9

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

I encountered microaggressions in my home town and in my university’s hometown. It is not a good feeling. Sometimes you feel that you have done something wrong for being born in a culture where attitudes rests on negative stereotypes about individuals or groups because of their cultural, religious, racial, or ethnic background. Discrimination is the active denial of desired goals from a category of persons. A category can be based on sex, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, or class. More recently, disadvantaged groups now also include those based on gender, age, and physical disabilities.

Prejudice and discrimination are deeply imbedded at both the individual and societal levels. Attempts to eradicate prejudice and discrimination must thus deal with prevailing beliefs or ideologies, and social structure.

The root cause of prejudice and discrimination appears to be no clear acceptance of any theory of causation. Scholars do agree, however, that prejudice and discrimination are not universals as something humans are inherently born with. There is ample evidence that prejudice and discrimination are social constructions. Prejudice and discrimination are inherent in the human condition.There is considerable evidence that prejudice is absent in young children (e.g. Allport, 1954). Fantastic!

There is no wide agreement as to the “cause” of prejudice and discrimination, there is a consensus that they constitute a learned behavior. The internalization of prejudice starts with parents and, later, teachers–the groups primary in the formation of attitudes within children. The media and social institutions solidify prejudicial attitudes, giving them social legitimacy. In a sense, it is incorrect to speak of “eradicating” prejudice, since prejudice is learned. (In a similar vein, one cannot eradicate evil except by ensuring the presence of goodness.) At best, one can reduce prejudice and discrimination. Society looks most often to education and legislation to alleviate prejudice and discrimination–for reasons still not clearly known, intergroup contact alone is not enough to reduce prejudice (Klineberg, 1968: 441)

Multicultural education, whether direct or indirect, constitute the mainstay of educational efforts to eliminate prejudice. On the other hand, the emphasis on civil rights, enlightened immigration policies, and mandates for quota hiring are the cornerstone of legal approaches to alleviating the effects of prejudice and discrimination. “The most overlooked area in resolving the problems of prejudice and discrimination lies in the web of close relationships where genuine feelings of love can be fostered and strengthened. The internalization of prejudice starts with parents and, later, teachers–the groups primary in the formation of attitudes within children. The media and social institutions solidify prejudicial attitudes, giving them social legitimacy. In a sense, it is incorrect to speak of “eradicating” prejudice, since prejudice is learned. (In a similar vein, one cannot eradicate evil except by ensuring the presence of goodness.) At best, one can reduce prejudice and discrimination. Society looks most often to education and legislation to alleviate prejudice and discrimination–for reasons still not clearly known, intergroup contact alone is not enough to reduce prejudice (Klineberg, 1968: 441). On one hand, multicultural education, whether direct or indirect, constitute the mainstay of educational efforts to eliminate prejudice. On the other hand, the emphasis on civil rights, enlightened immigration policies, and mandates for quota hiring are the cornerstone of legal approaches to alleviating the effects of prejudice and discrimination. The most overlooked area in resolving the problems of prejudice and discrimination lies in the web of close relationships where genuine feelings of love can be fostered and strengthened ( Henderson, 1993).

References:

Allport, Gordon W. (1958) The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. A classic and important study.

Klineberg, Otto (1968) “Prejudice: The Concept” International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. New York: Macmillan and Free Press.: 439-448. A critique of conventional approaches to the study of prejudice and discrimination.

( Henderson, 1993). Reports submitted by the Bahá’í International Community the various United Nations agencies on the subject of the status of women, racism, genocide, and religious persecution, offer an international perspective of Bahá’í activities.

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6

Perspectives on Diversity and Culture:

 Perspectives on Diversity and Culture:

Culture has many different meanings for many of us. For some it refers to an appreciation of music, art, food, clothing, things we discussed, even what we read. Cultures are not the product of just one person. Culture continuously evolve around a group of people sharing ideas and interacting with the environment. Cultural patterns such as language and politics make no sense except in terms of the interaction of people.

I was curious and wanted to know if my family member shared and viewed culture and diversity the way I viewed culture and diversity. I was elated to know that my family member shared her views on culture much the way we were taught and evolved in society and our region.

