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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: October 26, 2002
Latest Update: October 28, 2002

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Comments grouped by course.
Subject of comment in green.
jeanne's commentaries in bright blue.

Reporting in with some details is a WINNER!
It's time to TAKE ACTION AND TRANSFER LEARNING from the comments jeanne and Susan have already put up.

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, October 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

* * *

This series of e-mails was initiated by Shanell Polk, sometimes on her own, sometimes with others. It is perhaps the most faithful checking in I have ever received. For a variety of reasons, I couldn't keep up with our correspondence this semester at the rate I had hoped to. I think Shanell's excerpts here will indicate why.

When I first met Shanell, a few semesters ago, she could not fathom what on earth I wanted her to do. Her Aunt Brenda took her under wing and worked with her until all ended happily, as I recall. "Aunt" Brenda, who was also a student when this all started, did a wonderful job of acclimating Shanell to a freer, more trusting world, and now she even speaks up in class, as tired as I know she is with job and children. So this semester, when another war threatened, and I was finding it hard to keep up, Shanell wrote faithfully, and created an excellent document of her learning, from which I can now give her very practical answers as to how to raise her grade.

When the War with Al Quaeda and the Possible War with Iraq took me away from a semester focussed on comments and texts, Shanell refused to give up. She sent me regular messages, sometimes with study mates, sometimes without, consistently over weeks. I've grouped several of her messages together here to give anyone else who had a problem with my overload of messages a chance to see how to review them, so you can be sure of your grade.

Please don't wait for posting of all comments. But use the postings of those comments that are up to learn how I grade. You will need to transfer what I tell you about my grading to your own work. Some of you may have difficulty with that. That is becase we don't get a lot of practice in transfer of learning in our local schools. Rememer, most of us are tired most of the time. Our solution to this problem was to offer you office visits or classroom opportunity to ask about how the learning applies to your specific writing. Be sure that you speak to me or Pat soon if you need help with this.

From Soc 367: Sociology of Law and From Soc. 370: Moot court and Social Justice:

On September 24, 2002, Shanell Polk wrote:

on september 20, 2002 when i was reading in my text teaching for diversity and social justice when i noticed it talked about oppression. i knew a ittle bit about it, but when i was reading it gave me a clearer understanding of it . oppression was suffered by many minorities in the late 1920's . oppression continues to be a major problem.

On October 26, 2002, jeanne responded:

Shanell, good contact and message. Early in the semester you are making sure I know what you're reading. But you know that for a B or an A in the class, that I expect more than good attendance and contact. This message is a good start, but it is just a start. Here's what you need to do with it for a B or an A:
  1. Let me know what specifically you're reading. You do this later, but not in this message. You've could have written this message on the basis of the Table of Contents. If you did so, it would be good to tell me that. Or a passage somewhere in the text might have caught you attention. If so, tell me that.
  2. You say that the text gave you a clearer understanding of oppression. Good. I'm glad of that. But that's a conclusionary statement. You're saying "Now I know more about oppression . . ." but you're not giving me any clue as to what you know so that I can conclude for myself that you seem to have learned something about oppression. Did you learn that oppression occurs over many causal factors: did you learn that institutions like our schools sometimes promote racism, though not intentionally, perhaps? Give me a few details on what you learned. Difference between an A and a B? The extent to which your response gives details for me to conclude on, and the depth of understanding the details seem to indicate.
  3. Remember, these messages and encounters with me replace tests. You should want to give me considerable information on what you have done, so that I will judge fairly.

On September 23, 2002, Shanell Polk wrote:

On september 23, 2002 on pg.82 in my text teaching for diversity and social justice it talks about racism which is very complex in the united states. it touches a very sensitive part for african american because it has been around for a long time. it continues to be an issue. this is because many people in society are not comfortable wiith themselves as a human being. Racism brings feelings , experiences and awareness due to the way that people have treated minorities.

On Saturday, October 26, 2002, jeanne responded:

Now, that's the specficity I was asking for. Notice that Shanell sends me right to p. 82 of the Moot Court and Social Justice text. And she draws on the text to speak of the complexity of racism. But, Shanell, once again there's this phrase: "because many people in society are not comfortable wiith themselves as a human being." Now I briefly looked through the early part of the text, Chapter 6 on Racism, but I missed it. Where's that phrase coming from? Sources? I don't doubt that you've heard it. I don't even doubt that you've heard some paraphrase of it in our illocutionary discussions. But you need to give us the sources. And, once again, that's only one of many complex forces, as you indicated in your first sentence.

So, how do you turn this merely "passing" message into an A or a B? Go back to Chapter 6, and try to imagine a question I might have asked on a test of chapter 6:

  1. p. 83: What are some of the issues, thinking, feelings students bring with them to issues of race?

    1. "Belief in meritocracy and individualism"
    2. "Theories of racial inferiority of superiority"
    3. "Conflict and antagonism against trageted racial groups"
    4. . . . .

    Remember that it's not a good practice to copy such titles from the text (plagiarism). Besides that would be a very long question. How dp you figure out what to write about?

