The cycle of poverty strikes again

The cycle of poverty has its “tricks” to keep people inside, turning around within it even when they make their best efforts to do better…

When You Can’t Afford Sleep: this article in The Atlantic Magazine written by Khazansep, O.(Sept.15, 2014), accessed 10/10/14

argues that

Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and peoplewhonever finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep 6 or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do”

Meaning to me that – the poorer the worker, the more jobs she has to take to get by and support the family, the less hours of sleep she gets and (tying this to limited mental bandwidth*), the less attention she has available for making good decisions, leading her to stumble again… and again…

*Mullainathan,S. & Shafir, E. (Jan./Feb. 2014). Freeing up intelligence.Scientific American Mind, (Jan/Feb 2014), Vol. 25(1).

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A quest for re-scripting the narrative of education failure: Initial steps in a journey

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Radical Pedagogy, Vol. 11(1), Winter 2014

With Limor Pinhasi-Vittorio, Ph.D

This paper describes the experiences and reflections of two scholars as they began an ethnographic research project attempting to rethink and re-imagine possibilities of learning/teaching with highly vulnerable students in an inner city high school. The work is rooted in critical theory and presents ongoing reflection and action regarding the students’ as well as the researchers’ mindsets, practices and interactions. Analysis of the data promoted the realization that voice in underrepresented groups resides in counter-narratives that must become part of the educational discourse in order for disenfranchised students to embrace school learning.

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Learning and noise

Were you taught that “real learning” can only take place when we are emersed in silence?

That when supervision comes to your classroom the students need to be working quietly in order for you to be considered “a good teacher”?

Mental Floss Magazine of Oct. 2014, on pg. 19, provided the following information:

According to a University of Chicago study, moderate noise helps creativity by slowing down the speed in which we process information. The lag keeps us from fixating, prompts abstract thinking and even provides a healthy dose of mind wandering.”

The trick is to be in a noise zone of between 70 decibels and 85 decibels (above which the noise becomes stressful).

Believe it or not, that’s the noise level of an average coffee shop!

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Contributing to society is a human right

A few days ago in NYC I saw a play Not By The Bread Alone presented by a  group of deaf and blind actors from the Nalaga’t Theater in Israel.

(From their site “The “Nalaga’at” Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble was founded in order to integrate deaf-blind people into the community, promote their needs and aspirations and provide them with the opportunity to express themselves and exercise one of the most basic rights – to contribute to society… The show enhances public awareness to the fact that deaf-blind people need to be accepted as equal citizens and promotes universal values of solidarity, mutual respect, tolerance and coexistence.”

The play proved so poignantly that all of us want to be part of society and culture, that everyone has abilities and insights to share, and that some of us, like these actors for example, are very courageous in their attempts to be included.

Having to confront the fact that they live in a completely dark and silent world was so disheartening, more so when considering my own life in which I take so much for granted.

The power of words is a video on a similar topic.



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The Power of Literacy

Mohammed Ashraf doesn’t go to school.
From sun-up till moonrise
he measures, cuts, shapes, punctures and sews soccer balls,
which then go rolling out from the Pakistani village of Umar Kot
towards the stadiums of the world.
Mohammed is eleven. He has been at this since he was five.
If he knew how to read, and could read English,
he would understand the label he sticks on each of his products:
“This ball was not made by children.”

                                                          Eduardo Galeano (2006)


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