Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

jayah's blog

jayah's picture

Inquiry Project- Creating a Curriculum


This curriculum is designed for a pre-kindergarten classroom (ages 3-5 years old) with a student population of 23 students. A bilingual literacy curriculum will be designed for immigrants or children of immigrants from Mexico. The students speak predominately Spanish. The parents of these students speak very little English, so the students cannot use their parents as a resource to learn English. The class meets five times per week for five hours. This is the second semester of the school year. By the time the students’ progress to kindergarten, the students will be expected to understand English because in kindergarten, only English will be spoken. In this curriculum, in addition to learning the basics of reading and math, there will be activities that will incorporate two main goals: To have the students understand English without losing their identity and to incorporate culture into the student’s learning.

            In semester one, the teacher spoke both English and Spanish. However, in this semester, there will be a bigger focus on English, since this is the only language that will be spoken in kindergarten.  The average length of a school year is 180 days, so these three units will take place for 30 days during the semester two.



- Learn the letters of the alphabet

- Begin to recognize their sounds

jayah's picture

How to incorporate LGBTQ-themed books into the classroom?

As I read Blackburn’s reading, I couldn’t help but think: What if LGBTQ themed books were incorporated in every school’s curriculum. How would the school environment change? Would it be a positive or a negative change? I know that this depends on the school, but I was thinking about it in terms of my high school. One of the students spoke about how her middle school teachers forbid LGBTQ, but it is more accepted in high schools. I agree. I believe that it more common that GSA would be in high schools rather than a middle school, but then again, that’s where the limit is drawn. I tried to think of books that I read in high school that included characters from the LGBTQ community, but I could not think of any.

jayah's picture

Thoughts on Delpit

In the beginning of her writing, Delpit talks about how teachers touch students in various ways. Teachers impact the students in ways that they do not even realize. This is the reason that there needs to be teachers present in schools who genuinely care about students and are willing to push students, demanding them to learn.  Students from “disadvantaged backgrounds” particularly, rely on teachers to academically support them because students, often time, do not get this support from home. This whole idea makes me think in depth about my placement. There are specific students who have IEPs and are separated from the rest of the class. While the majority of the class sits on the floor in a circle to listen to stories, these students with IEP have to sit in a chair. In addition, when there is an activity that occurs, like drawing an animal, the teacher pushed some kids to do better, but not the students with an IEP. When one little boy did not draw the animal to her liking the teacher explicitly stated, “He can do better, so I will not accept anything less of him.” But when a student with an IEP drew an animal she stated, “I don’t expect much from him.” When a teacher has low expectations for a student and allows for mediocrity, this goes against Delpit’s idea of pushing students and demanding success. I can’t help but to question how these students with IEP’s will succeed. One, they have an IEP. Two, they are expected to only speak and learn in English in the kindergarten, but only speak and, for the most part, only understand Spanish.

jayah's picture

Placement Story & Implications

I am placed in a preschool for bilingual students. The parents of these students speak mainly Spanish, and very few speak English. The teacher is supposed to be teaching these students English, but seems to speak more Spanish than English. She even speaks to me in Spanish! Although this itself is an implication, I am not going to focus on this. I just wanted to give some context of my placement. I am going to focus one student who is three years old.

            This little boy, KJ, is a very bright three-year old. He can do everything that the other students in the class can do; however, the teacher does not treat him this way. There was one time KJ went to the teacher to tell her something and she did not know what he was trying to say. She thought that he was telling her that someone hit him, but he was not. She picked him up, made the class sit down, and told him to point to whoever hit him. KJ did not point to anyone because no one hit him. I thought that this was interesting that she went through all of the trouble to do this, when there were plenty of times that she could not understand what other students in the class were talking about. She did not stop the class to find out what was going on, but instead, she essentially “brushed” them off.

jayah's picture

Response to Sleeter's Students as Curriculum

When reading Students as Curriculum, I thought, "ahhh, the problem with urban public schools." I went to urban public schools my whole life, and many aspects that Sleeter mentions is absent in them. For example, in the very beginning of the reading, Sleeter states, "There's a rich resource right in your own classroom... what are their perspectives about being taught, so as often as possible, you know having discussions, hearing their input.” I think that many teachers, who teach in urban public schools, from personal experience and observing in my placement, do not communicate enough with their students. They have these preconceived notions of urban students, and approach them with the banking model. Teachers “treat students as empty vessels into which knowledge is poured for retrieval,” but this is not teaching. Too often, students are not being taught to think critically. Instead, they are given information to remember.  In my placement, I do not see much critical thinking. When the students were learning about animals in the aquarium, the teacher would just tell them, “This is a fish and they live in water.” Although the students are in pre-k, I thought they should have been pushed a little more. The teacher could have asked, “How do you think they breathe? We humans breathe, so don’t fish need to breathe too?” Although the students may not have been able to answer the question, it would have gotten them to begin to think of critical questions, instead of simply transferring information.

jayah's picture

Inquiry Proposal

For my inquiry project, I would like to focus on bilingual education for students in pre-k-kindergarten. I do not have much knowledge about bilingual education; however, doing field research at a bilingual school this semester makes me think of many challenges with bilingual education, that I want to learn more about. For example, in my placement, the teacher speaks in both English and Spanish; however, when the students move on to the next grade, the teacher will speak only English. I notice that the students respond better to Spanish, especially when they do not understand in English.

