educationthesis

Archive for the category “Grace”

Five Girls, One Dream

It’s hard to believe that life as we know it at PC is quickly coming to an end. How did this happen and where did the time go?

Amidst the stress and anxiety that comes during finals week, the edugals were able to compartmentalize our other exams, paper and work and focus 110% of our attention on our final event yesterday. We poured all of our energy into this project and making sure that our CP and audience got the most out of it. Looking back on the final event, I couldn’t have been happier. We had well-known faculty and administrators there who were receptive to our idea of a democratic space. There were also younger students there that not only participated in the dialogue but seemed interested in getting involved with constructing this free space. Now comes the important part: sustainability. How can we make sure dialogue is continued after we graduate? Ideally we are planning on meeting with Kristene Goodwin and Raphael Zapata to discuss how we visualize a free space on campus.

Now, for the sappiness.

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Coming into Capstone this year, I only really knew Brenna, and was acquantances with Lynnzie from previous classes. I had few to no interactions with Anne and Taylor, so when we all were grouped together in the Education group I had no idea how the year would unfold. However, the uncertainty of work ethics, schedules, and personalities were quickly overlooked by our united passion for understanding education.

Each of us brought something different to the table, and despite our anxiety attacks and frustrations, there was always a support network between the five of us. They each taught me the importance of patience, building from different ideas, the beauty in laughter and energy and what it really means to work as a team. While I feel grateful for gaining insight into what education and learning means, I am even more grateful for the new friendships I made along the way.

I have no doubt that my four amazing group mates are going to change the world. They each have a genuine curiosity for learning and without each of their amazing ability to see the bigger and brighter picture, I would have been lost this year.

So, edugals, I thank you for the early meetings in Davis, the late night meetings in Slavin, the ambush of the SAIL office, EFA, the Abbey, the memories with Sonia & Lily, and free dinners from T, the jokes from Brenna, the support and work ethic from Anne and the leadership from Lynnzie. Working with you all taught me a great deal about myself and the importance of perseverance when bumps pop up along the road.

In the famous words of Elle Wods, “We did it!”

All my love-

Grace

Here we go!

This afternoon I drove with Taylor and another friend to attend eco-social’s thesis presentation. Right off the bat everyone knew it was going to be a success; the energy and excitement was almost tangible. The room was set up in a way that was super conducive to walking around, reading captions, looking at photos, and interacting with the students/CP. After talking with a few students it became clearer than ever that EcoSocial had provided them with a space to foster their interests in the environment. They truly let the voice of these amazing students shine and it was incredible to see if unfold tonight.

As we approach our final event (fishbowl, next wed, 4-6pm), everything is becoming real and it is awesome. I honestly can’t wait to engage in a dialogue about what education/learning means. We just need to figure out invitations, print and arrange photos, talk to Lily & Sonia, and figure out how we are going to present months worth of work. I think if I learned anything from ecosocial’s presentation tonight, it was that the most important part of this presentation is to highlight the *voices* of the CP. For edugals, our CP has been an interesting combination of Lily & Sonia in Ray, and the entire student body.

On Friday, there is a “embracing diversity” dinner/conversation with Father Shanely that Lynnzie and I RSVPed to. If there is still space and we are admitted, we hope to share our experiences with this project and tell everyone that they are invited to continue the conversation next wednesday. It’s exciting to see that this conversation with Father Shanley is taking place, but it’s just one step and many many more need to be taken.

Anyways, I need to hit the hay. Tomorrow is my last day of classes as a college student…shit what am I doing to do with my life. Actually whoa, Grace, now is not the time to ask myself these loaded questions. !ADIOS!

Art

First, big snaps to Ruth and the gang for putting together such an awesome class discussion. Art surrounds us every day in so many forms and the beautiful thing about art is its infinite interpretations. Just the other day I was wikipediang Yoko Ono after watching a George Harrison documentary and I was curious to hear about her and John Lennon’s start. I never knew she was a performance artist and a well known one at that. There was one exhibition that she did that really struck me. She stood in a gallery and had people who came in cut off a piece of her clothing until she was naked; I think the exhibition was related to gender identity and violence against women, unfortunately I didn’t read too much into it but I thought it was really unique.

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Also, a month or so ago I was watching the Rachel Maddow show and there was a clip of a piece of art at an exhibit. It was an ice sculpture in the shape of the words “Middle Class” and it was over a warm area so it was melting. This exhibit illustrating our country’s disappearing middle class and the ever expanding wealth disparity in America.