Family Member Response:

Culture is complexed, but diversity is easy for me because of our up-bringing and rules in our home. Culture is a belief, knowledge, morals, and customs shared by family members. Diversity is simply acceptance of other people beliefs as being real and important to them.

Friend Response:

     Diversity is showing no discrimination of minorities or other social groups different than my own. Diversity is being able to work with people from different groups and backgrounds, get along together without conflicts and fighting. Culture is the way we dress, the foods we eat, and how we act in the world.

Colleague Response:

   Culture is many different traditions that distinguishes social groups in a specific society. Culture refers language, traditions, morals, clothing, food, and beliefs that set peoples apart from others.  Diversity is a natural part of life and meant to serve the group and its members, allow the social groups to express themselves without biases. Society should embrace diversity through acceptance advancements from the contributions of their unique members. Diversity allows each social group to excel and celebrate their unique differences.

  • Which aspects of culture and diversity that I have studied in this course are included in the answers I received—and what are some examples?

All answers given from the three responses have validity. The three response related that culture is unique to its own social group. Our resource reading for this week, “ Beyond culture clash”: Understanding of immigrant experiences, illustrates the ways that culture and identity are constructed within the double movement of discourse and representation. It offers examples of how dominant representations create simplistic understandings of the identities of immigrant youth, as well as the ways youth are constructing new identities (Ngo, (2008). This is one example from the course reading that exemplify the true meaning of culture and identities.

In order to account for the complexity of different cultures and diversity in families’ experiences, and the ever-changing nature of culture and identity, we need to move beyond just understandings of culture and diversity and move forward in creating significant changes in attitudes.

  • Which aspects have been omitted—and what are some examples of such omission?

   The responses did not address the true meaning of family and how it relates to culture awareness and identity. Subjectivity has to come into play if we are going to truly address and understand how cultures are different and similar. As professionals, educators, policy makers, advocates, and community workers we must have an understanding of cultures that are different, yet we all share pride in our way of life.

  • In what ways has thinking about other people’s definitions of culture and diversity influenced my own thinking about these topics?

   I feel all cultures have universal traits, different cultures have developed their own specific ways of carrying out or expressing them. Culture and society are not the same thing.  While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting social groups. In societies are groups of people who directly or indirectly interact with each other.  People in human societies also generally perceive that their society is distinct from other societies in terms of shared traditions and expectations.

While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society.  Cultures are groups working and interacting together in a tradition manner.  They are the continuously changing and growing, we must grow with them.

Reference

Ngo, B. (2008). Beyond “culture clash”: Understanding of immigrant experiencesTheory into Practice, 47(1), 4–11.
Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete

6

My Family’s Culture

Blog Assignment Week 2

An understanding of the nature of culture is a long way from providing an answer to all issues of working in another society, but it will help us in a number of ways. I am sure a disaster will define the importance of learning and appreciating another culture so different from my own.

First, it will give us a greater appreciation of why people behave and think as they do. Moving to another region will force me to view that many of their ways are not strange, primitive, or even different from my culture.

Secondly, it will help me to recognize that we all are products of our own culture. We will learn more about ourselves, and this will help us to evaluate our own lifestyles

The three items I chose to carry with me as I start a new journey are my photos album, my bible, and a recording of my daughter’s first reading a storybook. My family photos will keep me grounded regardless of the drastic changes that is going to take place because of a sudden disaster. Family means everything to me. It does not matter that distance has separated us, we are still connected in spirit and faith. We will always be connected. I can look at my family pictures for strength and remember all the hard times and struggles we shared, yet persevered. They will be a reminder of times we disagreed, yet found strength through our problems. My family photos will let me know that I am never alone. My photos will remind me there’s no place like home.

My bible will keep me grounded spiritually. I am a firm believer that all things are possible through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I can face the disaster and relocation with my head held high, knowing I will stand firm and not faint. It is a family tradition to record family’s birth dates, death dates, and our family tree is recorded in our family bible. The family’s bible is pass on to the first born in each family.

I have never heard anything so beautiful as my daughter reading her first storybook. I taught her to read phonetically. She pronounced each word distinctly and precisely, not leaving out a single syllable. Each time I play the recording, my heart pounds with excitement, as though I am hearing it for the first time. As she reads, I am reminded that parents are their children’s first teacher.

Picture: Scholastic

6

When I Think About Research……..

