Archive for the category “Taylor”

“I HAVE to go”


The title of my post refers to a phrase that Sonia likes to repeat often at our sessions. She said it to us the first time we met when we were talking about the differences in language and culture. In a very light-hearted and fun way, she described how Americans always say I have to go and she would always wave her hands up and down when she did it. It always cracked me up. She said it today too, but this time it wasn’t only her and Lily that would be leaving.

Anne printed off all the photos we had taken during our sessions with Sonia and Lily and we had them look over them. They loved it! They were cracking up over some of the photos. They even remembered what we had been talking about the day the photo was taken. It was really cute and fun to see them looking over the photos. We told them the concrete details of our event so hopefully they can come! We asked them to select which photos they would like to see included in the final event and they seemed glad that we were incorporating them.

We spent most of the time looking at the photos and rehashing the memories, but we also talked a little bit about graduation and future plans with them. We then got into a discussion about the term gringa which was quite comical.

I’ve found the CP experience to be quite rewarding. It was definitely a challenge at times trying to coordinate everything, but I would never trade those Friday afternoon sessions for anything. Sonia and Lily have really made my Capstone experience that much richer and I will forever keep them in my heart along with my EduChicas.

going over photossonia reacts to photos


R-e-f-l-e-c-t-i-o-n on our CP sesh

Our second to last session (tear, tear) with Sonia and Lily went well.  I love those women so dearly.  They came strutting in saying “hola” to us all and calling Brenna and Grace the “cerveza” girls.  Jaja.  Cracks me up.  Sonia had taken a photo of a TV show on the Spanish channel that had some sort of spelling game or competition.  We had fun spelling out different words during our session.  The differences in languages was a major part of our conversation.  We always seem to discuss that to some extent during our sessions.  In some ways, language is our common ground, especially because all of us know to varying degrees another language and have lived in another country.

We invited them to our final event though we didn’t have a date/time/location settled yet.  They told us to let them know as soon as we knew so fingers crossed that they can come!  We’d love to have them there.  I’m looking forward and at the same time dreading our final session.  I’m not ready to part ways with them! : (


Visualizing Our Final Event

The lovely EduChicas met this evening to hammer out the details for our final event.  We spread out in the Unity Center and took the majority of our prompts and laid them out so we could look at all of them and start picking out themes.  We discussed different aspects of the posters and talked about some of the comments.  It was really cool to see them all together! We spent the whole time going in circles talking about how we want our final event to go.  We were thinking that we would have all the prompts up on display so that people could walk around and look at them.  We would like to take photos of individual comments that particularly strike us and have them on display in a slideshow.  (Just a thought: maybe we could have Sonia and Lily look at the prompts and pick out the ones they think should be posted, even if they didn’t necessarily participate in the prompts.  It could be cool to still see what stands out to them.)  We would also like to include on display the photos we have taken with Sonia and Lily.  We hope they can come to the event but we aren’t sure due to their work hours/break times.  We had the idea that if they definitely couldn’t come, maybe we could film them and have that played at the event.

In terms of the rest of the event, we would like to have a dialogue with whoever shows up.  We would maybe have them look at the prompt posters and the visuals and then break up into small groups, talk and then come back full circle.  When we looked at common themes among the posters, we flushed out diversity, the value of education, religion and lived experiences.  We would like to hone in on those.  We are hoping our final event points to something greater, which we were struggling to define tonight.  We are thinking of focusing our efforts on trying to keep the dialogue going by pushing for a democratic space on campus where these conversations can happen and where Sharon Hay (and anyone else’s) jurisdiction can be avoided.  We hope to invite a wide group of people to come.  We want to pull from a lot of different groups: professors from different departments, staff from ResLife, SAIL, etc., students from different backgrounds, etc.  I’m even thinking we should put up an announcement in Ray for whoever could possibly go.  It might be more plausible for the day workers given the time of our event.  More action will be taken as soon as we find out if our date/time/location has been approved. Once it has we will post our info to the event page on the facilitators’ blog, and get to creating/sending out invitations.  Fingers crossed!  Hopefully the odds are in our favor.

