An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

An educator blogging….novel idea.

Posts Tagged ‘Comic

Teaching Blackness: Four Popular Theories (Comic)

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This comic accompanies my post entitled Do Teachers Influence Blackness?

“That Works….” – An EducatorBlog Comic

On Teaching Blackness: Four Popular Theories

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Written by TeacherC

14 June 2008 at 12:58 am

Avoiding Blog Market Failure (Comic)

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Entry summary: “How does the ed commentariat benefit the true proletariat (teachers)?”

“That Works….” – An EducatorBlog Comic

Diversification

Dangerously Irrelevant‘s Top 50 P-12 EdBlogs list sparked debates on multiple blogs (including mine) about the nature of the edublogopshere. Why do tech blogs dominate the Top 50? Are new bloggers being shut out of the edublog community? What responsibilities do veteran edubloggers have to new edubloggers?

I guess you could call me a ‘free market blogger’. I believe that the laws of supply and demand applies to the blogging market: when a consumer (reader) wants to find information, s/he can do a search on Google or Technorati to find the information they seek. All markets can experience failure. A failure in the blog market is when consumers cannot find the information they seek and producers are shielded from consumers who would like to read their blogs. Are there inefficiencies in the edublog market that are creating entry barriers for new bloggers? Are there blog titans that exert market power (monopolies/oligarchies)? Do these questions matter?

It’s cool that the education blog community is so aware of itself that it can engage in acts of meta-blog-nition, but as Dr. Phil once said (on an episode of Oprah…no, I don’t watch Dr. Phil): “there are topics and there are issues”. Although the inner-workings of the edublogosphere is an interesting topic, I wonder – why does the ed tech debate matter? What are the deeper issues?

This question is important to me. I start co-teaching/grad studies soon and I wonder how my blog will change as I transform from (naive) student to (slightly jaded but still optimistic) teacher in a Title I school. What can my blog do for me? What can it do for others? Does the ‘sphere matter? How does the ed commentariat benefit the true proletariat (teachers) and others with a stake in education (i.e., parents, administrators, community members, and the media)? There are large opportunity costs associated with bloggers’ time. Every minute a teacher or administrator spends writing a blog entry could be spent on professional development, out of class work, acts of advocacy in the community, or other aspects of life that are not related to education. What meaningful contribution can my blog make in solving issues of education and social justice?

What do you think, fellow ed commentariats? What are the real issues of the edublogosphere? Everyone will have different answers to these questions – please share.

Written by TeacherC

9 June 2008 at 12:30 am

Diversity 2.5.1 (BETA)? (Comic)

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Blogush’s post Does School 2.0 Need an Affirmative Action Program? and Educational Insanity’s post about Digital Equity got me thinking (in comic book form – thanks again, ToonDoo):

“That Works…” – An EducatorBlog Comic

Diversity 2.5.1 (BETA)

Diversity 2.0

I think that there is a reasonable amount of diversity in the edublogosphere (see earlier post). There are teachers whose blogs reflect a diverse range of perspectives – different taught subjects, geographic regions, student populations, issues, etc. I don’t think that I’m the only African-American edublogger but I have noticed that racial diversity is lacking in the ‘sphere. Am I wrong? If not, what are the reasons? What are the implications (for the web community, students, and other stakeholders)?

I’m looking for input on the subject.

Written by TeacherC

7 June 2008 at 1:46 am

The Morning After Edupunk (Comic)

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“That Works…” – An EducatorBlog Comic

The Morning After Edupunk

Edupunk: Dead or Alive?

Written by TeacherC

5 June 2008 at 1:31 pm

On Edupunkism

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Edupunk.Isn’t.Dead (“That works…” – an EducatorBlog Comic)

“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’. So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’. So he kicks over the garbage can and says ‘That’s Punk?’, and I say ‘No that’s trendy!'”

Billie Joe Armstrong

“Punk to me was a form of free speech. It was a moment when suddenly all kinds of strange voices that no reasonable person could ever have expected to hear in public were being heard all over the place.”

Greil Marcus

I have a friend who is extols the virtues of direct vocabulary instruction. My word of the day today is edupunk. My friend would say that my use of the word edupunk is “so 2000” – but better late than never (this doesn’t apply to use of the phrases “whoop there it is”, “that’s whack”, and “fo ‘shizzle”).