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Whether it’s Tupac’s poetry/lyricism, Yoko Ono’s performance art, or a topless women in the Middle East pushing for gender equality/recognition, art is an amazing tool to mobilize change and spread a message.

Also, I thought Kara’s point in class was so interesting and one that I had never thought about before. Sometimes it takes a super radical person to make the average-radical-person not look so radical. It’s so true- everyone looks to Malcolm X for spearheading radical movements during the civil rights movement and, while Dr. King Jr. was definitely more peaceful, it still makes his message seem less taboo. In pushing for a systemic and institutionalized change, I think you need both sides to participate (radical and not so radical) to really make a difference.

Finally, this doesn’t really have much to do with art as protest, but I just read this quote and I really liked it/thought it was fitting for the edugals:

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors”. Maya Angelou

6 Ways To Be Successful Without Your Liberal Arts Degree

6 Ways To Be Successful Without Your Liberal Arts Degree

As I sit here in my science lecture, debating if I should surreptitiously climb out the window or gouge out my eyeballs with hot spoons (JK that’s graphic, sorry) <—–so apologetic! lock it up grace! anyways as I sit here listening *intently* to what’s temporarily being absorbed in my brain I am simultaneously perusing Thought Catalog (duh) and thought this article was quite fitting:

(See link above)

ALSO I walked by our poster in lower Slavin (snaps to Hay Hay for being receptive to us this morning, I guess ambush was the best strategy in the end) a few people seemed to be really engaged and were writing things. Holla!

We NEED to talk more about a final event. Who/where/WHY–I love the idea of deconstructing a college degree and emphasizing learning through lived experiences but WHO are we speaking to and how can we make it a sustainable social change activism project?

This is when we need capstone’s help and advice more than ever. PLEASE let us know if you have any ideas!

A College Degree: Symbolic or Substantive?

One of my biggest qualms going into this project had to do with the notion of building rapport with our CP over a designated amount of time. I love finding out about people and hearing stories, but I don’t like when it feels forced or rushed. For weeks we’ve been trying to get to know our CP just a little more intimately, and on Friday I feel like we finally got there.

The afternoon started off with me getting called out on having a few too many cervezas the night before (dios mio) and right off the bat we were all laughing. The conversation kept building, from dancing to night life to their lives in the Dominican Republic compared to here. As Taylor pointed out in her post, they told us about the injusticias in their work places back in the DR regarding exploitation and unequal pay. Even though I could only pick out a few words here and there, I felt connected to them and their stories through body language and their eyes. I am loving how much we are getting to know them and how we are connecting on a real level.

I also thought the feedback from capstone Thursday was SO helpful and clarifying. We could not appreciate everyone’s feedback more. Deconstructing what it means to have a college diploma/degree and analyzes whether or not it is symbolic (representing this notion of being “educated”) or substantive (you’ve actually learned the necessary things one needs to make it in the world, beyond just a classroom) is really really cool. Deconstructing the college diploma: re-conceptualizing education through the lens of lived experiences. Love the sound of that! Now we just need to organize a final event and really hone in on *who* our audience is, how we can arrange photovoice (still a big question mark) and what the social change is that we want to make. Is the change just PC based? Are we still pushing for a democratic space? Are we challenging the institution of education?

In the days moving forward I think we need to keep asking ourselves critical questions. One thing I have always loved and appreciated from our group is that we keep each other on our toes and push each other forward. We all bring different insights into the group dynamic but it couldn’t work if just one of us was missing. Tomorrow morning is going to be a critical meeting since we only have 2 more weeks of classes. We need to figure out:

-our next posters

-photovoice (whose stories are going to share? should we get in contact with international students? how are we going to use the facebook group photos?)

-final event (where? why? what? who? when? can we have an event on campus during finals week if its for a class?

Just some questions to think about. Adios!

Is College a Scam?

Is College a Scam?

While perusing my favorite online magazine/blog, Thought Catalog, I stumbled upon this article. How fitting! In the process of researching and studying education, we’ve discussed the cost and privatization of college quite a bit. I thought the most jarring part was when the author wrote:

“the system is broken, the middle class is disappearing, being carved through the middle by a trillion dollars in student loan debt, and everyone is still raising tuition faster than inflation. And 50% of kids with college degrees now are underemployed.”