When you give the people a space…

..they use it!  They write ALL OVER it!  And it’s awesome!

education should be (filled up)

I went to the back of Ray today to check on the status of our poster and it was blown up with responses. I was so excited! People really do enjoy participating in this. Some of the responses were to be expected and a few were a little inappropriate (it was up during golf party Saturday so that doesn’t surprise me). What was really cool was that on the way to look at the poster, I casually passed by a few of the Ray workers and gave a quick greeting and wave. Secilia saw me taking photos of the poster and when I turned to go back to my seat, she was walking toward me and stopped and asked me (in Spanish obviously, #loveit) if I could guess which one was hers! She participated! Yes, it’s starting to move beyond the student body!! I walked back over to the poster with her and she pointed to a general area and asked me to guess which one was hers. She wrote in English so it took a minute for me to guess, but I chose correctly. Diversity was her answer. We started talking about diversity and what she meant by that. She said we need more of it at PC and that it’s not fair how some people are left out because of race, accent and economic status. She would like to see more opportunities for everyone to be able to participate. I was thinking about the student body when we were talking and was sharing my thoughts with her about PC when she told me that she said they have the same problem with their staff in Ray. So interesting! It was a great conversation and I encouraged her to keep participating and to have other Ray staff do so as well.

In terms of the final event, I’m starting to toy around with the idea of having an open forum and discussion with the community. Secilia loved being able to talk about some of the prompts and I feel a lot of people would too. Maybe displaying the prompt posters and photos in a space where everyone can get together and discuss would be a fun culmination. Those that participated could talk about the story behind their comment. Not necessarily the most creative, but just a thought to get the ball rolling.

Here are the rest of the photos I took of the poster responses from today:

cheaper diversity for creating good citizens not just theoretical when students cheat

Bien educad@

education should be

Kudos to my fellow EduChicas because we have been killing it on the blog with all these posts and reflections!  There are so many wonderful questions and criticisms going on.  I love it!  Also a huge MUCHAS GRACIAS to everyone for giving us such great feedback during our workshop and on our blog post.  It is greatly appreciated.  We received some fabulous insight that’s really helped us focus and think of our project in new ways.  You are all wonderful.

Friday with Sonia and Lily went pretty well.  I came running into Ray to find them grabbing a quick bite to eat before they joined us.  I briefly chatted with them and Sonia asked me if I brought anything with me.  I figured that because I was holding posters (in order to put up a new prompt) she meant those.  I said yes and then she picked up her glass and looking through the plastic cup to me (it was an odd but funny sight), she told me, I think embarrassed, that she didn’t bring any photos.  I had to laugh though I don’t want her to think that if she doesn’t bring photos we will be mad at her.

Nevertheless, our session went on regardless of the fact that they didn’t bring photos.  We talked about our prompt poster and had them write on it.  Sonia wrote in English and Lily in Spanish.  We then discussed some of the things that they wrote and that others wrote and tried to delve a little more into learning and education.  We talked about their jobs in the factories and got to the question of why they came to the United States.  They told us that they did not make a lot of money in the DR and they talked about some worker’s rights issues.  They said they work really hard in the US but that they are happy here and enjoy having the support of unions, which they didn’t have in the DR.

We took some photos during the session which resulted from us asking them what they have learned from being at PC.  We got into a discussion about how the students treat them when they are serving us food.  (Look for photos that we took with them doing role playing!) They said that they really like it when people acknowledge them and use their names.  In reference to the title of my post, Sonia mentioned in a story that someone was bien educad@ which is translated as being “polite”, not necessarily well educated.  Obviously the language geek in me goes nuts over these nuances and the fact that it shows how different cultures reflect different values through language.  Being bien educad@ seems much more holistic and centered on the person and behavior than on textbook knowledge.

We had a lot of fun at this past session.  We left them with the same prompt that we would’ve had for this past week “What does education mean to you?”.  Maybe we’ll see some photos.  Or maybe we won’t.  Either way, I just enjoy talking and being with them.

We need some space!

This week the EduChicas have been dealing firsthand with the bureaucratic nature of PC.  After posting our second prompt in Slavin “I pay $57,164 to…”, we found that we were just staring at another blank wall. The poster got quite a few responses, some funny others very disturbing.  The point was to have space where these could be v-o-i-c-e-d, but instead we were silenced by SH and her minions, who ripped down our poster. To give them credit, some of the things that were written may not have been appropriate, but that’s the risk you take with a democratic space.

blank wall

Luckily, Brenna was there to save the day and found the poster and SH in her office. They came to the agreement that as long as we email her the prompts ahead of time and get her approval, we can continue doing what we’re doing. We sent her a prompt last night and as far as I know, we still have yet to hear from her. I know she is probably busy but…

