Final Reflection

Final Reflection

Last Friday I attended the Oskar Eustis Salon sponsored by the Providence Athenaeum. Response was so great the event was moved to the First Unitarian Church on Benefit Street to accommodate the eight hundred people eager to hear Eustis speak about the importance of theater in our society. Why theater is essential to democracy

As soon as he began to speak, I immediately made connections, in my inner monologue, to the FNED 346 course Schooling in a Democratic Society. Thus, I am compelled to reflect on his message in relation to the course themes he touched upon: oppression, diversity, dialogue, discourse, marginalization, and democracy.

In his opening remarks, he explained how the Athenians originated democracy. Greek theater began with one person standing and addressing the audience, presenting one point of view. It evolved to adding another person, then more individual actors on stage so that the audience could hear two sides of an issue through the dialogue resulting between or among the characters. The additional voices allowed the audience to feel empathy with characters and to see and understand how two sides, through dialogue, could reach a compromise that all could support. This model, involving the people in reaching an agreed upon decision is a model of how democracy works and it began with the Athenians and was memorialized by the Father of Greek Tragedy Aeschylus in his works, some of which survived through the ages to inform our understanding of that period of Athenian peace and citizenship. Theatre is a vehicle to engage different voices in solving some of the problems we face as people in our society, organizations, cities and politics. It is a way to bring us together to resolve conflict peacefully.

Ira Shor, in Education is Politics , emphasizes how important the participation of students is in schools and classrooms. Engaging students around their interests and through dialogue defining their goals and what they need to know and do to achieve those goals is a way not only to involve everyone but also for every voice to be heard (Freire, 1993):

The voices of the oppressed

The voices of different genders

The voices of sexual orientations

The voices of people with disabilities

The voices of all ethnic groups

The voices of all religions

Eustis gave examples of when the theatre brought (a) play(s) to the prisons, there were times when the prisoners responded out loud to various lines of dialogue. They turned the play into “call and response” as issues to which they related were addressed. Imagine how empowered the actors felt that their work was so relevant to the audience! So often, seeing a play is a privilege because one must have the resources to pay admission. Bringing this art form to the prison population gives the oppressed an opportunity to participate by experiencing the work and discussing it. (Johnson, 2018)

How do we do this in education? We ask classes to state what they know, what they want to know in this class, how they would like to show what they have learned (Shor, 2003. We structure classes to work in collaborative groups, so they can take advantage of the strengths of one another (Oakes, 1985). We offer classes opportunities to demonstrate their ideas in different forms that utilize their interests and/or culture (Fine, Roberts, et al, 2004; Lyiscott, 2018).

Eustis gave such a positive message about the power of theatre that I thought about the optimistic ideas in Delpit’s “Will It Help the Sheep” (2012) and Codell’s Educating Esmé (2009). Both centered on the passion, dedication and humility of teacher/actors making a difference in the lives of our fellow persons.

Works Cited

Codell, E. R. (2009). Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Delpit, L. (2012). Will It Help the Sheep? About Campus, July-August),

Fine, M et al. (2004). Echoes of Brown :Youth Documenting and Performing the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. NY: Teachers College Press.

Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. NY: Simon & Schuster.

Johnson, A. (2001). Privilege, Power, and Difference. Mountainview, CA: Mayfield Publ. Co.

Lyiscott, J. (2018). Why English Class is Silencing Students of Color. Ted Talk.

Oakes, J. (1985). Keeping Track: How Schools Restructure Unequally. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Shor, I. (2003). Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



Discussing LGBTQ Ideas and Issues

Following reading “Intimate Possibilities,” we have seen how powerful the Beyond Bullying strategy of giving youth the opportunity to tell their stories is. How important is it to have people tell their stories? How important is it to listen to their stories?

Do you wonder what other sources are available to you to help you understand how, as a teacher, you can embrace everyone in your classroom and prevent them from being marginalized?

