Monday, August 24, 2009

A touchy situation...

As teachers we were ready to discuss the film, Meninas (Teen Mothers), a documentary made in Brasil. Tyrone and I had exchanged much information about attitudes and lifestyles of teen mothers in our countries. As the SKYPE call proceeded, my students were very much offended by some of the questions. This came as a surprise to both Tyrone and me.

Today at Lovejoy was a lesson in sociology and statistics. They soon realized that there was simply a misunderstanding. When you have teen mother among a small group, the percentages shoot upward. I think we are ready to re-engage in discussion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In the teachers' lounge...

Cathy: Obviously, Tyrone and I can not sit in the lounge and talk about where the kids are -- college, jobs, etc. But the bond is there. We each care about the students at both Lovejoy and Escola Parque. It was important to share their successes... and we do. It is time for Fall Semester to start, and together we rejoiced that some of our Lovejoy students were going to Southwestern Illinois College, Mizzou, Harris Stowe, Lincoln, ... something that we both played a role in helping them to achieve.

We also share thoughts about education and teen pregnancy so that we as teachers understand what is happening in each country. Tyrone is shocked by the number of students that have babies. He has many questions to ask about our education system and our culture. I also have many questions to ask. This is truly a professional collaboration that exceeds any expectations either of us ever had.

Tyrone is planning an assembly to celebrate the book. I think it is an awesome idea, and I would like to do one too. What's more, why not the same day? His administrators would like September 23 or 24. If only the same time would work, but time zones prohibit that...

Can we make this work? We will keep you posted...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Planning the next movie and collaboration...

Cathy: Tyrone and I continued to share information throughout the summer. Some was personal, getting know each others' families We also started planning for the next movie. Remember that my students are not back from summer break, but it is winter in Brasil and their students are in school. The following e-mails were exchanged before my students returned to school. Notice how the timing has to be coordinated to make up for language barriers. You will also notice that sometimes things just don't go as planned.

8/8/09 I have also started a list of questions on Meninas. I will send them to you this weekend. Then you can add or delete questions. My students will need to use some research skills to locate statistics. Many of the questions are opinions and could be addressed in Tapped In. Others may be projects – PPTs, posters, charts, perhaps video where the girls (at least those here) can comment on how they feel.

Tyrone: (8/10/09)

Have you printed Menina's poster the way you wanted? I hope so. I think I will start working with Meninas tomorrow and on Wednesday. We didn't have classes today because today is Students' day. I am going to use part of your questions before and after their viewing of the movie. Don't worry about the time your students will watch it. If they watch the movie at the beggining of September it will be ok. I want to have my students watching the movie now, because there are several questions to be answered; in addition, they will have to make surveys in the net to do so. Afterward, they will have to translate what they wrote. So, I will need to have time to do everything. Tomorrow We will watch the movie and anwer about 12 questions in Portuguese. Part of the next week class will be used to go on answering questions on the movie. And then, they will translate what they wrote into English. I will think about a way through which my students can show their surveys; maybe we use PPT or a movie maker to do so. After your students having watched it, mine will be already able to discuss about Meninas. As I have already seen Meninas several times, I know the Meninas girls'. I think I will print their pictures so that my students can't forget their images, histories and names. As it is a true story, the girls of the movies won't be forgotten so easily and they will be able to talk about them via Skype, blog, Tapped In when it is the occasion, ok?

Cathy: There was some anxiety as to whether the connection with the new class would be as effective as that of the old group of Lovejoy seniors. Not just on my side, already knowing the next classes had a very different personality, but from Brasil as well... What if they don't click?

