Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is There a Prescription for Advocacy?




        So I announce, solely to administrators, teachers, and staff (not parents or students) that I will be going on a hunger strike starting the first day of mid-winter recess, in order to bring awareness to the rampant abuse of power which no one seems to want to address.

        Notice how this results in a medical referral by the Principal to the Department of Education’s Human Resource Medical Office. In order to give weight to her reasoning for a medical referral the Principal also references my letters of advocacy, calling them “inappropriate” and “with strange titles”.
 
        Below I include Administration’s reasoning for the medical referral and my letters of advocacy titled, The Elephants In Our Rooms, and Speaking Without Words. All the other titles the Principal cited in her referral, (A Great Feeder, The Attention Span of a Squirrel, and Baseline of Disregard), are already posted here with their respected content.

        For this I was pulled out of class and the students were given a memo to give to their parents which says that my writing “has raised some concerns as to the safety of the school".



You be the judge.


I wish you all a healthy, loving, reflective, 
and abundant New Year for 2015.



Sincerely,

Luis Angel Perez




Seeking a Prescription for Advocacy


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What do you see when you look outside your window?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Emergency




Dear Human,

        Yesterday evening, Saturday September 13, 2014, approximately 6:40 pm a man, (in his late twenties early thirties, slim built, approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, dark complexion, wearing dark colors), knocked on the door of my apartment. My brother opened the door. The man asked for Luis Perez and said that he is from the Department of Education. My brother reasonably requested to see some identification. The man refused to show his identification so my brother respectfully told him that he cannot help him unless he can show him identification. The man said okay you can close the door.
                        
        Today, approximately 12:30 pm, on her way out of my apartment, my mother discovers a stack of papers taped to my door.

        Note: The space between my door and the floor measures 1 ½ centimeters across. The stack of papers (22 sheets of 8 ½ by 11 inches) measures to less than ¼ of a centimeter.

        The man whom represents the Department of Education (and the Amistad Dual Language School Administrators) scotch-tapped to my door with no envelope, for all my neighbors (and people visiting the building) to witness, the 3020a charges by the Department of Education that were filed by the Amistad Dual Language School Administrators.

        The front page alone clearly exposed my name, date of birth, and social security number for over 17 hours, to my neighbors and visitors to the building. The front page also clearly exposed the name and address of the Amistad Dual Language School, the principal’s name, and the charges brought against me.

        There is clearly enough space beneath my door to slip the stack of papers into my apartment (or the man could have simply handed them over to my brother). Instead, this representative of the Department of Education and of the Amistad Dual Language School Administrators had tapped this document to my door without an envelope with malicious intent.

        This personal information was exposed to my neighbors and visitors to my building for over 17 hours, on a Saturday evening when there was a lot of people going in and out of the building due to several different special festive gatherings that went on to the late morning hours.

         What thoughts would be running through your head if you were the target to such vile harassment? How long before you find yourself on the brink?


Sincerely,
Luis Ángel Perez, Educator  

Immoral and Unethical Business Practices in the Public School System




RE: Immoral and Unethical Business Practices in the Public School System which
       Directly Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment and Poor Mental Health


                                                                                      

Dear Humans,


Please Help Us Create a Better Tomorrow
By Merely Enforcing Oversight and Accountability
Toward What Administrators Are Getting Away With
Within Our Children’s New York Public Schools

        I was born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx of New York under what many will consider really poor conditions. Spanish was the only language spoken at home. I experienced my entire academic years in the Public School System in the Bronx. Because English was my second language I really did not have a voice in the public school system. I recall the times I was scolded in front of my peers for speaking “that language”. The common rationale was that as long as I continue to “speak like that” I will never learn English. Imagine the impact this can have on a child’s perception of their Native language and cultural identity.

        I remember some of the forces that played a significant role in pushing me away from school, (isolation, humiliation, intimidation, attending class along, other classes, in a gymnasium of a scary abandoned school building in the Southern Boulevard section of the Bronx, with bright yellow “CAUTION” tape covering the stairs to the upper floors). I wonder how many students in the Public School System today are enduring similar circumstances.

        Eventually, I adopted “the street life” as my classroom, my teacher, and my guide. Coming very close to losing perspective in life, I eventually defeated the odds and proudly graduated from an Alternative High School where classroom seats were arranged in a circle and teachers facilitated more of a family based dynamic among faculty and students as opposed to the oppressed institutionally based model emphasized today which prepares our youth for the worst. As a teenager, still in high school, I was fathering a young child and shortly there after started my own family. My children actually saved my life. Around this time in my life I discovered an immense passion for learning.

        After high school, I went straight to college and fast forward to today – I own a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Human Behavior and a Masters in Science Education. I attained both degrees from The City College of New York.

        I spent many years working hard in the Social Service Field. I was a Counselor and Case Worker for several years in a well known Adolescent Runaway Shelter. I managed several Group Home Programs, facilitating the transition into community living for people with developmental challenges and their neighbors. For several years I was a Mental Health Worker for a Dual Diagnostic In-patient Psychiatric Program in a well known hospital serving adolescents and adults. I was a Caseworker for the Administration for Children’s Services, (ACS), and for the past nine years I have been teaching in a Dual Language Public School in New York City; mostly Mathematics and Science. I am a New York State Certified Science Educator.

