Fighting back from the Global South: Education reform, teacher’s rights, and social media resistance in Mexico

Today’s blogger is David Ramírez Plascencia, a professor and researcher at the University of Guadalajara–SUV, whose recently published article “Education Reform, Teacher Resistance, and Social Media Activism in Mexico, 2013–2016” appears in the special issue of The Educational Forum on educator activism in politically polarized times. In that article, he relates how Mexican teachers use information technologies to engage in the fight against new regulations that affect their labor rights.

In recent decades, education systems in developed and poor countries have been impacted by neoliberalism tendencies that emphasis cost-benefit factors to the detriment of social access and equity. Public education in Mexico has not been an exception. In 2012, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto ordered the establishment of an educational reform. Teachers unions claimed the reform’s lack of legitimacy because they were never consulted; and since 2013, there have been several offline and online protests.

In general terms, most of the dissatisfaction concerning this reform centers on the fact that it tends to blame teachers for Mexico’s low-quality levels of education and standing among countries internationally. In addition, the amendment fails to offer appropriate instruments to improve education quality and applies a standard evaluation system that puts teachers under the microscope without consideration of important economic, administrative, infrastructural, and cultural differences among local education systems.

In this work, I focus not only on describing social media activism in education, both pro- and anti-reform, but I also consider how these virtual spaces have strengthened as an alternative media for teachers to fight back against governmental policies.

Meme example. An indigenous lady with a kerchief and the phrase in Spanish “We all are Oaxaca.” This slogan supports teachers’ actions in that state. This visual element is used frequently online to protest Mexico’s education reform.

My article stands mainly on two concepts. The first is “digital discourse,” which encompasses all sequences of interconnected ideas that span across digital media—audio, video, or even “meme” (see illustration). All these media consolidate to create dissidence with which to combat government actions. In other words, they are “weapons of the weak,” which is the second concept, referring to a particular form of resistance in which the oppressed use alternative and hidden strategies, aside from military hostility, to confront authority (J. C. Scott, 1987). What is remarkable in this context is how Mexican teachers use a dissident strategy of diverse multimedia elements as weapons against the educational reform.

In the end, the purpose of my contribution to this issue of The Educational Forum is to emphasize how cases like the teachers unions’ use of social media to support protests in Mexico provide substantial examples that might be replicated. This kind of media encourages movements and communities to have a voice to advocate for their demands, in spite of the government-controlled traditional media like the press or television. However, what is important to recall is that in order to improve education in Mexico, it is important to promote social assets like equality and justice, not only inside the government, and to modernize teachers’ unions as well, to open elections to a clear and democratic process, and to set strong transparent policies regarding usage of members’ dues. We must remember that providing quality education is a challenging task that can be addressed only with the collaborative efforts of all.

I hope you enjoy reading about this issue!

KDP is proud to partner with Routledge to share an essay from the special issue of The Educational Forum with the education community. Access the article at Taylor and Francis Online, free through July 31, 2018.

5 Ways to Provide Meaningful Experiences in the Classroom

Providing effective instruction is the key to supporting a student’s education. An important component of such instruction is the facilitation of engaging activities that will promote questioning and diverse conversations around subjects that are relatable to your students. The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, which encourages quality education for all, promotes innovation and creativity. This goal can be advanced through your classrooms in five ways.

1. Collaboration

Organize collaborations amongst teachers and students on a weekly basis to foster a positive school environment. Grade team teachers can plan periods that are centered around whole group and small group instruction across the grade level. For example, dedicate a social studies period to joining three classes together for small group projects.

2. Peer-to-Peer Intervisitations

Following the path of collaboration, create differentiation of instruction through peer-to-peer intervisitations. The purpose of having students from one class visit students in another would be to pair students who have similar interests or strengths together and challenge them to develop their critical thinking skills. Guided reading groups would be a great channel for this because they can move at their own pace and be challenged through essential questions and inferring techniques.

3. Authentic Conversations

Commit to the SDG #4, quality education, by developing real connections to the students you teach and invest in. Individual conferences are valuable because the teacher becomes the learner. Students can teach the teacher about their culture through the labels that they add in their writing, their word choice, and the narratives that they share through the process of storytelling.

4. Professional Development

Work with other teachers during professional development to try out a new protocol that you are interested in using in your classroom or school. Fellow teachers can assist you in trying out a protocol prior to introducing it to your students. By sharing your ideas with colleagues, you can demonstrate your ideas and receive insightful feedback to make it better before presenting it to your students.

5. Social Media!

AAs members of Kappa Delta Pi, an organization that prides itself in promoting educational resources and successes, feel free to share your classroom activities on social media and celebrate your progress on meeting educational goals. This would support the SDGs, particularly within quality education, by sharing successful teaching experiences with educators across the world. If you are doing amazing work in the field of education, please share it with the UN using the twitter handle @GlobalGoalsUN and the hashtag #GlobalGoals. Have you found ways to reach out to friends, family, or colleagues about the success you have had with projects surrounding education? Please share below!