Tyrone: 8/12/09 I hope your new students and the juniors can interact with us, as Fetemma, Maurio, Paris, Brandi, Freddie, Damion, Latosha and other ones did. In fact, I miss your ex-seniors and I would love hearing from them in case you know about them, regarding his professional life, college etc.... I think I had to postpone the viewing of Meninas as I didn't find the copy I have. Anyway, tomorrow I will ask a colleague to lend me hers so that I can make a copy. In last case, I can go to a video shop, take the movie and make a copy for me....You see, it is so stressing when you are ready to do something and you realize that an important detail has been forgotten or not found, mainly when you are tired and want to go to bed!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brasilian students' PPT

Tyrone: Brasilian students at Parque School were asked to take pictures of their colleagues, more precisely of their hair style. The intention was both to see how many black hair styles students are used to wearing and to increase their self esteem as they would have the chance to "look themselves at the mirror" - opportunity not so frequently given to them at our schools.
Their job was beyond this, however. They took those pictures and then created their own Power Points with the different African descendant hair styles they had seen. In order to give a more critical approach to the activity, students were asked to talk about those black hair styles they liked most and those ones they don't like so much. Regarding the Labour market, they were invited to talk about how employers are used to behaving here in Brasil when they are to hire black people. The aim was to discuss whether there were black hair styles more accepted or not by the employers. Students gave their opinions critical opinion about it and they were included in their PPTs. Afterward, their PPTs were sent to Teacher Cathy that kindly saw each one of them and wrote a 9 page interesting comment on my students' activity. Her interesting and perceptive comments were discussed at Escola Parque. And finally, my students gave her a final feedback.
Cathy's students are supposed to see such PPTs and create their own so that we can share our cultural experience in this field.
A simple activity like this one shows us that a creative idea can lead us to a rich discussion about serious problems, being this process conducted with happiness and satisfaction by the students as they use TICS to do so.

Cathy: (Cathys’ comments on Parque School students’ PPTs - August 2nd, 2009)

Alan Sena
Alan, when I opened your PowerPoint, my reaction to the first slide was, “This is so awesome.” I have not seen 3-D used. Your color choices are exciting. As I reach the end where your comments are, I know that what I am seeing is more than excitement; it is passion. It is a love for your roots, for your heritage.
I do find it interesting that you do not wear one of the hairstyles that is discriminated against. I wonder if your family makes that decision for you at this point. Unfortunately, people do judge by hair style.
Comment on Labor Market: In some professions, it does not matter. My husband works with and IT professional who wears dreadlocks on a military base. He is brilliant in his field, and that seems to be all that matters. However, if it had reached the point where he was competing with another African American man with the exact same qualifications and similar personality, the hairstyle might have been the determining factor as to who was hired. I asked my husband if he had that hairstyle when he was hired, but he does not know.

Alessandro and Aline
I loved your color scheme. It was very attractive. The pictures were well chosen. Are all of them of people at your school? Were some of famous people? I am just curious.
You learned to add sound to your PowerPoint. That is good. I liked the clapping. I have one question. Do you clap for something you like or something you do not like? The clapping was for the tribal design. You said that your favorites were the Mohican and the braided hair. Would it be more effective to clap for those two styles instead? It is something to think about.
Your comment on the labor market: You said they are “biased against one’s personal appearance.” My answer to that is this: When you work for someone, you do not just represent yourself. You represent the company who employs you. So that is why what you wear and how you fix your hair is important. If they are paying, they make that decision.

Diego Rodrigues
Why do I think that you chose fonts that you thought were expressive of the hairstyle you were illustrating? If not, perhaps you did so subconsciously. That really added interest to your presentation. Very creative!
I think you are very perceptive in your comments. You are right that some people do not like any new style. I remember when I was young and the rock and roll stars were wearing long hair. You would have thought the world was coming to an end to hear the older people talk. Yet we all survived and we have been through many different styles – regardless of skin color. I like what you say about wearing a style with which you are comfortable.
On the Labor Market: Then you went on to qualify that it needed to be something that would not cause problems. Part of becoming an adult is being aware that some things are necessary whether they are fair or not. Hairstyles tell much about our personalities, particularly our willingness to conform. As a young teenager, I was fortunate that the “in” style was acceptable in the workplace – long, straight, and parted in the middle. At that time, African Americans were discriminated against for any or no reason. The United States has come a long way. It will be interesting to hear what my neighbor, who hires people for a very large law firm, has to say about the hairstyles you and your classmates have presented.

