educationthesis

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Looking at the week ahead

Hey hey!

I know I mentioned this already on the education facebook group, but when does the accountability kick in? Ha, what a ludicrous question. We should *always* be accountable (I know, I know) but I mean in terms of our chart. In other words, I propose since we haven’t met with ESL yet or Dexter Manor yet, those portions of the ‘check list’ should be postponed until we have a sit down face-to-face interaction. Thoughts?

In the meantime, I think we should focus on getting a solid meeting time down for ESL (I know Taylor had emailed us with the possibility of Monday? After 5pm?) I think the sooner we start having conversations with the ESL group and Eurest workers, the better we’ll be able to see where this could go.

In the meantime, I’m going to dedicate some time this afternoon reading other group’s posts and see where they’re at/maybe it will give us some ideas on where we can go in this upcoming week.

PS- did we establish a meeting place/time for next Tuesday’s meeting? There is a GST faculty meeting in the am (I think 9:30am or so) so hopefully it doesn’t conflict.

See you at 2:30pm!

Cheers-

Grace

Back Again, Slim Shady Style

HELLO ALL. I know I know I have been so so MIA since winter break. But I’m back on my blog grind like a middle school dance…lol. Anyways so holla edu galz just meet up at Lasalle and had a great group meeting ever since of our train wreck of a community partner meet up. We discussed many things at our meeting for the logistics of it all refer to Anne’s weekly report. 

Besides for making the accountability report that is outlined in Anne’s post, as group we talked about the future that is our community parter. We are basically back at square one but we are wasting no time in getting a start on things and starting to snowball (literally lol) off of each others ideas for how to create a community partner here in our PC community. Currently we have all of individually making moves and sending out e-mails to foster a relationship and establish a time we can meet with not only the workers who participate in ESL but also Haley who heads the group on campus. Also I am e-mailing Dexter Manor which is a low income housing community consisted mostly of Spanish speaking individuals who have a ESL program installed through the service learning classes here on campus. Grace and I did service learning with them our sophomore year in of JAB class and the director of the program was great. We also talked about the possibility of doing a photo journalism class through Dexter Manor because the director was so receptive to the ESL class. 

So in conclusion as a Edugal group we are very much leaning towards work within not only our community here on campus but as well as possibly off campus with Dexter Manor. Although it was frustrating to realize our role at EFA was not related to our Community Partner ideology, it has really been able to narrow down our focus on what we want to do with partnering up with ESL individuals here on campus and off. And referring to Kara’s recent questioning about how maybe we may be swaying towards the “learning” aspect instead of Education–it’s something great to think about and we talked about it this morning. We’re feeling good vibes peeps and it wasn’t just because of our goodies from Lasalle!

Weekly Report Outline

Here is the chart we came up with today at our meeting.  Stay tuned for a summary from Brenna!

Also, I just thought of something–would you girls want to add a column for misc comments/concerns as a sort of intra-group assessment tool?  It’ll be a more qualitative way to assess ourselves as we go throughout the semester; we could assess each other as individuals or even just assess our dynamic as a group.  Comment what you think!

Here is how to post your Google Docs spreadsheet into the blog–what do we think of the format?  I know it’s not perfect but for now we’ll leave it there:

http://en.support.wordpress.com/google-docs/#spreadsheets

And we’re back!

I know a couple of the other girls already have shared their thoughts on EFA and general EduChicas events that have occurred over break and in this first week of classes, but I also wanted to add my reflection.  A LOT has transpired within our group within definitely the past week but even the past month.  It’s been a bit stressful, but from these bumps in the road I have seen tremendous growth and progress with our team.  Our first meeting on Friday afternoon was magic.  It was great to be back with all of us and to be able to catch up on how our breaks went, but also on our thoughts about our CP.  The honesty and transparency that occurred in that meeting could not have been better.  We’ve never had huge issues with those things, but I’d say we have definitely improved and that first meeting was a testament to it.  We all agreed to renegotiate our commitment with EFA for the sake of our sanity and the benefit of the learners.  We were able to step back, evaluate our past actions and how we could’ve done better, and look at the current situation and work from it.  I think the addition of a collaboration with PC’s ESL program has huge potential and a lot of great stories and relationships will be able to come from it.  From my experience with it, the conversations and relationship building stem so naturally.  Stories come out when you least expect it and I think a lot of that has to do with the nature of PC’s ESL program.  Because it works around the Sodexo and Eurest workers’ schedules, the learning takes place during their break times, the times when they would normally get to rest, digest their day and have a precious quiet moment.  Instead, they are choosing to learn English.  The stories and the learning on both ends are very easily produced during these “learning-breaks”.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Anne and Lynnzie facilitating a short lesson on prepositions and the verbs can and to be.  It's a lot harder than you think!