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a graduate student in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She chose to become a UN Youth Representative to be able to offer a unique approach to education.

2017 #KDPgrad with Pride Photo Contest – Now Open!

KDPgrad

Are you a senior or grad student who is graduating this spring or graduated in December?

First of all, congratulations! We are proud of you and wish you the very best as you job search and start your teaching career.

We know you must be proud of yourself and your achievements, too—and took (or will take) photos of yourself in your cap and gown with your KDP cords, stole, and/or medallion.

Share one or two of your favorite pictures of yourself on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #KDPGrad as a first step to entering our annual KDP Graduate with Pride photo contest.

To complete your entry, go to http://www.kdp.org/gradwithpridecontest.php to answer a quick survey so we know who you are and a couple of sentences about your journey to become a teacher.

All completed entries will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 5 $20 gift certificates to the KDP Store.

Pictures will be placed in an album on KDP’s Facebook page. One way to win is to share the photo(s) from our page and/or ask your friends and family members to “like” your photo for a chance to win the most “likes.”

Eligible participants are members who graduated in December 2016 or are graduating this spring semester. The contest deadline is June 16, after which winners will be selected.

Good luck! We’ll be looking for your picture soon!

2016 Winners of the #KDPGrad Photo Contest

“Students must be taught how to think, not what to think” Wallpaper Now Available!

If you follow Kappa Delta Pi on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you might notice that we post a dose of inspiration for you each Monday morning to help kick start your week. This #MondayMorningInspiration is one of our most popular social media features.

We thought that you might want to keep these wise words front and center all month long, so we took August’s most popular #MondayMorningInspiration (based on likes and shares) and turned it into a downloadable wallpaper for all of your tech devices.

You can download August’s inspiration for computer, mobile device, or tablet (respectively) by clicking on the gallery below, viewing the wallpaper of your choice in full size, and saving it to your device. We hope this inspiration warms your heart every time you see it.

Chris Beaman is the Manager of Marketing & Communications at Kappa Delta Pi Headquarters.


Computer

Computer

Mobile

Mobile

Tablet

Tablet

Celebrate Founders Day—Snap a Photo!

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

Founders cake

Serving a sweet cake at your celebration? Share it with us!

Kappa Delta Pi will be 104 years old on March 8. How do you plan to celebrate? Whether you wear your KDP pin or have a chapter celebration (you can find resources to plan your celebration on the KDP website), we hope you’ll do something to commemorate our founding AND we hope you take a moment to snap a photo.

Why? Because it’s time for our first Founders Day photo contest! Eligible participants include any paid, current member of the Society OR a chapter of paid, current members of the Society. Winners cannot have a lapsed membership status.

Founders photo

Honor our founders–recreate a photo of the first initiates!

The contest runs through noon on March 13, after which a winner (and prizes) will be selected by KDP staff and announced via social media.

Here’s how you can enter the contest:

  • Post photos to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #KDPFounders AND/OR
  • Email photos to marketing@kdp.org
  • Include a few sentences about the photos
  • Watch for the winner announcement on March 14
Katie with archives

Have a piece of our history in your chapter archives? Bring it out for Founders Day! And snap a photo, of course.

In the meantime, check out all of the submissions in our Facebook album. Good luck!

By submitting a photo, you grant Kappa Delta Pi permission to use your likeness, and the likeness of the other parties, in a photograph in any and all of its publications, including website entries, without payment or any other consideration.

Could Twitter Be Your Next PLN?

Ryan Hanna is an initiate of Zeta Chapter at the University of Cincinnati and a current fifth-grade teacher in Cincinnati. He has been teaching for ten years. He served as a Scholastic Book Clubs Teacher Advisor for two years and was named his school’s Teacher of the Year in 2012. Ryan is a fortunate member of the Nerdy Book Club and is a fanatic about reading (and recycling). You can find him on Twitter @rantryan and on his blog. Check out the Nerdy Book Club blog!

Happy Teen Read Week 2014! I come to you to share a piece of advice – if you are a pre-service or professional classroom teacher WITHOUT a Twitter account, pick a creative handle and sign up as soon as you can! What are you waiting for?

The professional development provided by our school districts can sometimes be lacking. While these trainings may be planned with good intentions, teacher professional development is often “one-size fits all” and instructs us in a way that we would never instruct our own students. One of the most prevalent “buzz” words in education today is differentiation, but I often wonder why teacher professional development isn’t also differentiated.

