Archive for the month “November, 2012”

In a nutshell, here’s the butterfly

(the title is a dumb reference to the caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly metaphor I’ve been using)

Hey girls, I know we talked about posting the most important part of our lit reviews on here.  Here’s the conclusion to mine where I pull it all together into something that ojalá makes sense.  You read the first draft, but I went through and tightened up a lot of things, so hopefully this reinforces my point.  Ignore the underlines, they’re from track changes and I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them.  For those of you who still have to turn them in, march on!  Feel free to send me anything you’re working on or let me know if you need to talk things out.


Girls as Agents of Social Change: Conclusions

Education, empowerment, and activism are by no means perfectly distinct from each other.  The argument for girls’ education acclaims the ripple effect that an educated woman has on her community in terms of overall economic and physical well-being.  Literacy and numeracy are the essential skills taken away from this education.  The research on women’s empowerment often views it as an effect of girls’ education.  Empowerment has primarily to do with a woman’s ability to use her voice in her community.  These two perspectives focus heavily on the benefits that society receives from the integration of educated women.  While it is important for the girl to receive an education, her agency to engender true social change is ignored.  The third argument takes for granted that girls are in school and looks critically at the difference between an empowered girl and a girl activist. The girl activist takes part in meaningful activities outside of the formal classroom to create a better community and world for all.  While girls’ education has significant positive effects on a community, girls’ activism is necessary to social change that challenges the system that generates inequality and discrimination.

All three perspectives share a common goal: stronger communities with members that are equally able to participate to solve issues that affect all, with a special focus on the girl or woman as being able to do this.  These issues are both the visible ones pertaining to well-being and the hidden ones that exist in attitudes embedded in institutions and minds.  In order for communities to build upon their strengths and discover new ones, all voices must be heard (Rao and Walton 2004; Sen 1999).  For the most effective social change, empowered individuals who are living the injustices must be the ones working to change them.  They must be able to challenge existing structures and create brave alternatives to the current system (Rao and Walton 2004).  Therefore, girls who are living a highly vulnerable reality occupy a crucial position.  They are at a point in which their choices can either perpetuate or challenge the system that threatens to push them aside.  Education, for them, should not be seen as important for their future, for the economy, whatever, but as a way to further engage all members of a community in the present.  Education, empowerment, and activism all must be directed at the creation of inclusive communities dedicated to engaging in true solutions to social issues.   Because of their past exclusion, a special effort must be made to engage girls on both a personal level and collective level.  Their involvement is also essential due to their marginalized status on a global level, which makes them “insiders” on many social issues.  This level of engagement requires listening, trusting, learning, asking, and exposing.  Education will not be the panacea, though it is crucial for at least the basic skills of literacy and numeracy.  Empowerment is important individually, but does not automatically bring about the lasting social change that first made it necessary.  Activism will bring about the most fundamental change, but is dependent on the basic skills and confidence that come from education and empowerment.


We Go Together like shamananamanananaaa

I literally should have brought my laptop to class today because our work together and the class collaboration that went on IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN WRITING ABOUT. In my literature review I have been focusing on alternative methods in Public Education that are/could create more equal opportunities for all walks of life who go through the education system. Most recently today I was writing about classroom collaboration and the methods in which it is beneficial and productive. I saw A LOT of that going on in class today, and sometimes not but HEY that’s what its all about. I just wanted to share that I was literally bursting inside when we were collaborating today and it gave me inspiration and hope in the possibility of what I was writing and looking forward to learning/seeing more of it. Although from the beginning we were all extremely skeptical of what it meant to effectively work in a group, but I think today shows how rewarding it is to come to a decision together. In one of my books for my lit review it focuses on the need for such collaborations in public education…

” The co-operative skills necessary to work effectively in a  group are essential not only for learning in schools but also for succes in the workplace and getting on with people at home.”

We are learning skills for life here people and I’m glad to be along  for the ride with all y’all.

P.S. Hope you all got the Grease reference in my title..if not that’s awkward, more awkward that none of you had Grease in your childhood. hehehe

“Participatory action-research enables people to explore in a democratic way what are the best decisions to make and to retake power for themselves. Changes happen not because people become “educated” and therefore transformed, but rather because their needs drive transformation” (Nurtured by Knowledge 23).

Over the past two years I’ve read a lot of articles for GST but the article for this weekend particularly resonated with me. The stories and the messages exactly parallel the mission of our educationthesis group. I think the aforementioned quote sums it up- you can never evade power paradigms but if you implement them in a way that fosters transformation and empowerment, they can be beneficial to everyone. One way to do this is through participatory research and having both sides (researcher/researchee, insider and outsider, interviewer/interviewee, whatever label you want to put on it) partake in the entire experience. Now more than ever I understand the importance of community partnerships.


This post might be kind of pointless, but I just wanted to say quickly that I really like the way we staggered the due dates of the lit reviews. I think it is great that we aren’t all completely absorbed in finishing our papers at the exact same time. At least in our group, those of us with earlier due dates are a little further ahead and are able to try to answer some of the questions of those with later due dates. Those with earlier due dates have been able to get feedback from those with later due dates, and it will work in the opposite direction next week when they get closer to finishing. I know we didn’t originally plan to do it this way, but I think it has worked out great. I really appreciate the feedback that I have gotten from my group members (shout out to Anne and Grace).

