Skin of Dead Sheep

There is a quote from an American drama critic and author that states:

Part of the American myth is that people who are handed the skin of a dead sheep at graduating time think that it will keep their minds alive forever. (John Mason Brown 1900-1969)

This quote made me ponder on how this myth falls into the minds of many other institutions here in America.  For example, many church goers believe that their once-a-week church service routine will keep their relationship with God alive.  They are handed a “skin” of biblical principles every week, but it is only to help them learn how to nourish and care for their own skin.  It is not the purpose of the teacher or the preacher to take the spot of Wisdom.  Wisdom and knowledge are two distinct friends.  Knowledge is knowing.  Wisdom is applying what we know.  Graduation time comes for many across the schools of America from preschool graduation to doctorate levels.  A paper is handed into the hands of the achiever, but wisdom is calling out at every corner when he or she is faced with the opportunity to apply such knowledge.  Wisdom must be sought.

Col 1:9-10 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man.

I read in a commentary that the word most used in the Bible for wisdom was “hokmah” which in Hebrew means skill.  My husband has knowledge in fence building, but he also possess the skill of installing them.  When someone else passes their understanding of things to us, in essence they are making us more knowledgeable.  But that knowledge does not make us wise.  A skin of a dead sheep is no longer viable.  It serves other purposes once it is detached from it’s living organism.  Knowledge does not keep us alive on its own.  We must seek to apply it.

Have You Been Hiding Under Someone Else’s Skin?


When God’s Not In Control

I cannot just say that God is in control of everything and expect things to “work out on their own”.  He is in control in our lives when we allow Him to be.  Allowing Him does not mean just saying it but acting in a manner that proves as evidence that our decisions are making room for God to move in the way He longs to move in our lives.  He has ordained me to take charge of many matters.  Genesis speaks of a human race that was ordained into power and authority over this earthly kingdom.  You see…when God speaks, action inevitably follows that word.  We, on the other hand do not reflect such characteristic.  But, we should.  We should be a people of word and action.  The bible is full of scriptures that encourage us to trust God.  Trusting involves action, not just words.  As we take action, we can trust that things WILL work out (not on their own) because He is with us.  When we can’t make it in the natural, then He comes in with His supernatural expertise.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right handIsaiah 41:10

Possibility knocks at my front door everyday.  The impossible I take to His doorsteps through prayer.

Have you taken action today?  Have you prayed yet?

Is It Fair?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary one of the definitions of FAIR is to be  marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.

As a teacher, I have always been told that I must treat my students the same if I want to be fair.  With controversial issues such as English-Only vs Dual Immersion or other EL programs, assessment by the previous statements becomes a problem.  How can I treat all my students the same if one of them has a lower reading level, lower CELDT score, or even a higher IQ?

My Health instructor said this statement at the end of our final on Monday:

“If you want to be fair then you have to treat students different.”

Huh?  He continued his lecture by reminding us that requiring a student to perform just like the rest of the students even when it is not physically possible for him or her is unfair (prejudice).  However, we do ask students to successfully produce quality academic writing and reading assignments when they don not have the knowledge, the foundation, or even the language.  I’m still reflecting on my stance on this statement.  I’m trying to clarify what is truly means and what it encompasses.

What do you think about the above statement?

A Final Wink

I’d like to end today’s portion of my final for my EDMS 4100 class with a few quotes.

“There is, nevertheless, the most important reason to stay: Every year you have a chance to fall in love again – with your students and with teaching. To remember why you decided that the classroom was where you belonged. To remember how much that one special teacher influenced your life. To remember the magic in your classroom when your students could do it with out you. Every day for a teacher is one of infinite challenge. No day is the same as the one before. No class is the same as the one that just left. You are not always a model of perfection and rarely everyone’s favorite teacher; however, you have the time and opportunity to try to be one of the best.” By Linda Kovaric.

“Not Everything that Matters is Measurable and Not Everything that is Measurable Matters.”

Book title by Ian Bache

“Education is Radically about Love.” By Paulo Freire

“We will all have a fear of power at some point of our lives.” Joan Wink in Elluminate discussion of Buttercup

“The bent given by education will determine all that follows.” Socrates, The Republic, Book IV

“For he who would learn to command well must, as men say, first of all learn to obey.” Aristotle, Politics, Book VII

“To possess all the world of knowledge and lose one’s own self is as awful a fate in education as in religion.” John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum

“What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone.” L. S. Vygotsky, Mind in Society

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” cited byPastor Susan Young (quote from Harry Truman)

“Literacy is dangerous and has always been so regarded.  It naturally breaks down barriers of time, space, and culture.  It threatens one’s original identity by broadening it through vicarious experiencing and the incorporation of somebody else’s heart and ethos.” Joan Wink in ALER, Nov. 2009

