Social Media’s Influence on Policy Issues

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PLEASE CLICK HERE & WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fes3jcytQCM[/embed]

This youtube video gives a very descriptive visualization of the revolution that has taken place in our global society.  Technology and social media has taken the world by storm and overhauled the way that civilization communicates.  June, Hong and Sung-Min (2011) suggest that social media is an inexpensive, fast and effective way for governments to report information, survey its constituents and communicate; however, it is not without its drawbacks.  If misinformation leaks out, it spreads rapidly through the use of social media (p. 126).  Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), in Auer’s “The Policy Sciences of Social Media” compare it to an electronic platform from which information is developed and shared with a network of listeners (p. 710).  Mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Ustream and Skype have made it easy for support groups, teachers, families, policy-makers, stakeholders, administrators and other professionals in the field of ECE to communicate and share information and resources.

 

I have not yet begun to delve into the many supports through social media that there are to assist families of children who may be exhibiting signs of behavioral disorders and ADHD who, in fact may score high for childhood ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences).  Mediums like Facebook allow parents to ask their global community of friends and professionals whether they have experienced being screened for ACES before their child was diagnosed with a behavioral or conduct disorder.  Facebook provides a great network for these type conversations; however, these are very sensitive topics for families and one of the disadvantages of social media is that its users lose quite a bit of their anonymity, according to June, Hong & Sung-Min (2011, p. 127).

 

Mediums such as Twitter are places on which people post opinions and immediate reactionary thoughts to things they see and hear about.  Many insightful blogs and tweets populate the internet but Dr. Harold D. Lasswell, in Auer’s “The Policy Sciences of Social Media,” questions the integrity of the comments (2011, p. 721).  News journalist and professionals are bound by certain professional oaths to report the truth to the best of their ability.  Blogs are purely opinions, sometimes based on experiences, but opinions, nonetheless.

Citations:

Auer, M. R. (2011). The Policy Sciences of Social Media. Policy Studies Journal, 39(4), 709-736. doi:10.1111/j.1541-0072.2011.00428.x

June, P., Hong, C. & Sung-Min, P. (2011). Social Media’s Impact on Policy Making. SERI Quarterly, 4(4), 125-129.

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jimrohn109882Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success. — Pablo Picasso

As a student of Walden University in pursuit of an advanced degree in ECE, I have been challenged this semester to think about the dynamics of EC policies and systems and how they impact my profession and the lives connected to the systems.  The definition of the word, “Dynamics” implies the process of growth, development or change in a system or policy.  Dynamics in EC can flutuate like the instrumentation of an orchestra.  Some strike loudly, vibrate and resonate for long periods of time.  Some begins small and crescendo into a frenzied flurry of sounds.  Some are loud and vanish into a quiet abyss.  Dynamics are ever-changing.

Since I have begun this coursework toward my Ed.D., I have been interested in EC Mental Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Effects of Toxic Stress.  These issues are essential in the relational interplay between teachers and students.  More importantly, students are often misdiagnosed with other behavioral disorders but the home environment and parental dynamics are overlooked.  Dr. Nadine Burke Harris (neurologist) gave a 16 minute talk that can be found on youtube.com about how childhood trauma affects health over a lifetime.  The facts were startling.  These issues form the premise for my professional goals:

1)  To keep a listening ear for policies and EC systems that offer screening for families with potential trauma factors;

2) To build an arsenal of research related to EC Mental Health factors that will enable me to articulate the importance of EC policies taking into consideration that well children now will provide a mentally well future workforce; and

3) To learn to analyze policies, evaluate systems, write grants and engage in government advocacy for EC organizations with proper oversight and management.

EDUC 7854: Dynamics of EC Policies & Systems 2015

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Before taking this course, I thought that I was an impartial and unprejudice teacher and citizen, particularly involving children.  However, the course, the readings and other resources, particularly one textbook by Derman-Sparks and Edwards, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, have truly served to show me how deeply-rooted my prejudices and biases were (2010).  The amazing part of the internal biases was that they were unfounded and based on comments of people in my environments being echoed through my mind and mouth.

I had to look into the mirror of my heart and be embarrassed at myself before I could begin to allow the suggestions and strategies in our coursework permeate my decisions.  One thing that I will endeavor to remember that was spoken though Dr. Marsha Hawley (Laureate Education, Inc. 2013) is that “We do not always KNOW what we think that we know; often, what we know is partially true.”  Therefore, when working with families, I will practice “not knowing” and being quiet long enough to hear the answer to my questions.  I will practice asking open-ended questions to help me learn more about people.

Additionally, in my profession, I will make a suggestion to administration that we purchase our textbook for all Child Care Providers and begin professional development on the Anti-Bias Education.  Some of the subject matter will require a culture change … but the children and families are worth it.

Many thanks to Dr. Tammy Shephard and my critical friends and colleagues in the course for your critique and support.  Thanks for learning with me.

Citations:

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Final reflections, part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Reflections: EDUC 8853: Influences of Family, Culture, and Society in Early Childhood

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Module 6: Fostering Resilience (Interviews)

EDUC 8853: Influences of Family, Culture, and Society in Early Childhood

Module 6: Fostering Resilience (Interviews)

As a part of this module’s assignment, we were asked to interview two professionals in our field of work and inquire about their role with families and children and the ways in which they meet challenges and foster resilience. I was only able to interview one of the professional colleagues that I selected, Sullivan Jones. He serves as Multicultural Coordinator of a Head Start/Early Head Start program. He is fluent in Spanish and is learning other languages in order to support the diverse populations that his program serves. Currently, the program serves a great number of Hispanic families and he serves as liaison/translator between the program and the children/families. Having lived in Central America and assisted with mission work there, he has learned a great deal about the culture of Hispanic families and works tirelessly helping the program understand and respect this culture.