In order to keep moving forward, the EduChicas met this morning in Ray and decided to put up a prompt there. We decided to go to Ray so that we could get some of the workers involved and because there is less bureaucracy to deal with. The managers were very nice and supportive about us doing it. We chose “I learn the most from…” and have placed it on a big blank wall in the back. Please feel free to visit and write your responses! We also included a sign at the bottom that suggested that if people wanted to continue the conversation, they could go to our Facebook page “Reclaiming Education PC” and keep discussing.

ray prompt goin up

After reading the article tom posted today about the daily sexism battle, I feel even more inspired to keep doing what we’re doing. People need a space to discuss topics and issues that are important to them. PC could have a much stronger community than the one that we boast to have, if we allowed for a space that could start these conversations. One of the issues that the EduChicas have talked about has been that the students are rarely consulted when it comes to their education. We want them to have the space to do so. Furthermore, if we are the community that we claim to be, we should also have this space open for the faculty and staff that are with us daily. Their thoughts and opinions are important to the dialogue too.

ray responses

Springing forward – CP Weekly Reflection

EduChicas are getting back on the saddle this week!  Not that we ever totally fell off it, but we’re starting to move forward with our CP and our Reclaiming Education movement.  I’m really excited about all the responses we got from our “I want to learn…” prompt.  There were a wide range of comments, some funny, some very sweet and many very inspiring.  I was glad to see so many people were open to it and I loved seeing their reactions as they walked by, some even asking themselves “What do I want to learn?”.  I doubt that it’s the first time anyone’s ever asked them that, but I would imagine students don’t often get asked that question.  At the least, I hope this prompt got learners thinking about their role and autonomy (or lack there of it) within learning.

Our CP session went pretty well on Friday.  It was great to be back with Sonia and Lily.  The photos Sonia brought were good, although they didn’t necessarily pertain to the prompt we had given them the week before (actually two weeks since we missed one).  I see our relationship growing through these photos.  Sonia even said to us that when she stumbled upon one of the photos, she began to cry.  It’s really touching that she is getting to be more vulnerable with us.  One of my big takeaways from this session came up at the very end when we were trying to get Sonia and Lily’s opinions on education and what the EduChicas were doing in Slavin.  We asked them something to the effect of “What does education mean to you?” and Lily mentioned that it started within the family, specifically with the mother.  On the one hand, I am looking at this through the lens of an institution.  If education starts with the family, one of the most basic institutions within society, then it seems to be just a transferal from one institution to the next.  The optimist in me would prefer to look at Lily’s comment as education begins with a relationship.  Mother and child.  From there it just flows from relationship to relationship.  Relationships are the basis of learning communities.  Somehow though, these learning communities have become lost and mixed up with the bureaucratic and exclusionary nature of institutions.  I hope our project might be a drop in the pond in reclaiming education and these desired learning communities.

As a final note, we gave Lily and Sonia two prompts: the one from last week which they didn’t do (take a photo of one of your biggest challenges) and what does education mean to you?  We emphasized that they should take some new photos for this rather than bring in old ones, though we do enjoy those a lot.  We also gave them a flyer about the EduChicas and our Reclaiming Education movement. It talks about our Facebook page and how we want to hear the community’s thoughts and opinions on the matter.  We left them with a paper bag too so that participants can put pictures and/or comments in there.  We hope to hear more perspectives from community members through this.  Fingers crossed!

EduChicas Meeting 04/09

The EduChicas just met in lower Slavn for our weekly meeting.  Here’s what we discussed.

In terms of our Reclaiming Education movement, how do we reach out to people?  We are thinking of doing a prompt a week or just try bombarding the PC community with different prompts but we’re still not sure what’s the best way.  I like the idea from AltEcon of creating a prompt letter.  That might be useful to getting the word out.  People have started to like our Facebook page and a few have sent us images/captions to put up (thanks to those who’ve done it!  They’re great so far!), but we want to facilitate good questions so that more people will participate.  In order to move beyond just the student body, we want to hear from faculty and staff too.  We are thinking of distributing a flyer (Anne just drafted it and it looks awesome!  Keep an eye out for it) throughout campus and putting either a manila envelope or a box with notecards next to it. The notecards will have a prompt on it and people can respond.  Though this “dropbox” doesn’t seem conducive to photos, people could still submit to us online (the poster has this info on there).  We’d like to get envelopes all over campus, maybe even in the back of Ray or the ABM office.  They are part of the PC community too!

