Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Team Building and Collaboration

The group that I have the most productive experiences with are the teachers I work with now. We are a high performing group and have established norms within the classroom that allow for each teacher to give input and feel part of the class.
I believe if the educational coordinator split our team apart, we would be very sad because we have built a relationship that even the parents notice works well for their children. 
Just as with my colleagues I physically work with, my “cyber” colleagues have become a big part of my learning experiences.  It will be a sad, but satisfying time when we have all made it to the finish line of this program.  I hope to be able to travel to the graduation to see all that will be in attendance.
I think the adjourning aspect of team building is essential because it gives everyone a chance to finalize the process and see it to the end. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Resolving Conflict

Conflict is like a game of tug-of-war, someone wants to pull hard enough to get the flag (or disagreement) to their side of the mud puddle (one party wants the result to be in their favor).  But the outcome of conflict is not always so cut and dry.  If the individuals or groups in conflict really want the disagreement to end on a positive note,

The best outcome is they come to either an agreement that will suit everyone or they agree to disagree and move forward to ensure all parties are at least partially satisfied with the results.

I am going through a tough time in my life right now and am hoping that, when all has come to a close, everyone concerned will be at least partially comfortable with the end.  The strategies I used were:

1. Trying to hear the other person out and empathize with their feelings.

2. Send a message across that will not be hurtful, but get my point across to make it a smooth transition for everyone.

I like the idea of the 3R's because, as I stated in my discussion, it has a way of making the situation flow in a circular manner, allowing everyone to be heard and understood.  I'm not sure how the end of this will turn out, but I pray that all will end well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Who Am I as a Communicator?

I actually love this photo! It depicts the essence of my self-perception.  I have been told that I don't give myself enough credit.  I used to feel inadequate about the way in which I spoke in groups and dealt with colleagues, but never once realizing the "lioness" inside, until now.  I still teeter between self-doubt and self-awareness, but I feel like its a start. I was surprised to see that I was able to be honest enough to see that I am an effective communicator.

The two people that answered the survey questions are very close to me and always tell me the truth, even if it hurts.  I was not surprised that they felt I was empathetic, but needed to protect my heart from hurt more than I do now.  Both evaluations proved to show that I have a balance, but need to have more confidence in myself.

The two insights I'd like to share are:

1. Be the lion in the mirror.  Have the courage to speak to others, even if it makes you step out of your comfort zone.

2.  Never become complacent just because you receive accolades from accomplishments.  Look to the stars and, as the Buddha has said, "Be the light upon your own path." But as early childhood professionals, I will go a step further and say, be a light upon the path of the children and families you interact with.  Communicate to the best of your ability.  Find workshops that will enhance your skills.  But love yourself enough to see your nobility in order to share it with others. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Communication and Culture

I am fortunate to have a great relationship with the people I work with. We treat one another like family, which makes this blog simple for me to answer. My family, friends, and colleagues are great individuals .  I don't believe I have a different way of communicating with one group versus the other. I think they have taught me valuable lessons with respect to effective communication because if I am not clear with a message I have sent, they very readily make it known and I correct my mistakes.  These three groups are the reason  I try to speak with confidence and clarity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Communication Skills: Language, Nonverbal, Listening

I have heard many funny things about the show The Office, but never watched it.  I chose this show because the facial expressions the actors make are priceless. I chose the first episode of the first season to view.  As I watched the show in silence, I saw many gestures and expression that were full of sarcasm, humor, and a host of other emotions.  The  main character was hysterical as were the supporting actors(which I feel are main characters as well).

When I turned the volume up, I couldn't help but laugh because all of the humor was exactly the way I've witness people interact in office settings. It was pretty much the same with the volume off as it was on, because they were accurately portraying office life.  The assumptions I made with the volume off were the same as when I turned the volume on. You saw the chemistry between the people in the office who had "office crushes" and those that were not getting along.

Off topic, this was a really funny show and i think I'll tuned in or maybe watch some old episodes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Is Communication?

As demonstrated in this cartoon, effective communication is essential to positive collaborative efforts.  When I think about a competent communicator, I think about my favorite author/poet/activist, Sonja Sanchez.  I have had the opportunity to attend lectures where she was the guest speaker. There was never a moment in her speeches where I wasn't on the edge of my seat. She is such a dynamic writer and speaker and I often model my poetry recitation after her because she exemplifies strength, courage, and wisdom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Professional Hopes and Goals

My hope is to make a positive impact on the programs children and families.  I am so excited to start on this journey and when I look back years later, I want to be able to see the children I worked with as successful adults, maybe even in the oval office.
One goal I would like to set for early childhood related to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice is to give my absolute best to the children and families I work with to encourage a positive outcome in order t empower them to do and want more.
I would like to thank all of you for sharing your insights and experiences.  I love this coursework because I am engaging with some great minds in this field.  I would also like to thank Dr. Kein for her patience and consistent efforts to assist me in improving my writing and critical thinking, which are going to be so very important in our field.