This was my final wink at Dr. Wink’s assignments, but I assure you that it will not be the end of this project.  I will not shut my eyes to the unfamiliar.  I will learn, unlearn and relearn with eyes wide open.  You see, the Cyberspace Yellow Folder Project started with an assignment, developed as  reflective cycle, and will continue as a personal pursue to document learning in the area of education. Dr. Wink has turned my world upside down as she bombarded my life in these 5 weeks with so many resources and strategies.  She said to us, “Critical Pedagogy is not something we do.  We live Critical Pedagogy.”  This is true.  I see it in her eyes as they sparkle when talking about Vygotsky and her personal stories in education.  I hear it in the words of my colleagues as we shared on Blackboard the progress of our learning.  And I read it in her writing as it provokes me to reflect (the Reflective Cycle manner).  I am not swayed by what surrounds me or by all that I read.  All this makes me stronger as I develop my stance in this world as an educator, a learner, and an agent of change.  Thanks!

Are you learning with eyes wide opened?

One of Those People

We were asked to filled the following statement for the end of our EDMS 4100 course:

First, completing my Spiral of Literacy was my best moment in class because it unfolded one of my lifelong desires, to ignite my heart in finding the joy of reading. I helped make it my best moment by not giving up even when I felt I was just not meant to be “one of those people” who read for pleasure.  It was my exposure to others’ spirals of literacy that allowed me to understand that some are born into the beautiful world of word and others create their world at different ages.  I’ve started one for me and for my niece and nephews.

Second, the first few days after our first class meeting was my worst moment in class because I felt I had made a mistake by taking three courses in a winter session and because I felt a surge of information overload. I could have made it better by structuring my schedule to allow moments of rest.  I could have done several things, but that feeling made me reflect and evolve my old way of facing such feeling.  Before, I would have stressed till the end.  This time around, at the end of the course, I learned to own my learning at my own pace.

I am still not “one of those people” who is an avid reader.  I am one of the many people who discovered the power of education in their late years and have taken action to pursue it for the rest of their life.

What about you?

Skilled Skim Reader

As I was re-writing my Spiral of Literacy assignment, the title of this post popped into my head when I was confessing that I had a difficult time finishing an entire book.  I read enough to make it through and get an A in the class.  This happened all the way through college.  I loved school.  I loved learning.  I just did not value my own learning.  I missed out on all those other details I was not tested on. I missed out on the personal “aha” moments we tend to have when we embrace the unfamiliar and all of a sudden Vygotsky’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) becomes a reality in the midst of capturing words.  Vygotsky’s ZPD shares the reality of many children in schools who are asked to make connections in another language without the links.  Those of us who are not physic savvy may feel lost in the Quantum Theory and the numerical attributes associated with the physics electricity formula for Equivalent Resistance:

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

How could we not understand?  It has all the symbols in our language.  I mean EVERYONE knows the symbols (the letter R, the + sign, the numbers, etc).  Still, to decode the combination of these familiar symbols, we need to have some fundamental knowledge.  Someone needs to help us understand what each symbol represents and how the combination applies in the world of physics.  R= the amount of resistance, and the numbers represent each added variant resistance.

Vygotsky’s ZPD states that optimal learning occurs when the students are offered new information that is approximately close to their zone of learning (new but close enough to stretch and reach out for it to connect).  Steve Krashen shares this concept with his comprehensible input and i+1 idea.  We learn using our past experiences and connecting with the unfamiliar to make interlocking chains of information that helps us connect to the next level.  It’s not a horizontal or vertical chain, but a central and extend out in all directions.  Learning is not up or down, left or right.  Learning is holistic whether we like it or not.  I understand I cannot skim through life because I will miss out on precious links that interconnect me with the unfamiliar.

How about you?  Have you gone through life skim reading what surrounds you and missing out in your personal “aha” moments?

Req = R1R2R3

R1 + R2 + R3

Real or Fake?

“Tia Cruz, where are you?”

“At school still” (8 pm)

“Oh…are you at you real class or fake class?”

“Huh, what do you mean Deborah…? I’m at the university…in class.”

“I know…but are you on the computer class or the real one.”

“I’m at the school you visit with me.”

“Oooooh (chuckle) I thought you at home on your computer…I want to go over.”

Truth being said, life is full of real classes.  Teachers, learners, community members and the environment are all agents of learning and share that very role.  There are no “fake” classes as all of our experiences can be viewed in a transformative way.  Those surreal situations can still teach us something if we reflect on them.  AFA’s creative dialogue demonstrates that learning in school settings can have a powerful impact at home.  Some lessons in life are easier than others.  Some teach us.  Some, we teach and learn how to teach.  Other lessons serve as platforms for future information we will need and they are stored in our head waiting to serve as a resource.

What have you learned lately?

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