A long time ago, the EduChicas had this brilliant idea of posting parchment paper or something of the like in Slavin and having people post responses to what they thought education was.  Months ago we emailed Sharon Hay and tried to set it up.  She said yes, but kept telling us to set up a meeting with Dr. Sears.  Well, it’s April now and we still haven’t been able to meet him sooo…screw it.  Bureaucracy is slowing us down.  EduChicas are taking matters into their own hands.  Technically we’re approved and it’s for a class anyway so we’re doing mission impossible and going to post something up in Slavin verrry soon.  Be on the look out and please participate!

Relating to our CP, we are still planning on meeting this Friday (hopefully our CP will too).  We’re disappointed that they couldn’t come last week, but hopefully they’ll be rearing to go this week (and with photos!).  We’re going to have them do the same prompt we would’ve had them do for last week (take a picture of something that challenges you).

That’s all for now.  Please feel free to give us any comments/suggestions that you can.  Hope everyone enjoys this beautiful day!

Getting radical (trk style)

education wordle

Well maybe not totally trk style (it will take me years to get on that level).  Anyway, the EduChicas met with our CP on Friday and….they couldn’t make it. : (  Big bummer, especially this late in the game.  We were really excited too because this meeting was going to be when they showed us their photos from our first real prompt.  Instead, we used the time to discuss EduChicas.  Who are we?  Where do we see this project going?  If there were a silver lining to our CP’s not coming, it was being able to talk with one another and get at a lot of the challenges we are facing.

Inspired by a post from Brenna, Grace planted the seed of getting radical and broadening the scope of this project.  Especially due to our time constraints (in regards to not only the end of the year approaching but also with the little amount of time we have during our sessions with our CP), we want and need to hear more voices about education.  As we struggle to identify what education actually is, we want to know what the PC community thinks too.  We brainstormed like crazy and came up with our Reclaiming Education Facebook Page (kudos to Leah for the idea) as well as a tumblr which will function similar to a Post Secret in which we will take anonymous submissions from the PC community about their ideas via photos/captions and post them.  We want to reach out to everyone: students, faculty, staff and we’re trying to accommodate for those that may not have access to Facebook/email addresses (we’re still thinking of ways to reach out to them).  We are planning to provide prompts (maybe on a weekly basis?) to help stimulate dialogue.  Hopefully this will work and help us become more informed about what the community thinks about education.  We’re hoping for some great results so please spread the word and participate!

Get on your rally caps!

Prompted by something Kara said in a comment to a recent blog post, I am returning to our lens.  Honestly, we haven’t had that conversation in awhile.  Are we still the EduChicas (I mean, of course we are, that name is too perfect!), but are we still focusing on education?  Is it learning we are talking about or what?  I sought some inspiration and found it in an article that we read previously for a Capstone class.  It’s on the permanentculturenow website (we had read it in order to see how they defined activism).  I’m pulling a quote from them and am leaving a key word out of it.

“             is crucial for developing understanding the local ecology and the inherent beneficial relationships that exist within ecosystems and communities. It also shows us how to form mutual and beneficial relationships by sharing and developing a variety of social and culturally useful skills, through developing intimate understanding of communities within the broader context of the world.”

What does this sound like?  Understanding the relationships within communities?  How to form mutual and beneficial relationship through the development of social and cultural skills? Understanding communities within a broader global context?  Hmmm….Does this not sound even a little bit like our photovoice project?  Partnering with immigrant women while sharing in storytelling through language and cultural exchanges, learning about the Ray community, seeing how this group fits into a larger picture?  I think there’s a connection.  And here’s the kicker.  The word that I left out?  EDUCATION.  That is education?  Whodathunkit?  So maybe what we are doing is not that far off from education.  Maybe we can bridge our lens and our CP partnership.  How are we questioning what education is?  How can we deconstruct the systemic issues with education as we know it?  How can our CP help us deconstruct and move beyond this? These are the questions that we must work with in these last few weeks.

To close, I wanted to include something to help us move onward and upward for the rest of the semester.  This poem always sat on my grandfather’s desk and he loved it so much.  I always went into his office as a kid and read it.  I’ll give only the last four lines from it.

And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.


We got this EduChicas (and stoners).  Don’t quit!

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