My Quest To Teach

July 23, 2014

Fathers: Are You Setting Your Children Up for a Death Sentence

Fathers: Are You Setting Your Children Up for a Death Sentence

Chinua Achebe, “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others
without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely
in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another
down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
“The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays”

“Fathers, it is time to lift our children, our families, our culture,
our communities from the mud of poverty, ignorance, death and
destruction.” William Jackson – My Quest To Teach

Fathers have a choice to be a blessing or a curse to their children,
to lead them to a life of safety or condemn them to potential death
sentences of poverty, lack of education and no societal voice.
They (fathers) are supposed to be the foundation, the rock that
their families can stand on during the storms of life and the
challenges that they will face. The national deaths by violence of
children are a signal that parents are not doing their jobs and
importantly too many men are not parenting, fathering, guiding
and mentoring. Too many are talking, their lips are moving,
but their feet and hearts are standing still.

Fathers are influential in the social and educational directions of
their children, they set the tones for social interactions, establishing
the direction of their children and others around them growing and
developing the social graces and humbleness that boys and girls
developing into men and women will need. Children are modeling
their father’s activities, insecurities, negativity in mentality and
social involvements. The father is the model whether at home or
not.

Social graces are not just the vestiges of social requirements; they
are the patterns of behaviors for survival that boys and girls of color
and culture will need to know in order to grow in a society that is still
struggling with boys and girls of diversity and color. The directions
of life take many twists and turns for youth especially Black youth,
this is NOT another hate the system or hate the government blog,
nor is it a blog on what the educational system is not accomplishing.

This blog addresses the responsibilities of “men in the village” to
re-evaluate and re-prioritize their thinking and to be of service to
their communities. The great Nigerian author Chinua Achebe
through his writings of the past tries to teach men that positive
emotions to their children are beneficial and “do not fear being
thought weak as a man” because men show emotions, they should
to establish a connection with their families.

Men have a right that extends to the accountability and responsibility
to be involved in their children’s educational growth and development.
How can hundreds if not thousands of men attend sporting events in
support of their children, but cannot consistently volunteer, visit,
mentor, support their children’s schools that are preparing them
for life in this nation? Achebe shares, He (fathers) do not show any
human emotions and sentiments so as not to be seen as weak,”
are creating un-caring societies where children are forgetting the
value of love, compassion, sympathy and honor.

How many men can blame the State Attorney’s Office and law
enforcement if they won’t “man up” handling their “business” and
parental responsibilities in raising their children? Prisons are not
Day Cares, Learning Centers, Enrichment Organizations; how
many men can blame the school district if they have not started the
process of educating their children in the basics of reading, math and
social behaviors at home that allow for education in a formal setting
to start.
The streets, back alleys, corners and clubs of our communities will
teach skills that will lead to death or prison as seen in children today,
what real father can be proud of that? Real Talk needs to be continued
as seen from events like Real Talk Real Change forums, true and honest
dialogue to prevent fatherlessness from continuing.

Fathers need to be involved in a dialogue that is growing,
young fathers that need help. Matt Thompson of the Jacksonville
Children’s Commission asks an important question: How can young
fathers cope in this dialogue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgTMPivxo1c
An appropriate quote from Nigeria that the late Achebe shares,
“People who do not seek their fellow human beings’ help when in danger
or difficulty are therefore animalistic.” Running away to fend for themselves,
but ultimately running away from the problems that they hope will consume
others and not them.

Fathers and learning, there should not be an effort to save public libraries
because libraries should be full during the day with fathers sharing the
empowerment and need for exposure to educational and cultural resources.
Children should be seen holding their fathers hands, sitting on their laps and
involved in FREE activities that build critical thinking skills, encourage problem
solving abilities and promote higher order thinking that creates language
development, increased vocabulary and appreciation for being intelligent.
“People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to
do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.” Chinua Achebe

The term “School-to-Prison Pipeline” is resulting from a combination of
social issues, economic challenges and generational mentalities that
are created by a growing population of hopelessness from unemployment,
single parent homes and school systems unable to provide struggling
students with enough resources and support that they were not designed
to address. Because of continuous generational tragedies young people
of color are thereby increasing their likelihood of entering correctional facilities.

Strategies need to be developed that educate and provide guidance and
mentorship outside of schools involving the whole family, this takes the
efforts of places of worship, cultural centers, the arts, and community
non-profit organizations. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan describes
initiatives aimed at improving the in- and out-of-school outcomes for Black
boys: increase the number Black male teachers in U.S. public schools that
are qualified and willing to make their passions an investment.
To keep children of color from entering into the “pipeline” prevention is needed
not reaction. Fathers are an important part of this effort and once again fathers
need to be trained and encouraged. Ronnie Cage, community activist and
national trainer for fathers and fathering skills has encouraged fathers need
training to be fathers.