 

He stressed the importance of the respecting the traditions and values of different cultures as the primary prerequisite for good communication between the different cultures. One example that he mentioned in the interview was that many Hispanic families nurture their children and allow them to remain dependent on the parents until they are five or six years old and the Head Start program emphasizes autonomy as early as possible. However, he has to train Head Start to understand this cultural difference and he has to help the families understand why autonomy is important in a school setting where there are 8 to 20 children in a classroom.

 

He offered that stereotyping is a challenge in his work when people “perceive” how a family is without getting to know the individual person, family or program. It can be devastating to the individuals and the children involved. He is working with staff and families to dissolve these stereotypes and find similarities between all entities. He also works to create a “learning community” with teachers/staff and a family; whereby, everyone learns from each other, grows/bonds together, and supports each other. This concept of “school connectedness,” as cited by Meichenbaun (n.d.) is a bond between the school and the families in which children and families know, understand and are earnestly concerned about each other. When these connections are disrupted or fail to form, children may remain isolated and families may become very reserve because they feel disrespected and devalued. Marin and Vazquez (2012) surmise that the only way to find resilience is with the commitment and support of familisimo (first degree family and extended family).

 

One final myth that he works to dissolve is the assumption that Hispanic families are in America to become “American” or to acculturate to all American traditions, customs and values. He surmises that the opposite is most often true and the migrant families are concerned with making money to send back to their home lands for their families abroad.

 

I am grateful to have had the experience of conducting this interview with Mr. Jones. It was informative and enlightening. I would like to offer this youtube video (5:23), 0 to 5 in 30 minutes: Migrant Families to highlight some of the challenges Migrant families face in educating their children while being mobile and finding work across the nation.

 

Citation:

 

Meichenbaun, D. (n.d.) Research findings about resilience and implications for assessment and treatment. Retrieved from http://www.melissainstitute.org/documents/facts_resilience.pdf

Marin, M. R. and Vazquez, E. G. (2012). The intersection of family and community resilience to enhance mental health among Latino children, adolescents, and families. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2012/07/family-community.aspx

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Walden Course Project: Code Switching

The challenge for EDUC 8853: Influence of Family, Culture, & Society in ECE at Walden University is related to is children who are dual or multiple language learners. I am interested in the topic because of the influx of Hispanic, Israeli, Alaskan-Indian and Chinese children who are enrolling in the Head Start/Early Head Start programs. As educators, we are now urged to rethink how we approach and prepare teachers for teaching infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children who speak another language that is different from theirs.

One of the sub-topics that I would like to investigate is Special Education programs in the public school sector who are serving dual language learner in exclusive classrooms with children with severe learning and physical needs. The children do not have a learning disability but a language barrier. Often, behavioral issues arise due to the frustration of not being able to communicate with adults and peers. Additionally, teachers are not encouraged or motivated to learn a few words in another language so that they can successfully communicate and bond with children. Parents are often so adamant about their children learning English that they consider “code-switching” an unacceptable behavior. Code-switching is a process whereby children interchange languages when communicating, e.g. “Quiero una apple” means “I want an apple (Spanish/English).” Code-switching is a common occurrence with children whose primary caregivers speak English and their families speak another language at home (Zero to Three, 2008).

In the video, the children go back and forth from English to Spanish and the faciliator (Hispanic-speaking man) asks questions in both English and Spanish.  He even asks the children which language they prefer.

 

Reference: Zero to Three (2008). Practical tips and tools: dual language learners in early care and education settings. Retrieved from: http://main.zerotothree.org/site/DocServer/Dual_Language_Learners.pdf

 

 

 

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This video is found on Heidi’s Songs.com. They are brief video and song snippets that teach children sight words, classroom management tips and other fun things using sight, sound, movement, and voice. The songs are short and help children who have trouble focusing their attention for long periods of time.

Children with disabilities can participate with their peers as the entire class enjoys the music and moves.

In the Chinese Proverb: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand,” a key point is made about children’s learning. It must involve them in some meaningful way. Songs, fngerplays, and movements all help children to remember concepts by the use of the senses. This is a valuable commodity to parents and teachers to utilize with young children.

Thursday, December 5, 2013, I was privileged to attend a presentation of a Pre-K curriculum called Frogstreet. It was very informative and the curriculum was truly, truly comprehensive. In its current state, it is designed for 3-4 year olds; however, the Toddler curriculum will be ready by March 2014 (I think). There is a 60-day trial for the assessment piece on the website, if you would like to peruse it. I wish all of us could have been there. It was so inspiring. It included a Social-Emotional self-regulation piece called S.T.A.R. (Stop! Take a Breath! Relax!), which was adopted from Dr. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline strategies (www.consciousdiscipline.com). More videos that explain the strategies are available online.

The thing that was very emotional, inspiring and motivating was the collaboration with Conscious Discipline – a comprehensive emotional intelligence and classroom management system that integrates all domains of learning (social, emotional, physical, cultural and cognitive) into one seamless curriculum. It teaches teachers how to create environments that help children self-regulate. It is awesome. They showed us a moving testimonial (2) from Picayune, MS that I would like for you to see. Talk about life-changing … please watch and share your thoughts.

Self regulation and the stressors of impoverished environments adversely impact our children and effect executive functioning. When considering whether ADHD diagnoses and treatments are valid and appropriate for children, this video seemed to scream the answer, … at least, in part.