Staying True to Yourself

There were two whirlwinds that caused major disruption over the weekend. The first one devastated Houston and was named Hurricane Harvey. Two people have already died and the flooding doesn’t seem to be subsiding anytime soon. The Houston Independent School District has already cancelled school for the week. One can only imagine the destruction that flooding will do to the buildings as well as the supplies and electronics in there.

One tweet really caught my eye about the storm. As I look at the coverage of the storm in the next few weeks I will examine who is being harmed the most in this


process. I am sure that it will be eye opening for me to see what exactly systemic inequity looks like now in my social justice journey as opposed to when Hurricane Katrina hit and I was still unaware of how exactly race, gender, culture, SES, and religion all intersect and affect people. I realize that this is what social justice advocates and change agents have been yelling from the rooftops for years it just took me longer than most to get a clear understanding of what this looks like systematically.

On a more positive note, the second whirlwind I alluded to early was the #PhysEdSummit. This could have been the most impressive 24 hours of professional development that Team Physedagogy has produced yet. My favorite session so far was done with by Dr. Martha James-Hassan. Her session was titled: Anatomy of Inequality: Understanding the role of physical education in addressing the academic needs of the whole child. Martha is someone who is going to push your thinking farther than it has ever gone before. She currently teaches at Morgan State University which is a HBCU (historically black college or University). I personally consider her to be one of the trailblazers of social justice in all of education not just PhysEd.

The one line that stood out to me in her presentation was that we need to know how to code shift. It immediately struck me that she used code shift instead of code shift. I had understood code switching to be,

the use  of one dialect, register, accent, or language variety over another,    depending on social or cultural context, to project a specific identity link 

In my life, an example of this would be the language I use at school in my classroom versus the language I use when I am playing in my old man basketball games. I would imagine that most people do this code switching without even realizing it.

Dr. James-Hassan used the term code shifting. When I asked her about this she said that code shifting was the idea that you are staying truer to yourself. This makes much more sense. I am not trying to be someone else when I change the way I speak. I am just different versions of myself. I highly recommend you watch her free YouTube presentation using this link.

I was lucky enough to also facilitate a session on how we use social media to reflect and change our educational practices. The panel that was assembled was second to none! We had Sherri Spelic, Ron Madison, Mike Morris, Rich Wiles, Shre Lynch, Dorian Roberts, Makisha Rodgers, and Toutoule Ntoya enlightening us on the various ways to produce as well as consume using social media. The idea behind the session was that if you aren’t changing your practices using social media than you are wasting your time. If you would like to watch the session click this link.

One of the great takeaways from the session was the cooperative games unit created by Rich Wiles on the US OPEN website.

Each activity is meant to provide a global education experience in a setting that stretches just beyond a student’s comfortable performance zone.

Another gold nugget was Ron Madison describing how he uses OBS when he Periscopes or does Facebook Live. OBS stands for Open Broadcaster Software. It basically gives you a boatload of options when you record your live feeds. You can check it out more here. Also, follow Ron Madison on Twitter to see his #Passthescopeedu.

One of my favorite writers in all of education is Sherri Spelic. She goes by the name @edifiedlistener on Twitter. Her blogs cover everything from her renewed participation in sports to her teaching to social justice to digital equity and so much more. When I get alerted that she has written a new post I carve out some time when I can really sit down and internalize what she has written. The fact that she made the time to jump on the panel warmed my heart.

I really appreciated everyone giving their time to either participate or watch during the PhysEd Summit. Together we can raise not just Physical Education but all of education to heights it hasn’t seen before. This can only occur when we get to the point where we understand that we are the change agents that are the world’s last line of defense against hatred, bigotry, and the devaluation of education.

My heart goes out to those in Houston. The Houston Food BankGalveston County Food Bank, and Corpus Christi Food Bank all are accepting online donations. If you have a couple of dollars please help those who need it the most. Thank you.



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