Blogster

The article that Olivia sent out about the ethics of literacy was super interesting.  It still kind of runs along the line of the controversial definition of literacy.   It is nice to see some statistics or facts in the articles and in the ethical article I liked how they tied parts of it to the human brain and compared a few things about men and women.  These small things are still so very crucial even if we don’t bring attention to them everyday.  It is good to be aware because the way “literacy” is being taught today, the writer of the article says that his profession is ruing it.  Ironic.

 

The article I chose as about bringing all sorts of arts into the jails and prisons.  They mentioned things from knitting to painting and all in between.  The best part of the article is that I really felt a positive overall feeling about it. Obviously I was so happy reading about when the arts were brought into the jails and prisons in the late 90’s, music was the first thing they did. 

Arts in Prison was started in the 1990s by Elvera Voth, a choral conductor who believed the incarcerated would benefit from the healing powers of music. “Elvera said, ‘I’d rather have them come home with hope in their hearts than hate in their eyes.”

I agree with all of the ideas this article brings up.  It is about creativity and having writers look through a different pair of eyes or look outside of the box they are used to.  As should we all.  I hope that one day the jail can have all of these sorts of arts and crafts to have as outlets for the inmates.

#What to do?

After reading this article, it really made me look inside of myself and think of the biases I have, throughout the years, developed.  I also thought of a lot of other pre-judgemental situations and things I’ve encountered in my life.  The one thing that made me really interested in this topic is how “invisible” this issue of racial micro-aggression in our nation.  Some of the stories or situations that were shared in the article seemed very minor, but like it mentions, there are two sides.  Whether someone’s actions or words were intended to hurt someone of color or minority, etc., there is always potential that the person on the other end may hear or perceive it as hurtful. (“Many racial micro-aggressions are so subtle that neither target nor perpetrator may entirely understand what is happening. The invisibility of racial micro-aggressions may be more harmful to people of color than hate crimes or the overt and deliberate acts of White supremacists such as the Klan and Skinheads.” (Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life, 2014)

I have different opinions towards certain topics that pertain to some of the questions raised in the article. 

-I do believe that someone can be born and raised with just a limited “survival” bias  or pre-judmental awareness but can choose to not believe in things that their ancestors did.  If so, not to certain extents that some of the older generations take it.  I always wonder about the idea of sexism already being planted into a child’s brain from a very young age.  One thing that I question is if a young man or woman is told to never hit a woman, is that already being sexist?  Are we portraying that women can’t fight back?  Why are young men and women often NOT reminded or told to never hit a man?  

I feel like the best way to approach the biases that we have and would like to overcome, is to face them. For instance, I took a class last semester that focused on small groups and working with an agency.  My small group worked with clients from NCAAP (a non-profit agency focusing on AIDS clients).  We paired with clients from the agency for the semester. I had an African American male classmate in my group who had a brother who passed away from AIDS in the early 90’s.  As some may know, in the beginning of this epidemic, HIV/AIDS was something that was unknown and so new in the US that it was shunned at the time.  My classmate being a man in his fifties, former Air Force officer, and someone who lost his best friend to a disease he was so negatively biased towards, he realized he needed to face reality to find closure.  He had a client who was diagnosed with full blown AIDS and after the semester he said that he truly believed that he overcame that negative stigma that had rested on his shoulders about his brother. 

This article was a great one, I feel like now I will try to be more aware of just the little things that are so “invisible”, the perpetrator and/or victim might not have the slightest idea of what is truly going on.

Oh Hey Bloggers! #UNESCO

When I read the UNESCO article, I first thought how interesting it was reading the statistics that have been collected over the years.  I also found it appealing as to how the definition of literacy, such as many other words, is not the same to everyone in the world.  As it explains in the article, not everyone has the same definition for the word “literate”.   So what does it really mean?  Here is where I agree with the article and the statement on page 24, “The notion of literacy as a gradual or continuous learning process is expressed in definitions from five countries (one quotes UNESCO’s operational definition from 2003), most of them in Latin America & the Caribbean.  Ten countries explicitly use the term “lifelong learning” or “lifelong learner” in their literacy concept. ”  I do not believe that someone can be one hundred percent literate or absolutely illiterate. 

As a student I believe that “literacy” is a lifelong learning journey.  There are so many things in our lives that require “literacy”.  Literacy, as I know it, is meaning being able to read and write.  After reading this article it has opened my eyes a lot as to what does literacy really mean. 

As mentioned on page 24, the integrated approaches that have been developed in other countries are a great way to “train” or “practice” literacy as a group.  I see this kind of approach potentially being used in some of the sites that we work at.  While we are not therapists, nor teachers, yet volunteers and interns providing our under-served population with pieces such as; handouts, poems, books, facts, ideas for writing, etc., into the jail, every week is a stepping stone for the women in our groups.

On page 25, it talks about the environments of literacy trainings and how the environment can affect a person’s ability to learn literacy skills.  Inviting quality literacy pieces to our sites is a challenge because we are not “training” and are not trained to teach here, so even if some of the women have a hard time reading or “understanding” things, since there really is no clear line between “illiterate” and “literate”, who is to judge and label somebody illiterate or literate?  That being the case, I do believe that literacy is a continuum not just a dichotomy, I am learning new things about the populations we work with every day, and the hardest thing is to understand that every single person’s perceptions and definitions of things are astonishingly different. 

