Thursday, September 26, 2013

Positive Youth Development

When looking at the positive factors in youth development, it becomes apparent why so many of our youth have difficulty succeeding in academic settings, and have difficulty cultivating their talents and interests. One or more of the factors that can make or break a youth is so readily available in the area I work in: South Providence. There are a lot of opportunities for positive youth development: City Arts After-school programs, the institute for Non Violence and other Community Action Programs. However, what concerns me are those children whose parents can't pick their children up from After-school. Or those children who are in After-school and they don't want to go home. A little girl in my homeroom was telling me the other day that she was tired and the police were in her home at 2'O Clock in the morning so she couldn't fall asleep.

Family problems, availability of drugs and lack of motivation in school are all issues that can render our youth hopeless. The hope is that we can awaken some sort of fire within them and show them there is a future out there. The hope is that we can create a safe, stable environment by creating programs that will offer a sense of family while encouraging positive youth development. There's a really great school in Rhode Island called The Met. That school has been the second home of all three of my little brothers. They have created a sense of family and support for so many youth that lack that at home and in the neighborhood they live in. They really take the interests of the youth seriously and go above and beyond to cultivate the talents they have and support them in any possible way. They help them learn their way around the state and help them network with so many different community voices so that when they leave the Met they have relationships that will last a lifetime. I think that a program like this emulates what the PowerPoint was talking about: teaching them constructive use of time, boundaries and expectations, and giving them hope.

 I can say from someone who was troubled youth, that there was a Youth Development program that helped shaped me and led me down a path of pursuing a higher education and it showed me a different way of life and I was around a community and I honestly feel like it saved my life. The research shows that these are necessary components to healthy youth development, and it's so inspiring to know that we can really change this world by helping these youth who really need our support.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (& why it's IMPERATIVE we find common ground)

I think this article really explores a very serious issue in the education system today. As an educator who entered elementary school when an apple computer was a gigantic grey computer instead of a sleek television looking HD screen.

 It has been an evolving journey being introduced to new technology. My generation (1990's) was raised with Digital Immigrants as our teachers and we were taught in a traditional way. As time has passed so many innovative tools have been created to make learning an interesting experience, and I think that is the view that Digital Immigrants need to have when approaching Digital Natives. I do however; understand where the Digital Immigrants are coming from. They are used to a specific type of learning and are now in need of learning a whole new ‘language’ in order to effectively teach. I think as an educator, it’s important to be open to new ways of learning and not to simply shut down and refer to the younger generations who have been digitalized as hopeless or not as good as the generations who learned differently. 
It is boring to learn the same way every time. As a college student I can say that the traditional lectures are extremely boring (unless it’s a topic I am passionate about) and when an educator takes the time to use technology to teach it is impressive and commendable, especially if they are a lot older. I have incorporated the use of iPads and other technology (I’m still learning to use the smart board) and if I need help using something, it’s a great learning experience for my students to help me learn the technology because they get to teach as well.

The example used when the author suggest teaching the Holocaust by creating a virtual world is a great example of how to teach in an innovative and interesting way. It is however, necessary to teach the Digital Immigrants, so that they can learn the technology efficiently and teach successfully. I feel that Digital Immigrants (as educators) should learn to teach in an effective way so the Digital Natives can learn and that would mean straying away from a traditional sense of learning.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Reflection: Child Labor and The Social Construction of Childhood

It became clear to me, when reading this article, the many differences in cultures across the world and the changes that have happened in American culture. This article shows how normal it was for American children to work at young ages and help to support their families. It produced the idea that children are responsible to help their families and contribute. Now, it is horrific to even assume that a child should be required to work and support their family. I personally, began to think about my family and the values that have been instilled in me. My mother's family is from Cape Verde and generations of our family were hardworking people who worked to help their families (young or not). My mother had a high school education and was a very hard worker. Even when she wasn't working a job she was a hard worker around the house and she felt that when my sister and I were old enough, we should find a job and help out if necessary. My father's side of the family were hard workers too, but felt as though our jobs should be our educations. 

I believe that the pictures of the young workers (in factories and performing hard labor) are overboard, but I tend to agree with the article when they say that babysitting and paper routes can build character in children and teach responsibility. I know that when I watched my mother struggle once we were separated from my dad, I began to look for work and I was 16 years old. So while I would never allow my child to feel that they are responsible for supporting themselves or my family, I think it would teach them necessary lessons about helping their family, and working hard to be successful, if they had a job. Also it teaches money management, time management, and so many other skills they will need to survive in the world.