, but not being able to live with my direct family really did a number on me.

When my mother (my father's second cousin) passed away, my whole life when downhill. I completely closed myself away from everyone and everything. With no one to talk to and no one to encourage me to talk, I had nothing. I had no friends and I never had the courage to ask people for help, so my grades fell short. All in all life was very lonely and difficult. My days consisted of going to school, going straight to my room, and that just about sums that up. I had no contact with people and I did not attempt to.

Once I transferred from my old school, I started to show signs of wanting friends, but not necessarily knowing how to make them. One of theses reasons being because, I felt like I might make a fool of myself or that no one would like me. The main reason for that was because when I was in the fifth grade a boy named David ridiculed everything about me, as well as other boys that did not really like me. The world is always cruel when you don't really ask for it.

Anyway, people were always into their own trends and friends. I had no basis in which to relate to them. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. Was there? By the time I reached the eighth grade, people wanted to be my friend because I seem like I was smart. The thing is, I am not "smart", rather I try to put as much effort in the things that I do even if they are daunting. Soon, I learned that they were not real friends. the friends that I did make,however, were very genuine and open to listen, instead of making assumptions.

Though the high school that I went to was pretty terrible, I did make substantial progress. I joined the debate team and made loads of friends and learned more than I ever could in a regular class. I only hoped that......

To be finished later...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Your Thought Matters

So what is the deal with thinking? Are we not allowed to think what we want to think? There are no mind controlling devices telling us what to think! Or are there? Have we not progressed far enough to accept each other’s opinions? When we have to question this, there is seriously a problem! Why does this matter? This is BIG because it is about knowledge. Thus, “All that we know will be all that we ever will know.
Today, I had an intriguing conversation with a young man. The topic was 9/11. He was probably from Africa, but I did not want to get into that. Let’s just say he is not from America. The topic raised a lot of controversy in his mind. He, not being American, did not see the topic in the typical “American point of view”. He thought about things that Americans do not concern themselves with. He also probably had his own preconceptions about the event. But, regardless of the two, he did not feel that he wanted to voice his opinions in his class. He did not want to say things that may not be acceptable.
This came across as troubling to me because any time that someone does not feel comfortable with speaking out their ideas, it is never right. Why? Because, any instance when our opinions cannot be spoken, it is a direct threat to knowledge, sophistication, and freedom. Why? Because there is no sense in only knowing what we already know. The beauty of new ideas is that there is new knowledge to be sought and new points of view to acknowledge. What should anyone ever get this sense?
Personally, I see this as a loss to anyone if no one felt that they were free to speak their mind. I want to see things in a new way, but it will be impossible when there are people who believe that they mustn’t. Why do they think this? Because of narrow minded people who do not want to seek truth beyond what they know.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Brand New Website!

Hey all,

So I am trying to promote a new website called: Talk It Out. You can join at: www.http://rebeccamendez.webs.com to see what it's all about. It is spam-free and anyone one can join. It is a friendly webpage designed to talk things out that you normally do not have time to, or that no one is around to hear. It is supportive and helpful. I hope to get things moving soon and that people will start joining!

Thanks everyone!

~Rebecca