        I have and continue to proudly give back to society but unfortunately pushing for moral and ethical treatment of others comes with a heavy price.

        I have always been a strong advocate for the people whom I proudly serve. Unfortunately, in the New York City Public School System I am currently paying a hefty price for this virtue. Sadly, I still do not have a voice in the Public School System. The saddest part of this circumstance is that no one seems to care about the impact which administration’s immoral and unethical business practices actually has on students and the learning condition. In fact, students are often used by administrators as pawns as they play their game of retaliation and intimidation against any advocates.


The Breeding of a Dangerous Culture

        The majority of working Americans are too afraid to speak-up against immoral and unethical violations in the workplace because they have a lot to loose and the forces against them are callous, meticulous, organized, and far more resourceful. Malicious smear campaigns are able to devour any modicum of good deed and permanently scar one’s future job opportunities. Working Americans, especially ones barely surviving from pay-check to pay-check, have become dangerously dependant on their jobs. Such fear and dependency isolates workers and stifles improvements from flourishing.

        After teaching six years of Middle School Mathematics and Science (8th and 7th grades) with favorable evaluations and student performance, for the school year of 2012-2013 I was forced by administrators to teach a first grade class and all subjects (English, Writing, Social Studies, Math, and Science). This move took place well into the school year and I had no prior experience teaching this age group and other subjects. I was told by administration that I will surely fail and they will then take my teaching license away. I grieved this injustice but since the evidence was not in favor of the Department of Education the result of the hearing fell through the cracks. 327 days later (today) I still have not been provided with the results to this grievance hearing.

        The following school year I was forced to teach fourth grade. Since testing became a greater priority in evaluating teachers, administrators were certain that I will fail because fourth grade students are formally tested in English, Writing, Math, and Science by New York State and I had no prior experience teaching some of these subjects and working with this age group.

        During this year I had to endure more of the wrath of administrators whom were clearly bothered by their failed attempts to get rid of me the year before. I had to endure more lesson disruptions, threats, lies, unrealistic expectations, bogus disciplinary write-ups, etc. The Principal of the school once even wrote a memo and gave it to all of my fourth grade students (and students from other classes) which depicts me as a safety threat to the entire school and informed them that I will be removed from the classroom. You have to wonder what this is all doing to the students and other professionals that want to advocate against immoral and unethical business practices.

        This year I am forced to teach a fifth grade class. Unfortunately, on September 8, 2014 I am summoned with a letter indicating that I am being pulled out of the classroom as of September 9, 2014 for allegations made against me. Later, I am told that I have to wait until I get the paper work for the details to the allegations.

        This is a mere glimpse of what I and students in the Public School System have to endure. There are more horrific details to the harassment but I do not wish to exhaust you with them just yet.
  
        What are we actually teaching our future minds? What are we actually teaching other professionals about advocacy and speaking-up for those without a voice?

        To learn more feel free to contact me at writing4light@yahoo.com or visit my blog at http://writing4light.blogspot.com/

        Thank you immensely for your time and energy in this very important matter and for everything that you do for the human condition. I wish you all the best always.


Sincerely,


Luis Ángel Perez
Mathematics & Science Educator / Student & Parent Advocate

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Timeless




Brightly colored powder rocks
slowly explode over different areas,
in different colors,
off of the radiantly blue canvas Sky,
the one that often brings us to ask, "why?".

Auroras and Auras intoxicatingly dance
in mirrors and candles,
you suffocatingly yearn to embrace
and forever follow.

As bigger pieces descend to the Earth in dry-snow formation,
air gently caresses the finer grains
into majestic swirls which harmonically frame
a whisper of love and a unique adorn
to the moment born.


 





Sunday, March 2, 2014

Baseline of Disregard



From: Perez Luis
To HZ (Acting Principal),RO (Acting Assistant Principal), NV, (Dean/UFT Representative), ML, MC
Nov 3, 2013

Baseline of Disregard

Addendum to Letter I Sent (via email)
on October 25, 2013,
Regarding Last Minute Schedule Changes.


Dear Z & O, (acting administrators),

        Z, Thursday, October 17, 2013 you entered my room approximately 11:15 am (during my lunch period) and O came in to join us several minutes later. You came to announce that during 6th and 7th periods (one period from the announcement) I have to administer the science baseline examination and adhere to the “usual testing conditions”.        You said that this exam is going to be compared with the end of the year Science State Examination in order to measure student growth across time and to evaluate me as a teacher.

        I asked, “What about the science information my students already learned with me from the first day of school to the present (38 days), am I not going to get credit for this in my evaluation?” At the absence of a response I then asked, “What about what we had planned to learn today? You responded, “I don’t know, at this point everything the DOE is telling us to do makes no sense but they don’t care.”, and you proceeded to hand me the examinations.

