Archive | April, 2011

The Past 4 Years..

9 Apr

Wow, I cannot believe that I have finished classes for my Education degree and only have one final to go before I am done! The past 4 years have passed me by so quickly, especially this past semester.  I remember being told that this semester always drags on but I found it amazingly fast.  I was so busy with classes and preparing for interviews that I did not have time to stop and reflect on how far we have all come.  I encourage everyone to stop and think about where you were 4 years ago and the person you were when you entered university.

I can still remember my first day of university.  My first class was Sociology 100 at 8:30 a.m.  I took the bus and had to be out my door by 7: 30 a.m. and I’m proud to say I’ve only missed the bus once in 3 years.  I was a completely different person when I entered university in comparison to who I am now.  I was much more insecure then I am now; I had zero confidence in my ability to do well. I have always been a perfectionist and could never live up to my own expectations. Now, I have gained some confidence because of many positive experiences that happened as a result of being in the Education program.  Pre-internship and internship were huge confidence boosters; they were proof that I could be successful in doing what I love.

I have also become a critical thinker.  I first learned about critical thinking in Sociology 100.  My professor always told us to “think critically” and “question everything, even your professors”.  This was a huge change for me since in high school we were given the message that everything our teachers told us was right.  We were never encouraged to question them.  At first, I had difficulty with critical thinking because of my high school experiences.  I believe a major turning point for me was enrolling in Women’s Studies 100.  I was fascinated with all of the new ways of thinking and began to think differently and more critically than I ever had in my entire life.  The class challenged a lot of what I had learned in school, especially in History.  We talked a lot about the people in history with less agency (women and minority cultures, especially First Nations and Metis). The class truly was life-changing for me because it changed my entire perspective of our society.

I have met so many amazing people in the past 4 years and developed some great relationships.  In my opinion, the people are the best part of the Faculty of Education.  I have had some negative experiences being in this faculty but I always knew that there were people willing to support me.  I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the memorable times we’ve had together. I wish everyone the best of luck!


All the Single Ladies Dance Controversy (8 & 9 year old girls)

8 Apr

I am in the middle of preparing for dance competition this weekend and as I was getting ready I remembered this video and the amount of controversy that arose from it. I definitely have an opinion about this video and two parents’ response to the backlash. I would hope as an educators you would have an opinion, too. Please share these with me in the comments below.
Anyways, onto my opinion. First of all, I would like to share that I have been dancing for 16 years and have been competing for 11 years and have attended about 3 competitions a year. In the approximate 33 competitions I have attended, I have never seen 8 & 9 year old girls dancing like this (except one but I will discuss that later). I think that “booty bouncing” and grinding is completely inappropriate for this age group. These girls are extremely talented (I have never seen 8 & 9 year olds dance this well). What they are doing takes huge commitment, strength, flexibility, and talent.

That brings me to my next point, why did the dance teacher resort to such inappropriate and talentless movements when he/she had so much talent to work with! The sexual movements of “booty bouncing”, shaking, and grinding, takes NO talent. A person with absolutely NO dance background could easily do those movements. I just do not see any justification to having these girls dance like that.

Above, I mentioned that I have seen these movements at one dance competition. The interesting part is that it was a competition in the United States. Myself and the rest of the dance studio were shocked at the movements we saw. (Many were even more sexualized than this dance). I know that the girls in the Single Ladies dance also dance in the U.S. I am not saying that this is okay, but I can see why they may have not seen anything wrong with it. Yet, at the same time, how are so many parents okay with their children dancing this way? Why is there such a difference between the Canadian and United States dance competitions I have attended? In no way am I attempting to “bash” the United States, I just do not understand why there is such a difference. I know that I have not been to all of Canada or the United States, but the competition we attended was only 8 hours away and there was a huge difference.

I would now like to share the interview with the parents of one girl who danced in the video.

*I was not able to embed the video because this option has been disabled.*

My response to their interview is that the context (a dance competition) should not matter. If these girls were dancing like this on the street, in the mall, in their home, I would see it as inappropriate so why is it okay at a dance competition? I would argue that it is not appropriate because the movements are very sexual and way too sexual for 8 and 9 year old girls. I would think that it should be even more inappropriate at a dance competition because they are doing movements that require no talent. The majority of the audience could have likely did these movements. I doubt the majority of the audience could have pulled off 6 clean grande pirouettes (turns with leg straight out) or jumped in the air and landed in the splits. These moves take talent, which these girls obviously have. They don’t need to do sexual movements, which I believe, takes away from the actual dancing.
The father says that these types of movements are completely normal in dance competitions. First of all, they are not normal in all dance competitions. Even if they are “normal” in some competitions, does that make it okay?! What happened to critical thinking? How would our society ever move forward if we accepted everything because “that’s just the way it is”.
Lastly, the mother says she does not let her child watch the video then WHY would you let your daughter DANCE the same movements that are in the video?!
There is just too much that can be argued.

I know that this is a long post but I truly believe that this type of dancing is inappropriate and I become so frustrated when I hear the parents’ arguments. I would like to say that I do NOT believe the young girls in the video deserve any of the negative backlash that has been aimed at them. They have been called very hurtful names but the dancers do not choose their choreography or their costumes. Although, the mother does have a point when she says dance costumes are made to show movement and lines. Dancers should not wear loose, long clothing because the judges need to check for proper technique. I think the parents and the dance teacher should be held accountable for what has happened.

I know this is “old” controversy as it happened last year but I am very interested in hearing what everyone else has to say. We are educators and children are very important to us. Please share your thoughts:) I know my blog is very one sided so please feel free to share alternate perspectives.

Thanks for reading.

Final Project

7 Apr

Here is a link to my final project! I have two more videos that are in the process of being uploaded to YouTube.  They seem to take many hours and I will hopefully have them up by tomorrow morning!

Tech Task #10 – Personal Learning Networks

7 Apr

Before beginning this course, I had a very minimal understanding of personal learning networks.  I could identify that they are beneficial to teachers as they allow teachers to connect with others but I could not define any other benefits.  This course has helped me to understand the many ways in which PLNs are helpful. Also, I have thought about what this means for me as a future educator.  When researching personal learning networks, I found a helpful video that outlines how PLNs are useful for educators.

The video mentions how people tend to rely on a specific person to help them with technology.  I completely agreed with his point since most schools I have been in have one "tech teacher".  This teacher is responsible for handling every technological issue or activity that happens in the school.  As teachers, we should take responsibility for our own professional development.  Developing a PLN allows us to do this because we can connect with teachers all around the world. Some of the ways we can connect with other teachers include Twitter, Edmodo, and even Facebook. We no longer have to feel like we are alone - we can connect with another educator in seconds!

I truly believe that students will benefit from teachers building personal learning networks.  They will directly benefit from the teacher's new knowledge that they will gain from communicating with other teachers.  Teachers could even invite other educators or guest speakers to present to the classroom using Skype or Elluminate. By modeling the development of a PLN, the teacher is impressing the importance of lifelong learning on the children.  Students can see how much they can learn from others and how valuable these connections can be. Students can even begin to create their own personal learning networks by connecting to other students around the world.

There are many benefits of creating a PLN.  I am eager to learn more about PLNs and would love to hear others' thoughts on the topic. I invite you to read this informative post to learn more about PLNs or visit this example.

(original image found here)

Summary of Personal Learning

7 Apr

Here is my summary of personal learning that I created using Zooburst and Camtasia. I decided to create a storybook to share my learning! I hope you enjoy it! *The format of my blog cuts off some of the video. To watch a better version, please watch it on YouTube.