Friday, July 31, 2009

Never too late for good Summer reading

Latino Superheroes

...No, not another post about Edward James Olmos or Sotomayor

Finally got a little bit of time to catch up on my summer reading in my fortress of solitude, and I'm really enjoying Frederick Luis Aldama's Your Brain on Latino Comics.

There are a couple great lines that reminded me of the South Park & Dave Chappelle posts regarding the ethical responsibility of readers (which I couldn't help but post).

Try as we may to lead students to conclusions about representations with consciousness of social justice:
"[T]he reader's range of experience can lead him or her in any direction" (28).
What is it that readers/viewers find lacking in Latino characters that their 'careers' are often short lived?

Aldama also accounts for the cognitive dissonance experienced when watching this kind of material; the misreadings of satirical material "show how racism can prevent a reader from recognizing a narrative blueprint that uses devices and signposts to satirize contemporary society as well as to poke fun at identity politics generally" (29).

Believe it amigo...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Existential Dilemma


So I'm in that state of academic limbo after having finished New Start with GEAR UP and the fall semester on the not too distant horizon.

Drafting a reflection for the semester helped me transition out of teaching mode, and outlining the presentation that I hope to present at Cs this year should hopefully get me through Terrace 1 & 2 of Dante's Mountain.

I checked 'Wrath' off the list when I submitted grades.

Avoiding Sloth might actually be what it is I'm doing in the exercise of blogging, but I should more than likely resume my research of successful outreach programs. The first tip I received: high school students respond well to non-fiction. Perhaps the less abstract material speaks to them--I believe this is in keeping with what is said about book sales.

It's a good thing tangential thinking is only a venial sin in teaching.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Academic Outreach


This fall, I'll be taking part in the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs here in the Tucson and Sunnyside school districts. The program is in the 5th year of a 6 year grant, so it's 'go time' to get these students ready for college writing.

There's so much for me to learn about methods and approaches to outreach, so I imagine I'll be periodically posting new concepts that I encounter, as well as the activities that I'll find myself taking part in/organizing on behalf of the U.S Department of Education.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stereotype Threat

New Start Academic Conference

The summer bridge program I'm teaching in had an academic conference this week and I hope to have some pics to post from it in the next few days.

It was a great opportunity to expose students to the wide range of subject matter that a conference with a theme like "Stereotype Threat" can encapsulate. One of the Mexican American students focused on the representations of Mexicans in South Park, showing this clip:

(In another episode, there a more direct criticism of Mexico as a child-like, unintelligent country)
It was a bit disheartening that the student barely scratched the surface about what was at the heart of this satire--on the face there are the racial issues that are incendiary, but I think it speaks the issue of entitlement in education, and the entitled generation of students who don't understand that the immigrant work ethic has helped define and strengthen the U. S.

The question also arises 'who's watching these cartoons'? Small children don't generally have someone there to explain the significance of satire, and yes, cartoons do perpetuate these stereotypes that are rooted in much deeper institutional/cultural systems of oppression.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Critically Conscious Pop Culture

Rage Inside the Machine

In my on-going pursuit of integrating popular culture into curriculum that addresses critical consciousness, I showed my summer bridge course a couple minutes of a Rage Against the Machine concert-doc.

There's a nice summary of the impact NAFTA had on Mexico, and in the preceding video marked pt.1 on Youtube, I showed the last few minutes narrated by singer Zach De La Rocha which give background to who Zapata is.