Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Classroom Testimonials from the Center for Resilience

The classroom testimonials videos on the Center for Resilience website depicted how different schools use mindfulness techniques—taught by trained instructors from the organization—in their classrooms. Students and teachers from different Rhode Island urban schools, such as Evolutions High School and William D’Abate Elementary School, described the positive effects that have resulted from the use of said techniques, including a reduction in aggression and school-related stress and an increase in focus and cooperation among students. Among these mindfulness practices, students were shown engaging in diverse respiration techniques, meditation, and other mindfulness-inspired games and art and craft activities. It was truly interesting to see the contrast between the different techniques used in the elementary and high school classrooms. For example, the high school students were taught to use more breathing and meditation practices whereas the elementary school students were taught more active and art and craft-based projects such as glitter bottles and the “I can do this” motivational finger technique. When comparing the ages between the high school and elementary school students, it makes sense that the younger students were taught the more active and artistic techniques as they seemed to be more suited for a younger audience. They also seemed better suited to the issues that affect students at these particular academic stages, issues such as difficulty concentrating after transitioning from active periods such as recess. 
 Evolutions High School and William D’Abate Elementary School 
                                 Classroom Testimonials Videos

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Activism and the Youth Vote

What questions do you have about this election? 

I want more information regarding Hillary Clinton’s “email controversy,” including answers to the following questions. What was in those emails? Can she be persecuted for this issue? Is she still under investigation?   

What makes you want to vote? 

One year ago, after attending a ceremony called the Oath of Allegiance, during which I swore my loyalty to this country, I was handed a large enveloped by an immigration officer that included a signed letter by the president of the United States congratulating me for my efforts in becoming a citizen, a brand-new certificate of naturalization, and, most importantly, instructions on how to register to vote, with a pamphlet that explained my rights as a new voter. In other words, a year ago, after ten years of living in this country as legal resident, I became a citizen and was finally given the opportunity to vote. Becoming a citizen was a truly significant event in my life, not only because I was finally allowed to participate in this nation’s elections, but, since I moved to this country before I turned eighteen, it also meant that this year would be my first time voting at all.

Another reason that I’m excited to vote this year is the fact that a woman is among my options for the presidency. As a woman, it makes me truly excited to imagine another woman in this position of power; I think it shows how far we have come in terms of gender equality. Nevertheless, I also understand that there is much still to be done to advance gender equality, and my hope is that having a woman as a president will result in more proactive efforts in reducing gender inequality.

What makes you shy away from the voting booth?

Image result for elections 2016Even though I’m certainly eager to vote this year, I must admit that sometimes I doubt the importance of my vote. I often question whether my vote would actually make a difference, and this thought has often lessened my enthusiasm to vote. However, one quote has slowly changed this belief and steadily restored my interest in voting. As my mom just recently told me, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

Do you feel well informed about the issues and candidates? 

Unfortunately, due to the large number of responsibilities that I had to juggle this year—a job, school, internship—I’m not as informed as I wanted to be, with regard to this year’s important issues and competing candidates. Nevertheless, I have watched all of the presidential debates and have read some articles regarding this year’s elections.  

Does this election draw you in or alienate you?

Certain aspects of this election have certainly drawn me toward the process, such as the fact that a woman is in the race and that issues of significant personal importance are being discussed, such as immigration and abortion. However, this year a large quantity of controversial information has been uncovered about both candidates, and this alienates me from the election.

My Questions 

1. How much does my vote count?
2. How do you respond to the previous question if a youth asks it or holds the belief that her or his vote does not count, as an excuse for not voting?
3. How can you talk about politics with young people without uncovering your own political bias?