        O, you handed me several copies of the Spanish version of the test for the English Language Learners and said, “Tomorrow (Friday, October 18, 2013) you and your grade partner will be freed-up some time during the day, so that you can grade them.” You also said, “I will give you the answer key for the test tomorrow so they won’t later question whether you had the answers and went around helping or giving the answers to the students”.

        In the face of much distraction and discomfort generated by these encounters, I proceeded to prepare for my students.


        Later, Thursday, October 24, 2013, O you entered my room approximately 2:15 pm (during my preparation period), to inform me that tomorrow (Friday, October 25, 2013) I will be freed-up 1st and 6th periods so that I can grade the science test and transfer each grade into bubble sheets you were at this time providing.

        Additionally, you attempted to get me to sign a memo supposedly about this announcement. When I asked you if everyone else also had to sign-off, you responded, “No, only you.”  When I asked why, you responded, “Because in the past there were issues with you getting email.” I responded, “Sorry, I can’t.” You then asserted, “So you are refusing to sign? No problem!”, and proceeded to write notes on the memo you wanted me to sign.

        In the face of much distraction and discomfort generated by this encounter, I proceeded to prepare for my students.

        It is also worth mentioning here that on this same day, even more instructional time was compromised by the scheduling of “Picture Day” where students had to be taken to the auditorium for pictures, which was scheduled during our literacy block.

        Such abrupt, last minute directives to administer, grade, and transfer answers into bubble sheets of a science examination which students and educators never before had the opportunity to prepare for, which also at a glance seems to contain errors and very ambiguous language, manifests a complete disregard toward student learning, student attitude toward science, and completely undermines an educator’s efforts in planning and facilitating instruction. It also technically disregards the school’s language policy since we were mandated to administer an English examination during Spanish instruction time.

        In addition to disrupting instructional time, undermining an educator’s efforts in planning, and tainting student’s attitude toward science and investigations, the deliverance, timing, errors and ambiguous language of this examination, along with the actual testing conditions that existed the day of the test, directly confound the validity of the students results and thus rendering the entire ordeal as moot for the purposes of informing instruction.

Testing Conditions Day of Examination:

1. It was uncomfortably hot inside the classroom despite my calls to the main office to request the air conditioner to be turned on, especially because we were testing,

2. There was loud noise coming from students and teachers shouting and playing in the school yard adjacent to our classroom windows,

3. Some students reported that they did not eat their lunch and argued that they know they would have done better on the test if they were not hungry and argued that they would have probably eaten something if they knew that they were taking a test in advance.

4. Many students exhibited signs of anxiety. One student was in tears; another student complained about stomach pains; many repeatedly raised their hand to complain that they did not understand what they were reading or to ask for the definition of some words. Even high performing students were shaking, continuously looking at the clock, verbalizing loud sighs, and sucking their teeth in frustration of not knowing what to do. I literally walked around the classroom mirroring calmness, reassuring students to take deep breaths, try to relax, and do the best that they can.



In conclusion -

A. O, I wish to reference here the letter I sent you (and other administrators) on September 15, 2013, titled Speaking Without Words, regarding the humiliation I had to endure on Friday, September 13, 2013 in front of my colleagues. I wish to remind you that the disparate treatment of having me be the only one to have to sign-off on memos received by administration is quite suggestive, defamatory, and completely without merit. It is merely an extension of the harassment which I had to endure by this administration in “A” for the past two school years only for speaking up against unfair practices which directly affect student learning and teaching. I urge you to put an end to this campaign and instead join me in facilitating student growth.

B. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the nonchalant disruption of the quality and quantity of instructional time?

C. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the negative impact that such abrupt, last minute, directive to administer an examination, alien to everyone involved, actually has on teacher’s efforts in planning and student’s attitudes toward learning?

D. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the following: Since this science examination will be used as a tool to evaluate an educator and since the examination came in so late in the year, how are educators going to receive fair credit for what they have already taught in science from the beginning of the school year to the point when the examination was administered?

E. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the following: Where are the much needed corresponding science textbooks, curriculums, and resources, across grade levels, which are aligned with these new standards, in order to prepare both educators and students for this new caliber of inquiry and instruction?

Currently my class does not have a science curriculum or science textbooks of any kind.

F. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the following: What can we do to help the people in charge of the DOE make more “…sense” when delegating directives?

G. Is anyone actually monitoring and addressing the following: What can we do to help the people in charge of the DOE “…care” more about the negative impact their directives have on teaching and learning?

H. Is any one monitoring and addressing the errors and ambiguous language in this test?

I. Does anyone else care?
        This is not the first time I have raised to this administration my concerns regarding the substandard treatment of the subject of science, in comparison to other subjects in the building. I have faith that a positive change in this area will precipitate.

PS: The science examination and bubble sheets are completed and ready for pick-up.


Thank you immensely for your time and energy in this very important matter.




Sincerely,

Luis Angel Perez, Educator

Monday, February 24, 2014

Time Line




Time Line


Number of Years Employed


School Year

Evaluation

Grade Level

Event/trigger

1

8/30/06 – 6/30/07


Favorable

8th Grade Middle School


2

8/30/07 – 6/30/08


Favorable

8th Grade Middle School


3

8/30/08 – 6/30/09


Favorable

8th Grade Middle School


4

8/30/09 – 6/30/10


Favorable

8th Grade Middle School



5

8/30/10 – 6/30/11


Favorable

7th & 8th Grade Middle School

Advocacy against No Textbooks Scandal (second consecutive year) & against the repeated reckless classroom interruptions.

