Monday, November 25, 2013

Open House at RIC

On November 9th Rhode Island College featured its open house for students who may have been trying to decide on where to go to school, what major to declare, or just get general information. For the first time ever, Youth Development was a part of this open house. Myself, Anthony and professor Mckamey were able to stand by and answer questions students and parents had about the program. This experience felt like our elevator speeches that were put on a recorder. I felt as though most of what we talked about was discussed, and re-discussed. What was more enjoyable to me was talking to parents and students on a more personal level, finding out what they enjoy and what they hope to get out of their education. I was able to relate to each of them more and tell them about my own longer then hoped for college experience. It was rewarding being able to help students in a way that no college program would be able to. It was not too long ago (six years almost to be exact) that I was in the same position that these students were. Scared, confused, excited, and intrigued by this whole new world of college. I can remember walking the campus of Plymouth State University so excited to get to my new school, meet new friends, and have a whole new life. 

Coming to Rhode Island College was a different experience then that. I knew I wanted to work with kids, so OASIS was my "mentor" of what to do. They told me that if I wanted to work with children I should begin my process of applying to the Feisenstein School of Education. The process was long and grueling, and during the first two years of my experience at Rhode Island College, I could tell something was just not right. Was this for me? Was teaching the option I wanted? Youth Development has been the program to steer me in the right direction. I have learned a great amount of information in different field like Social Work, Education, and Non-Profit Studies. Talking to people about this experience I could tell they were much like me in this confused position of what to do. When I told them that in this program you are not restricted to the classroom setting to work with children, there was a strong degree of interest and motivation to learn more. This experience was rewarding, I hope that at the next open house maybe we can have some type of video of us as youth workers to grab the crowds interest, or perhaps doing an ice breaker with the crowd. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Looking at "the look"

The concept of interpersonal relationships between the teacher and student seems commonly debated among educational professionals. There are many educators who believe in a rigid, traditional classroom in which students must raise their hands to speak, the desks are faced in rows and are facing the teacher who is the "dictator" of the class. This setting sets a certain tone for the type of environment the students will learn in. Then there is the opposite of this, where the teacher sets up the classroom in groups, a semi circle, or some other way and students have open conversations, the teacher may ask them personal questions, and the energy is high and positive. This, I believe is the classroom where the greatest learning occurs because children are able to express themselves and connect with one another as well as the teacher on another level. 

In class we discussed with Youth In Action their take on how they structure days. They may have had red days where the speaking is mostly among the adults, or violet days where there is much more open discussion. Corinne's research seemed to me to touch upon this idea of how we can set the tone for learning by our relationships we have with the students. The way we conduct ourselves through our dialogue with students can create a certain environment-whether it is positive or negative. "Holding students quietly seated in classroom rows, may also function to limit dialogue between teacher and students ." 

Corinne's research on 'the look' forced me to look into my own experience of my interactions with children. While writing my philosophy on Youth Development I mentioned that my curiosity and enthusiasm for working with youth is what I hope to carry through to my professional life. This is where I portray my own 'look' of helping, listening, and learning every day about young children and wanting to make sure that they are provided positive learning experiences. I can see where in the research there was a struggle of conflict between the teacher role and losses as a researcher. The fact that Corinne was able to put her role as a teacher before her research shows her own dedication to helping youth, even if it was to cost some personal loss.

This video is a reaction a baby had to one of my favorite songs it is so adorable! Talk about a mother child bond!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Girls on the run

Kohn's article discusses the comparison between middle class and lower class child rearing strategies, and how the parents get their children involved in extracurricular activities, and for what reasons. When we are looking at the activities we involve our children in it is important to note if these engage the child's curiosity and creativity, or if they are mostly submissive to adult authority. Most things that parents involve their students in are authorized by adults. While having some of these groups can be okay, it is important that children are able to learn how to question why things are the way they are, and what purpose do they have. While this may seem to be disobedient, often it is an opportunity to learn something new. I have come across a lot of this in my own experience of working with children. It is often times easy for adults to try and take control a group of children with rules and authoritative activities, but it keeps us from learning and allowing them to learn as well.

One of the example scenarios that Kohn mentions in the article was a lower class family living together. The daughter was making spaghetti and brought it over to the bed and dipped bread in it. She gave some to her brother as well. The children were yelled at and told to go in the kitchen. The children missed out on an important lesson on why they are not allowed to eat on a bed, and the adult being authoritative missed out on finding out that the older sister was doing nothing but trying to share with her younger brother. A situation that could have turned into a perfect learning experience, and family shared moment was taken away by adult authority.

Programs that allow youth to be involved, and keep a communication open with their adults are able to have so many more enriched learning and life experiences. There is creativity involved as well because there is no fear of getting into trouble, and more positive relationships are born.

A program that I would like to get involved in is called Girls on the Run, where girls get together and do activities that involve running, but also enhance self esteem and promote self confidence. A program like this has limited adult authority, there are adults present but they are there to support the girls and their goals. As well these adults help the girls with issues they are dealing with including bullying, or other pressures of youth. This program not only promotes healthy lifestyles, positive body image, and self esteem, it also lets girls know that they matter and are important.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Philosophy on YD

I wanted to post this on my blog in case it did not show up on my portfolio. 

Philosophy of Youth Development

I have been working with children since I was merely a child myself. Growing up I was surrounded by a lot of people older then myself, I eventually found myself acting more like them to try and fit in with them. From that I have instilled motherly instincts. In my own house I was the older sister to my younger brother and both of my parents worked nearly full time if not more. My mother went back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner and my father has always been a bit of a workaholic, so this left my brother and me to take care of ourselves once we were capable. From there I tended to take on the motherly role, making sure we both did everything we were supposed to from doing homework and following the rules of the household. This form of upbringing is what I would attribute today to my instincts of being a constant caretaker.
Before I went to college there was something also that happened in which I realized made me destined to be a child educator. I had been close to graduating high school when I started working at a daycare. For me it was the perfect job at the time. Work after school, make some money, and still have my weekends free. I walked in to the daycare and the smell of play dough and crayons immediately made me feel welcomed. During the interview the woman asked the burning question; do you like children? I had never thought about this before. While I had said yes at the time, I was not sure I knew the true answer to her question. That answer however was answered for me the following week when I began my first day working at Early Learning Center of Rhode Island.
Miss Mack was what I would be referred to throughout the time of working there. It did not take long before all of the children were circled around me, asking me my name, what I was doing there, would I play with them. I was pulled around the playground told stories by each excited child. There was not one second of that first day that I was bored, and for the three years that I worked there I never had a day that I didn't come into work that I didn't smile for most of the day.
Working at the daycare taught me a lot about myself, I learned that I was a hard working, passionate individual. For three years, I called out sick once. Most importantly though, I learned the true answer to that question I was asked during my initial interview; that I do have a true passion and admiration for working with children.
My philosophy of practice with youth consists of enthusiasm and curiosity. These two characteristics will be helpful for all of my future practice and work with children. When working with youth one must have a genuine want and desire to be constantly surrounded in this type of environment. Working with children requires having curiosity in learning more about them as individuals every day.

From attending Rhode Island College, and being in the Youth Development Program I have been able to learn how I will be able to bring my philosophies into my practices. Excitedly, I wait to enter the field of Early Intervention and be able to work with children and their families to help in their developments. Throughout these experiences I will make sure to bestow upon my enthusiasm and curiosity of Youth Development to these families and their children.