As a man, father, and educator, I must learn also from resources in our community
to assist parents. The Real Talk Real Change forums provided by E3 Business
Group opened doors for dialogue that both parents need to be involved in.
Real Talk and Real Change http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khsUSKmzcWU

Parenting is a powerful force, parents have a spiritual connection
to their children and a responsibility to raise them. Parents are judged by
how they raise the generations that come and what they do on this earth.
Research from the University of Maryland (2000) indicates that, “children
who have fathers or father figures in their lives learn better, have higher
self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression”.
Fathers affect discipline, academic achievement, and social relationships
in a child’s educational environment. “…children who identified a father or
father figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests and had a stronger
sense of competence and social acceptance compared to children without
fathers” (University of Maryland Medical News, 2000). Even culturally both
races are equally affected by the presence and absence of fathers in their
children’s lives.

Facts like “black males represent six percent of the U.S. population,
yet 35 percent of the prison population and less than two percent of teachers”
mentioned at the educational conference at Morehouse College in 2009.
All these have an effect on the mental and emotional state of Black boys
girls and Latinos.
In the beginning man was created, so men must setup and be a part of
their children’s lives before our cemeteries have more children in them
than those who have reached a respectful age of maturity.

Parenting Skills Are Important
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdw6mRda-_0

Videos provided by Anthony Butler, Sr.
E3 Business Group
http://www.e3businessgroup.us/

William Jackson, M.Ed.
Parent, Educator, Speaker
Blogger: My Quest To Teach
My Quest To Teach
Twitter: @WmJackson
Instagram: http://instagram.com/williamdjackson

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July 17, 2014

Fathers Please Read To Your Children

Fathers Read To Your Children

Summer time is the perfect opportunity for fathers to be actively
involved with their children promoting reading. Involvement does
not mean just joining summer sports programs, involved in swimming
lessons or other activities where there is limited connection of interactive
engagement or bonding between fathers and children.
Summer programs are important because they help to build qualities
in children that transfer to leadership, teamwork, cooperation, building
friendships, self-esteem, confidence and other important skill-sets that
children will need in life.

The engagements that I’m writing about are fathers sitting down with
their children and reading to them and children reading to their fathers.
The importance of one on one reading improves literacy and comprehension,
the ability to recognize words, building a rich vocabulary and the
self-confidence and self-respect to want to read more.

Pediatricians recently champion the importance of parents reading
aloud to their kids everyday if possible. Reading promotes literacy and
social-emotional skills that are important for growth and development
even in infants and toddlers. As I write this and remember how students
at my elementary school were excited about their fathers being involved
in school by volunteering and even reading in the classroom, the value
of fathers involvement cannot be understated. “Reading with young children
is a way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships and stimulate
early language development,” Dr. Pamela High, Pediatrician and professor
at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.

Early education in reading is important because adult literacy starts in
kindergarten and earlier. Just because a fathers child cannot read at
ages 3 they are developing a love for words, building comprehension,
listening, and imagination. Key tools that are found in the classrooms of
our nation. Early education programs are flourishing in school districts
like Duval County Public Schools. Parents cannot afford, not to enroll their
children in Pre-K or Early Learning programs because of increased
academic standards, educational benchmarks and assessments.
Fathers that read to their children increase their own reading abilities so
even fathers that do not have a strong foundation in reading can improve
their abilities as they create an environment of connectivity that is unique
to father and child. Fathers should understand that there is a difference
when you know you can read and when you think you can read. Children,
especially boys will initially struggle with reading, there is magic when
boys see their fathers reading and magic when fathers read to their children.
The stereotype that reading is nerdy, geeky, weak, feminine or other
degrading labels must stop, and fathers have the power to do this.

David O. McKay BYU’s School of Education “Dads Reading To Children”
states: “fathers reading to children is one of the very best ways to reverse
the academic ambivalence (doubt) we’re seeing in young boys.” Boys at
an early age will shy away from reading, but when faced with challenges
in reading in front of the class or reading to the teacher, when problems
arise they are quick to rebel and not participate. Fathers can prevent these
behaviors.
Fathers should not have anxiety nor apprehension about reading to their
children, this is not an overnight activity, but should be planned for a certain
amount of time either during the day or in the evening. Make this a magical
and important activity, the children will expect it and look forward to being
read to. Investigate subject areas, themes, story lines, relevant information
and importantly what is fun. Even comic books are fun to share and read.
Parents read to Children with reading links…..

