Servant Leader: Self-Reflection

Professional Goals - Graded with Comments.docx

Statement of professional goals as an aspiring secondary education history teacher
17.5KB | Wednesday, 01 December 2010 | Details

Resume - David Harnish.doc

Resume for secondary Social Studies teacher
37KB | Tuesday, 17 April 2012 | Details

Sophomore & Senior Skills Check.docx

Checklist of confidence in historical skills
14KB | Tuesday, 17 April 2012 | Details

Passionate Learner

Research Proposal.docx

Black Urban Pioneers: The First African American Migrants to Elkhart, IN. - Research proposal for History Seminar 410
54KB | Wednesday, 01 December 2010 | Details

Thesis - Respectability and Reciprocity - How African Americans Formed a Community in Elkhart.pdf

Thesis for senior History Seminar 411 - research is primarily original, relying heavily on primary sources
1.5MB | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | Details

Health Care Reform - Analysis.docx

Analysis of the political process of the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 for US Government 305
113.1KB | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | Details

Book Review - Mothers of Invention.docx

Review of book by Drew Gilpin Faust - Mothers of Invention - for History 324: Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction
20.6KB | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | Details

Global Citizen: Multicultural Perspectives

SST Journal Entry - Cuzco and Saqsaywaman.docx

Journal entry on the Spanish invasion of Peru
126.4KB | Tuesday, 07 December 2010 | Details

La vuelta hacia la izquierda en Latinoamérica: Una respuesta al neoliberalismo.docx

Research paper on US foreign policy and Latin American politics - written for Spanish 305
118.7KB | Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | Details

Global Citizen: History and Education (Details)

Celebrating Hispanic Cultural Traditions

Posted by David Harnish on 01 December 2010, 8:37 PM

I attended Juana Bordas' presentations on Latino culture in the United States during convocation and her evening presentation. Sra. Bordas focused on strengths of multiculturalism and the positive aspects that Latinos add to American society. Her story was similar to countless other immigrants in the United States (which is just about everyone at some point in the last few centuries, right?). She was born to a family of 8 in a small town in Nicaragua. When she was four, her parents decided to sacrifice their jobs, friends, extended families, and cultural connections and comforts to move to the United States to give their children more opportunities. She recalled traveling over on a banana boat, because they couldn't afford full priced tickets. The next point Sra. Bordas made really stood out to me, because I believe it is something we fail to realize far too often. She said that her mother was a very smart leader. She explained that too often we forget how smart those people are - the ones that sacrifice their lives for their children; they have a plan. Her mother saved up money to build an extra room in their house so she could run a daycare to earn extra money. Eventually, she saved up enough money over her life to put money towards all her grandchildren's college expenses - something that stands in stark contrast to the individualistic American standard of spending all your money on yourself and not worrying about leaving money to future generations.

Sra. Bordas explained the various characteristics that make the Latino community what it is - the common set of values (valuing hard work that is done with pride, joy, and energy; embracing community - always having room for another at the table or just in the house to share with, etc.), the Spanish language, a common spiritual tradition, and a shared history. The characteristics that describe Latinos are characteristics that for whatever reason Anglo culture has shifted away from in the past couple hundred years. The facts she cited about the US being the fastest Spanish speaking country in the world, the 2nd largest Spanish speaking country in the world, Latinos being the fastest growing minority in the US, and the fact that by 2050 the US will be minority-majority all made me happy. Whenever two cultures mix in a peaceful way they produce (in my opinion) a stronger and healthier society. Though it took centuries (and their is still much difficulty ahead), Latin American countries integrated the traditions of the indigenous with those of the invading Europeans, resulting in a vibrant culture that is both laid back, harding working, religious, and community/family oriented.