As Albert Einstein once remarked: “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

When I Think About Research…..

When I think about research and this class, I feel like a caterpillar. I have gone through many phases as I struggled through the research process. My insights are numerous. This class has broaden and increased my own discipline. Professionally, I feel grounded, prepared, and capable to share, demonstrate, and prove many unanswered research questions pertaining to early childhood education. I have an understanding that all research needs to be theoretically grounded, well designed, methodically analysed, feasible, ethically fair and just (Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford, 2010).

I did not have any preconceived jdeas concerning research. I wanted to grasp all new concepts, ideas, issues, questions, and draw as many valid conclusions possible though research to advance early childhood education. Research must go through a process and answer important questions about early childhood education to become valid. Researchers must be great planners and designers. The following list is essential to complete a research study:

  • select a topic
  • review literature
  • formulated a research issue/question
  • design research
  • collect data
  • sample population
  • explore validity
  • analyse data
  • draw research conclusion (Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford, 2010).

My greatest challenges were creating a hypothesis, distinguishing between a dependent and independent variables, and validity/biases in the research process. My professor was a great asset in critiquing my applications. I read her notes numerous times. I kept in mind the definition of a hypothesis and the following factors.

A hypothesis should always:

  • explain what you expect to happen
  • be clear and understandable
  • be testable
  • be measurable
  • contain an independent and dependent variable

Validity/Bias:

Bias is defined as “the combination of various design, data, analysis, and presentation factors that tend to produce research findings when they should not be produced.”  “Bias is a form of systematic error, and there are innumerable causes (Sica, (2010).  The causes of bias can be related to the manner in which study subjects are chosen, the method in which study variables are collected or measured, the attitudes or preferences of an investigator, and the lack of control of confounding variables… in epidemiologic terms bias can lead to incorrect estimates of association, or, more simply, the observed study results will tend to be in error and different from the true result (Ioannidis, (2010).   Some bias in research arises from experimental error; however, research biases tend to arise when researchers select subjects purposefully’

Professionally I must continue to enrich my knowledge and increase my sense of professionalism over the course of my career so as to implement current research based practices. Relative to early care and education, NAEYC emphasizes that through advance research, committed, and competent early childhood professionals that young children and their families experience the excellent curriculum, the appropriate teaching strategies, the thoughtful assessment practices, the supportive services, and the effective public policies only analyze data that is more likely to generate the results they desire. The need for advance research in early childhood education is universal. I will continue to research complex questions for educational advancement. I am at the end of the research course and the caterpillar at the beginning is now a butterfly, ready to spread my wings in numerous directions through advance research for special needs students. Wish me luck!

References:

Ioannidis, J. (2010).  “Why Most Published Research Findings are False.” PLoS Medicine. 2.8 (2005)

(Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford (2010). Doing early childhood research. McGraw Hill      Higher      Education, 2nd Edition.

Sica, G. (2010). “Bias in Research Studies.” Radiology. 238. (2006): 780-789

2

Research Around the World

International Research Topics:

European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA):

One of the current research issue referenced by EECERA is the closing of numerous nursery schools in England. The House of Commons select committee reports that “many maintained nursery schools have closed in the last decade” (over a hundred in England) despite robust evidence to show that they offer the best outcomes to disadvantaged young children. The benefits of attending a maintained nursery school last right the way through the school system: their closure represents the worst sort of short-term thinking. The youngest and most vulnerable children are being harmed by these irresponsible actions.

Local government has a vital role to play in the successful delivery of the national programs to provide free nursery schools for disadvantaged two-years-old. Children will only benefit if they attend a good-quality early years setting with appropriately qualified staff. Numerous nursery school dismayed that some councils fund settings without a good rating, and further dismayed by the cutbacks for training courses and to teams of early years advisers. Without training and ongoing support, quality will not sustain and the poorest settings will not improve.

I was surprised to know that a recent report on summer-born children has highlighted the pressure being put on children and parents by local authorities and schools to enter reception class before the age of five. England faces the same dilemma as the schools in the United States.

All these short-term actions which damage children in their early years will have an upward impact as they go through their schooling. This in turn damages communities. Local authorities must do more than blame national government and the economic recession. We therefore call on candidates in the forthcoming local elections in England and Northern Ireland to stop cutting early years provision and pledge their support for the high-quality provision that will benefit young children and their families now, and for years to come.

