November 2009 Archives

Brian Lozenski

Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellow 2008-09

Brian Lozenski, Culture and Teaching (CaT) PhD student, performing with his band, Junkyard Empire.I am originally from Philadelphia, PA; my undergraduate degree is from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where I majored in Operations Research Engineering and minored in Africana Studies. I received a Master's degree in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.Brian Lozenski, Culture and Teaching (CaT) PhD student, performing with his band, Junkyard Empire.I taught secondary mathematics for eight years in Philadelphia, PA and St. Paul, MN, and during that time I developed a leadership program for African American boys and also coached several chess teams. I have been a trainer for Wellstone Action's Campus Camp program for four years, where I work with college students around the country on developing community organizing skills. I am a husband and father of two wonderful daughters and in my spare time I am the MC for Junkyard Empire -- a politically progressive, live hip-hop band.

I entered the Culture and Teaching Ph.D. program in order to advance my understanding of critical multicultural education in urban schools and to develop educational models centered on social justice.

Aaron Hokanson

After a few years of being lost in the years after my undergraduate education, I moved myself to Australia where I enrolled in a two-year teaching degree. In the course of this degree and the single year of teaching first grade in a public school, I was exposed to the philosophy of Paulo Freire, the democratic approaches of preschools in Reggio Emilia (and interned and worked in schools focusing on this inspiration), reflective practice/action research, multi-age classrooms, and intercultural populations of students. My experiences pulled me back to the United States where I felt I could do the most important work, and where it was most important for me to be, personally and politically.

Big influences and sites of learning for me are in hip-hop (and other youth cultures), various conceptual and street artists, Feminist scholars of color, and the earlier years of Sesame Street. I am interested in how culture, meaning, and language are negotiated and constructed across difference of varying degrees.

Part of my experience as a teacher that led me to pursue a Ph.D. was a recognition of how, even within seemingly progressive and democratic educational environments, certain traditional modes of silencing and dividing students, teachers, and parents are perpetuated, limiting the possible sites of negotiation and cultural formation. As a means to this end, I am currently curious as to how certain methodologies (pedagogical and research) allow us to realize the researching potential of teaching and the teaching potential of research.

As a Ph.D. student I have experimented with organizing learning circles and meal groups, been engaged in an Action Research project with teachers, taught in a month long residential course based on the democratic approaches of Myles Horton and the Danish Folk School movement, teaching in an undergraduate class, as well as working in a collaborative, intercultural, intergenerational and multi-linqual research project. I have also been encouraged to find classes in and form relationships with other departments across the University.

I have found the Culture and Teaching program (faculty, students, classes, research) a strong base of support as well as a healthy, constructive space of challenge to my own assumptions and interests. I am extremely thankful for the diverse group of similarly concerned and equally passionate people who make up the Culture and Teaching program and in some sense help me maintain sanity and strength as I pursue a Ph.D.

Diversity Dialogue 11/24: White Men's Racial Others

Tim Lensmire
Tuesday 11/24/2009
12:00 p.m. - 1 p.m.
40 Peik Hall
Please bring a bag lunch if you like!

White Americans have, from the first, hopelessly confused the real Negroes and Indians, with whom they must for the sake of social survival and civil peace learn to live, with certain projections of their own deepest minds, aspects of their own psychic life with which precisely they find it impossible to live. —Leslie Fiedler

For the four white men who are the focus of this talk, the production of their own racial identities was intimately tied up with their relations to real and imagined racial others. I first share a theoretical framework that illuminates just how important racial others have been for the meaning- and self-making of white people throughout US history. Then, I discuss the larger interview study in which the four men participated, before turning to my interpretation of their interviews with me.

In the lives of these men, people of color, real and imagined, divided factions of families and churches against one another. People of color were integral to moral lessons they learned as boys—positive lessons about fairness and respect in athletics, negative lessons about hypocrisy (as they listened to their elders accuse Indians of drunkenness and stealing even as they watched these same white elders drink and steal). These men used people of color, imagined and real, to understand themselves and their powers—how smart they were, how good, how tough. People of color were integral to their efforts to find a place among the racist and democratic meanings and values of their community, society, and world.

Diversity Dialogues: monthly gatherings sponsored by the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Each features a presentation by faculty, staff, student, or community members. Time is allotted for conversation.

AERA

Luke Lecheler (Learning Technologies) and I will be presenting a paper at the 2010 AERA Annual Meeting.

It's called "Design and Development of a Web Application for English and Composition Classes" and was placed into the session for "Designing Environments, Experiences, and Tools for Teaching and Learning."

We're very excited about presenting Confetti (the application we designed and developed and are continuing to design and develop) at AERA. It's not quite hooked up to a database for general use is, but it should be relatively soon and we'll start testing it further then.

Confetti Screen Shot

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