Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Ray Appreciation Day

This post is going to be short but sweet

1) In addition to our activism project, let’s start an annual Ray Appreciation day. Different clubs put on dinners for them, but we need to have a day of appreciation from ALL students

2) Yesterday when I was tutoring at Nathan Bishop middle school I asked a 7th grader what her favorite part about school is and she said “when the day is over”.

AYYYYY AYUDA this is not good!!


Weekly Activity Report

Weekly Activity Report

I couldn’t figure out how to upload this the way that other edugirls have done in the past, so I just took a screenshot. Our weekly activity report will probably be pretty much nonexistent next week, since all five of us are going away for spring break, and we just found out today that our learners will not be around on Friday, since their vacation starts Thursday. Also, Taylor definitely attended our weekly community partner meeting- not sure why it’s not checked off.

New musings on bilingual learning circle

Tonight I went to a workshop for my ESL & Service Learning course.  It was an awesome workshop and I found it really helpful not just for the class, but coincidentally for some of the concerns that I have about our CP and our photovoice class.  We discussed the natural approach to language learning and how to create a learning community with bi/multilingual learners.  The latter was of great interest to me because of everything that has been going on with our CP and with my posts about the “ideal learning community”.  We discussed the benefits of having learners with different native languages learning together, but one thing that struck me is the success of this learning community depends on what stage of acquisition (or fluency if you will) the learner is at.  I’m beginning to think that maybe it might be a good idea for now to keep the English and Spanish learners apart.  The English learners know at least some minimal level of English (some even more).  The Spanish learners, however, don’t possess even a basic understanding of Spanish.  At least that’s what I’m assuming.  I should check to verify that that’s true.  They are very beginner level which makes me think that so as not to kill their confidence, it might be more beneficial for their learning if they were separated from the ELL’s for now.  Hopefully later, though not necessarily this semester, a class could be offered where they could have both English and Spanish learners be together, when their second language fluency is closer to each other.  What do people think?  In my opinion, if the Spanish learners are at least learning some of the language, they can hopefully start communicating better with their co-workers and building the type of community that includes both of them equally and fully.

EduChicas Meeting 02/26

EduChicas met this morning in lower Davis to have our weekly meeting.  It was fairly brief since we just met on Sunday to do our workshop presentation and discuss other CP information.  The main points we went over were:
-IRB thoughts for the undergrad grant:
Is it worth it?  Is the IRB process too difficult for us to do?
Maybe we will purchase cameras with our own money, and then get reimbursed later when we go through IRB?  Will we definitely get the grant if we do the IRB process or is there a chance they will deny us?
We were awarded it, so we don’t want to lose it.  They were excited about our proposal and so were we!  Why turn it down?
We’re thinking of going through with it.  We need to talk to Kara and tom about it though so we can get the ball rolling.
Putting together our powerpoint for the workshop presentation.  We discussed our presentation more and we are looking forward to reading the feedback from AltEcon.

As an aside, I saw Sonia today in Ray and she told me that she couldn’t go this Friday because her vacation days kick in before then so she won’t be around. She told me to check with the other women as their vacation schedules might be different.  On a good note, we may have recruited a new member!  Alma told me to add her to the group, but we’ll see how it goes.  Also, Sue from the deli wants to stop by and see what’s going on with the photovoice class.  I’m liking the curiosity!

All for now!

Pakistani girl shot by Taliban for promoting girls’ education released from hospital

inShare Pakistani girl shot by Taliban for promoting girls’ education released from hospital

Today, in GST 101, two girls presented a photo of Malala, a young Pakistini girl who was shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls. Apparently, this was on widespread news sources in the fall (when it happened) and I don’t know how I never heard of it.

Also, if someone posted this on the blog in October, forgive me.

I thought the two girls did a great job raising critical questions about responsibilities and what role the US plays in intervening in human rights injustices. At what point is it another country’s responsibility to intervene in another country’s culture/way of life? How do we promote justice and human rights without challenging a country’s belief system?