Your PowerPoint uses a conservative background and a bold font. This tells me that you know what you want to do and then you do it! Am I right?
Concerning the Labor Market, I think that you have made several good points. There are hairstyles that you would not want to see in a restaurant such as Black Power. You might be afraid that hair would fall into your food. Then no one would want to eat there, and it would hurt business.
I think that is an important point for many businesses in the Labor Market. The employer perceives that people will respond a certain way to the way the employees look. They do not want someone to dress, show tattoos, or to wear hairstyles that might hurt business. It is very much about making money, and they will not hire someone regardless of color or hairstyle that might affect that badly. An example with the tattoos: The US Air Force will not allow its members to have tattoos that show while they are in uniform. They do not care if they show when out of uniform, but there is an image of being a professional that they want to project.
You are very perceptive, and you have a good understand of societal issues.

Your PowerPoint is very trendy and fun. I see that you are creative and “have a good eye” for what goes together. You will do well in the world of fashion.
I see that you struggle with the idea that certain styles are best for different occasions. That is true. Then you say that one should not be discriminated against for their hairstyle. You are right about it being what makes us different. I love to see the different styles of my students. When they dress for our dance, the Prom, they wear their hair different than for school.
On the labor market: I think it is the same for a job. You want to be practical. You must represent your employer and his or her business. In the field of fashion, you will have much more freedom with your hairstyle than someone who is a doctor or a lawyer in a courtroom.

Marcia Costa
Marcia, you are a very pretty young lady. My guess is that you are very feminine, judging by your choice of background. I like the way you experimented with fonts, sounds, and animation of the slides.
I thought that the clapping might work better with the smooth hair since that is your favorite. Then I wondered if it was fireworks going off on the smooth hair. What do you think?
Labor Market: Why do you think the “coqueirinho” is discriminated against the most? I have not seen that style in the United States, at least not here where we live. I wonder if it is considered too informal. If so, it would be like wearing shorts to be a receptionist for a nice office. It is different, and that sometimes makes people not accept a style. Is this very common in Salvador? I like the name of it.

I like the stark contrast of color in your design. Your use of the same font throughout the presentation of hairstyles is neat and uniform. It works very well with the design. Then you change for the comments and that personalizes what you have to say. Good job!
On the Labor Market: I find it interesting that you and many of your classmates of differing opinions as to which are the most accepted and which are the most discriminated against hairstyles. Your preference seems to be for the more dramatic styles. You are the first to list the Mohican as an accepted style.
What might be an interesting topic of discussion would be where in the labor market the different styles would be more accepted. If you are working with food, one style might not be accepted yet another would. If you are in a government office, that might be completely different.
Tatiane & Cristiane
I like the way you broke from the traditional words that are straight across. I need to follow your example. I sometimes slant the pictures, but slanting the words is a nice touch. Your colors were a nice contrast that was pleasant to see.
Labor Market: It is interesting to see the differences in your opinions about which suffers from discrimination. It is a good example of what actually happens in the work place. Different employers may accept different styles.
Cristiane, you thought that a hairstyle like the Mohican might be discriminated against because it is different. I agree. Tatiane also makes a good point. I wonder why the dreadlocks are considered as having a lack of hygiene. The people whom I see with dreadlocks are extremely clean and neat.