Anne and Lynnzie facilitating a short lesson on prepositions and the verbs can and to be. It’s a lot harder than you think!

As far as the EFA training goes, it was long and very difficult to deal with.  It had a very different vibe from the first time when Anne, Lynnzie and I visited EFA to talk to Kim about a partnership.  I do really love the EFA philosophy and the incorporation of Paulo Freire’s thought within a language learning program, but something was just missing from that training.  I echo Lynnzie’s sentiments that it was (and still is at least for me) really awkward to talk to Kim about renegotiating!!  We tried our best to be respectful, offer a decent alternative, and to represent PC and Global Studies to the best of our abilities.  These situations are always so uncomfortable, but again, the silver lining to this is that we are all 1) SO much more at ease and 2) so much closer after having to band together, work out our issue and move on to something that we can more effectively and enthusiastically handle.  In order to celebrate this, we went to the Abbey and raised a glass to our work this week and the great things that are to come this semester!

Mini CP reflection

We were so emotionally exhausted/destroyed/relieved/shaken after our Saturday morning!  I was really pushing hard to get us into this commitment with EFA in the first place, mostly because I was so excited and hopeful about being able to do so much for EFA.  I am incredibly grateful, though, for our group–it took four of you slamming on the brakes to make me realize we would have been heading off a cliff if we went forward with this.  It gives us a chance to step back and think more about the “change” that we are trying to create through storytelling.  We’ve been talking about working with the workers at PC who are doing ESL tutoring and bringing them together with learners from EFA; we’re hoping to stay with EFA in a conversation/tutoring capacity, so hopefully they are still willing to work with us.  I think we need to discuss how we’re going to walk the line between an activist project focused on education and immigration.  I can definitely feel myself already being seduced by hearing people’s immigration stories.  At the same time, I want to stay loyal at least in part to what came out of my lit review and what we’ve talked about with education in relation to social change.  We’re meeting on Tuesday morning to work out our weekly report and any other logistics that got left out in the CP madness this week.  Maybe we should talk about how we can relate immigration stories to learning and social change?    Maybe this will come out of talking more with the learners.  Maybe we need to go beyond Education, like we’ve been trying to do, and think about learning and relationships.  Maybe, too, we should remember to go in with open minds and not limit ourselves to these people’s identities as immigrants.  They might have entirely different stories to tell that we haven’t even thought of yet.  That’s why I’m so excited to get started–out of the library and into the street!  ¡Afuera, para la calle!

IMG_4140

 

All this talk of ESL reminded me of the class I taught (to be honest, taught, not facilitated, though I tried!) this summer.  This picture was taken on the last day with the students that came that day.  These happen to be the people that came the most consistently throughout the summer so I got to know them really well and I could definitely have done a visual project with them; they told me all about their families, jobs, etc.  From right to left, they’re Eddy, Raul, and Antonia.

holy CP drama

So… I honestly don’t even know where to start with trying to describe what happened today. But I do know that I need to be careful with what I write on this blog since it is on the internet and could potentially be seen by who knows who. So if anyone wants a more entertaining version of what happened, we can talk in person.

So the 5 of us went to training for our CP today- scheduled from 8:30 A.M.- 6 P.M. Saturday AND Sunday. Like, holy hell- that’s way too much time to sit in a chair at the annex and listen to someone talk. We knew going in that we were way over-committed and that we needed to talk with the coordinator and renegotiate. And this need to renegotiate became even more obvious as the morning dragged on. And by dragged on, I mean DRAAAAAGGGGGGGGEEEDDDD ON.

I know that it has been blogged about before, but the plan was for us to become facilitators of one of these ESOL classes. The class meets four times a week (Mon-Thurs) for two hours, and we would be in charge of planning and leading the class. At first (last semester), this seemed like a big commitment but a cool idea. One we got back to school, we realized how impossible a commitment of this size would be. Over break, our CP decided that the focus of this class was going to be budgeting/financial skills. After capstone class on Thursday, we had a better idea of what our relationship with our community partner is supposed to look like, and we realized that we were way over-committed with what we were supposed to be doing as service for them. So we had plans to talk with someone at lunch.