Now on page 17, Freire and Sen state that, “literacy has the potential to enhance people’s ability to act in the pursuit of freedom and to empower them to interpret and transform their realities.”  I love this and I do agree.  I feel as if the more we expose our brains to, the possibilities are infinite when we have that one genius idea or thought.  It just depends on how we approach and plan to execute it, and for me as an artist, putting ideas together and making some sort of sense of them is very important to maintain a balance in my life. 

Writing Through Therapy

I feel like working with the women in the workshops we facilitate definitely has trauma that enters and has an impact on the writings we receive.  As Horsman states in her article “But I’m Not a Therapist”, “…the question is not how many literacy learners have experienced trauma but how literacy programs can teach most effectively.”  I agree with her because we sometimes focus on the trauma and can falsely believe that someone who has experienced trauma can simply walk away from it and give something else one hundred percent of their energy and attention when Horsman reminds us that, “we must recognize the effects of trauma and create literacy opportunities that are viable for learners who are “familiar with trauma”, enabling them to learn while they continue to “live beside the violation.” I read an article that was called “Song to Self” by Timothy F. Page that supported research that showed that people who are surrounded by other people who have experienced trauma or something similar to their experience, that they are more likely willing to open up and speak about themselves more, as they feel comfortable that someone else has been there before and has opened up about it. As a facilitator, when a writer turns in a piece of writing that seems to have been stemmed by trauma, it is definitely hard to read and try to empathize with.  But I believe SpeakOut! offers an outlet for writers to release emotions and receive our feedback which may assure them that someone does care about their writings. We have all had our hardships but only we can feel our own emotions.  It is brave to share our stories of trauma or devastation but I have witnessed courage in our workshops when the women show so much emotion by crying while reading a piece they have written, or by the others encouraging each other or applauding them after they have stepped out of their comfort zones.

I guess I really didn’t relate to Wright’s “Auto-ethnography and Therapy Writing on the Move.”  I feel as if I was more intrigued by the article and approach Jenny Horsman took.  I may be bias about using writing as an outlet myself at times, but I still believe that we need to recognize one thing at a time to “set goals” and be able to attain them at some point in time.  If we can’t get past major issues first before taking on something else that is as challenging as literacy, let alone the anxiety that comes along with opening up about trauma or experiences some people might want to forget, then we will never be able to move and continue forward in a healthy way.

Writing Through Trauma

Aside

I feel like working with the women in the workshops we facilitate definitely has trauma that enters and has an impact on the writings we receive.  As Horsman states in her article “But I’m Not a Therapist”, “…the question is not how many literacy learners have experienced trauma but how literacy programs can teach most effectively.”  I agree with her because we sometimes focus on the trauma and can falsely believe that someone who has experienced trauma can simply walk away from it and give something else one hundred percent of their energy and attention when Horsman reminds us that, “we must recognize the effects of trauma and create literacy opportunities that are viable for learners who are “familiar with trauma”, enabling them to learn while they continue to “live beside the violation.” I read an article that was called “Song to Self” by Timothy F. Page that supported research that showed that people who are surrounded by other people who have experienced trauma or something similar to their experience, that they are more likely willing to open up and speak about themselves more, as they feel comfortable that someone else has been there before and has opened up about it. As a facilitator, when a writer turns in a piece of writing that seems to have been stemmed by trauma, it is definitely hard to read and try to empathize with.  But I believe SpeakOut! offers an outlet for writers to release emotions and receive our feedback which may assure them that someone does care about their writings. We have all had our hardships but only we can feel our own emotions.  It is brave to share our stories of trauma or devastation but I have witnessed courage in our workshops when the women show so much emotion by crying while reading a piece they have written, or by the others encouraging each other or applauding them after they have stepped out of their comfort zones.

I guess I really didn’t relate to Wright’s “Auto-ethnography and Therapy Writing on the Move.”  I feel as if I was more intrigued by the article and approach Jenny Horsman took.  I may be bias about using writing as an outlet myself at times, but I still believe that we need to recognize one thing at a time to “set goals” and be able to attain them at some point in time.  If we can’t get past major issues first before taking on something else that is as challenging as literacy, let alone the anxiety that comes along with opening up about trauma or experiences some people might want to forget, then we will never be able to move and continue forward in a healthy way.

Proposal

What I’ve been doing to prepare for my proposal is researching the topics of social work and creative writing.  I’ve also looked up therapeutic, restoring self confidence, group, music, and self reflective writing.  To be honest, this has been kind of a struggle.  There are so many articles that have these subjects in them but it is hard to pin point exactly what I have envisioned in my head.  I am going to continue to do what I have been doing and due time I think I will catch a break and really get to the core of what I am intending on doing.

I need to narrow down my ideas to just a few because as of now I feel like there are ideas going a million miles per hour in my head.  I noticed today that as I was reading a few articles certain things stuck out to me and then I ended up searching on those topics instead of completing the article.  There is just so much out there!  Another big thing I need to be aware of is that this HAS to tie into our  project and I tend to go out on my social work”Y” limb and get caught up in that.

Now that I have sat down and thought about how to approach this project, I have come up with a few strategies.  I am going to make a timeline for myself and make sure that I am following it as I am so busy and can tend to put things off until last minute. Knowing that I will not be taking as many credits next semester gives me a lot of confidence in completing this project and I know I will have high hopes for it!