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Ellen: A Beacon of Inspiration

The clip below changed the game for television.

When most people my age or younger think about Ellen DeGeneres, we tend to think Dory or hilarious, lesbian talk show host, not revolutionary, but that’s exactly what she is. In 1996, Ellen’s character, Ellen Morgan came out on national television and it sent tidal waves through the entertainment industry. Despite the episode winning multiple Emmy’s, however, ABC decided to cancel the show after just one more season. The final season had to have a “parental warning” before every episode.

Then when Ellen came out in real life on the cover of TIME magazine and the Oprah show in 1997, it was a really big deal but shortly after Ellen’s career tanked. Her show had been cancelled and no one was hiring her.Ellen had to build herself back up through Finding Nemo (2003) and then through her talk show.

1997_ellen_degeneres

Ellen had deliberately started her career without discussing her sexuality because she wanted people to just get to know her first. She thought that if people knew her and liked her, that it would not be as big of a deal. She was working on acceptance. In a study by Variety magazine, Americans cited Ellen as the single most influential person on their attitudes about gay rights. Ellen was so influential that former President Barack Obama presented her with a Medal  of Freedom. He said, “Again and again Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, and more loving place so long as we just keep swimming.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Blog Suggestion For Fellow Education Lovers

Read-This

If my blog has caught your eye, perhaps you would be interested in reading through this blog as well! Stargirl discusses another topic within the realm of education, focusing on the debate surrounding public education.  Some of the main concerns that are examined include overcrowding in classrooms, underpaid teachers, and the lack of motivation among teachers and students.  I’ve found similarities in a couple of her posts to mine as well, due to our comparable research findings.  She includes alarming statistics specific to North Carolina and comparisons across the country that were both shocking and intriguing.  In addition, the differences between public and private schools are discussed, which is a very hot topic for debate.  You’ll also find information on chronic absenteeism and the role that poverty plays in our education system.  Lastly, this blogger poses an interesting solution to improving the public education system in the United States that you don’t want to miss!

Why the Founder of Khan Academy Supports Mastery Learning

khan ted talk

According to Sal Khan, the necessities to learning are mastery and mindset.  This educator and founder of Khan Academy explains in a TED talk how he found that students almost always accumulate gaps in their learning, particularly in math classes.  Eventually, they feel that they aren’t meant to purse that subject or career due to their confusion.  But, when a student uses outside resources such as Khan Academy, their confidence is boosted, and they feel capable of taking on new material.

Practicing the basics and then advancing to the more challenging topics is the best way to learn.  Despite this method, a typical academic model is currently set up by various lectures and homework assignments, all followed by a test.   When the test reveals the gaps in student learning, the students aren’t given time to review and relearn missed concepts, but are instead forced to continue on to the more advanced topics that often build from the previous lessons.  At some point, students will “hit a wall” because what they never had time to review will catch up to them, and this causes students to disengage.

Khan compares this rigorous cycle to building a home.  Let’s say that some builders are given two weeks to construct the foundation of a house, and at the end of this deadline, an inspector comes and gives the foundation a grade, say an 80%.  This is a passing grade, so the builders immediately move on to building the first floor.  If homes were built in this ridiculous fashion, all of them would be guaranteed to collapse.  The process was too constrained, and the outcome came from building off of partially complete projects.

Instead of putting a time restraint on learning, what if mastering the material was prioritized over the time it took students to master concepts?  Mastery learning has been used in the past, and yielded strong results, but it was not widespread due to logistic difficulties.  Each student was working at their own pace, meaning they may have needed private tutors, different worksheet, and so on.  Khan believes that using online sources and readily available exercises, mastery learning is quite possible now.

A Better Public Education for All

There are several ways in which the public education system can be improved to better the overall quality. After doing an immense amount of research, I believe that the best ways to end polarization within the United States public education system are to implement a training program that properly instructs teachers on how to provide students with valuable knowledge and to increase the amount teachers get paid during the school year. In an article from the Miami Herald, the author, a retired public school teacher, explains how much students benefit in academic achievement when provided with high quality teachers. Another article from the National Education Association explains why teachers working for the public education system should have an increase in salary and why the public agrees. It explains that in order to retain and attract teachers for the future, the education system must increase pay to be competitive with other jobs. Educators are the people who are providing students with knowledge and are preparing them for the future- an extremely critical task for someone to be doing.

