Monday, May 30, 2011

Talking Points #1: CONNECTIONS- Delpit's "The Silenced Dialogue"

            Having a child of my own, I was really interested to see what I would feel reading Delpit's article titled "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children."  Throughout the article I felt myself making side notes on many good points and reflecting on my own teaching.  Furthermore, I couldn't help but feel that Delpit's words resonated well with Johnson's article that we read last week called "Privilege, Power and Difference." I was able to connect the two articles together in several places.
            The first connection to Johnson was on page 22 where a black woman principal was commenting on her view concerning the education of black children.  This woman goes on to say that when blacks try to give their input, that white people "get defensive then they'll start reciting research." (Delpit, 22)  Johnson wrote that "(t)his defensive action has done more than perhaps anything else to keep us stick in our current paralysis by preventing each of us from taking the steps required to become part of the solution." (viii)  I found it interesting to read that white people don't really want to hear what black people have to say regarding the proper way to educate a black child and rather use research that other white people have written. (Delpit, 22)  Delpit goes on to say that because they have "access to that particular code of power [...] the white educators had the authority to establish what was to be considered 'truth' regardless of the opinions of the people of color." (26)  Are we, the white people, so disconnected from black people's reality? Are we disconnected because we lack any real experience as a member of this race?  Have the blacks disconnected with us because we refuse to listen and 'hear'?  Delpit argues that yes, the black people have checked out and given up on us white people; "(A)fter all they stopped disagreeing, didn't they?" (22)
            Delpit writes that she believes the answer "lies in ethnographic analysis" (23).  She wants others worldviews to be identified and given a chance to be heard.  I found it quite interesting when she notes on page 25 that students who come from the same class as those in power, such as teachers and administration, tend to do better because there is a shared culture.  When different races come together, the more powerful white class tends to tone down their power for the sake of 'equality', but in the end by "deemphasizing power, there is a move toward indirect communication," which leads to problems, misunderstanding, and failure. (Delpit, 27)
            The second connection to Johnson was on page 40 when Delpit writes that "if we are truly to effect societal change, we cannot do so from the bottom up, but we must push and agitate from the top down."  This directly connects to Johnson saying that "if people in privileged groups don't include themselves in the solution, the default is to leave it to blacks and women [...] but these groups can't do it on their own, because they don't have the power to change entrenched systems of privilege by themselves." (10)  Delpit also agrees by adding "it is those with the most power, those in majority, who must take the greater responsibility for initiating the process." (46)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Drawn to Light and Growth....and Reflection

Who I Am

Hello, I'm Micaela. I am a high school art teacher in Norton, MA (third year) and about halfway through my master's program in Art Education here at RIC. I am also a proud mother to a beautiful and spunky 4 year old girl.  When I'm not working, I am running around keeping my child happy, fed and busy...or for that matter she keeps me busy! I like to go running with her in the jogging stroller, exploring, travelling, gardening and working on my own artwork.  I graduated as a painter and have dabbled in a variety of art materials/mediums such as sewing, ceramics, stained glass, and welding. I have found throughout the years that I am beter able to use my energies expressing myself making work that is 3D- with a particular interest in combing nature with metal.   I have taken several welding courses and sculptures class and I am fortunate to have just bought a welder this past winter.  I am very excited to be able to work from home in my new studio, while the lil one is fast asleep....back to being a night owl again!.  I should be VERY busy this summer- since I am also taking an art studio class besides this one.