In addition to this, the students have no outside resources because many of their parents only speak Spanish. The parents ate learning with the students to recognize letters and numbers in English. My main two questions are: How can teachers better prepare students for the “English only” environment and how can teachers engage students without making them feel like they have to assimilate to the “dominant culture,” loosing a piece of themselves? I want to learn more theories behind bilingual education and expand my knowledge beyond my observations in the classroom. 

jayah's picture

First Praxis

            Walking in the building, I see a classroom full of Latino children sitting at the table looking at the pictures in the book. The teacher is speaking with one of the student’s mother about an upcoming fieldtrip to the aquarium. The teacher looks to be Latina, but she is speaking in English to the mother, who is Latina. There is also a teacher’s aide in the classroom, who is also Latina. I am the only black person in the classroom, and another student from Bryn Mawr, who is the only white person. I was anxious to see how the students would respond to us since we were clearly outsiders. I thought that this would be the first challenge, however it was not. The students were only 3-5 years old, so they did not really pay attention to color. This reminded me of the fishbowl activity where a question was posed of when should students learn about race. I do not think that 3-5 years old is that age.

jayah's picture

Response to Shor and Freire!

 Shor and Freire’s piece on dialogical method of teaching was a very different format than what I am used to reading. They were having a dialogue about dialogue! I enjoyed the unpacking of their conversation though. There were three points that were made that stood out to me the most. Two of those points, I found slightly controversial and I had to read and understand to clear my way of thinking up. The last point I totally agreed with.

            First, Ira states, “the right to have a small discussion begins as a class privilege.” At first, I found this point troubling. I thought, “Just because someone is in a lower class does not mean that he or she does not have the right to engage in a small discussion.” However, as I continued to read, I understood Ira to mean that the higher the status, the more likely they are to enroll their child in school with an intimate environment because they can afford to do so. In contrast, lower status people enroll their child in bigger schools, with more people in the classroom. As a result, it is harder for these teachers to gain control of the crowded classrooms, so they are more likely to resort to “monologue or teacher talk, in the transfer of knowledge approach” because it would be harder for the teacher to engage every single student in dialogue.

jayah's picture

Damage Continues

In a casual conversation at lunch, a friend of mine, who is also African American, and I were talking about where were planning to study abroad. She was planning on taking a program where she studied at Spelman College for one semester. I told her that I was considering going there, but I decided to come to Bryn Mawr College instead. She made a face, which looked to be disgusted. I asked why she made that face, and she responded by saying, “I do not mind studying there for a semester, but to actually attend that school! You have to dress up everyday and I like here where I can wear whatever I want.” I immediately began thinking of another conversation I saw two of my friends having on Twitter. One went to an HBCU and another went to a different, very liberal school. The girl who went to the liberal school stated, “HBCU’s are party schools. When jobs see applications, they are not going to take you serious for attending an HBCU. It is a joke.”  The girl who went to the HBCU responded by saying, “all schools party, but they seem to publicize it more at HBCU’s. I love my school, and if you do not attend it, your opinion does not matter.” 

jayah's picture

Making Race A Campus-Wide Topic

My freshman year at Bryn Mawr, there was a large controversy within the African American and Latino community. Bryn Mawr College decided not to renovate Perry House, which is home to three of the infinity groups on campus. Sisterhood, Mujeres, and BaCaSO decided to form a Perry House coalition and speak out about the issue that deeply affected them, us. We tried to involve the whole community, however there was resistance.

One day, I was in the room with two of my roommates, both were white. They must have forgotten that I was in the room or a part of Sisterhood infinity group, for they spoke about the issue. One roommate said, “So what do you think about the whole Perry House thing?” My other roommate responded by saying, “ well, there isn’t a Turkish house, so why should there be a house for them, they aren’t special.” They both laughed. My other roommate responded saying it didn’t really relate to her so she had no opinion, and when they finally noticed that I was I the room, they said, “but it is sad they are closing it down.” I then laughed, but only because of their facial expressions when they finally noticed me sitting at my desk.

Syndicate content