General Comments from Cathy about hairstyle, jobs, prejudice…
Hairstyle does not make as much difference if you do not meet the public. For example, if you are a cashier, it is different than if you are stocking shelves. However, if it comes down to two people with equal qualifications, the willingness to conform will give the one with the traditional hairstyle an advantage over the other. Another factor will be the language you use – proper grammar indicates good communication skills. The person who uses will be accepted over one who speaks using slang.
To show how a prejudice might work, the Mohican and the tribal design would make me wonder if the wearer’s were gang related. And if I as an employer wonder that, then will my clients or customers also wonder that? What came into play here is that I am not familiar with those hair styles. Iasmine said that is “old-fashioned” and she is right. However, I am a lot more accepting of different African American hairstyles than many people who are white, who are business owners, and who are my age. It is not an intentional prejudice – it comes from lack of understanding.
I shared this with Elen. Please think about it: An employer perceives how people will respond to the way the employees look. They do not want someone to dress, show tattoos, or to wear hairstyles that might hurt business. It is very much about making money, and they will not hire someone regardless of color or hairstyle that might affect that badly. An example with the tattoos: The US Air Force will not allow its members to have tattoos that show while they are in uniform. They do not care if they show when out of uniform, but there is an image of being a professional that they want to project.
When you go to a job interview, remember this. Hairstyle says, “I care what you think.” It says “I can meet your expectations on a job.”
About your Comments: All of you have done an excellent job of presenting the hairstyles. You have also done great analyses of employer reactions to the different hairstyles.

Presentation Comments:
I can see from your PowerPoint’s that you are getting more comfortable with technology as you experiment with design, fonts, animation, and sound. Keep up the good work. I am very proud of you.

Students' final feedback (August 6th, 2009)

Tyrone: Cathy, students loved your comments. Thank you for having spent your time to write a 9 page comment on their PPTs. Please have a look at their feedback.

Tatiane’s PPTs
I talked to my students about Tatiane’s opinion on dreadlocks and lack of hygiene. They didn’t agree with her. In fact, we noticed there are some people whose megahair doesn’t smell that good, but this occurs when the person doesn’t wash her hair so frequently. Thus, the problem is not the megahair or dreadlocks themselves but the way people care about their hair. Nobody agreed that dreadlocks had any problems with hygiene. As a matter of fact, this has nothing to do with a specific ethnical group, but the way people care of his/her body.

Alan is a simple guy whose ideas seem to be stronger than his attitudes, reason why he doesn’t wear any of those hairstyles. Unfortunately, he hasn’t come to class these last weeks. So, he hasn’t had the chance to see your comments on his job.


Regarding the discussion on “where in the labor market the different styles would be more accepted” we got to a conclusion that fashion shops are to accept more easily people that wear Black Power, piercing and tattos whereas the majority of the places don’t accept such people as their staff.

Alessandro and Aline’s

They said they had chosen the clapping to illustrate their powerpoint with no specific intention, I mean, they chose the clapping because they liked it, but not because they wanted to mean that this or that hairstyle was the ones they had liked most.
We know that discussion is very delicate. Although, employers have the right to choose their staff, as we live in country whose number of unemployed people is enormous, employers are to behave with more racism and have snobbish attitudes when they choose their employees. In fact, although Salvador has the biggest black population in Brasil, if you go to the chic malls we have here, you won’t find black people working for the most expensive shops. We are aware of that and this fact has been cause of black complaints.

Diego and Marcia’s

Diego is (or was) a new student. I mean, He just had attended to 2 classes. The last two weeks he and his girlfriend Marcia haven’t attended the classes, so they didn’t have the chance to give you a feedback on your comments.
Again, I would say to you that they chose the clapping with no specific intention.

Elen and Leilane’s

In fact, Leilane was the one who wrote the comment on the PPT. She told me she really knew what she wanted to do.
Regarding tattoos, the army in Brasil behaves the same way: they don’t allow soldiers to show tattoos when they wear uniforms.


She loved your comments. I could notice that she was proud of what she had done. She liked to know you knew about her intention to go to a fashion college. I think your opinion was good to increase her self esteem. (I realize now that you must have remembered her from the video I sent you, am I right?)