Saturday, February 21, 2009
Here is what you'll need:
3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes
I was unable to find Soba noodles at my grocery store, so I used Maifun Rice Sticks instead. I also used the spinach instead of watercress, and used more than a pinch of red pepper flakes, because I like it spicy! ENJOY!!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Waters, Mary. 1999. Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities. Harvard University Press.
Alternate Title of the Book:
Voluntary Immigrants Assimilating in a Racially Dominated Society
How can West Indians keep their cultural identity after migrating to the US? Why do West Indian immigrants feel the need to separate them self from the “black American?” How do other people’s perceptions affect your identity? How does assimilation vary for voluntary immigrants of color, like the West Indians, and that of voluntary immigrants from Europe?
The most profound statement in the book is contained on pg. 44 – “An identity is a conception of self, a selection of physical, psychological, emotional or social attributes of particular individuals; it is not an individual as a concrete thing.” Waters shows throughout the book how hard West Indians try to separate themselves from “black Americans,” and hang on to their Caribbean identity, because the perceived being “black American” as a negative (p.8).
The immigrants feel that “because they are immigrants they have a different attitude toward employment, work, and American society than native-born Americans” (p.7). On respondent stated that American’s “figure, OK, I was born here, and because I was born here I supposed to get this” (p.66).
West Indians automatically lose part of their Caribbean identity and culture because they are first visually identified as being black. It’s not until they begin to speak that many Americans realize they are Caribbean. In this way we are shown that immigrants must sometimes utilize both cultures: the culture associated with being an immigrant, and the culture they bring with them to the US.
The author discusses “transnationalism,” beginning on pg. 89 and states, “Some anti-immigration advocates argue that immigrants are not becoming Americans in terms of identity, national loyalty, overall culture, and language. Some conservatives argue that immigrants who cling to racial and ethnic identities foster multiculturalism in the United States and that these competing cultures and loyalties deny the necessity of a core American culture” (p.89-90). Waters explain how many West Indians move frequently between the Caribbean and the US, and at the time this was written many Americans may say that “this is wrong and you’re either going to be an American or not,” but in 2009 isn’t all about living and functioning in a global society? People are moving in and out of countries constantly, and I believe this section of the book is a little dated for current times.
Direct Response to:
Waters uses statistically information to point out that certain West Indian beliefs about African Americans are not statistically true. She challenges their belief that African Americans do not value education by quoting Jennifer Hochschild, African American Studies Professor at Harvard, stating that, “Controlling for sex and socioeconomic status, African Americans are no more likely to drop out of school than whites, are more likely to choose and academic than a vocational curriculum, and are more likely to choose a four-year than a two-year college” (p.67).
Waters does an excellent job in Chapter 5 of pointing out how differently “voluntary” and “involuntary” immigrants interpret and react to racial discrimination. In order to complete this task she uses scholarship work from John Ogbu. He states that “voluntary immigrants,” like the West Indians came to America on their own free-will and can say, “Americans might not value my culture but I am from a place where I am valued,” and that “Discrimination and prejudice are something they plan to overcome” (p.142). Ogbu compares this thought of identity with those of African Americans who have associated their American identity with that of oppression in a dominant white society. To maximize impact of this important point, Waters also uses the work of Christopher Jencks, who compares discrimination between European immigrants and African Americans. He states that both “faced discrimination but with different psychological consequences: For Europeans who came to America because they were dissatisfied with their homeland, assimilation has often been difficult, but it has not for the most part been intrinsically humiliating…In order to become fully assimilated into white America blacks must to some extent identify with people who have humiliated and oppressed them for three hundred years” (p.143).
Suggestions for Further Analysis:
It would be beneficial to the field to analyze the reactions and responses of both black and white Americans to the statement, “because they are immigrants they have a different attitude toward employment, work, and American society than native-born Americans” (p.7).
While reading this material, I jotted down a little “note to self,” stating: Books like this give Americans a ‘reality’ checks on how others within our own country view us. What I find most disheartening is that people that usually read these types of books are the ones who are interested in making a positive change in racial views. We need to find ways to get these books into the masses. What programs are in place, outside of higher education, to educate others of race related topics, issues, interpretations, and thoughts?