    1. Focus in on something smaller. Read that little bit.
    2. Go have an ice cream cone. Or potato chips. Or talk to a friend or watch a commercial on TV.
    3. After that short (fifteen minutes? break) make notes on what you learned.
    4. Then go back to your text.
    5. Do your notes make sense? If not, why not?
    6. Maybe that's what you should do, ask why that doesn't make sense. I can usually answer you in seconds. If class intervenes, you can ask in class.
    7. Maybe in the process of asking your question, you'll get it, and discover that you have lots more to say. And now your grade is inching up towards an A or B.
    8. This is called interactive learning.

On October 3, 2002, Shanell Polk wrote:

on oct 3, 2002 in my text social justice criminal justice it talks about the women's movement how it began in the late ninetenth century which it gave women the right to vote women were still denied the power and leadership postions . in reading this it gave me a better understanding.

on oct 3, 2002 we had a speaker in class, father ted nelson. he talked about the essence of the church is different in africa than it is in america. the word of god is the essence . those who came to the colony were christians . in this lecture i learned that in africa don't do taboos because its a no no, and when you do this this is the punishment you will get and culture embraces religion.

On Monday, October 28, 2002, jeanne responded:

Good, Shanell. You're letting me know both what you're learning in the text, and in the classroom. But this message is like the last one with the phrase: "In reading this it gave me a better understanding." That's kind of like those sentences they gave you to end essays in high school: This was an interesting field trip. BUT THIS IS A POOR ENDING TO AN ESSAY BECAUSE IT PROVIDES NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT'S IN THE ESSAY.

Go for an ending more like: "I didn't know that the women's movement began so long ago. And if it did, why is there still so much confusion about it today? Did it fail in some wy? Where could I read about that?" This made-up ending tells me really no more than your sentence did. The movement started in the 19th century. But it gives me a glimplse of why that was informative to you (information you didn't know before) and shows that you're thinking about it.

On October 8, 2002, Shanell Polk wrote:

on september 24, 2002 today in sociology of law we previewed paintings to show the way that computers can give you a lot to do or ways to create paintings on the computer.

On October 28, 2002, jeanne responded:

Hi, Shanell. This was a good message. It clarified for me that you'lre a lot less comfortable with the computer than your Aunt Brenda. It would be good idea to get some practice while she's in a space to teach you. Now, what in your sentence told me that? "the way that computers can give you a lot to do " that "lot to do" is so vague, it tells me I lost you a couple of times as I jumped from link to link. Come into my office, so that we can spend just a little time getting that cleared up for you.

But I can see that the lessons on how to use PAINT got through. I'll bet you're too tired to really try it. But if you'd spend just a few minutes in my office, I could show you how do work on a painting with your son. Bet you'd like that.

love and peace, jeanne

On October 8, 2002, Shanell Polk wrote:

on oct 9-02 in my text teaching for diversity and social justice, it talks about heterosexism (homosexuality?) which is common among today's teens maybe its a fad for them, but being lesbian, gay and bisexual is what most (?) people are today. (Whoa! Where are these statistics coming from???) either they want to fit in or they have been molested or raped by someone they trusted and they don't have trust anymore so they find someone that they can connect with which may be of the same sex.

In today's lecture we talked about how black women at general motors sued for discrimation because GM wouldn't hire black women in the clerical office. in general motors factory they were a lot of black men hired, but they would not hire black women. This is accurate, Shanell. But you need to draw a conclusion as to why it became important. It matters because the courts would not allow the black women to sue as black women. The courts said they had to sue either as blacks, or as women. But they couldn't sue for discrimination on those grounds because GM hired both blacks and women, just not black women. That little trick is call "intersectionality." The "protected" classes agains whom we can't discriminate are "race" and gender." But to prove their case these women had to sue as both blacks and women, what the courts call an intersection.

we also talked about the 14th amendment which says that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the basis of race or gender. in today's lecture i learned that women in today's society are still being discriminated against because they still are not allowed in certain work places.

On Saturday, October 26, 2002, jeanne responded:

Hi, Shanell. In the first sentence above, you seem to be confusing heterosexism and homosexulatiy. I think that's because Chapter 8 of your text in diversity and social justice calls that chapter "Heterosexism." Please check that out on p.141, and be sure you have it straight.

I went back to Chapter 8 and tried to figure out where you got the impression that most teens today are gay or lesbian. No mention of it in that chapter that I can find. Could be you were just tired and a mis-statement. But you'll need to either e-mail me or see me to let me know either that you've recognized the mistake or have data some place I've never heard of.

Now, the last section of that paragraph is one perspective of how young people turn to a gay life style. But it is one among many factors. Again, where is this information coming from? If you are extrapolating from discussions we have had on the need for love and trust and the harm done when young people have no one to listen to them, then you need to say that. You can't simply suggest that's the way it is and everyone knows it. Sources, my dear, sources. And once you have the sources, then recognize that causality is hard to show. That means that the loss of trust and an attentive family may be one factor in the child's choice of life style, but we would have to understand who other factors affect that also. Please be sure you let me know you've got this straight.

Good that you separated out and reported on your learning from both your readings and from class lectures and discussions. If you will just follow through, so that I know that you now understand all this, you're well on your way to an A in the class. jeanne