1/25/11 First Abrupt Surprise Classroom Audit Ever.

1/30/2011 I send out The Attention Span of a Squirrel**

1/31/2011 admin emails response to First Abrupt Surprise Classroom Audit Ever & schedules a day to discuss findings and the email I sent The (Attention Span of a Squirrel).

Since these administrators are well recognized to deceivingly change words and events around from what actually occurs, my advocacies almost completely where transformed into writings which I emailed.



*6

8/30/11 – 6/30/12


Favorable

7th & 8th Grade Middle School

Campaign against me worsens and threats of getting an unfavorable rating increased to the point where I had to make a desperate decision. The only thing that put an end to the harassment at this point was the moment I surrendered to their plan
for me to look for work at a different school.
Administrators said they would recommend me highly
to work at any other school.


*7

8/30/12 – 6/30/13


Unfavorable

First Grade


In early August I notified Principal that I will be returning to Amistad. In the beginning of the year I was told by the Principal that I will be getting an unfavorable rating for this year, that she will put me in the first grade where I know nothing, will be lost, and she will take my license.


*8

8/30/13 – 6/30/14

Pending but Surely Unfavorable


Fourth Grade

Harassment Continues

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Communal Responsibility and Solidarity?



        This Public School is housed with a great deal of warm hearted, caring, and brilliant teachers, staff, students, and parents.

        Unfortunately, the tyranny of administrators and the existing lack of accountability for their actions and inactions in creating a hostile environment directly hamper learning, stagnates growth, and forces great souls to leave or become complacent, abandon their sense of skepticism and advocacy, and perceive the art of teaching as merely “a thing to do to pay bills”. This directly asphyxiates the inspiration of teaching and the facilitation of inspiration in the classrooms. Students pick up on these subtleties and inevitably, themselves, become too immersed in fear to speak-up.



For Example:  

                 The letter below is my reflection concerning an incident that occurred
                 in the middle school, related to a topic which directly affected
                 the adolescent culture everywhere in the United States.

                 Unfortunately, administrators completely mishandled the situation
                  and missed the perfect opportunity to “…foster a sense of
                  communal responsibility and solidarity…”
                  (as per our school’s mission statement).

                  My voice here caused me to be summoned, reprimanded, and
                  continuously harassed by administrators.



From: Luis Perez
To: MP, BMc, JB, OR, VN, ZH, DL, JA, MR,

Apr 2, 2012
Somehow The Energy Will Come Out 

        In Amistad we try to foster a sense of community building and solidarity. In fact, such words are woven into the very fabric of our school’s philosophy. We hold several spirit-wear-days and engage in other activities that bring people closer together to plan and bring forth positive change.  
        Late in the day, Thursday, March 29, 2012, I learned that our middle school learners had congregated and organized to wear hoodie-sweaters, carry around a pack of Skittles (bite size candies), and Arizona ice-tea, in solidarity to the unfortunate conditions surrounding a teenager that was shot and killed in Florida by a neighborhood watchmen on February 26, 2012 (Trayvon Martin). 
         Our learners manifested growth in an area we try to foster and commitment to our school’s philosophy and they should have been appropriately recognized for such deed. They manifested a sense of peaceful organization, community building, solidarity, and even coordinated their own spirit-wear day for a cause they felt strongly about. 
        After learning about how poorly 802 conducted themselves with a particular teacher on Friday, March 30, 2012, I thought it essential for all teachers that have 802 next to express their disapproval with how they handled themselves. I had mix math with the 8th graders which consists of some 801 and some 802 students. This gave me the opportunity to direct everyone’s attention to two different groups of students claiming to have faced a similar conflict only dealt with it in a completely different manner and thus attained completely distinct results.  
        As several students expressed themselves I casually wrote down on the board some key terms that they mentioned, (“so we protested”, “some one cussed at the teacher”, “everyone was laughing at the cuss”). After listening to them for a short while and getting past their façade of bravery, I brought their attention to how everyone managed to, passively and directly, allow the situation to grow out of control. I then had them all consider for a moment how one person would feel in front of a large group that is protesting against them, talking uncontrollably, cussing, and laughing out of control. They listened to each other say the following words, “sad”, “alone”, “confused”, “embarrassed”, “hurt”, “angry”, “scared”... As they listened to themselves say these words I saw much remorse and shame in their faces.  
        I reminded them that together we are very powerful, that we have the potential to destroy or heal the spirit of a person. I reminded them that they destroyed the spirit of this person whom was only trying to help them and they managed to look like cold hearted individuals in the process. I reminded them that they are not cold hearted individuals. I reminded them that they are great people, that this teacher is a great person and did not deserve any of what occurred. I reminded them that under no circumstances does a student cuss at a teacher or laugh when someone else does this. I reminded them that they collectively owe this teacher and themselves a sincere apology and a promise never to do something like this.   
        All this actually reminded me that the learners in A were cued-up to protest and one way or another they managed to do so. I wonder if this incident would have occurred if we were more nurturing about what they set out to initially protest about.