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
As I was reading through the Millenials Rising article, I started to think about Dr. Barbour’s question, “Does any of what you read sound like your students?” My answer was immediately no. I was relieved when I finally reached the reading by Thomas Reeves (2006) to see that most generational studies were based on “data collected from young people from middle and upper middle socioeconomic groups” (p.4). This group does not include my former students. Does that mean that my former K-12th grade students were not constantly “connected?” No, they were; they had cell phones, mp3 players, video gaming systems, computers, and some had access to the Internet at home, but they definitely were not “better educated, and more ethnically diverse” (Howe & Strauss, 2000, p.4), or “happy, confident, and positive” (p.7) as the article suggests. And my students weren’t using these above mentioned tools for educational purposes, but mostly for playing games, listening to music, and socialization. The reading also suggested that the millenials “are becoming the world’s first generation to grow up thinking of itself as global” (Howe & Strauss, 2000, p.15). This is where you can really see the impact of data collection not coming from all socioeconomic groups. My former students barely have the opportunity to leave their neighborhoods, and if they do it is to travel to a neighboring suburb or state. I couldn’t imagine them thinking globally.
These articles also discuss students in higher education and the technological skills and thought processes of the faculty. I think this in important area to address since such said faculties are the ones preparing our future K-12 educators for their classrooms. I attended an hour long discussion the other day with faculty and graduate teacher assistants which focused on, “Classroom Challenges: When, How, and Why to Allow PDAs and Laptops.” Some faculty said that it is discouraging to look out at the class and see the lids of laptops, or to hear students typing and clicking away as they lecture. I think the main concept here is engagement. If you’re students are engaged they are going to be listening and actively participating. I may not want to divulge this information, but I will anyway, just to show a comparison. What’s the difference in seeing my laptop lid and me typing away compared to the top of my head and the thousands of doodles I have etched out in my notebook? Or the blank stares when I’m thinking, “Gosh, I’m hungry. What am I going to make for dinner?” These scenarios have always been happening in classrooms, but the tools being used are different. Many professors are including on their syllabi that “no cell phones allowed in class.” Food for thought: I use my cell phone as a calculator, date book, and sending myself a text as a reminder to do something. Would it be ok though if I got out my date book and wrote my reminder with a pen instead? Speaking of cell phones, the woman leading the presentation had all of us pull out our cell phones and participate in a live audience poll. She asked us a question, gave us directions on where to send our text to, and WHAM! Our answers were immediately displayed in a graph within her power point! I have yet to try this, but am dying to. Here is the website address: http://www.polleverywhere.com/
Another area of the Reeves (p.8) literature review I found interesting was in the findings from the Twenge 2006 study. One of the bulleted items is
• In the 1960s, 42% of high school students expected to work in professional jobs whereas in the late 1990s, 70% of high schools expected to work as a professional.
I don’t really find this shocking, since we teach kids that the way to be successful is to finish high school, attend college, graduate and become a professional. We teach them that that is the path to success, and kids want to be successful.
My main research area resides in professional development for K-12 educators as it relates to technology. I’ve gone back and have re-read my first paragraph and have become a little disappointed in myself. I mentioned that my students have the technology tools and devices, but were only using them for their own self interest. Gosh, I was their TECHNOLOGY TEACHER why wasn’t I integrating these tools in my lessons? The fact of the matter is I knew these different tools, websites, and other various technology gadgets were available, but I never had “time” to explore them. When I say didn’t have time to explore them, I should probably be saying that I was always overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands of possibilities that were available that I didn’t take the time to concentrate and focus on anything specific. Plus, it was never supported, encouraged, or mandated by administration. Websites were blocked; students couldn’t access the computers and I thought it would be best to start with the basics: Microsoft Office. The list could go on and on, but my point here is that if I, the technology teacher, am not integrating the best of the best gadgets, software, or other technological tools available for “today’s student,” because I’m not fully aware what’s available and best for classroom learning, and I’m under 30, how to we expect other teachers to be utilizing these devices? Are we providing appropriate professional development? Are we providing support with those skills afterwards? I’ll wrap up with this question for you: What, if any, professional development are you being given at your school as it relates to technology? Are you receiving support after the training?
One last quick shout out to a former professor of mine, Karl Kapp, for being referenced in the Reeves article. Check out his site. http://karlkapp.com/
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