Although the picture above includes a magic wand, work and dedication are the key to success.
I pray we are all success in this class and the classes to come.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Welcoming Families From Around the World

                                                    Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary

We are welcoming a family from the country of Hungary.  Located in central Europe, Hungary has a rich culture which offers its residents and visitors beautiful sites and scenery to view.

The ways I would prepare for my family’s arrival to our class would be to:

S         Search the library and internet for the history and culture of Hungarian families.
      Find the most appropriate way to welcome them into the classroom (hang a flag, prepare foods,etc)
             If possible, find out the child’s name and if it is difficult to pronounce, practice in order to make the child   feel at home in my classroom.
      Research toys or classroom materials that may differ from ours and try to have them in the classroom.
             Remain as culturally sensitive and open as possible to learn from the child and their family.

 In preparation for the family’s arrival, I hope to begin and maintain a warm and open relationship with the  family.  I hope to make them as comfortable as possible. But what I most hope for is to educate and nurture the child and family with excellence and care.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

I chose this image because Steve Biko was an extraordinary activist.  He fought and died for the elimination of Apartheid and I will remember him in this way. 

I was told of a story of a Muslim woman who was driving home from work, days after 9-11, and she was almost run off the road by a person who, with malice in his face told her to, “go back home!”  She was stunned, but cleverly said to him, “I’m on my way home.”  

This was one of the most outward manifestations of blind hatred I have heard in my life.  To hate because of someone else’s action is the epitome of ignorance.  I was not saddened by this act, I was enraged.  If she were not a strong, confident woman, this could have taken away her feelings of security in her own neighborhood. But she knew these things would occur and remained strong throughout the weeks, months, and years after the horrible tragedy that left loved one’s without family members, the global community in unrest, and a whole religion under the microscope of society.

It would have to be a total change of society beliefs in order to rectify the dilemma of prejudice.  The reality is, this has been an issue since the beginning of diversity in the world. In order to conquer this parasite each one must teach one the beauty that resides in all of humanity.  Steve Biko had it right when he said the oppressor' s weapon is the mind of the oppressed.  

It was not a world banker that ran this women off the road, it was a common man who felt it was "his duty" to "serve his country" by retaliating against anyone that looked like the people who paralyzed the world.  We have to take a stand and begin to look at the whole picture and make conscious efforts to join together to achieve success.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

I chose this picture because it speaks volumes to the psychological affects of microaggression.  This young person has the appearance of hurt and defeat; feelings people experience after an encounter with the ugly face of microagression.

It is ironic that this week’s entry deals with discussing a micro aggression I have detected.  Yesterday,  while on a trip to the store with some of my colleagues, the driver of the van made some statements that were very condescending toward a passenger in the van.  There was a woman that brought her husband and son with her to a conference and was told that there would be a fee per day for them to eat since they were not on the roster. While some of his points were correct, he expressed these ideas in a discourteous manner.  He could have definitively handled the situation with more class, allowing himself and the offended party to exit the disagreement without feeling dis empowered. The scenario is appropriate to our discourse because the man was of the "dominant" culture and the family was of Middle Eastern descent and their son had severe challenges.
As I watched the events unfold, I felt embarrassed for the individual and also disappointed in the person delivering the harsh words.  It reminded me of Dr. Wing Sue when he spoke about insulting messages and how this “often cause severe psychological stress and harm.” (Walden, 2011).  This experience definitely made me realize that, with all the best intention, if you do not speak kindly to others and choose the words you convey, the other person can be negatively affected in the end. I also realized that, while many in society want to deny or ignore it, racism, discrimination, prejudice and/or stereotypes are still very much alive and active.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Perspectives on Diversity and Culture

This was a very interesting assignment.  I asked many of my friends, family, and colleagues to answer the two questions and received lots of feedback.  When I asked the questions it was interesting to find that many of them were a little nervous to answer for fear of sounding ‘silly” or “stupid”.  I realized that even in those responses, there was the answer to the questions I posed because when they finally answered them; I found most people had the same ideas about culture and diversity. With this in mind, I told them to answer the questions with their own definition and not to look to the dictionary for the answers. The results I gathered were fascinating. 

Everyone had the same sentiments concerning culture. They may have expressed them in different ways, but everyone concluded that culture had to do with traditions, customs, practices (some religious others having to do with region), and most often norms and values were mentioned.  Some believed culture to be fluid and not stagnant. That culture, although the basis remains the same, its extensions are flexible and kind infuse and become new and refreshed.

Diversity was pretty much the same; many people had the same idea, just different ways of explaining it.  Diversity is thought to be the existence of subcultures and has a lot to do with race, ethnicity, and ideas that allow the world to have its “personality”.  It is believed by interviewees that diversity goes beyond people, but that diversity is all about differences and acceptance.

I was very intrigued by the answers I received. From ages 19- 60’s, everyone have a shared idea of culture and diversity.  Each person touched on all aspects of culture we have discussed and learned about thus far. I was pretty impressed by the answers I received.  Everyone had the overall idea of culture and diversity superseding what is seen, although it is necessary to acknowledge those tangible things in order to understand and appreciate each concept. It was an eye-opening experience and I felt proud to know that the people I choose to surround myself with value others’ cultures and the world’s diversity.