Erasing Differences for Inclusion

While reading Erasing Differences for the Sake of Inclusion: How Mexican/Mexican American Students Construct Historical Narratives by Maribel Santiago there were a few questions that I had:

  1. In a topic like civil rights, it appears that Maribel Santiago wants teachers to spend days if not a week talking about this topic. Civil Rights is an issue that is already spending much time on, why is this issue more important to talk about than lets say the riots in the 90’s or other very influential court cases of the time period?
  2. What would happen if this topic was brought to a majority white school? would she get as valuable feedback and interest from the students?
  3. If using the term “Mexican American Brown” helps the students remember the case and use it to their advantage, why is it so frowned upon? (I get they are very different but use it as a tool not a concept).
  4. Since the students were struggling with the segregation by language aspect, why not  make that the focus and main idea of the topic?


A Consul Personality (ESFJ)

After taking the 16 personalities personality test, I found out that I was a consul personality or an ESFJ. This stands for extraverted, sensing, feeling, and judgement. Basically what this means  is that I am an out going individual who uses observations to make decisions. However, this section was very close as I scored a 52% observations to 48% intuition. In terms of how I approach work and planning I was rated as judging. What this means is that I will take a situation and when I plan to do something I use my best judgement instead of using the other option of prospecting. Lastly, I was marked as assertive when it comes to decision making. This meaning that I do what I believe is best and am assertive with my beliefs and stick to my guns.

I believe having this personality type gives me some advantages that others may not have. I am a good people person with decent social skills allowing me to connect with students and not afraid to engage in some riskier conversations. This personality also offers some backup in the pathos and ethos of teaching. I can connect emotionally to students, allowing them to feel comfortable and pathos meaning that I can present information in a advantageous way.

However, when it comes to this personality type I also have some weaknesses and it shows when I do my micro teachings. Basing decisions on judging and feeling, I may not always make the right decisions when it comes to kids learning or even the harder decisions of maybe putting more work on students or grading them harder. I have been guilty of this a few times when grading papers in my placement. Luckily I have Justin and Malissa to help me out when I have moments of weakness.

Differential Education

In the first classroom we see Mr. Appleton doing a very straight forward lesson with reading out of the book, answering questions and then lecturing over the material. This will be repetitive and cause the students to hear the same things numerous times as well as remembering it more easily.

In Mrs. Baker’s classroom there involves much more engagement with both the teachers as well as with fellow students, whether it is the activities or studying for the exams there seems to be constant engagement. However, it is hard to see what information they are learning is critical and what needs to be known. there seems to be little structure.

Ms. Cassel is used to show an alternative approach to teaching. She forms her lessons around essential questions and a theme to give structure of what needs to be learned in her lesson. From their she creates activities around these themes that are very engaging for the students. The students compare their own lives to the romans, they dress up like the romans to show their culture, and work together to develop important fact sheets.

Going from these three examples we learn from the first two teachers were examples of what non differentiated teaching is. It is not the lesson that was only teaching goals and what they need to know by reading and lecturing all the time as well as it is not changing up the lesson plans constantly to show the students are engaging. What it is, is the combination of the two. Ms. Cassel shows us that differential instruction is a combination of structure and questions at the same time as engaging the students with what they find is fun and intriguing. Mashing these two principles together creates a very productive and overall better for the students education.

Night Discussion Questions

  1. Early on in the book (specifically pages 7-12) many of the Jewish prisoners are being moved to the ghettos. Many of the prisoners still have a sense of denial for what is about to happen. Why is this?
  2. Have you noticed any change with Eliezer’s relationship with his faith or with God as the book progresses?
  3. Have you noticed any symbolic or literal meanings of the title Night so far in your readings?
  4. How does some of Wiesel’s interactions with other prisoners strengthen or diminish his will to live?

Teaching The Holocaust

  1. According to Simone Schweber Holocaust Sacralization is the idea that the Holocaust was such a sacred event it should only be discussed discretely with “prayerful appropriateness” (pg. 48). While Schweber defines Holocaust trivialization as taking the powerful messages and events of the holocaust and and making them seem unimportant or not realizing the severity of the events. Both of these extremes are very problematic when trying to teach about a topic like the Holocaust. Students shouldn’t shy away from the horrors and it is important to understand these events but, they need to be taught in a very sensitive manner. Doing either of these extremes will not give students proper knowledge of the topic at hand and will affect how they see the topic in the future
  2. The many problems that the middle east and the United States has had over the years has caused a very vexed situation over the years and very recently as well. When using the word vexed we are referring to this topic being very difficult one to topic about and is highly debated amongst the American people. Recently Israel has become a vexed topic due to the continued hostilities with Palestine. In the public opinion the role of the Israeli government is vexed because people are on both sides of the debate deciding on whether or not to become involved.
  3. Discussion on the Holocaust isn’t so different from trying to discuss current situations in the middle east. First of all, both are very sensitive topics that can have a very close place to certain students whether they have a family member in the military or come from a Jewish family. Both need to be taken very seriously but also shouldn’t be shied away from. Being social studies educators, current issues can be tied to the past in order to make the issues more personable for students. The more relation someone has to a topic, the better they learn. The immigration situations can be compared as well as Islamophobia to putting Japanese Americans into internment camps (different but have social relations).

Textbooks Assisting in Lesson Planning

When teachers are lesson planning, many will get much of their material from the universal social studies textbook. This is frowned upon by many in the field saying that it has biases and innaccuracies to them. However, after reading the article Effectively Using Social Studies Textbooks In Historical Inquiry, Scott L. Roberts makes some very convincing points that textbooks can be useful when lesson planning. Scott states that there are numerous positives to using textbooks. For example they are a great source for primary and secondary sources. The textbooks also are a great way to meet the core standards set from state to state. Lastly is that textbooks are widely available to the students that use them and are good for meeting standards in standardized test.

Standard: 8. 3. 2 Ideals of the civil rights movement.

Question: How were the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr. different from the Gettysburg address, and the Seneca Falls Resolution?

Reading as a Form of Citizenship

A sense of belonging to a group or a culture is a huge aspect to citizenship. Reading in this new culture will help to enhance your sense of citizenship. Reading will give someone insight to current day issues and will help a new citizen in assimilating to their new home. Reading leads to conversations amongst people, and these interactions about similar or differing views make for a greater sense of belonging because one can put in their own opinions about their new culture.

While reading through Werner’s piece, I began to look back at the way I have read history pieces and how I have evolved over time. When I read historical pieces in high school as well as the first year of college, I went into them with little to no skepticism. I believed everything that was read and did not question a thing. Through taking MSU courses and reading many different sources, there are so mud more to reading social studies than I ever thought. It’s all about perspective and when reading history you do have to go in with an open mind as well as a “lower case S skeptic” mind as my old ISS professor would tell us. For example I am currently reading Tastes of Paradise that talks about the influences spices have had on history. While reading, I go into it questioning some of the main points the author makes and in turn I get a deeper understanding of the material as well as my interest level in the reading increases as Werner talks about.

DISC Personality

After doing the DISC personality test it came to the conclusion that I have a steadiness personality. Having a personality that is “steady” means that I am patient, calm and collected a majority of the time. I also am a helpful person that is willing to help everyone especially those that I consider my close friends.

For the most part I would agree with the results of this test. I tend to be a very patient person (as I’ve been told) and I have a good temper. As for the test itselfI found it to be difficult. It was hard to decide on the thing that was farther from my personality especially since many of the topics were very similar. Compared to other test that I have taken in the past, it was much less specific than other test. For the most past though it did get a few aspect of my personality right and was a quick and easy test.