         Note: Letter ended there but it is important to note that instead of supporting students or at least allowing them a different outlet to demonstrate their sense of solidarity for their adolescent community, administration abruptly trampled on their passion and motivation by mandating that they cannot come to school dressed with hoodies, that candy and cans of drinks are not allowed in the building and will be confiscated if seen, and that they should just forget about what they have been planning to do. When students asked for an explanation they were unsympathetically told that the orders are not negotiable.





School's Vision (Mission Statement) -

"A" Dual Language School is a community of learners
that embraces the unique path of each individual.
Together we foster a sense of communal responsibility and
solidarity through the celebration of culture, language, and diversity.
Our children will move forward ready to meet the academic, social, and
human demands of the larger community, taking with them the
magic of discovery and the power of two languages.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"A journey...





Segregating Language by Color: Red for Spanish & Blue for English


Luis Angel Perez
Educational Research
Spring 2009


Abstract


        The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the colors in which written material (texts) are presented to students in a classroom setting and student behavior in the form of interest exhibited toward the presented texts. This experiment explores a long standing yet scientifically baseless practice in dual language schools; The practice of presenting English texts in the color blue and Spanish texts in the color red. I investigated this practice to gain a better understand of how it actually relates to a learner’s interests and needs. The investigated hypothesis was that students will demonstrate a greater preference to work with texts in multi-colors over texts presented to them all in one color, either all in red or all in blue. Additionally, learners will demonstrate a preference for multi-color texts despite the language in which the texts are presented, either in Spanish or in English. This study shows that students are indeed more interested in working with texts that are presented to them in multicolor over texts presented all in red or all in blue. 
                     



Table of Contents




Introduction ………………………………………………………………......…3



Methodology …...……………………………………………………………..…8



Findings & Analysis ……..………………………………………………..….12



Conclusion & Implications……………………………………………………...15



Reference………………………………………………………………………..17



Appendix…………………………………………………………………….......18




 Introduction


        When I sit back to reflect on the many texts I have read pertaining to the many problems encountered in the field of education, particularly those which concern multilingual learners, I cannot help but to notice an intense and carefully orchestrated blame game. The academic field is saturated with the practice of pointing the finger at someone else when something goes wrong or does not work satisfactorily. This reminds me of a common phrase my grandmother always used; every time you point a finger at someone you have three other fingers pointing right back at you, (meaning the middle, ring, and small fingers). It is a rarity to find a text where the author passing judgment is making such judgment about their own performance or what they themselves may have done to contribute to the problems in the field. Off the top of my head I can only think of one such text written by Cynthia Ballenger titled Teaching Other People’s Children. This book describes how, instead of blaming others for the difficulty she encountered in teaching a classroom of Haitian students, a North American teacher looked closely at her own personal philosophy and interpretations especially when she was assessing her students. This book gives credence to the significance of looking closely at the self and to the importance of the practice of scrutinizing what we do with our learners in order to have a better idea of the effectiveness of our own practice, (as opposed to looking for someone else to blame and always thinking inside the box).

        Inspired by Cynthia Ballenger I yearn to become more critical of my own craft as an educator and instead of looking in the outside for loose bolts I will focus more on tightening the bolts of the inside. In order for me to zero in on my own biases and in order for me to actually practice scrutinizing some of what I actually do with my learners I did two things in this research. Firstly, I indulged myself in reading research pertaining to the impact which the concept of bilingualism has on the individual mind, particularly that of the learner as well as the “professional” policy makers in the field of education. I also researched several studies which shed light on the motivational and intellectual performance of a learner in respect to the use of the color red. I researched these areas to help me understand more about how the concept of bilingualism affects an individual’s cognition and in turn their decision making process as well as to further my understanding on the psychological and behavioral affects that colors have on people. Secondly, I challenged a long standing practice in dual language schools; the practice of presenting to dual language students English texts in the color blue and Spanish texts in the color red. I investigated the significance of this practice by studying a group of 30 eighth grade students (18 females & 12 males), from a dual language middle school in upper Manhattan. I examined the hypothesis that learners will demonstrate a preference to work with multi-step mathematical problems presented to them in multi-colors over ones presented to them all in one color, either all in red or all in blue. In addition, I examined the hypothesis that learners will demonstrate a preference to work with multi-step mathematical problems presented to them in multi-colors despite the language in which the problems are presented, either in Spanish or in English.