One of the ways to hear different voices on this topic is to search the Ted Talks website. Below are a few examples of talks. Can you find others that we should view?

A Transgender Poem

How To Talk and Listen to Transgender People

Fifty Shades of Gay

The Myth of the Gay Agenda

LZ spoke in 2012. How much has changed since he spoke?

Welcome to the FNED 346 Blogging Adventure!

Sometime before September 17 you will set up your own blog to use this semester for all your Talking Points assignments and to keep track of your thoughts about any of the issues we cover. A blog is your very own personal online journal. It is public, in that your classmates and I can read it and comment on it, but it is your space and you can control most of it. (If you want to make it private so that “only” members of this class can read it, we will figure out how to do that together. In the context of this course, your blog has two purposes: Your blog will provide a space for you to keep all of your Talking Points Assignments over the course of the semester together. You will not hand in written assignments to me each week; rather you will post them on your blog. In this sense your blog is merely your assignment notebook that you will use as you read and prepare for class each week. You will also be posting any additional thoughts you have: responses to class discussion afterthoughts, things you forgot to say in class, relevant experiences you have, reflections about your service learning assignment as they relate to the readings. Creating your own blog will also introduce you to the blogisphere if you do not know this place already. I hope you will discover creative educational uses for this online medium. You will see how easy it is to use and perhaps it will inspire you to bring blogs into your own classroom someday. To start you will go to Select Get Started and follow the directions to create your own blog on that website. Be sure to select the “free” option. Follow the instructions to open a free account. do not forget your Username and Password: You will need them to login every time. As you fill in the information, you will be asked to name your blog. The title will appear at the top of your blog. Mine is called FNED 346 06 Fall 2018. Then you need to choose an address: Mine is This will be the web address associated with your site.You can call it anything you like. e clever or simple (or both). It is up to you. You will also need to choose a design template for your blog. Look through the options listed and see what appeals to you. You can change this later. Once you have the free account set up you can start posting. A “posting” is an entry on your blog. For clarification, you can have one blog, but many postings.) Give the post a title and then compose as you would any journal entry. When you are finished hit the button at the left that says Publish. Your post will not appear on your blog until you publish it. You can always go back and edit old posts and create new ones. Your First Post Your first post should be a short introduction to you: who are you, how your semester is going so far, what do you do when you are not in class, etc. (Just a short paragraph – no big deal). You will post the rest of the entries as they are due (see course syllabus for dates) , or whenever you have something to say! When you are done creating your site and posting your first entry, please come back to this blog and, at the end of my first posting (scroll down), post a comment that includes your blog address so that I can link it to my site. Good Luck! JS:)

This is a FANTASTIC…TED Talk If you are female/male/know kids/have kids watch the entire talk. Seriously…don’t miss this one. It is something everyone needs to think about to bring about change. Really important. Females have been saying these things forever but now a man is saying it, but he’s a good and passionate speaker. Disney is one of the very worst.

Visit the post for more.

Source: This is a FANTASTIC…TED Talk If you are female/male/know kids/have kids watch the entire talk. Seriously…don’t miss this one. It is something everyone needs to think about to bring about change. Really important. Females have been saying these things forever but now a man is saying it, but he’s a good and passionate speaker. Disney is one of the very worst.

Dialogue on Diversity: Dr. Sonia Nieto — csevblog

I know that I am supposed to write about the social event and I will do so tomorrow. but I thought of an easier way to share my thoughts since I will not be able to attend class. This is my favorite class so I still wanted to be involved. I loved Dr. Nieto !

via Dialogue on Diversity: Dr. Sonia Nieto — csevblog

Gallery: Humans come in all shapes, sizes — and colors —

“It has been 128 years since the last country in the world abolished slavery and 53 years since Martin Luther King pronounced his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech,” says Brazilian artist Angélica Dass (TED Talk: The beauty of human skin in every color). “But we still live in a world where the color of our skin…

via Gallery: Humans come in all shapes, sizes — and colors —