Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Event Blog Post! Art Department Interview Presentation for New Ceramics Professor

A few weeks ago the Art Department here at Rhode Island College began holding interviews for a new ceramics professor for the Fall 2014 semester. Like many job interviews for becoming a ceramics professor the candidates had to successfully demonstrate their abilities as not only a ceramist but as an educator as well.
Wheel thrown pots done by me in Craig Bachman's class
However, something was slightly different about these interviews than most other job interviews. The final four candidates for the position would have to complete this final interview in the form of a presentation, a presentation that they would have to give in front of the entire Art Department. The department posts flyers all over Alex and Ani Hall when interviews are taking place. This ensures that every student and faculty member in the department is aware of the event and they can decide to attend if they want to.

When new positions open up in the art department the final candidates for the position are asked to prepare a presentation on why they should be picked for the job. Their presentations usually go over their schooling and their experience as well as how they plan to run their class if selected for the position.

The interview presentation that I attended was for Craig Bachman. Craig currently is the ceramics professor at RIC, but he was just hired temporarily for the 2013-2014 school year.
Teapot made by Craig Bachman

Having had Craig Bachman last semester for Ceramics I, I was extremely eager to see his presentation. Craig started off his presentation with a picture of him and his family to introduce himself. Which was totally adorable, because he would talk about his kids and his wife alllll the time last semester so I loved that he put them first in the presentation. Craig then began discussing the way he teaches ceramics. He showed slides of him in the classroom as well as slides of student work. Which was awesome because two of my Ceramics I pieces made it into the presentation!
Grandma made by me, was featured in the presentation!
After that Craig moved onto discussing his own work and education. I learned that he had spent years traveling the world and visiting numerous potters villages and learning techniques from them and vice versa. After traveling the world with his wife, the two settled down after the birth of their first child, which led Craig to pursue being an educator in addition to being a ceramist. Craig wrapped up his presentation with another picture of his family, to remind us all whats truly important. 

Overall, it was an awesome experience. I thought it was fantastic that the Art Department wanted the students to attend the interviews as well and be part of the decision making along side the faculty, seeing as the students are the ones who need to learn from this person on a daily basis anyway.

At first I struggled with how I would connect this event to some of the things we've been doing in class all semester. But then finally Shor came along. Shor tells us that "This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers” (11) To me this quote connected perfectly with the interview presentations. The Art Department allowing the art students to sit and listen to the interviews shows the students that, like Shor says, "they are intelligent investigate and come up with answers". By being able to attend the event, the art students were shown that their opinion matters and that we are intelligent enough to be able to decide who would work best as an educator for us. 

So there ya have it, my event blog! In general the event was really fun and I totally enjoyed listening to my professor share his story with us all ! :) Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shor Extended Comments !

For my final post I noticed that a lot of people already had their blogs up, after reading a few of them I felt that everything that I wanted to say in my blog was pretty much already mentioned by everyone else so I thought that an extended comments post would suit nicely. So for my extended comments I decided to base my post off of Jaclyn's blog because I really agreed with everything she had to say this week and the things she brings up in her blog were points that I too wanted to make in mine. So here we go !

One of the first things Jaclyn mentions is Shor describing that students should question why they are at school in the first place. "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important to begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school"
(11). This is a wonderful statement that I've never really thought about. Throughout my entire schooling career I don't think a teacher has ever started off the year by discussing the purpose of school. I mean of course we all knew we had to go, but why? In Jaclyn's blog she includes the passage from page 11 that concludes the above quote, "This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers” (11). This quote perfectly explains why the above mentioned discussion is so important to have with students at the beginning of the year. If as a teacher, you can establish that relationship with your students right off the bat I'm sure that the year runs a lot more smoothly if they know what you trust them and believe in them. 