Here are resources for the aspiring edupunk:

TechLEARNING Blog: Daily web 2.0 tools and tips for teachers.

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling: A primer for educators who want to use digital storytelling in the classroom.

Hypertextopia: An innovative online project that aims to change the way people write and tell stories.

The Library of Congress: Teachers should integrate photographs, sound clips, copies of old pamphlets, and many other primary sources into students’ learning.

A great lesson plan that integrates Library of Congress materials into a Civil War lesson.

Google Reader: The easiest way to subscribe to and view blogs. Educators should try to read blogs a few times per week and search for eduhacks (kind of like lifehacks, but for teachers).

ToonDoo: A free and easy to use comic strip creator that teachers and students can use to communicate ideas in new ways.

WordPress and Blogger: Blog it out.

Fo’ Shizzle my Edufizzles.

When washing their mouths out with soap isn’t an option.

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That Works…. – An EducatorBlog Comic

Forget the soap

I believe that the use of profanity is an issue that teachers should tackle. Why? First, many swear words have a derogatory history. Even if students don’t know this history, they are engaging in forces of discrimination and oppression. Second, students need to understand the words they use and strive to achieve new levels of complexity in their language. I’ve realized the occasional F-bomb gets my point across in certain situations but realize there are more sophisticated and appropriate ways of expressing myself. If students believe that they are using adult language, they may not push themselves to develop superior modes of expression. As this NPR story points out, children use profanity because they are trying to adopt adult modes of communication and behavior – they are trying to push themselves out of childhood and into adulthood. As a normal part of language acquisition, children pick up these words from parents, peers, and the media.

Third, students need to understand swearing disrupts professional environments. Students should understand that how they address peers on the playground and on the bus may not be appropriate for all social situations. Linguists call this code switching. Successful adults know how to change their manner of speech when necessary. The syntax, grammar, and content of my speech that I use to speak to a dartboard competitor at a sports bar are different than what I would use to communicate with my students.

Here are a few innovative ways that teachers can educate students about the power of their own words:

After overhearing a derogatory phrase or profanity, educate students about why the terms are inappropriate. Many teachers just tell students “DON’T DO THAT!!!” instead of creating a learning experience. Students need to understand the history of the word from a linguistic and social perspective. How has the word been used in the past? Has the meaning changed over time?  How do students use the word now?

Then, the analysis needs to go a step further – students need to understand how their use of the word connects to history. Are they promoting values of respect and social justice when they use those words? How might certain ethnic, cultural, and social groups react? On a simpler level – is it ‘nice’ or ‘mean’ to use those words?

Students need to feel like they have control over the language they use. After students learn about the history of a word and the social implications of using the word, the whole class should make an agreement that the word will not be used. Older/more advanced students can discuss the merits of using the word in art, literature, or pop culture.

There are many ways to integrate these ideas into the classroom – the discussions would look different in a middle school and a high school classroom. Maybe you have students make wordless posters about the word or how people feel when they hear the word. If you are reading controversial material that uses profanity and derogatory language (Joyce, Twain, slavery/Jim Crow narratives, the history of the Holocaust, etc) you can discuss these words as they appear in the material and debate whether or not they should be used in that way.

The key is to give students the information that they need to make better choices. This will not work in all cases – there will always be students who choose to use profanity and derogatory language. If students understand the negative history of a word (its relationship to slavery, oppression, the Holocaust, etc), maybe they will be less likely to throw it around in daily conversation. Also, students need to feel like they have a personal stake in the learning environment and understand the power that their words have on others.

Teachers should clarify policies with administrators before they tackle profanity in the classroom – are teachers aloud to teach material that has profanity? Can a teacher utter profanity in certain education contexts? Are permission slips required for these experiences?

If teachers create an environment where profanity is not an issue, we can focus on the development of sophisticated language skills.

Here are a few links:

Online Etymology Dictionary: the history of words.
Interactive Dictionary of Racial Language: An instructor of a college course on race and language has her students post entries.

“Ghetto” – The New “N Word”: Harold M. Clemens that argues that the word “ghetto” perpetuates racism.