Lunch finally came, and the five of us went to talk amongst ourselves in the corner. We were all pretty much on the same page- this was not something we could honestly say we had time for, were super passionate about, and were capable of putting 100% of our effort into. Brenna said it perfectly when she said she felt that we were at a job training. We all had bad feelings for similar reasons- they were talking to us about the importance of learning without hierarchy, of the learners driving the class, etc, but we were being talked at for ten hours straight, while having to raise our hands and give very specific answers.

So we approached the coordinator and tried our best to explain our situation. We told her how much we love the organization and still want to be a part of it. We told her how running a class four days a week was not something we could logistically commit to, and how this wouldn’t be fair to the learners. We tried to explain how this wasn’t exactly the relationship we were supposed to be building for our capstone class. We told her how sorry we were to be backing out and how we hope there are other ways we can be involved, such as tutoring or being part of their once a week conversation building sessions.

There’s no way around it, it was SO AWKWARD. We felt SO BAD for backing out of what we had previously said we would do. We felt like we were giving Providence College such a bad reputation. But we didn’t know what else to do. And then we left. And went to the Abbey. And ate delicious food.

Today’s Meeting

So much was accomplished at today’s meeting! First, there were such good vibes from everyone. We spent more or less the first half of the meeting talking about break. Everyone did such exciting things. Anne went on the NOLA trip, Lynnzie went to visit her abroad family in Ecuador, Taylor went to NC to visit abroad friends, Brenna went to Miami for the ND vs Alabama football game, and I spent time all over the east coast with my abroad friends as well. It felt great to be back in our group and I was instantly reminded of how naturally we get along and how well we all work together.  We were all feeding off of each other and talked about our fears, expectations, and excitement about our community partner(s).

First, we all agreed that we are intimidated by the expected EFA commitment. With so much on our plate, we don’t want to end up half-assing our time with EFA. We are going to the orientation tomorrow at the Annex from 830am-6pm and we are planning on talking to Kim about our commitment. The majority of us can only go to EFA on Monday, and there is definite strength in numbers. As opposed to sending 1 of us each night a week (which at this point isn’t even plausible), wouldn’t it be more effective to have a group of us go once or twice a week? These are critical questions that need to be addressed at tomorrow’s orientation.

Additionally, the idea of working with ESL on campus was discussed, and the overall sentiment was excited. At some point or another, we have all created relationships with the workers on campus, so why not foster a relationship that we already have, rather than create a relationship out of no where? OR, ideally, can’t we make the most out of these partnerships?

Critical questions:

1) How receptive will K/t/L be to working with PC workers?

2) How receptive will PC workers be working with us?

3) How will our conversation go with Kim? What’s going to happen if we have to go more than once a week?

In the meantime, we look forward to the orientation tomorrow, especially since Brenna and I haven’t met Kim yet.

Finally, we decided that we are meeting this upcoming Tuesday (1/29) @ 9am at Lasalle to draft our accountability/plan/etc. Our weekly meeting time is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday’s mornings.

More to come tomorrow! Cheers!

First post of the new year!

(Should I be advertising that?)

First, let me begin with how excited I am for this semester. I think I’m saying that because the stress and anxiety hasn’t kicked in yet. It’s so bittersweet knowing it’s our last semester at PC but that gives me all the more motivation to make it the best one yet.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our project and this idea popped into my head last night, and I’ll definitely bring it up at our meeting today too. What if, in some way, we got the Ray/Hurley/Eurest staff to document their experiences being (majority) non-white, non-native English speakers, working in a primarily English/white dominant environment? I’m not sure if anyone else is involved with ESL besides me and Taylor, but they are amazing people who are ALWAYS willing to tell their stories (I shouldn’t generalize but in my experience they have loved having students listen). I haven’t worked with Alma and Tata for a year, but they are constantly updating me with their lives. They told me last fall that their break had been reduced from 1 hour to 30 minutes (A DAY). I’m not sure if this has changed, but there is potential for a lot of activism projects to arise from this.

I just thought it would be an interesting juxtaposition to compare their world from the average PC student’s world, through film/photos/etc.

i am not voting to rule out EFA; I know forming a relationship with them has taken a lot of effort and i am so appreciative of the work you all have done to get us this far. i just think, maybe we could combine the two? add more depth? I know we had talked about having these two groups of amazing people meet at the annex for some time of community building workshop/cooking/etc but i think it’s worth re-visiting.