The next quote Jaclyn pulls from the Shor reading is “If the students’ task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted” (12). Jaclyn connects this quote to the in class assignment that we all did a few weeks ago. Which is exactly what I connected it to while I was reading as well. Jaclyn writes "We all simply took the paper and wrote down as many answers as we could find, assuming that we read the article, knew what it was about and went to it. None of us questioned why we were answering the questions, or thought the questions were irrelevant while finishing the assignment."
Everything Jaclyn writes is true, I didn't question at all why I was being forced to answer so many random and somewhat stupid and irrelevant questions about the article. And in fact after having the class discussion I was practically shocked that I even had the option to question that worksheet and not answer the questions. Who knows, maybe if I had more teachers explain why we go to school to me like Shor states on page 11 then maybe I would have known better than to just sit and quietly fill in a worksheet. 

So with all that said, I think Jaclyn did an awesome job on her post this week and I was so glad it inspired mine. Jacklyn wrapped up her blog post this week by saying "This past semester has truly prepared me to take the next step on the path to becoming a teacher." Once again, I couldn't agree more. I guess you could say I felt rather ill prepared for becoming a teacher before this semester. But after this class I don't feel that way anymore. This class has provided me with numerous "tools in my tool-belt of teaching" that I can use throughout my future.
The lessons I've learned in this class will follow me throughout my entire career and I truly believe that this class has definitely helped me feel ready to move on towards the path of becoming an educator.

Throughout this semester one of my favorite parts of the blog each week has been putting in a video or a link at the end of each post. For my last link I figured this Buzzfeed Article would be most appropriate to leave off on. I hope each and every one of us becomes a teacher like the ones described on Buzzfeed ! :) .

So thanks to all of you for reading each week and being a part of this amazing class throughout the semester and to Dr. Bogad for being a fantastic professor! I wish you all the best of luck in the future, and hopefully we'll see each other around campus ! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Kliewer

Starting the reading this week was pretty difficult. I really wasn't feeling like doing it. But I pushed through and actually found myself enjoying it once I got past the introduction part and onto some of the real stories from people.

After reading I noticed that there was some quotes that particularly stood out to me as being a major part of the authors main argument. So my post this week is going to be a "quotes/argument" piece.

So for my first quote I picked this short sentence from the beginning of the reading, "We have got to learn to get along as individuals and as citizens" (74).  Can I just say AMEN !! Simply put, the problem isn't that people have Down Syndrome or other disabilities/differences, the problem is the way people act towards these individuals. I've never really understood why people find it necessary to insult others who are different from them. Why do we have to challenge everyone who doesn't fit into the norm.
I think this is exactly the argument that Kliewer is making at this point in the reading. We as people need to learn to accept that people have differences and that those differences are something that needs to be embraced and accepted in a positive manner.

The next quote that I thought supported Kliewer's argument of acceptance is, "To eliminate a single person through any form of banishment, no matter how benevolent the logic, reduces the web and makes the community a less democratic and less rich place" (95-100).  With this quote Kliewer seems to be saying that not accepting people doesn't just affect that person. It affects the whole community. For example, when I was in high school my school had a group of students with varying disabilities. Although they were sectioned off into their own group they traveled to different classes just like every other high school student. Within that group of students there was one boy with Down Syndrome, we'll call him Tom. Every day that they would go to art class my class would also be in the art room. My art teacher was always playing music, which Tom absolutely loved ! Dancing before settling down to do his artwork became a habitual routine for Tom. His face would light up and he'd be smiling ear to ear as he danced around the room with the other students joining in. The joy that Tom brought to that room was incredible, it was impossible not smile and dance along with him.
Had my school not integrated students with disabilities into the classes with other kids I would not have this wonderful memory and Tom would not have gotten dance around the classroom with his peers like any regular kid could. Even though it was a kind of long story, I think it connects perfectly to the argument that Kliewer is making with that quote.

The final quote that I chose ties back into integrating special needs individuals into classrooms with other students. On page 95 Kliewer says "Educating all children together reconfigures the representation of Down Syndrome from burden toward citizenship" (95).
This this quote goes hand in hand with the above quote and story that I just told. By having children with special needs in classrooms with their peers it eliminates the stigma that those children are different, which is what I think Kliewer is trying to say with this quote.

So there you have it, my "quotes/connections" post ! Also I remembered seeing this short video a while back on Facebook. It's a very heartwarming video about people with Down Syndrome and I think Kliewer would love it!