My Quest To Teach

January 31, 2018

The Book Deserts of Underserved Communities

20180106_143559
The Book Deserts of Underserved Communities

by William Jackson and Aida Correa
@wmjackson and @latinapheonix

There are deserts that span vast distances around the world.
They lack the resources to support the diversity of life seen in
places that have sufficient environmental conditions that allow
for growth of foliage allowing animals to live, survive and thrive.

The definition of a desert by Wikipedia is:
“A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation
occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant
and animal life.” The application of this definition in many ways
can be applied to under-served communities across this nation
that suffer from lack of educational
materials promoting reading.

Even though there are books in schools, libraries and community
centers conditions may not be motivating for children in
under-served communities.
Looking at the Twitter tags #BookDeserts #BookDesert
#ReadingDeserts there is a serious discussion promoting literacy
in communities. When there are children that love to read it can
be challenging to find materials that excite them and their passion
to learn about the areas they love.

Stated by Derrick Young (Mahogany Books in Washington, D.C.)
about book deserts, “A book desert isn’t a community-created
situation.”
Derek Young states, “It’s because other people have decided not
to invest into these communities. It’s not because these
communities aren’t readers.”

As an educator and two children attending universities I
understand that education is an investment that has long term
applications, people living in distressed areas are on survival
mode and not seeing long term events because they are surviving
from day to day. Aida a mother and grandmother understands
the value and importance of reading. She taught her children
that reading is a foundation to educational success.

As an inner city Title 1 teacher over 20 years I have seen students
attention directed to just living, not worrying about where the
next book will be coming from.
So books may not be available to inspire reading. Studies in 2015
and 2016 have shown that book deserts exist when there is a rise
in income segregation, lack of infrastructure investment or
financial stability is affected by job loss, incarceration and even
when a school receives a failing grade on state assessments
and funds are cut.

Negatively impacting a family’s and community’s capability to
provide reading material. The focus changes and diminishes the
chances of academic success. The impact on adults is big as well,
children do not see their parents reading the newspaper or
books so they do not have role models or engagement to talk
about the news and current events.

Even neighborhood libraries face challenges because their
materials maybe old, outdated and not culturally relevant.
If a child does not see themselves in a book they may not
want to read it if there is no previous exposure.
Jacksonville Public Libraries often work within communities
to provide resources and materials that broaden the vision
of children and create a welcoming environment for Black,
Latina, White, Asian, etc. There are still some parents that do
not access the resources because of their lack
of reading skills or past experiences.

In Jacksonville, Florida there are book stores “Chamblin”
that have books bursting out of the walls to be purchased
and can even be returned in exchange at a lower cost for
other books. Teachers can even have accounts setup for
their classrooms so students can purchase books and the
teacher can pay for all or part of the book.

In this digital age where information sharing, collaboration
and knowledge based application is important. Reading
is an essential skill that transcends generations, genders,
lifestyles and cultures. Communities of color
sometimes lack the educational investments necessary to
inspire children, youth, teens and young adults to read,
but parents do guide their children to educational success
and movement, parents are the first role models by
modeling.

Too often the societal perception and even the media has
the idea that people in challenged or poor neighborhoods
don’t care about the achievement of their children. This is
further from the truth, parents in under-served
neighborhoods want the best for their children, because
of circumstances in finances, educational lacking, and other
social issues do not have the means to provide proper and
lasting resources.

Book stores like “Chamblin” and Jacksonville Public Libraries
fill the gap in book deserts so long as there is proper investment
and a vision for growth and success to meet the needs of
diverse communities.

Parents make 2018 the year for engagement with your
children to get them to enjoy reading. Make it a part of your
and their life every day…
Over 200 Books for and about People of Color and Culture
Video created by William Jackson #MyQuestToTeach
https://youtu.be/Uo6UDfrJgqk

Resources:
Twitter: #bookdeserts #bookdesert
Book Deserts
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/book-deserts-leave-low-income-neighborhoods-thirsty-reading-material-n833356
Chamblin Book Store – http://chamblinbookmine.com/default.aspx
Facebook for Chamblin Book Store
https://www.facebook.com/chamblinbookmine/
Jacksonville Public Library Twitter – https://twitter.com/jaxlibray
Jacksonville Public Library Online – http://www.jacksonvillelibrary.com
Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library – http://fjpl.info
San Marco Bookstore
@SanMarcoBooks – Twitter
Jacksonville, FL
http://sanmarcobookstore.com

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December 15, 2017

Hip Hop Nutcracker – Blending of Hip Hop and the Classic Nutcracker

William and Aida, Bloggers and Digital Innovators
in Jacksonville Florida #MyQuestToTeach