This raises a lot of questions; if we were to ask ESL/hurley workers if they’d be willing to do this, what position does that put us in with the school? I frankly don’t care seeing how if issues DO get raised, they must be accounted for and I’m not going to let administration sweep it under the rug. I just think it’s interesting that we assume a community partner has to be a group of people off campus, when in reality, this group of people is probably one of the best representations of the outside-the-pc-bubble-world. Again, not saying I am shooting down EFA, I’m just saying we should have a conversation about how we could possibly incorporate the two.

Just a food for thought, but let it marinate in your minds for a bit and we can talk more about it at the meeting.

Most importantly, HAPPY FRIDAY!

tick tock…January 7 and three edugirls on vaca

True to “real world” (aka non-college; don’t want to disparage the work we’re doing) work, even though we’re on vacation, people like our community partner are still working.  There have been some new developments at EFA which have thrown us off a little and we can’t wait until we’re back at PC to make a decision: EFA needs to know by January 7th.  Complicating things a little more, 3/5 edugirls will be traveling leading up to January 7, so we have to decide without being sure of consensus.  To anyone gracious enough to read this over break, please help!

Rather than the newsletter idea that we were excited about, EFA changed directions and now wants the class that we would be working with to focus on budgeting (learning how to, sharing experiences on it, doing fundraising for EFA, and ending with actually making decisions about how EFA should spend some of its funds) .  I’m pulling from our facebook discussions to compile our thoughts on it so far.

Pros:

  • Budgeting is a very “real” topic that could make for meaningful discussions in class.
  • Would force us to be really creative with our visual activism.
  • In theory, we would have more time to prepare for the class (important for our time constraints), knowing ahead of time that we would be focusing on budgeting, as opposed to other ESOL classes where the theme emerges during the semester.
  • For our personal knowledge, budgeting would be good to know.

Cons:

  • The time commitment is still pretty huge, even splitting 8 hours of class a week between the five of us (it would be ideal if we never had to facilitate class alone).  There are also required trainings every 3 weeks.
  • We have maybe one car between the five of us, plus one person authorized to drive a PC van (side note: it is SUPER easy to get certified, it’s just an application and a quiz.  It’s also possible to make sure we have a van reserved for us everyday as long as we put in a reservation for the semester).
  • Given our course loads and that it’s our last semester, all of the work aside from the class sessions would be pretty considerable too.

Kim, who we’ve been in contact with at EFA, sent us a very long, encouraging email after we first expressed our concerns.  She explained that at the initial two-day training we would be getting a lot of tools to help us succeed in teaching the language.  She also made a really good point that in a participatory classroom, we don’t have to know everything.  Lynnzie had pointed out that as college students, we have absolutely no idea what it’s like to budget for a family, but Kim didn’t seem to think that was an issue.  She said she appreciated our concern for the learners’ and EFA’s success, but not to worry too much, that it didn’t have to be a college level financial course (I don’t think that was ever a concern for us, though).  She also provided a lot of resources that could be helpful as starting points as we get going.  She outlined the goals like this:

Goals for the learners are:

  • Gaining newfound skills and understanding for personal management of finances and empowering them to make personal decisions around their finances and future
  • Understanding personal skills and goal setting for gaining new skills
  • Understanding budgets as value-oriented documents/plans

Goals for PC students:

  • Understanding the realities of learner/immigrant population, inequalities of income, things that we take for granted/don’t see or experience; and critically thinking about how this learning goes into curriculum and lesson design
  • Helping learners with critically understanding their potential, but also working to change the real barriers to blossoming further in career and life goals (working for drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants & for comprehensive immigration reform)
  • Meeting challenges in an area they might not be as familiar with, which will transfer to the real world

The alternative is that we would all be divided among different ESOL classes of different levels and we wouldn’t be working with the same group.  She didn’t say anything about other opportunities within EFA, but we could try that and see what happens too.

My take on it is that it would still be a really valuable experience.  The idea for us is that we learn to work/facilitate in a popular education setting, I think.  It sounds like we’ll have a lot of support from EFA and us being able to work in the same classroom is really important I think.  Lesson planning does take some work, but it would’ve taken work whether we were doing budgeting or the newsletter idea, so in that sense nothing has changed in term of a time commitment.  Working on something we’re not familiar with could be really humbling and force us to be more creative, which would help us learn a  lot.  We can figure out the transportation thing–like I said, the vans are REALLY easy to be certified for, and Sharron can drive too, right?  Haha.  However, this is only my opinion and feelings of resentment about the commitment will make this a looooong semester.  I want something we can all be excited about, and even if we have some reservations, know that together we can help each other out.

Hellooooo Capstone, anyone out there?

 

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