         There are two factors which motivated me to explore closely this common practice in dual language programs. For one, as a dual-language mathematics educator, I have noticed the difference in the level of attentiveness projected by my students when I use a different color to depict each of the steps in a multi-step mathematics problem compared to presenting the entire problem all in one color. According to informal observations, students are noted to demonstrate a better posture, seem more attentive to the material, and overall seem more interested in the lesson when the texts are presented using multiple colors as opposed to just one color. Additionally more evidence of their preference for multicolor text over same color text was noted when students were asked to create independent work that requires them to show all the steps and explain their process. A great number of students created their work using multiple colors as opposed to only one color. Another motivating factor for me to pursue this experiment was the idea that although administrators try vigilantly to enforce the separation of language into colors, no one has actually been able to produce or guide me in the right direction to find research that credits the effectiveness of this practice or the benefit that it allegedly provides for the learner. Since there is no data to back up this practice I decided to create an experiment that will produce quantitative information that may help shed light on what type of text students actually find more appealing and engaging to work with between the following choices; all in red text, all in blue text, or all in different colors text.

        School administrators argue that a teacher must maintain “transparency” in their classroom environment. Meaning that it should be clear to an observer walking into the classroom, without having to ask any questions, exactly the topic which is being discussed, what unit of the curriculum the class is currently covering, what tasks are the students responsible to complete, what topics they have worked on recently and prior to that, and in dual language classes what text is written in Spanish and which is written in English. Theoretically, this is done for the benefit of the students because they will have available to them organized information for later reference and connection building. Although the idea of maintaining a transparent environment has its benefits, during some informal interviews I learned of some of the dissonance precipitated by such push.
        Some teachers believe that classrooms are not large enough to maintain all this work organized on the walls particularly in classes where multiple subjects are taught in multiple languages. Other teachers argue that having too much work up on the walls creates a cluttered, disorganized, uncomfortable, and distracting environment for children in a place where they are expected to remain focused. Yet other teachers argue that administrators are merely conforming to the needs of outside observers and not necessarily considering the best interest of the students. This poses an interesting question; Is the decision to separate English into blue and Spanish into red a decision made in the best interest of the students, the policy makers, or a little of both?
        One particular aspect of the concept of classroom transparency that interests me is the practice of separating the language texts posted on the classroom walls of dual language classrooms by color. Administrators of dual language programs across the city enforce the practice of maintaining the Spanish texts in the color red and the English texts in the color blue. The premise behind the color coding of these two languages stems from the idea that such practice assists dual language students discriminate, with much ease, the language of the work that is posted especially when the student is searching for the work in order to make connections and or scaffold their learning. Unfortunately, this practice has not been formally examined.
         Since I noticed students to be more attentive and engaged to the lessons when I present them with multicolor materials in mathematics over just one color type, I felt compelled to test the student’s reaction toward multi-color texts compared to text depicted all in blue or all in red. As a dual language mathematics teacher I have observed that middle school students prefer when I present to them a multi-step mathematical problem using a different color to present each step as opposed to presenting all the steps using only one color. I believe that students will demonstrate the same preference despite what language the material is in, Spanish or in English. My goal here is to construct a test to collect quantitative data that will show that in my mathematics class a significant number of students prefer to work with and respond better to posted materials which are depicted in multi-colors as opposed to materials depicted all in the color red or all in the color blue, despite what language is used to present the materials, (in this particular study Spanish or English). Students were provided with a permissions slip for their parents to consent their involvement in this study, (see appendix B).
        The following annotated bibliography was constructed out of the need to enhance my knowledge about the different affects which the concept of bilingualism actually has on a person’s cognition; particularly the cognition of the learner and the policy makers that have a direct impact on the environment of the learner. Following the annotated bibliography I describe the methodology that I used in order to try to quantify the preferences and perspectives of 30 dual language middle school students in respect to this practice.




 Methodology

Calculating Red for Spanish & Blue for English


        The purpose of this study is to determine whether eighth grade students prefer to analyze for errors multi-step mathematical problems when each step of the mathematical problems is presented in different color as opposed to each step presented all in the same color, either all steps in blue or all steps in red. Determining what stimulates student interest may help identify important factors that keep students attentive to the lessons provided. 30 eighth grade students (18 females & 12 males), were examined in this study. These students attend a dual language school in the northern part of Manhattan. For the purposes of anonymity the name of the school will remain confidential.
        I used a Smart Board Computer Software, which works similar to the Power Point Computer Software commonly known to Microsoft users. I created 24 slides. Each slide created has the same math problem on both left and right sides of the slide but they differ in color pattern. Students were not told that both problems on each slide were the same and only differed in the color in which they were presented. One side of a slide will present the problem worked out, step by step, each step in different colors and the other side will present the same problem worked out step by step, each step in either all blue or all red.
        All the slides were presented in random order. In order to rule out or control for color combination preferences I used four different multicolor combinations. There were four different multicolor combinations used in this study. See sample of a slide in appendix A.

(1) Eight slides contained the following combination of colors: Steps 1, 2, 3, & 4,
       were presented in orange, blue, green, & brown, respectively.
(2) Eight slides contained the following combination of colors: Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
      & 7, were presented in green, orange, blue, turquoise, gray, yellow, & black, respectively.
(3) Four slides contained the following combination of colors: Steps 1, 2, & 3,
       were presented in green, blue, & red, respectively.
(4) Four slides contained the following combination of colors: Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
       were presented in blue, green, yellow, red, turquoise, & black, respectively. 