It just needs a little love

It’s “Lit Review Due” eve.  Good luck to all who are turning it on the first day!  I’m at the point where I’ve almost seen it too many times to be able to make any good corrections.  It’s time to let it go out into the scary world and be assessed for real.

Group Meeting 11/27

Props to us!: celebrating our blog success and how far we’ve come as a group!  Tonight, I have to say that I really felt it.  We’ve never had a terrible group dynamic, but it definitely has improved over the semester.  I remember the first couple meetings where they just came to abrupt endings and then we had tonight where we could not stop talking with one another and had a lot of trouble ending it.  I’m so proud of how far we’ve come and where we are going.  We’re on a good path.

Re-evaluate our theme?  Might be a discussion that we will pick up later.  CP needs to take priority now though.

Our thesis updates were a little more brief today given that the deadlines are so close, especially for some of us.  Shout out to Brenna though: 7 pages down!! She’s making great progress.  She said she’s talking about educational equality, public schools and alternative methods.  She mentions the effectiveness of student-teacher collaboration and getting rid of competitive atmospheres.  Anne is basically done with hers.  She’s been editing it and making the necessary changes.  Lynnzie just did a post on her progression so please refer to that.  Grace and I are plugging away at ours, though Grace is farther into it than I am (I know that’s kind of vague, but at this point we are all just kind of reading, writing and developing).

Lit review talk – We discussed among each other any confusions that we have about the lit review.  Anne was helpful in talking to us a little bit about hers.  Lynnzie also shared some info from separate conversations that she had with tom and Kara to try and give some clarity on the subject.

Grading- Ugh. There are more important things to worry about.  We talked about the discussions on facebook and what others people have been saying.  We asked a lot of questions amongst ourselves.  How do we quantify our learning?  As a group, we aren’t as concerned with numbers and percentages.  We would like a conversation between individuals to take place in order to discuss grades.  We want to focus on the trajectory.  We as a group feel that we have come a long way.  We are excited about our progress and want that progression to be reflected in our grade.  We tossed around the possibility of having our thesis groups evaluate us since we spend the most time with them.  Lynnzie is going to be our group rep, but if we can make it to the meeting, there’s a possibility that others from this group will join.

Community Partners- We sent our contact from EFA an email about meeting at 1pm on Monday.  We are just waiting for her to confirm.  I think almost all members, if not all members, will be able to be present at that meeting.  Fingers crossed!  Since my last post on CP updates, there have been no other changes made.

All for now.  May you all be inspired and prolific during these next few days (and always)!

it’s 2:36 a.m…


Okay, I need to go to sleep, but I feel like I should quickly update on my progress rather than just posting pointless things, like what my little brother thinks of my topic.

Pretty much, the body of my paper is written. After talking to Kara on Sunday (shout out- thanks for being so helpful!), I have really tried to subjectively/critically evaluate the things that I have read and written about. I hope I did it right and haven’t crossed any opinion lines with my ‘should’ and ‘needs to’ statements.

I still need to write my introduction and conclusion, along with the brief part at the beginning of my paper that will essentially explain why violence against women is an issue that we should care about. (without directly saying that we should care about it, of course)

I also need to figure out how exactly to word my thesis statement. Basically, my thesis statement is that educating men is a crucial part of preventing violence against women. But I need to write it in a way that is subtle and scholarly.

And lastly, can someone tell me why the hell I need to write a research question? I am both whining and looking for an actual answer. What is the point of coming up with a research question when I know I’m not going to be researching my specific topic? It just seems like a waste of time. Also, any research question that I come up with will not be something that could realistically be done in a semester. End whine.

And now I’m going to sleep!

Lit Review AHOY

I see it! My lit review actually being composed into multiple pages! It is a miracle thus because it is only Monday. But I am struggling on going off on tangents–and possible concern at how each of our lit reviews weave together to make our blanket which is our EduThesis. Cheesy I know–but you ladies catch my drift? I hope everyone else’s final edits and beginnings to their literature reviews go swimmingly. I also while being a nerd between the book shelves found a book called ” Education on the WILD Side”  by Michael L. Johnson which may also sounds like education on some sort of Spring Break but it has a refreshing humor about it that has made my night a little more enjoyable and with that I leave you a quote..

I would like to argue that the notion that education has failed is a mistaken one-for any reasons, but preeminently because, for most of humankind, education as I conceive it has never really been tried.



Quick CP update

Just a very brief update on our CP status:

EFA: Lynnzie emailed them once and so did Anne.  They can’t meet with us this week so we’re looking at hopefully Monday 12/03 (to be discussed at group meeting tomorrow to see who could go on Monday and what time).  We are very excited about EFA because they said we could potentially work with them on a new learner leadership process program, but our contact is going to talk with that coordinator and let us know.  Fingers crossed!

Sophia Academy:  I sent one email before Thanksgiving with no response.  Just sent another one.  We’ll see if my contact responds.

The Big Picture/MET school:  Brenna has emailed them a couple times, contacting different people but with no response.  We’re playing the waiting game with them.

Anne has also done a lot of phone calling the past few weeks to EFA (and I think another organization or two?–we’ll talk about it tomorrow) so thank you, Anne!

Look for more updates after our meeting tomorrow!

momentous occasion

I just want everyone to know that this blog now appears as one of my six most visited websites.

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