This article is especially relevant as we are studying education and specifically for Lynnzie who has an interest in the role of education for girls.

I’m an ALT Edu Chica

Okay everyone listen up. So I know recently we’ve been doing a lot of posting about out CP and meeting with them, but I have something a little different right now that I think everyone should take a minute and watch. It’s a video so it’s fun, duh! Anyways so if anyway has been reading some of my posts before CP took over our world, most of my posts surrounded alternative learning methods in public school districts. So often I found in my research that alternative methods really only are applied to “alternative” or private schools that can fund such endeavors. But this video has give me hope for alternative methods in the public schooling system. I love how this video also touches upon the obvious criticism and possible skepticism found by the education system now in place. It reminds me a lot of my program abroad, and our capstone as well. Just because these kids are in high school doesn’t mean they aren’t able to be passionate about what lies ahead of them after school. At one point in the video it says

“Although it is an “Independent Program” it could not be more dependent.”

If that’s not our class in a nutshell I don’t know what is.

Happy Monday?

First off I just wanted to say a thanks to all of you who responded to sympathetically to my “Me No Speako” post. I was relieved it was perceived so well when I went out and talked about my concern with my role at our CP meetings. Like I told my group yesterday, I am able to readily follow yet my responses include laughs and smiles. On Friday I felt like I was able to contribute more than I did the Friday before, and my group tried to answer all of the CP participants in English so I could follow more of what was going on.

Aside from our CP work, we all met yesterday in a new spot below Davis to compile our plan of action for the next following weeks until May. When we came to the timeline it was scary how easily we were able to plan up until the end of April. I’ve been trying to forget that we are graduating in May, but in times like this when we are planning out a timetable it becomes all too real. Something that I think is our biggest obstacle right now is our ability to decide on a Final Event. Because so much of our CP has been on campus we are really trying to bring the Final Event off campus to have the whole process go full circle. Something we discussed was possibly using the venue of Smith Hill Annex, but just because that is physically off campus it is not necessarily out of the PC realm. Yet is physically going off campus for our final event the only way we can bring our project full circle? Or are there other factors we could include with the “off campus” aspect of our project? Just some thoughts to consider on this Monday.

accountability plan

Edugirls have decided that we are going to have our accountability plan cover the week from Wednesday-Wednesday, rather than Sunday-Sunday. Since we meet with our CP at the end of the week, we feel too rushed posting our weekly reflections by Sunday. So last week’s checklist will be posted by Wednesday. Hope that’s okay!

Photovoice Plan for Alt Econ

Grace Schierberl

Taylor Leen

Lynnzie Marinaccio

Anne Ruelle

Brenna Kelly


Visualizing Language Learning: Narration Through a Lens


Storytellers and Community Partner Relationships:




            How much do you know about the people who work at Providence College? Professors, sure, but how many Ray workers do you know by name? Do you know where they are from? Why do we know so little about the people who we co-exist with every day?

            After enduring a turbulent relationship with English for Action (EFA), we decided the best thing to do is connect with a new community partner. Since the majority of us have already established relationship with the Ray workers through ESL sessions, we decided to expand on these relationships through photovoice classes.

             For the past several weeks we have been coordinating and meeting with the Ray workers. About a month ago, after meeting with Haley (the head of the ESL program) we went to Ray during their morning meeting to present our idea. The workers were receptive to our idea, language learning through photography, and signed up. Since then we’ve met with three workers (Sonia, Lily, Marta) on Friday afternoons from 3:00-4:00pm. Other Ray workers have expressed interest but their breaks don’t align with our schedules. However, we are trying to figure out how we can make it work so the most amount of people can participate.

             So far, we have enjoyed having all the learners meet in one session to enhance the community/collaborative learning aspect. However, we are experiencing challenges trying to accommodate everyone’s schedule and we’re contemplating one-on-one photovoice and language learning sessions.