So WHAT can we do to ensure the system gets fixed, the middle class reappears, mitigate student loan debt and get students employed? I’m so sick of hearing about all the flaws and NO ONE having solutions. This is the same with the UN and the WHO regarding issues like global health. Yesterday in 101, tom voiced his frustration that these massive organizations continuously put out these expert plans that never fix the root of the issue. These plans have been the same for over forty years. Isn’t it the same with education?

I’m not suggesting we get rid of colleges and universities. I’m not disillusion. But, we need to look more at the structural, underlying issues. I think it starts with our country’s perception of success. It is ingrained in our belief system that to be successful you have to go to a four year college directly out of high school and now, for the most part, pursue a MBA, Masters or PhD.

Yeah, and I sleep in a bed made out of gold.

WHERE does all this money come from, and where does it go!?

I read somewhere recently the following quote: “If you want to have sex, go to college. If you want to learn, go to a library.”

Why do we put so much emphasis on learning INSIDE a classroom, when in reality, the majority of learning happens outside it?

 

Stunning New Gun Control Ad

Gun Control Ad

Too powerful of an ad not to share.

The Most Racially Intolerant Place In The Country Is Not Where You Think It Is

http://www.upworthy.com/the-most-racially-intolerant-place-in-the-country-is-not-where-you-think-it-is?g=2

I thought this article/post was pretty interesting, especially given the 3rd stat and what we discussed during the waiting for superman/inconvenient truth behind waiting for superman class.

But, something that has plagued the 101ers that tom and I work with, is the “so what/what do we do?” question. It’s SO incredible that these learners are thinking about the next step. In this case, knowing how racially intolerant our criminal justice and education systems are, what can I do? What can we do? How does this relate back to our thesis? All of these questions remind me why I wanted to research education to begin with.

Murals galore

Murals galore

I posted this photo in the beginning of the year as my educational-equality-eager-thesis-activist-muse. As I think back to what this photo meant to me six months ago and compare it to what it means to me now, it’s pretty nuts.

I took this photo the second day I was in Cape Town on my way from middle campus to upper campus at UCT. I was drawn to its colors, the language and most importantly, its message. Several weeks later, while doing the same trek up to class, I realized the mural had changed. Students had the opportunity to paint whatever they wanted in this space…and to think of all the things to paint, they chose this. What would PC choose to paint?

I never appreciated the beauty of a democratically/free space on a college campus until Sarah mentioned the idea in class and until I thought about this mural. A college campus NEEDS a space for students to voice their concerns, fears, hopes, challenges, demands, free from the bureaucratic bullshit that pervades EVERY sphere at Providence College.

Now, more than ever, we need to start thinking about how education and this entire photovoice activism project relates to the global picture. We’ve been trying to tie together our CP, the poster in lower Slavin, our individual areas of focus behind our lit reviews, the voices of Providence College students, and the world.

I’ve been thinking more and more lately about how the world we are living in consistently robs us of our voices. Unfortunately, on a college campus, where I should feel the most liberated to express my thoughts and opinions, I feel my voice is the most silenced.

Why?

“You chose to come here, Grace”.

(Classic).

As I deconstruct this photo more and more, I realize how many messages are present. Multiple languages, different skin colors, etc. What would we do if we had this type of space at PC? Would people who shared the same frustration as me finally have a voice?

Finally, at our group’s meeting today, we talked a bit about how religiously affiliated colleges can STILL be tolerant. These two worlds, religion and tolerance, do not co-exist at PC. How do we change this through? Where do we start? Would people deface a mural/wall like this? How much power can come from art? What type of impact would it have?

Here are two more murals taken from the UCT murals:

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Just some food for thought.

I want to learn…

I want to learn...

I am so excited that we kicked things into action last night, despite not getting “technical” permission from SAIL and the rest of the bureaucracy. I’ve walked by the poster a few times today and people seem to really be flocking to it. So exciting! When we left last night around 11pm or so, we overheard one girl walk by, look at it, and say “what did I want to learn…hm I want to write something!” Which was so awesome. People have already written things about culture, religion, languages, hobbies and celebrities. Interestingly enough, very few things are related to the traditional style of education.

We are going to be putting up a new prompt/poster every week. Any suggestions with what next week’s sign should say? Our next big step is also going to be figuring out a way in which we can get people to take photos and submit them. We have our facebook and tumblr blog going, but it hasn’t received too much feedback. We are thinking about leaving a manilla envelope around campus with signs, but how can we incentivize people to take photos?

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