Procedure to Choose Your Problem:
        Eighth grade students were told that they were going to be presented with a number of different mathematical problems which they are familiar with and that seventh grade students attempted to solve. Subjects were explained that they will be presented with two mathematical problems at a time. They were told that out of the two problems on each slide they had to choose the one problem which they would want to analyze for errors at a later time. They were also told that this process will be repeated for 24 slides. Each student was given a clip board with a protocol check-off sheet where they will select the problem which they preferred to analyze at a later time for errors. The protocol sheet contained forty eight cells. Each pair of cells numerated one through twenty four; 24 for the problems on the left side of the slides and 24 for the problems on the right side of the slides. Each student was told that the slides were going to change rapidly from one to another so they must make their selection quickly. This warning was also provided so that the student does not try to scrutinize each slide for errors at that particular moment of the presentation. Students were reminded that they are only selecting the problems that they are going to examine at a later time. Each slide lasted approximately 2 seconds before moving on to the next slide. Students were also told that the examiner will say out loud the number of the slide so that they are always clear what number slide they are up to and what cells to check off on the protocol.

Type of Mathematical Problems and Format of Presentation:      
         All together 24 slides were used in this study. The step by step format for 20 of the mathematical problems were presented laterally (first step beginning at the top, directly beneath the actual problem, and last step ending at the bottom of the page). The step by step format for 4 of the mathematical problems were presented horizontally (step one beginning on the left side, directly beneath the actual mathematical problem and the last step ending on the right side beneath the actual problem). 6 different types of 8th grade mathematical problems were used in this study.
        2 problems showed each step taken to find the slope of two given points using the slope formula. Each of these problems were presented in the English language all in blue versus multicolor (2 slides) and all in red versus multicolor (2 slides) as well as in the Spanish language all in blue versus multicolor (2 slides) and all in red versus multicolor (2 slides). This made a total of 8 slides.
        2 problems showed each step taken to find the equation of a line when given the slope and only one point on that line. Each of these problems were presented in the English language all in blue versus multicolor (2 slides) and all in red versus multicolor (2 slides) as well as in the Spanish language all in blue versus multicolor (2 slides) and all in red versus multicolor (2 slides). This made a total of 8 slides.

        1 problem showed each step taken to determine whether three given points are collinear to each other (determine if the three points lie on the same line). This problem was presented in the English language all in blue versus multicolor (1 slide) and all in red versus multicolor (1 slide) as well as in the Spanish language all in blue versus multicolor (1 slide) and all in red versus multicolor (1 slide). This made a total of 4 slides.
        1 problem showed each step taken in order to re-write an equation in slope intercept form. This problem was presented in the English language all in blue versus multicolor (1 slide) and all in red versus multicolor (1 slide) as well as in the Spanish language all in blue versus multicolor (1 slide) and all in red versus multicolor (1 slide). This made a total of 4 slides. Each slide was arranged in a random order and presented in both Spanish and English.

Observations:
        Students were observed during their selection process. The examiner assured that each student scanned both left and right side of the slide at least one time prior to making a selection on their protocol check-off sheet. If this behavior was not noted by the examiner the examiner made a note of the number of the slide in which this occurred and what ever selection was made of that slide will not be included. Fortunately, in this study every student scanned both sides of each of the slides at least one time prior to looking at their clip board and gesturing the making of a selection. Behavioral observations and comments made by subjects were later used to help interpret the data attained in this study.




Findings and Analysis


Comparing Spanish Multicolor Problems with All In Red Problems:
        Five of the thirty students in this study demonstrated an even split by selecting 50% multicolor problems and 50% all in red problems when the problems were presented in the Spanish language. Out of the remaining twenty five students, 52% selected multicolor problems and only 48% selected all in red problems, between 67% and 100% of the time. These results indicate that the majority of the students in this study favor working with Spanish multicolor problems over Spanish all in red problems. 

Comparing Spanish Multicolor Problems with All In Blue Problems:
        Four of the thirty students in this study demonstrated an even split by selecting 50% multicolor problems and 50% all in blue problems when the problems were presented in the Spanish language. Out of the remaining twenty six students, 54% selected multicolor problems and only 46% selected all in blue problems, between 67% and 100% of the time.  These results indicate that the majority of the students in this study favor working with Spanish multicolor problems over Spanish all in blue problems. 

Comparing English Multicolor Problems with All In Red Problems:
        Six of the thirty students in this study demonstrated an even split by selecting 50% multicolor problems and 50% all in red problems when the problems were presented in the English language. Out of the remaining twenty four students, 58% selected multicolor problems and only 42% selected all in red problems, between 67% and 100% of the time. These results indicate that the majority of the students in this study favor working with English multicolor problems over English all in red problems. 

Comparing English Multicolor Problems with All In Blue Problems:
        Three of the thirty students in this study demonstrated an even split by selecting 50% multicolor problems and 50% all in blue problems when the problems were presented in the English language. Out of the remaining twenty seven students, 41% selected multicolor problems and 59% selected all in blue problems, between 67% and 100% of the time. In contrast to the results of the other sections tested in this study (mentioned above), these results indicate that the majority of the students in this study favor working with English all in blue problems over English multicolor problems. 