Hip Hop Nutcracker – Blending of Hip Hop and the Classic Nutcracker
William Jackson, My Quest To Teach Edited By Aida C.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker was a musical explosion combing
old school Hip Hop with classical music and the grace,
elegance and power of Hip Hop dancing. The back drop
story line of the Nutcracker provided the framework
on a story that is relevant generationally dealing with
the diversity of relationships and family. Using music
to transcend dialogue, the dancing of the actors
(yes the dancers are considered actors) showed
that emotions, passions, fears, desires and love
help to form our humanity and used to tell a
unique story.
In its own right Hip Hop has cultural and gener-
ational significance, inspiring musical artistry
allowed story-telling to be told in a dynamic
and electrifying production that literally has the
audience reflecting on their memories of Hip
Hop in the 80’s.
Kurtis Blow still has a masterful way of getting
the audience hyped and providing avenues of
remembrance through the decades. The 80’s
when real Hip Hop was formed and had
audiences of all ages dancing in the streets,
in house parties, schools and even some
churches that Hip Hop as a way of community
connection and unity. There is a cross
generational connection of memories when
the 80’s Hip Hop is heard.
As the transition of background images of
New York neighborhoods and subway artwork
joined together by the concrete and steel of
those days made communities more than
buildings, they were families of people with
similar family values, challenges, celebrations
and expectations. The visual elements of
Hip Hop Nutcracker brought a visual appeal
of life in New York and a back-drop of a New
York Bridge.
The connection that allowed Hip Hop to travel
throughout New York City and across the country.
The Nutcracker has international acclaim which
combined with the athletic artistry of dancers,
gymnast and those that appear to defy gravity
if just for a brief moment excites and brings
true the abilities of youth, teens and young
adults as artists.
Building a unique musical journey that draws
in a generation that may not even know about
the classical Nutcracker story that has
many variations. The challenges of relationships,
overcoming misunderstandings, relational realities
of life.
Woven into a story decades old and combining
with not just a dance style, but a way of life in
Hip Hop.
The melodious manipulations of Hip Hop songs
and classical music as manifested by a DJ
(disc jockey), collaborated “scratches” building
on the tempo, scales and instrumentation
of accompaniment and unity.
The music radiates a yearning to connect with
the finest details related to instrumentation
on an electronic scale.
The two hour show is fun, electrifying, skillfully
choreographed and the acting is first rate even
though displayed through dancing and the
expressions of the actors. No words are
exchanged which brings a unique perspective
that means as you watch the performances
you are engaged and encouraged
to think about the events unfolding.
The human spirit is seen at such a high level
that in  the engagements, violin solos and
other events Hip Hop Nutcracker
will move you to find those old LP’s, CD’s and
even YouTube videos and relive the feel of
the 80’s and the nostalgia that only
music can bring.
If you’re a child of the 70’s and 80’s you
will enjoy the show and want to tell your
children about the simpler time when
there were arguments and conflicts that
were many times solved by dance offs or
creating on the fly raps that were
creative, innovative and allowed the brain to
flow using language not bullets to settle
disagreements.
Parents should take their kids to see Hip Hop
Nutcracker to show them the power of a
musical genre still shared around the world and
as powerful and moving as classical music.
The combination is so Dope and Lit it can carry
you way, back to a time when life seems built
on music, love and family.
Resources:
The Florida Theater
http://floridatheatre.com/event/hip-hop-nutcracker/

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
http://hiphopnutcracker.com

 Hip Hop Nutcracker 2

March 6, 2017

HBCU Students Don’t Wait to Market Yourself

 

 

 

HBCU Students Don’t Wait to Market Yourself
by Pro. William Jackson
Educational Technology and Social Media
Edward Waters College @wmjackson

HBCU students in the 21st century cannot wait to market themselves
in a world of global commerce, digital Branding, intellectual sharing
and the vast Social Media sites that are building to get the word out
there about the talents, abilities and skills that HBCU students possess.

HBCU students still struggle and have faced more challenges in the past
8 years as HBCU institutions struggle to remain relevant, real and respiratory.
Even with the promises coming by the Trump administration there will
be strings attached, policies to follow, procedures to implement and even
expectations that need to be achieved.  This is not a handout, I hope it is
a help up for these historic institutions and if any money is provided
it is not mismanaged, lost in ill-advised policies nor “misplaced.”

