Thursday, December 31, 2015

My One Word for 2016

 I recently participated in a Voxer book study with approximately 30 fearless women - most of whom have never met each other.  Over 31 days we shared, reflected, and supported each other while reading Notes to Me - Inspirational and Motivational Reminders for Women by Dr. Kimberly Giles and Dr. Tammy Jenkins.  An added bonus was these two powerful authors participated in the Voxer book study with us!

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A few of my favorite inspirational and motivational reminders were
Day 4 - Love Yourself - A reminder that self-love is about remembering to be tender and kind to ourselves and remembering to take care of our minds, bodies and spirits daily!
Day 15 - Hey Sexy, Yes You - Just know it doesn't matter how tall, short, thin, or fat you are  - SEXY is a state of mind and all about how you feel about yourself...We are all sexy in our own way.  Take the time today to embrace our inner SEXY!
Day 16 - Joy - You deserve joy not just every now and then but each and every day.  Go get your Joy!!

But back to my One Word for 2016 

At the conclusion of Notes to Me - the authors share:

"Imagine being able to challenge yourself daily, gentle challenges like the little pushes in the right direction that one needs to act and make some positive changes to your life.  Imagine being able to feel confident and able to say "No" to some of the many demands that are placed upon you, without the need to make up an elaborate excuse."

So here it is - my One Word for 2016 

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For 2016, I will not only IMAGINE a life filled with joy, balance, purpose, gratitude, peace, confidence, focus, and love -  I will remind myself each day that I deserve it, set goals to achieve it, and forgive myself on days that I fall short.

...and I will keep Notes to Me, close by as a constant source of inspiration when needed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

They Count Also: African American Girls and Math (Dissertation review p.5)

Just spent the day reading my dissertation and just wanted to share!

Chapter 6 - Discussion, Recommendation, and Implications (page 83 of my dissertation) 

Implications for School Leaders

The girls in this study responded to various questions about gender and race; however these responses were limited.   Perhaps this is because they have not been confronted with specific biases that test their awareness of gender and racial issues.  I assert that their parents and teachers never acknowledged the potential impact or influence or race and gender on their educational and mathematical experiences.  Parents may wish to shield their daughters away from this issue but successful teacher of
African American students do not ignore them (Ladson-Billings, 1994).  Teachers need help to understand the strengths and needs of students who come for diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, who have specific disabilities, or who posses a special talent and interest in mathematics.  To accommodate differences among students effectively and sensitively, teachers also need to understand and confront their own beliefs and biases.  When we discourage students from engaging in public conversations about race and social justice, we lose an important component of education.  In a multicultural society, it is crucial to help students consider diversity, understanding and the places where the two intersect and clash.  We need to create classrooms that involve students in quest to make sense of their world.  Such classrooms authentically address equity, educate the whole child, and value each and every student (Brooks and Thompson, 2005).

They Count Also: African American Girls and Math (Dissertation review p.4)

Just spent the day reading my dissertation and just wanted to share!

Chapter 6 - Discussion, Recommendation, and Implications (page 82 of my dissertation)

What do they mean by good? 
African American fifth grade girls in this study believed that their teachers are in control of all of the learning that takes place and passivity in the mathematics classroom is the key to academic success.  The girls often equated being good as "being quiet and listening to the teacher".  The girls did not describe and I did not observe opportunities for the girls to become empowered and independent thinkers.  The girls were comfortable sharing that being quiet in class meant that they were good students.  If they continue to believe that not having a voice or an opinion in class is the key to success, they will learn only how to play by the rules established by their teachers.  Mathematics classes need to become places where originality, independent and creative thinking, and imagination are valued (Turner, 1995). 

They Count Also: African American Girls and Math (Dissertation review p.3)

Just spent the day reading my dissertation and just wanted to share!

Chapter 6 - Discussion, Recommendation, and Implications (page 81 of my dissertation)

One reoccurring theme that was evident from most of the participants' responses was the need to know mathematics in order to "pay bills and count your money".  This simple view of the importance of mathematics may by one reason that African American girls do not pursue mathematics on higher levels.  The need to "get a job" and to "make money" appeared to be the only reason the study of mathematics was important to the participants.  If African American girls perceive mathematics as important only because they have to know how to count money and pay bills and not as an avenue for a variety of educational and occupational opportunities, they will not actively pursue mathematics.  In trying to get students to understand mathematics, teachers may have overemphasized to these African American girls how mathematics relates to everyday life and ignored the connections between mathematics literacy and career flexibility.

For these African American girls to seek out mathematical opportunities beyond the obvious, they need innovate and creative teachers and role models to help them make the connections.  African American girls have the potential and academic ability to become leaders in the mathematical community.  However, the key is to alter the way they view mathematics at an early age.  If African American girls are to become women with an interest in mathematical related careers, their views of mathematics must start to become more wholistic and meaningful.

They Count Also: African American Girls and Math (Dissertation review p.2)

Spent the day reading my dissertation and just wanted to share!

Chapter 5  -Research Findings (page 68 of my dissertation)

Teacher's Self Assessments - Confident and Knowledgeable Teachers

Students' understanding of mathematics, their ability to use it to solve problems, and their confidence in doing mathematics are all shaped by the teaching they encounter in school.  To be effective, teachers must understand and be committed to students as learners of mathematics.  They must know and understand deeply the mathematics they are teaching and be able to draw on that knowledge with flexibility in their teaching tasks. Teachers must become aware of personal beliefs, values and expectations that guide their interactions with students.

They Count Also: African American Girls and Math (Dissertation review p.1)

Spent the day reading my dissertation and just wanted to share!

Review of Research (page 15 of my dissertation)

Adenika-Morrow (1996) reported that  "in no academic area does the nexus between race and gender claim more casualties than in the area of mathematics and science-and no group has been more excluded than African-American girls. Studies of women generally overlook women of color, and studies of students of color de-emphasize gender difference" (p.80).  Adenika-Morrow (1996) also suggested that it takes a significant amount of courage for African American females to make nontraditional educational and career choices.  Because of the need for some African American women to become financially independent at an early age, Adenika-Morrow suggests that African American females generally made safe career choices (service and clerical positions, teaches, nurses, and other low-paying female dominated jobs) and avoided obstacles in which they would have to negotiate their way into White, male dominated careers.