            We have been able to build a relationship with Ray management through meeting with them to explain our project. Additionally, to build rapport with our community partners, last Friday we shared a couple of photos from our autobiographies to ease them into the photovoice process and show a model for what we will be doing in the future. Also, we are all (whether it’s Spanish to English for us or English to Spanish for them, we are all experiencing it together). Finally, Lily, Marta and Sonia were receptive and excited to bring their photos next week. 


Initial Findings/Developments


            Since we have only met with the group twice, we are still trying to ease into the photovoice process. Furthermore, we are still figuring out the camera situation from the grant we were awarded. Last week we presented photos from our autobiographies as an example of how you can tell a story through a photo and take ownership over the photography process. Once we secure our cameras, we plan to give each CPs a camera and a prompt to help facilitate the photography process. We will give them a camera Friday with a prompt and have them bring them back Friday where we can download the pictures and talk about their photography experience at the session.

            Some photovoice prompts that we have thought up include:

  • Autobiography/identity/Who are you
  • Day in the life of Ray
  • Why did you apply to work at PC?
  • How was your transition into the States?
  • What is your vision of PC?
  • What are some language challenges that you encounter on a daily basis?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Something that challenges you
  • Challenges in communication
    • Example: Marta voiced not being able to negotiate with her boss about when to come in and not being able to ask work-related questions         


            One interesting new development that we have seen is that non-Spanish speaking Ray workers have an interest in learning Spanish. However, we are still trying to accommodate a time when we can meet with them. As of now, our schedules conflict because they don’t have breaks the same time as the other Ray workers do. (Aside: why do the Spanish speakers break together, and the non-Spanish speakers break together?)

            We’ve seen firsthand the connections and intersectionality between race and language and the role it plays on empowering or suppressing someone’s identity. Language learning is a key component for non-native English speakers to function in America.

            What our goal is, however, is to have them learn English (or Spanish, or Polish, Russian, Portuguese, Creole) while retaining their original cultures. We are trying to reclaim “learning English” from something that is necessary to something that is positively contributing to creating a community.    

            Our project has a global component inherent in its mission; language is global in itself, and all three of the CPs that we are working with are from outside the United States. Through these interactions, and using photovoice to facilitate conversations, issues regarding immigration, US policy and the conditions that prompted them to leave and come here have surfaced.  In terms of language and globality, this directly demonstrates the role of the global economy in determining the languages that are valued most in societies and the languages that hold little currency.


Final Event/Social Change Questions


            Determining the “best” audience to attend our final event is one of our biggest struggles right now. This upcoming Friday, we plan on asking the CPs who their target audience would be. Who do they want to hear their stories?

            Ideally, we will have an audience of people who feel strongly about language policy and language learning in the education system. Our goals for social change ranges from building confidence when speaking English, to getting them more breaks to examining the citizenship test and making the language easier for those who have to take it.

            (We aren’t sure how to go about finding out if our CPs are, in fact, citizens without overstepping our boundaries. Any advice on how to find out, in an accommodating and not accusatory way, would be great!) Citizenship might not even be a problem, this will unfold through photovoice.



Friday, March 1st:

  • Meet with CPs at 3:00pm and go over powerpoint (which explains who, what, where, why, when, how of our purpose for photovoice)
  • Re-visit consent forms
  • Finalize more meeting times with those who can’t make the Friday at 3pm time slot
  • Ideally give them cameras depending on the grant money, if not give them a prompt and have them take photos on their phone
    • Prompt: Autobiography
    • What is PC?
    • What are you afraid of?
    • Have them write a short blurb about their photos


Friday, March 8th (Spring Break)


(Monday, March 11: Bring the idea of ‘learning’ campus-wide)

Put up removable chalkboard in Slavin with following open-ended question:

  • Being education means….