Internal struggles have been a challenge at HBCUs either through faculty
stability, administration interaction with faculty and students or the
changes in generations of priorities. The retention and graduation of
students especially males is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

The debate about the relevancy of HBCUs continues, data shows that a
high percentage of Black educators that are successful and work in the
most challenging schools graduate from HBCUs and continue on to
earn their advanced degrees. HBCU students are involved in STEM
careers even before STEM and STEAM where aligned with
educational initiatives.

As a graduate of an HBCU South Carolina State University ’85 and an
instructor at Edward Waters College,  the oldest HBCU in Florida, the
struggle is real and in many cases is overcome with each victory of students
graduating and becoming gainfully employed.

Teaching Educational Technology and Social Media the challenge is
teaching students how to compete for jobs before graduation, how to
Brand, then Market to a world of global competition and even tougher
globalization. This blog is about why HBCU students should market
themselves before graduation, usually starting in their junior year to
network with and collaborate with the “right folks.” Instilling in students
that if you want to be an educator, hangout with educators, if you want
to be a lawyer network with attorneys, if you want to even be a gamer
then learn from, compete with and against, and importantly network
with other gamers.

The most dangerous thing that keeps HBCU students from gaining their
dreams and aspirations is being afraid to network, speak with, talk to and
exposed to the diversity that world has to offer. Talking to my students I
share that you will not lose whatever “Blackness” you have if you have a
diversity of friends, associates, networking groups that can empower,
motivate, engage and collaborate with.

These suggestions are designed to help
HBCU students get out of their mental
boxes and to be less introverted and
race conscious
of fear and self-imposed apprehension.

Suggestions to motivate and encourage
for students and educators:

1. Learn how to market yourself before you
search for jobs, before you graduate, either
at the start or before your junior year of
higher education, vocational school or even
the transition from military service to civilian life.
2. Marketing shows your worth, talents, abilities,
work ethic, leadership abilities, being able to
function in diverse environments, acceptance
and tolerance of diversity.
Learn what marketing is….
3. The ability to adapt to the diversity of cultures, technology, responsibility
and accountability for success and failures needs to be learned. That does
not mean babying students it means teaching students how to adapt their
biases, stereotypes that they may have and how to professionally deal with
potential situations and circumstances.
4. HBCU students must always see themselves as investments.
The more you grow and improve the better investment you are to yourself
and future employers.
5. Don’t wait until your senior  year to rush to create a dope or lit resume,
start the first year and build by creating a living document of accomplishments,
volunteerism, learning, leadership, community activism and collaboration.

As a professor in higher education and as a elementary teacher it hurts my
spirit when students state “why do I have to do that”, I don’t wanna be
bothered with those people.” My response is, “do the right people know you
in the career you want or just those that do not want to see you grow beyond
them?”

6. Show yourself as well rounded; the combination of academics, job-training,
extra-curricular activities, volunteerism, all need to show your contribution to
things bigger than you are. Are you a part of something bigger than you?
7. Look at the world globally not just locally. Jacksonville, Florida is the largest
city in the USA by land mass. Students are encouraged in my class to have a
global perspective of the world. The smallest global event in their major can
have major implications on employment and involved in global markets.
8. Believe that your major course of study will have national and
potentially international influence as  you grow and take on more responsibility.
The road to leadership is driven not by money, but by willing to work hard to
make a difference in the world.
9. Learn to be familiar with foreign languages.  Dedicate yourself that you will
learn a new language especially one where you may have to use when traveling.
HBCU students can be heard talking that someday I want to, I might, maybe if.
They want to travel overseas, they do not take the time to plan, execute the plan
or even save to meet the plan. You have to start with a plan!!!
10. HBCU students network with cultural groups and participate in community
events like festivals and networking socials. Never assume that there is already
someone at an event that knows what you know. You have a wealth of inform-
ation that no one else knows.
11. It is important for HBCU students to learn how to integrate Social Media
tools and platforms beyond joking with their friends, booty calls, partying,
clubbing and acting a fool. This multi-functional, diversely dynamic platforms
can allow for communication with employers around the world. These
platforms can help start a career or end a career before it gets started.
12. Being technology savvy is important and just as importantly is how to
apply that knowledge. Use your knowledge to be involved in community
initiatives that build communities, that bring people together and open doors
for collaboration.
13. Have a reliable list of resources to help you grow.
The library services at Edward Waters College has one of the best resources
in its library staff. Emma Kent is a knowledgeable and dedicated professional
that embraces technology. Accentuating the services the library at Edward
Waters College offers. Too many students at HBCUs do not take the time
to get to know their library professionals that have a wealth of information
waiting to share and becoming friends with them. One of the best moves
for me was to be friends with the librarians, custodial staff, be nice to
the cafeteria man and women and secretaries. They became my “extra”
parents with prayers, advice and even extra food on my meal trays!!
14. HBCU students must adapt their thinking as they matriculate through the
years. Their ideas, opinions, skills, networks must change. This change should
be seen in their attire, their speech and self-confidence. Being a lifelong
learner brings benefits that will be seen in the future not just in the present.
15. Applying to both males and females, your visual personality is just as
important as your e-personality and e-reputation. Make the conscious effort
to protect yourself in the direction of your career goals and dreams.
16. During your growth take advantage of tutoring and learning outside of
academics. Attend tutoring for interview skills, cultural understanding, career
counseling, and even role playing directed at your career interests.
The more prepared you are the better prepared you are.
Obtain a mentor, someone that has life experiences, and sees your potential
that you do not. Someone that sees you as an investment to a better
future and learn from them.