Percentage of Students that chose Multicolor
per Section
Percentage of Students that chose a Single Color
per Section
Spanish Multicolor
vs.
All In Red Section

52% Multicolor

48% All In Red
Spanish Multicolor
vs.
All In Blue Section

54% Multicolor

46% All In Blue
English Multicolor
vs.
All In Red Section

58% Multicolor

42% All In Red
English Multicolor
vs.
All In Blue Section

41% Multicolor

59% All In Blue



        Overall, 75% of the sections tested in this study showed that students have a preference to work with multicolor texts over single color text of either all in red or all in blue.







       
Conclusion & Implications


        In conclusion, the results of this experiment support both my hypotheses. Learners demonstrated a preference to work with multi-step mathematical problems presented to them in multicolor over ones presented to them all in one particular color, either all in red or all in blue. Additionally, learners demonstrated a preference to work with multi-step mathematical problems presented to them in multicolor over ones presented to them all in one color despite the language in which the problems were actually presented in, either in Spanish or in English.
        Similar to Bhatia and Ritchie’s argument that emotions may be coded differently into two different languages due to our association of that emotion to the language used to express the emotion, Bhatia and Ritchie, 2004), emotions and experiences may also be coded in colors which may explain why my results showed that students preferred to work with many different colors as opposed to one specific color. In fact, Markus Maier argued about this type of coding in colors in his study. He argued that the color red has been associated with so many negative concepts such as emergency lights, blood, errors in assignments, stop signs, and the like, that the mere use of this color in learning may precipitate similar negative emotions, (Maier, 2008). In my opinion such negative emotions may be inadvertently associated with the Spanish language. If we closely consider Andrew Elliots study where he demonstrated that the color red contributes to avoidance behavior in learners, (Elliot, 2009), we are actually compounding the above mentioned negative association with the added problem of facilitating a divorce between a person and the Spanish language by promoting avoidance behavior toward the Spanish language. It is also important to mention here that the results of my study also revealed that although the use of multicolor texts was preferred by students across the board when comparing all red with all blue learning texts students in my study also showed an avoidance toward the color red and demonstrated favor for the color blue.
        Perhaps the impetus to such divorce is purely unintentional or perhaps these are sublime attempts to sabotage by a people that may consider the Spanish language to be inferior to the English language. According to De Groot and Kroll’s study some people believe that speaking more than one language is not natural and that this view is prevalent in the educational system (Groot & Kroll, 1999). Goshgarian argued in his research report that many people are so critical of the Spanish language because the “status quo” actually lives in fear of a societal take over by Hispanics by way of infiltrating the English language with the Spanish language. 
        Since there seems to be no studies done in the area of segregating languages into colors I hope that my experimental research will inspire further investigation with larger samples, examining different grades, and different languages. The results of this study encourage me to always consider the needs of the students when planning lessons. It also empowers me to trust my observations and intuition about the dynamics which I observe in the classroom. The results of this study helps me put together the courage to closely examine, by way of experimentation, what we as educators are delegated by others outside of the classroom to implement. Policy makers should take the results of this study into consideration and revisit and scientifically scrutinize the validity of their policy to segregate languages by color as well as other language relevant policies.




References


Ballenger, C. (1999). Teaching Other People’s Children.

       New York: Teachers College Press.


Bhatia, T. & Ritchie, W. (eds.) (2004). The Handbook of Bilingualism,

        Bilingualism: Language, Emotion, and Mental Health, 250 – 280.
       
        New York: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 


Bratt, P., & Tucker, R. (eds.) (2003). Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings,

        Linguistic Diversity, Schooling, and Social Class: Rethinking Our Conception

        of Language Proficiency in Language Minority Education, 329 – 340.

        New York: Blackwell Publishing. 


De Groot, A. & Kroll, J. (eds.) (1999). Tutorials in Bilingualism:   

        Psycholinguistic Perspective. The Consequences of Bilingualism for

        Cognitive Processing, 279 – 299. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Elliot, A. (2009). The Effect of Red on Avoidance Behavior in Achievement

       Contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(3), 365-375.
      

Goshgarian, G. (eds.) (2007). Viva Spanglish! Exploring Language, 134 - 135.

        New York: Pearson Longman.


Maier, M. (2008). Mediation on the Negative Effects of Red on Intellectual

       Performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1530-1540.
      

Martin, J. & Nakayama, T. (1998). I, We, And The: Readings in Cultural

        Contexts, 345 – 356. New York: Mayfield Publishing Company.




Appendix




(Appendix A)



            Find the equation of the line that has a slope of 3 and passes through the point (3, 5)

          point = (3, 5)
               m = 3

           y = mx + b

          5 = 3(3) + b 

            5 = 9 + b

       5 - 9 = 9 - 9 + b

             - 4 = b

            y = 3x - 4





Find the equation of the line that has a slope of 3 and passes through the point (3, 5)  

          point = (3, 5)
               m = 3

           y = mx + b

          5 = 3(3) + b 

            5 = 9 + b

       5 - 9 = 9 - 9 + b

             - 4 = b

            y = 3x - 4