Because teacher’s are so responsible for someone else’s future, they should be provided with the best training and with an increase in salary. They deserve to be treated better than how they are now. Both of these improvements should be implemented to help make the United States public education system a system in which the people of our nation would be proud to attend.

 

What Do We Do Now?

In the weeks leading up to last November’s presidential election, it became very clear to me that Donald Trump was going to win. I attend a fairly liberal university and everyone around me was so excited for Hillary to win. My social media feeds, on the contrary, were full of support for our current president. On Election Day, I sent my mentor an email with the subject line, “what do we do now?”.  Since Inauguration Day, queer people have been living in fear due to the policies and practices that Trump’s administration, especially Vice President Pence, support. During his campaign, Trump was never very clear on his stance on LGBTQIA+ plus issues and Mike Pence was criticized many times because of his statements about conversion therapy.  There are a lot of ways that as a country we can improve the experiences of queer people in America, but an easy way is through better, more complete representation in media.

A lot of the hostility against queer people is deeply rooted in religious opposition. Many of our leaders, especially our more conservative ones, sometimes let their religious convictions sway their decision making skills. Though we have the separation of church and state, our nation was built on Judaeo-Christian values and many leaders want to keep this intact. On this blog, I have discussed how much queer television can help non-queer people understand the queer experience more and help them sympathize with queer people, causing them to help fight for the rights of queer people. More queer media would also help more queer people love themselves. Having more inclusive and whole queer characters could help our nation grow into a place of love and acceptance.

featured image via ABC News

 

Two Opposing Sides, One Common Goal

Jennifer Ries

The debate on student disengagement in the classroom setting is mostly based on interpretation and opinion,  but whether you believe that the fault lies with the students or teachers, both positions have room for improvement.  For example, students could strive to be more self-motivated, and teachers could incorporate different teaching styles.  I’ve found from my research that many are quick to put the blame on either the students or the teachers, and make accusations against all students or all teachers that simply cannot be supported.  The reason behind these claims, I believe, is due to the frustration of both sides and inability to cooperate with one another.  It is unfair to make generalizations to this extent, and the polarization of these two sides is unnecessary due to the common goal they share:  to see students succeed.  It is important that students leave school feeling prepared to enter a university, the workforce, or other position.  The priority of education should be to deepen the students’ understandings academically as well as encourage the exploration and eventual discovery of their role in society.  Therefore, the responsibility of solving student disengagement does not lie in the hands of one individual or even a small group.  It will need to be a collective effort between students, teachers, and other influences in the community to advocate for and spark change.

A Suggested Read

Bored and need something interesting to read? If so, check out this awesome blog about education! As a fellow blogger on education, I was fascinated to read these posts and to see how much our two blogs had in common. Not only does this blog provide information on public schools, they also talk about private schools and schools within France. I highly recommend taking time to read some of their posts!

Common Ground

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this topic is extremely polarized, but I think this is because of a misinformed public. The best thing we can all do to find the common ground in this issue is to stay informed on what the debate is actually about and what factors are involved in it. As shown in this article, there are many similarities in opinions from both sides of the debate. This shows that it is not as polarizing of a topic that many may think and recognizing this is a good step in quenching the constant contention surrounding the topic. In reading various articles on both sides of the debate, many times I find the disagreements based in statements without factual support. If people were to check their resources, or just look into these facts a bit further, they would see the lack of support. The polarization of this topic is rooted in the fact that most abortion opponents consider it the murder of a child, but this article shows the contention for less dramatic and more logical reasons. These reasons includes the American obsession with fundamental rights, the fact that religion is heavily intertwined with political beliefs, and the fact that it was legalized as a right, not as a medical necessity. These reasons show even more that the controversy is misunderstood.

Shameless Plug

Check out this really cool blog about how people perceive the entirety of the populace of the website 4Chan as racist and bigoted, although this is only a few threads on the message boards. As a Tumblr user myself, this was a really eye-opening blog to read!

Feature image via Wikipedia

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