Huffington Post Article

As fathers decide on stories consider how long the story will be, if it is a long
book or contains a lot of pictures think about spreading it over several days.
Determine your child’s attention span is important because each child is different,
their engagement or involvement is important, and the age. The older the child
the more they may want to ask questions, the older the child they may even
ask you father to ask them questions as my children did when they were
younger of me when I read to them. Importantly if reading to two or more
children, make sure they understand that this is not a competition for
attention or rewards, this is time to share time with daddy.

In this twenty-first century dads, step-dads and surrogate fathers are
reading to their children, this is not a new thing. The Center for Disease
Control studies that fathers consistently read to their children showed
that behavior is significantly improved in the children, academic growth is
shown, attention span improves and grades are higher because reading
is the foundation of all learning.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington State a Democrat has stated about
reading and literacy, “if students don’t have a strong foundation in reading
and writing, there is very little else we can do to help them succeed in the
modern world. Literacy needs to come first…..” Fathers should encourage
their children to excel in education, especially children of color that are
the most challenged. Challenges are not because children of color cannot
gain the skills of literacy, but because they are in to many cases distracted,
unmotivated or not exposed at home or in their communities.

Data shows the results of fathers being involved in their children’s lives,
there is more of an impact when “dad” is involved, stated on the web site,
Fatherhood Online; that is developed from the National Fatherhood Initiative.
“Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well
in school, have a healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior,
and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity
compared to children who have uninvolved fathers” (1994-2006).

Even fathers that are divorced or not married to the children’s mother
shows the importance of fathers. The overall performance of students in
school the data supports, (Peterson and Zill, 1986; Wallerstein and Kelly, 1980)
“continued contact to be related to improved psychological scores, fewer
behavioral problems, and better peer relationships” contribute to relatively
normal lives of children.

The foundation to keep students engaged and excited about learning
comes from HOME FIRST. A school year has 180 days, fathers
should need more than one hand to count how many times they
have visited their children in school, eaten lunch, spoken with teachers,
gone on field trips and volunteered. Even fathers that have been
incarcerated have rights to visit their children in school and be actively
involved.

Just because a father is in the criminal justice system from past mistakes,
associations, lack of employment and other non-violent cases they should
still be allowed to be involved in their children’s lives. Maybe the incentive
of fatherly involvement is what many fathers need to get on and stay on
the path of growth and societal emersion for success. Children can and do
change a fathers perspective on the priorities of life. Mothers are important
in this by promoting and guiding the relationship between fathers and their
children, not destroying or weakening this bond.
The reality is fathers are supposed to be the role models, mentors and
promoters of education and enlightenment for their children in intellectualism,
especially in children of color. Fathers are disappointments when at 5 or 6
years of age their children don’t know their whole names, cannot count to 20,
don’t know their colors, cannot read fundamental words; don’t know their
addresses, telephone numbers, what city, state, and country they live in.
Fathers are a disappointment when they are not involved in the education of
their children helping to raise the lives they created.
Fathers turn off the television, shut down the computer, put up the
gaming system. Unplug, disconnect, cut off, disengage, and sever the
connections of distractions. READ TO YOUR CHILDREN

Why fathers need to be involved in education of their children:
The Mis-Education of the Negro and Education of the Negro
(Carter G. Woodson) fathers are valuable and of value.

Reading Resources for Fathers
80 Books Every Man Should Read
Book List

Must Read Books for Men
Book List

Books of Black History
45 Books to Teach Children About Black History
Book List

100 Must Read Books for African Americans
Book List

50 Good Books Every Black Woman Should Read
Book List

July 9, 2014

Teachers Should Increase Their Tech SWAG

Teachers Should Increase Their Tech SWAG

SWAG – Summer Workshops Allowing for Growth
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
STEAM Educator and Adjunct Professor at
Edward Waters College

As a STEAM educator in an elementary school and
adjunct professor teaching Educational Technology
in the Education Department at an HBCU. The summer
months for educators are a great opportunity for educators
to get their SWAG on. The access to and implementation
of instructional technology tools for educators across the
country is growing.

State and national standards are requiring educators to
possess proficiency on levels that encourage and even
demand instructional engagement and increasing of
assessment scores in key academic areas of learning
for students. Access to educational resources have grown
tremendously even influencing the diminishing of printing
books for schools.

Student’s tech skills in some cases are far better than
educators from the perspective of open engagement,
application to everyday life and even communication
abilities with Social Media platforms and Apps. Educators
are learning that their skills and applying technology in
higher order and critical thinking skills are sometimes
behind their students so professional development
access is important. Teachers cannot afford to joke
that their students are smarter than them when it
comes to applying technology. Teachers must become
facilitators of technology to engage real world learning
in their students. Technology is a tool to direct and guide
learning so teachers must plan efficiently and
collaborate with each other on best practices and
resources.