International early childhood education needs funds in England and advocates to appeal to council for quality education for the early learners.

Reference
http://www.eecera.org/journal/

3

Research that Benefits Children and Families—Uplifting Stories

     Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a popular intervention approach for individuals with disabilities, especially young children with autism. This would be my research project. I have observed this therapy first hand and and have seen numerous success stories. Funded is limited, but necessary to reach children on the spectrum.

Here is a wonderful success story using ABA Therapy:

Entering Kindergarten:

Let’s Hear It for Research that Benefits Children and Families!!!!!

Recently a follow-up story was done on a little boy who was as part of an ABA therapy team), and other therapists have been working with for two and a half years. They started when he was three. When we first met him he has a home program of 20-25 hours of ABA a week. He had no expressive or receptive use of language and minor behavioral problems (largely because he didn’t know what was expected of him). He would swipe things off tables, cry and scream sometimes. He also had transition issues when we moved from working at a table, to working on the floor. There were also no age appropriate play skills.

We worked with him on a one-to-one ratio using highly motivated reinforcement helped decrease his frustration levels. We would use food or hand toys to help motivate him to learn. We also used errorless teaching methods to help make him more successful. (The more success they have the less frustrated they are with the therapy).

Within a month he started following simple directions and making sounds. Within six months he was able to label pictures using expressive language. He had a vocabulary of probably twenty words, had developed some age appropriate fine motor skills including puzzles, beads, shapes, orders, etc.

Within nine months he started using a few two word phrases, like “Help me,” or “Open this.” He was able to show a little pretend play skills. He could identify his body parts receptively, and follow two step directions. He was expanding on his pretend play and he was able to transition more appropriately between tasks.

By a year and a half he was able to use three-word phrases, he was potty trained. He was able to play more appropriately with his brother, and his transition issues and behavioral problems were minimal.

So here’s the exciting part. It’s been two and a half years since we have seen them. This child was able to hold a typical conversation with me! He is now going into kindergarten with a shadow ( another person by his side) and won’t need one in first grade. He was awesome. We are very proud of him and his family for keeping the therapy going. Policy makers, “ if you can hear me , the researcher and programs need MONEY!!!”

Reference

http://www.autism-behavior-strategies.com/autism-success-stories.html

0

Quality Programs For All Children

Michelle,
Your article brought tears to my eyes as well as joy. Here is a portion of a story from a mother with an autistic child:
We have crazy big fears. All parents do, add to them: Will my child be able to cross a street alone? Will my child be able to live independently? If not, then what? (I can’t go there yet) The list is actually too hard for me to even continue, but you get it, right?

As strong as we can be, we break down, we feel alone and we are scared. Many of us don’t have a strong support system and we like to be hugged! This is not easy and always being on guard is hard. Our brain hurts from juggling all we do!

Many of us have other kids that also require our parenting. Our special needs kids usually consume our time leaving much guilt and feelings of inadequacy in letting our other kids down.

We know we are on a journey and our path is not paved nor does it have a clear direction. We live it every second of every day thinking and wondering. We try new therapies, read books and do crazy things. Anything that may help our child have a better quality of life. Wouldn’t you? Relate it to a loved one that may have cancer, you would go to the highest mountain for a vial that may cure if someone told you it worked!

I have found my voice and it is to share, help and advocate for all families that do it a little differently.

To all of you that may think about crossing this Autism Mom- Think Twice: I am not giving up or going away!

Read more: http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/autism-special-kids-special-needs-3478924#ixzz3aMl1iDn4

michellebeamon82

As I begin this weeks blog I think about my step-daughter’s biological mom, who after being in the military for a few years found out that she had a learning disability from a childhood disease she had. The one thing she could not understand was why her mother did not get her any help or why her mother would not tell her about her disability. Many people would say that her mother was in the wrong, but I wanted her to look at things from her mother’s point of view. There were a few things that I wanted her to understand, such things as time period, culture, and education. My step-daughter’s mother was born in the early 1980s when there was not as much knowledge about children with special needs and learning disabilities. Many people, from lack of knowledge, felt as though children with learning disabilities were being lazy or they were…

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