educationthesis

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! : (

deletreando

schools as agents of social change?

So I am in the middle of writing a 30 page paper (kill me) for my independent study on global leadership and social change. I am writing about three instances in Latin America where individuals/small groups of individuals formed and led resistance movements against violent dictatorships (still need to think of a more concise title). There was one particular education-related aspect of my research that I wanted to write about.

Something that I have thought a lot about this semester is whether or not one can enact change by being a part of already established institutions or if it’s better to push for change from the outside. I’ll spare you the historical details, but in the 1980s in Peru there was a very influential terrorist group, called Sendero luminoso or Shining Path, that launched a violent war against the state, as well as local institutions and social service organizations, killing thousands of innocent people in the process. Prior to the insurrection, they spent years spreading their ideas and recruiting followers. One of the main ways in which they were able to recruit so many people was through their use of schools. Several of the group’s founders were college professors, and they used their classes to spread their message and indoctrinate their students with their ideas. They also set up other schools to continue teaching people about their ideas and plans. Their students then became agents in their “revolution”, as they not only helped to spread the ideas but became participants as well.

Now, obviously, what Sendero luminoso did was awful, and I am in no way supporting it. One of their main philosophies was to use brutal acts of violence to “pound ideas into the masses”. But what if the ideas that they had been spreading and their plans hadn’t been about slaughtering people, but a different, less violent form of resistance? Could schools and teachers be used in the same way to promote different types of action? Is this sort of use of the educational system at all related to what we do in global studies?

What unites the…

What unites the learners is a belief that learning is practiced for the sheer joy of it—rather than to acquire certification or secure a job. Learning occurs when we engage with the world, in friendship with others, using our hands and wits and reflecting on our discoveries…as a mood, a way of doing and thinking that provides another option to learners who are seeking to discover things for themselves. Learning is not about getting it right or becoming the expert; it is about creating an environment of conviviality, discovery, and joyfulness.

(from Walk Out Walk On by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze)

Sound familiar?  I just stumbled across this quote while going through the enormo paper I’m writing for my honors independent study (because clearly, learning has not taken place if you don’t have 30 pages to show for it).

Just a Gal and her posters

capstone

This is what I call a “final event” selfie. Like Taylor said in her last post we met as a group last night in Slavin for a large remainder of our Sunday night and talked about our final event. As you can tell from the background of my “selfie” that we laid out all of our posters that we have put up and really looked over what we have accomplished over these past few weeks. It was refreshing to see what we had accomplished not only between us five yet also on campus. We all shared stories about how we heard students, professors, and friends talking about the poster we have been putting up around campus and the questions we have been posing.

While as a group we tended to get off topic a lot during our meeting last night with talking about issues at PC a large problem we discussed was the bureaucracy here at Providence College. Our frustrations lie in the issues about higher authority at our school silencing the voice of the students here on campus. Although our project for capstone has been on the smaller scale we have been able to give a sort of voice to the students that the authority at PC tends to hush. Our concern mainly comes from trying to be able to promote more people or space to keep up this democratic space where students can pose questions and create a dialogue. We’re hoping that our final event will be able to create something tangible to leave behind as we graduate.

Reflection CP

It’s getting to the point where I don’t look at our time with our CP as something that’s required, yet more as something I enjoy doing. Friday was another great time with our Ray ladies, and they we ventured some unknown territory as well! While once again they didn’t take an abundant number of pictures Sonia went out of her way to take a picture of something that reminded her of education. While watching TV she saw a commercial about spelling and she thought that was important in regards to education. After showing us the picture she talked to us about her issues with spelling in the English language. In most respects she was able to spell pretty well, but she had trouble spelling a lot of words that sounded different because we don’t have tildes or accents over letter in the English language. We were able to practice some words with her and at this point I felt like the teacher and her the learner/student. It’s great to be a in a situation where these roles are constantly being reversed and switched. Such role reversals is the way the education system should always be, and the way I see it being the most beneficial.

After meeting last night for a substantial amount with my fellow EduLadies we were able to illustrate the correlation between our CP and our education dialogue we’ve been doing around campus. We say that Sonia and Lily serve as an example for what education looks like and how we can learn things outside the classroom wether that is with Ray workers, on a poster next to McPhails, in a Capstone class, etc.

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.

Making dates

RECLAIMING EDUCATION: MAY 8, 4:00-6:00 (pending confirmation)

The Educhicas could not wait any longer.  There are two weeks left of academic life at PC and last Thursday I was still lacking the imagination for our final event.  We now have photos and material from our visual research, but what on earth were we to do with it?  Lynnzie and I conferred and decided to stay after class to sort it out with tKL.  It was so helpful to talk it out and Kara, brilliant as always, took notes for us.  

All along, we’ve been thinking and talking about the learning that takes place outside of the classroom.  In the classroom, you have the division between the all-knowing professor and the student, an empty vessel.  The obsession with formal education and the US diploma have led to a valuation of that knowledge above the learning that takes places within relationships and among people who don’t have a piece of paper saying they’re $200,000 in debt for their degree.  Our photovoice deconstructs education on three levels: what students say about their education, the relationship we have with Sonia and Lily (the learning they and we have gained through our time together, their knowledge menospreciado because they don’t have degrees), and the stories and lived experiences of invisible people on this campus.  They have all sorts of lived experiences that no textbook could teach you.

With that in mind, it seems natural that we would present to faculty, administration, and other students who would carry it on.  The presentation will have to be interactive, engaging and make people start to question.  Maybe we should do a role play on what professors and students look like in civ seminar like the role play we did in capstone at the beginning of the year…

We’re meeting tonight to powwow for hoursss and hammer this out.  Stay tuned.

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

art as protest

First of all, major props to Ruth for stepping it up and taking the initiative with the readings this week!

One thing that stood out to me about these articles was the way that the word protest is used. I think that protest is another one of those words, like activism, that makes people a bit nervous and summons images of riots and smashing things. I like the way that protest was used in a very broad sense in these articles, and I took it to mean taking a stand on something. It also seems like it is possible to protest FOR something, rather than against something, in the way that the rainbow in Poland was meant to be a symbol for tolerance and diversity. I am trying to think about this in the context of our capstone project- are we protesting against traditional education, or are we protesting for something more interactive and engaging? Maybe we’re doing both at the same time…

I also was inspired by the part of the article in the Crimson that talked about art being most affective when it can be seen by the most people. This has really made be think about the sustainability aspect of our project. What if there were some way that we could leave some version of what we have done on display after we’re gone, to keep people thinking about these issues?

Art as Protest

While reading the Schmidt article, the Black Eyed Peas immediately came to mind.  I remember back in middle school when this song came out, my religion teacher was nearly dewy eyed with joy over it.  That aside, I really enjoyed these two articles (yay Ruth!).  As the NYT article notes, art can create a space for different interpretations of a piece, with the piece itself being the unifier.  The rainbow in Warsaw is a beautiful demonstration of how one work of art can promote a message of tolerance through its ability to be underArt is an area of knowledge outside of the scientific; there is something different about our interaction with it.  It brings issues to our senses in a way that goes outside of reason.  It is its own type of subversion.  You expect some sort of aesthetic experience out of art, whether it’s good music, a beautiful painting, or a performance, but during that process a powerful message is conveyed.  I think art of any kind conveys a message, but protest art is distinguished by a message that might be inconvenient, swept under the rug.

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