Summer has transitioned as a time for educators to ramp-up
their skill-sets and knowledge, there is minimal time for
idleness because technology does not stop nor diminish
during summer breaks. Over the past five years teachers
have learned that digital technologies have become essential
to their instructional design and professionalization.
The use of the internet, mobile devices, social media, projection
tools and even basic tech like DVD players, radio and
cassette players are still needed. The challenge that educators
are facing is equality and equitability of technology access
because of budgets, administrative priorities and the social
economic status of students. Economics have made new challenges
to teachers themselves, it is a challenge for educators to
use new and developing technologies if they cannot afford
to purchase or even rent to learn how to apply in their
classrooms. There are educators across this country that
cannot even afford Internet access at home. Single parenting
has its challenges even for educators that teach in schools then
must facilitate learning with their own children.

School and district budgets need to be adjusted so
teachers have the chance to take technologies home during
vacations and breaks to become familiar and comfortable
with the nuances and how to apply new tools. School districts
need to provide additional discounts for educators to purchase
hardware/software and even Internet access.

A Pew Internet survey from 2012 showed from interviewing
educators and students across the country, teachers and
students talk about the different ways that technology affects
the learning environment.
Technologies like the internet, search engines, social
media, and wireless devices like cell phones, tablets and
even watches influences digital technology exposure.
These are shaping students’ research, writing, mathematics,
higher order and critical thinking skills..

The past five years with aid from the federal government
in grants, non-profit organization resources, PTA’s and even
the military volunteering resources schools have been
impacted and teachers are influenced in their classrooms.
Some of the information gained from the Pew survey shows
teachers share the internet has a “major impact” on their ability
to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching.
The internet has made it faster and more efficient at access
information and resources to implement and understand standards.
The internet has a “major impact” on their ability to share ideas
with other teachers and learning that the best professional
development is when educators and administrator collaborate
with each other.
Social Media on the internet has a “major impact” on teachers’
ability to interact with parents that are hard to reach by regular
phone calls. Social Media allows for a dynamic and interactive
way to connect and share important information about child learning
and classroom behaviors.

Administrators who at one time discouraged the use of Social Media
are now transitioning to providing workshops and professional
development to help educators use this valuable tool to guide student
behaviors and encourage students rising to classroom expectations
for success through involvement and interactivity. The discouragement
of inappropriate behaviors and complacency of classroom management
can be addressed by communication with parents. Students must
understand that the learning environment is to prepare them
for career success.

Technology does not discriminate against the diversity of the
nation’s classrooms, but economics does have an effect on access
to technologies that students need to become prepared for future
educational opportunities in higher and vocational education.
Teachers of lower income students face serious challenges in
helping students understand how productivity is influenced when
these students do not have access at home or in their local libraries
or community centers. Schools must be the hub or conduit for
technology proficiency not just for educators whose career is to
teach, but to provide access to students and their families.
Teachers of low performing schools and that work with At-Risk
students, over-age students and in poverty areas are experiencing
obsolete or minimal technology. In some cases equitability and
equality are not present. Parents in lower social economic
environments do not know what questions to ask because of their
limited educational abilities and lack to exposure also.

Educational and achievement gaps are present because the access
to not only technology is limited, but exposure to successful mentors,
role models and professionals are limited. Teachers understand
that their students are “behind the curve,” so use whatever is
available to teach. In the Pew survey teachers of the lowest income
students realize students’ lack of access to digital technologies is
a “major challenge” to incorporating more digital tools into
their teaching.

Educators can benefit tremendously when students in their
classrooms are exposed to diverse technologies, teachers are
confident in their uses to teach new concepts and parents understand
they play a valuable part by encouraging their children in
areas like STEM, STREAM, and STEAM.

Educators are sometimes divided by generations, each
generation of educators embrace technologies differently,
the uniformity of the educational process is important so
trainings and preparedness is important no matter what year
or years of experience. Those teachers that are reluctant to
embrace technologies will find it hard to remain proficient
when teacher assessments are not just evaluating knowledge of
content, but how to integrate technology to engage their students.

In conclusion the growth and advancement of technology can
be seen in multiple areas. Just as standards, benchmarks and
assessments change, technologies change in adapting to
usage, integration and application. Mobile technologies are
becoming central to the learning process; students use their
cell phones, tablets and other devices. The BYOD “bring your
own device” is becoming standard in the classroom. E-readers,
tablets and laptops are in classrooms even for early learning
students from 3 and 4 year olds, so their learning curve will
be higher and advancing at a faster pace.

Teachers must take advantage of summer breaks to increase
their tech SWAG. To be prepared for the increase of technological
devices that will prepare students in diverse career fields that
have not even been created yet because of the influence of
technology.

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