Twitter Chats for Teachers

So, as teachers, we must seek out our own opportunities to learn from others and gather knowledge about our craft. This is where Twitter, the best professional learning network I have ever been a part of, comes in. Connecting with educators across the country is a benefit of the online Twitter community. Professional development through the use of Twitter is real-time – resources and great ideas are simply a click away, day or night. Not only are there individuals to connect with and learn from, Twitter chats occur weekly that cover different grade levels, subject areas, different regions of the country, and educational topics (such as diversity or technology use). These chats are organized and held frequently, and you can either contribute to the conversation or just observe and take notes as wonderful ideas fly across your screen. Check out this map of all of the education-related chats that occur (generously developed by Sean Junkins). You can also check out this even larger list of Twitter chats, created by Jerry Blumengarten.

The professional learning network, or PLN, on Twitter has changed my teaching for the better, and I wholeheartedly believe it can change yours, too! Not only have I been able to improve my classroom instruction, I have found an online world where authors, books, and readers are celebrated – through the Nerdy Book Club blog and its members. Anyone can join this amazing club! I feel that I am more successful at encouraging and teaching reading because of my connection to this wonderful group. Every day, an inspiring post is shared on the Nerdy Book Club blog. Nerdy Book Club Chats are held frequently – my favorite being “Title Talk,” hosted by teacher and writer Donalyn Miller and teacher Colby Sharp.

If it weren’t for the Nerdy Book Club and my Twitter PLN, I would never have discovered the book The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, which profoundly changed how I taught reading in the classroom. I also would never have been able to connect with authors such as R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder, and directly share with her my students’ feelings about her book. There’s no other place where students and teachers can connect so easily with their author heroes! Without Twitter, I would never have read The Only and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, heard about The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, experienced the beauty of Rainbow Rowell’s writing, or discovered my new favorite writer Andrew Smith (author of Winger, Grasshopper Jungle, and 100 Sideways Miles).

Please don’t wait any longer – get on Twitter and join in on the learning fun!

It’s the first day of summer!

Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.

Summer cupcakesIt’s the first day of summer and what do you do?
Ride your bike to the farmer’s market,  
Fresh vegetables and fruit to get.
Then put on your suit and jump in the pool – yahoo!

It’s the first day of summer and what do you do?
Plant a fruit tree and water a flower,
Take a hike or use the lawn mower.
Don’t forget the sunscreen and a fun hat – whoo-hoo!

 It’s the first day of summer, so a party you’ll throw.
Check Pinterest for ideas you’ll love.
Have celebrations a cut above –  
The most fun food and games you’ll always know! You go!

 It’s the first day of summer, but the summer goes fast,
So create a plan to implement
Some professional development
Or at the end of summer you’ll be saying, “Alas!”

 It’s summer and you don’t want to spend all your day
Slaving at lesson plans, common core,
Or backwards design ʼtil your brain is sore.
Use your KDP membership so you don’t pay. 

It’s summer and everyone’s on the go –
Now you can get PD on an app
Listen to a webcast and you’ll clap
Because KDP has what you need to know. Whoa!

Since it’s summer and the days are so nice, you can
Download articles and webcasts,
Learn new strategies, get tips or facts.
The Resources Catalog will gain you as a fan! 

Yes, as my silly poem tells you, the summer goes fast and then you’ll be moaning, “But I was going to work on flipping my class for one unit this fall and I never even learned what it is, let alone how to do it!” If flipped learning is on your list, you can view the first webinar in the Resources Catalog under the Curriculum Ideas category. The second one (Flipping the ELA classroom) will be June 24 and the third on (Flipping the Elementary Classroom) will be July 8. Sign up for one of these or view them later in the Resources Catalog. (Allow 75 minutes to watch a webinar or webcast all the way through.)

Do all the crises in schools—tornadoes, shootings, students dying accidents—make you wonder what you can do? Go to the Students in Crisis category in the Resources Catalog and view the webcast “Disaster Primer for Educators” to see what you can do to be better prepared and “Supporting the Grieving Student” to help students cope with grief afterwards. These are also great to use with your Professional Learning Community or grade level teachers this fall. Follow up by reading “Responding to Grief in Students” and “Bibliotherapy: Helping Children Cope with Life’s Challenges.” Anti-bullying resources can be found in this same category—and watch for our new webinar on bullying in October.

Learn new ways to do Differentiated Instruction or get up to speed on Common Core. There are some terrific webcasts in the Common Core category, including “Using Data to Inform Instruction.” Articles vary in length and you can print them to take with you while sunbathing or waiting on children.

Are you a newer teacher seeking to add to your repertoire of strategies? Bravo! And you’re in luck. Check out the categories of Curriculum Ideas or New Teachers or Classroom Management.

And one more thing!

It’s the first day of summer and what do you know?
You feel rested and ready to go
But come school time your energy flow
Will feel like a balloon losing its air. Oh, no!

So this summer, while you have the time to do it
Learn about stress and health and pacing
In Wellness, so then you’ll be facing
A year of health and energy—you can do it!