These values are very similar to those outlined in studies of successful schools. I want my students to feel that they are part of a community. After all, whenever we look back at our best memories, what always mattered was the people - the things were never essential - it was always the relationships we made with others. I had a good experience in high school because I had teachers that cared about me, plenty of close friends, and a school that valued community and made every student feel welcome. Those values are some of the best of Latino culture and I want to apply those when I teach. And given the fast rising number of Hispanic students, it is increasingly important to understand Latino culture in order to allow all students to feel comfortable and welcomed in class. I want to embrace all cultures in my classroom, and in the US the most obvious one to embrace at this point in time is Latino culture. There is plenty to be learned from it that directly applies to teaching: incorporating family, creating a community centric feel, and valuing work done with pride, energy, and joy. Those are all characteristics I want to model and encourage.

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Recognizing Racism

Posted by David Harnish on 01 December 2010, 6:23 PM

As a white, heterosexual, Christian male, I rarely have to think about discrimination. I believe myself to be a conscientious person who is aware of racism and its societal effects upon people of color. However, being white allows me the privilege to avoid having to feel the effects of racism. This was made very clear to me in a comment made by Sociology professor Regina Shans Stoltzfus during the anti racism workshop. She said that some days she wakes up and thinks, "Wouldn't it be nice to not have to talk about racism today? Or even for a few days, maybe a week?" Granted, dealing with race and racism is a vital part of her profession, but the reality is that as a black woman she feels racism in a way I never can, and that was eye-opening to me.

Throughout the workshop, we discussed the basics of racism and then moved into the deeper, more complex problems it presents. As I think about what I want my students to know about racism, I believe I have to start with the fact that race is a social construct. That is, biologically-speaking, people of different races are more similar than people of the same race. There are obviously physical differences in peoples' appearances, and that is what we use to distinguish between races. Students who are aware of this should be less likely to make assumptions about the innate intelligence of people from certain races and more likely to think critically about societal hierarchy and systemic racism.

As an aspiring history teacher, one of the primary skills I want my students to learn is critical thinking. This skill is essential in understanding the topic of racism and its many nuances that can be so easy to overlook. Many well-intending whites say that they are color blind and aren't racist; they don't use racial epithets and in fact they have black friends. Unfortunately, today in the United States racism isn't that simple. One can have the best intentions yet still support racism systemically. During the anti-racism workshop we learned about discriminatory housing practices by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) during the years following World War II. Neighborhoods were color coded by racial composition. White neighborhoods were coded green, denoting high value. Black neighborhoods were coded red, implying low value and it was written in FHA documents that the presence of African Americans in white neighborhoods was "hazardous." Home ownership greatly affects wealth, of which whites hold a disproportionate amount. Even when income is the same for blacks and whites, the wealth of whites is twice as high (partly because of racist housing practices), which leads to countless other disadvantages for blacks. I hope for my students to recognize the legacy of racist policies and see the complexity of racism in their world; simply not using racial slurs doesn't erase racism. My hope is that through presenting information in a meaningful way, I can aid students in thinking critically about racism and coming up with solutions for it. I am aware of my own limitations in this subject. I won't be able to speak from first hand experiences, but hopefully I will still be able to find ways to connect to students and teach about racism in a meaningful way that can bring about change.

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Personal info

David Harnish's profile picture

I am passionate about history and educating students in making social studies an understandable and meaningful part of their lives. I hope these passions shine through in the online portfolio I have assembled here. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Christ Centered: Ethical Reflection

Personal Faith Statement.docx

Faith statement essay for History Seminar 410 - Graded with comments by Prof. Steve Nolt
21.4KB | Wednesday, 01 December 2010 | Details

Compassionate Peacemaker: Action

PJCS Transcon Crossing Boundaries Relationship Reflections.doc

"Crossing Boundaries" paper for Transforming Conflict and Violence - making peace with labeled enemies.
36KB | Wednesday, 01 December 2010 | Details

Slavery Historiography Paper - Graded.docx

Slavery Historiography Paper - Graded with comments by Professor Steve Nolt
30.2KB | Monday, 06 December 2010 | Details

America’s Health Care Bill Review Paper Public Policy 4-19.doc

Review of the Health Care Act of 2010: Public Policy 210 - Essay reviewing the Health Care Act
60KB | Monday, 06 December 2010 | Details

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