February 20, 2017

What’s In TEDTALKS, TEDx and TIGERTALKS

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What’s In TEDTALKS, TEDx and TIGERTALKS
William Jackson, parent, educator, blogger
#MyQuestToTeach @wmjackson

Since the inception of the TEDTALKS and the
budding TEDx and even the birthing of TIGER TALKS
with Edward Waters College, there have been dynamic,
inspiring, funny, intellectual and emotional discussions
about every aspect of human life. The sharing of stories
has created an intellectual feeding frenzy of information,
facts, statistics, data, ideas and opinions that are shared.

The TEDxFSCJ held in Jacksonville, Florida is a
wonderful example of the spirit of storytelling and
exchange of information. The continuous process
that has been conducted since human existence of
sharing information through oral communication
or “storytelling.” FSCJ TEDx is an awesome example
of community collaboration and the celebration of
diversity that makes Jacksonville and rising global
contributor.

There is no topic that is taboo (to the best of my
understanding), the exchanges are respectful and
sprinkled with just enough gusto, spunk to sassiness
and classiness to keep those in attendance guessing
what direction the speaker will go in and intrigued
as the dialogue changes with the emotional
attachments to the personal stories being told.

The infusion of culture, gender, lifestyle, religious
and community connections helps in the sharing of
knowledge in a relational way that people connect
and bond.

The speakers open their hearts, their minds and
even their essence of spiritual substance in an
attempt not to change minds, but to build a
relationship that creates a possible change in
behaviors and actions to improve the human
exchanges that sometimes makes us wonder
how we can all be human beings and treat each
other with the disrespect and violence that we
see in news media with wars, discrimination,
racism, and bias. The other side can be seen the
compassion, love, respect, trust and overcoming
of misconceptions that keep people separated.

We question where is our compassion, empathy,
contentedness and respect for cultural understanding,
tolerance and acceptance. This country can be
described as a “salad” of cultural diversity, a “gumbo”
of simmered and spiced flavors of human complexity
and simplicity. TEDx TEDTALKS and TIGER TALKS
allows for communication and encourages open
mindedness.

TEDxFSCJ  can be found at http://www.tedxfscj.com/
and the Team can be found here. http://www.tedxfscj.com/team/

HBCU’s like Edward Waters College are involving their
students in “talks” similar to TEDx expose their students
to  formal speaking opportunities that prepare them for
careers where they will have to speak and prepare
them for opportunities of dialogue and intellectual
sharing and collaboration.

Each semester Professor Jackson an accomplished
speaker, national and international blogger and
instructor at Edward Waters College requires
his students to speak about what they are passionate
about, what they care about and their experiences as
a project in the Educational and Social Media class.
As stated by Professor Jackson, “every Tiger has a story
that needs to be told.” Emma Kent of Library Services
provides her expertise as a master librarian and
researcher in helping to prepare the students for each
discussion. “Team work makes the dream word.”

TIGER TALKS Experience developed by William Jackson,
guides EWC students to improve their writing through
blogging on WordPress platform and encourages students
to attend conferences, even paying for their travel.
HBCU students sometimes lack the professional
experiences so any assistance financial,
advice and mentoring is appreciated.

Exposure and Application allow HBCU students to
build skills to help them to be competitive in a global
economy and builds positive digital footprints when
incorporating technology.
Community invitations are extended to join TEDxFSCJ
and the Tiger Talks Experiences at each school are
shared on their web sites.
Wonderful collaborations by FSCJ and Edward Waters
College have allowed students from EWC and even
DCPS – Duval County Public Schools to participate.
Sharing their experiences and talents in education
and technology.
Resources:
Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks
or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED
Educational Technology at Edward Waters College
http://ewceducationaltechnology.wordpress.com/

 

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