            (Last week, we came up with the idea of bringing the concept of “learning” to the PC campus. We have been in contact with Elena Ye and Sharon Hay about putting up a removable, wall-sized chalkboard in Slavin for a week and leaving chalk. This will give us a new perspective on how college students/faculty/employees conceptualize learning and education)


Friday, March 15th:

  • Go over photos
  • Have them read aloud their blurbs about their photos
  • Give them two more prompt questions:
  • Prompt: (making it increasingly personalized)
    • How was your transition to the States?
    • What is your biggest challenge?
    • Discuss final event:
      • Who do you want to come?
      • Where?
      • Display photos?
      • On campus, or off campus?
      • Smith Hill?
      • Purpose?


Friday, March 22:

  • (Repeat process)
  • Prompt: theme: communication
    • What does Spanish mean to you?
    • What does English mean to you?


Friday, April 5th:

  • Reflect on photovoice
  • Sit down and talk about which photos to include, edit, start compiling a photovoice documentary
  • Prompt: At this point, we want them to take charge of the remaining photos they will take and choose their own prompt


Friday, April 12th:

  • Up to them (very “GST”)


Friday, April 19th:

  • ….


An event will happen at the end of April/Early May


Overall Questions / Challenges


            We have experienced a significant amount of challenges surrounding schedules, availability, and the actual amount of time we can meet with them. One hour is not enough! We are also struggling in deciding whether or not it is worth it to shift from group to individual sessions. Also, only 3/5 of the group is fluent in Spanish, which is difficult in terms of building rapport and conversing sometimes. However, this provides a platform for Grace and Brenna to learn/improve Spanish while the CPs learn English.

            Additionally, we don’t want their honesty in the photovoice process to be impeded by ethics. For example, if we give them a prompt about challenges or difficulties, we don’t want them to not be able to document Ray (if that correlates with the prompt) because of fear of getting in trouble.

            Also, we aren’t sure how we can get this off-campus and, at this point, we’re not sure what the social change is. Finally, we want to further distinguish ourselves from the normal ESL program we have on campus.


Peace, love and language learning for life!




I am picking up from where Anne left off at the end of her last post.  As of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about the social change that I hope to create with my group.  After listening to the presentations and hearing the different questions and feedback, I was quite struck by what was being said.  In particular, tom had emphasized how the system is excluding the people we are collaborating with and that we need to be careful that the social change we are trying to create isn’t pushing them back into it.  With respect to the EduChicas, I’ve been trying to think about what that could be.

I probably harp on this too much, but I can’t help but think there’s something to it.  Since we are doing ESL classes through photovoice for our project, we are essentially aiding the assimilation process of the immigrant workers (I’m not saying however that that process is totally negative).  One of the main reasons why I was so excited in my post “my ideal learning community??!!” was that we had native English speaking Sodexho workers who wanted to learn Spanish!  I think in some ways that is pushing back against the current of assimilation and working to build a different type of community.  The workers that want to learn Spanish are really interested in learning.  They hound me about it frequently.  The problem we are having is logistics and trying to get everyone to meet together, which would make for a really awesome learning circle.  Is it still just as important to do separate lessons even if the English and Spanish learners can’t do it together?

This got me thinking about the future.  Knowing now that there is a desire to learn Spanish among the Ray workers, how does one go about ensuring that this can happen?  We have many native Spanish speaking students at PC and plenty of Spanish majors/minors that would probably love to collaborate on Spanish learning, but who do you tell about that?  Who would get the ball rolling?  I had discussed with Anne and Lynnzie that the ESL courses at PC are run through Campus Ministry under the Social Justice branch.  How would we categorize SSL (Spanish as a Second Language…not sure if that’s a legitimate acronym) classes?  What are the implications of it being labeled a social justice issue?  Is it just as much of a social justice issue as ESL classes?  I think this last questions opens up some dialogue and debate.  Regardless, I would love to see Spanish classes given in Ray.  I think it would be a wonderful way to counteract the system and create a much better, stronger community.  Whether or not this is done in collaboration with our photovoice research, I would still like it to happen.

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