report on presentation
A Little Bit of a Background
When we first began talking about what we wanted to do, all we had was a blur of ideas and random thoughts in our minds. We wanted our presentation to be creative, we wanted to involve the class and yet, we wanted it to portray a concept or an idea that we had not only taken from the class but that had shaped us and that we were still fascinated by. And when we set standards that high for ourselves, we suddenly didn’t know what to say. We floated between concepts like dreams (and how we as a class dreamt together), learning (and how we learnt to learn) and others similar to that.
It was when we reflected upon our postings on Serendip that we stumbled upon our most recent conversation – about labeling, framing and everything that fell in between.
Then We Found Something
And so we had an idea – we wanted to talk about labeling and framing. And not only about what they were and how we used them but about how, we as a class had moved from labeling (attaching implications and stereotypes to categories/things) to framing (just categorizing, as the human brain does instantaneously, without any implications, be it positive or negative attached).
And we didn’t just want to talk about it, we wanted to show the class how we had done it. We wanted to have a discussion with the class and leave them to draw their own conclusions, because once again, that was how we had learnt all semester.
What We Did for the Presentation
After brainstorming in order to find the most effective way of portraying our message, we finally found one that fit.
1. We handed the class a slice of construction paper and a marker.
2. The class was then to write on that paper a label that they had either been associated with at some point in their life or one that they attached to themselves.
3. Once everyone was done, the entire class had to hold up their labels for 30 seconds and give everyone a chance to see what they had written.
4. A discussion then ensued
The point of the above four steps was simple – we asked the class (in the discussion) how looking at everyone with their labels on changed their view of them and how they looked at themselves when they had their own label up. We wanted them to think about how having labels altered their view, not only of themselves but of the world around them.
5. * We then gave everyone slips of paper and hair-bands with which we showed them how to make blinders (the kind horses in the city wear).
6. * We gave them 30 seconds to continue to look at people (with the blinders they could only see the person in front of them) with their labels up.
7. *Then, we asked them to put their labels down and spend another 30 seconds looking at people without them on.
8. Another discussion then ensued.
Again, the point of the above mentioned four steps followed the previous ones. With the blinders on, we wanted to show people how limited labeling can be, we wanted them to see, how, with a frame on, when you look at a person and the first thing you see is their label, you forget to see the person itself.
When we asked everyone to take their labels down, we wanted to show them how, even though the frame is still present, it doesn’t seem limiting anymore. Without the label, when you look at someone, you see them, nothing more and nothing less.
9. We also had a song playing in the background.
10. *And a slideshow that was supposed to run at the end of class.
The point of the music was just to set the theme for our presentation. The slideshow on the other hand consisted of pictures by a traveling artist. This series in particular was called ‘Step into Life’ – I thought this was relevant because it showed us where we had come. Each of the pictures is greatly detailed and needs to be viewed as both an entirety in itself and then needs to be zoomed in and broken into segments and appreciated in more detail. Like adjusting the boundaries of our frames – another thing we had learnt to do.
** these steps couldn’t be carried out according to plan because of time constraints. Instead, we asked the class to make the blinders with their hands. For steps 6 and 7, we had half the class hold up labels while the other half looked through their blinders and then switch. We never got to show the power point but we posted it up online.
The Point of It All
All of us entered the class in the beginning of the semester with our own opinions and stereotypes about the internet, blogs, different genres of novels etc. We thought our opinions were set in stone.
And now, at the end of the semester we realized that it took us more than three months to realize where our journey had brought us – we watched a television series, read graphic novels, watched a movie, read blogs and novels and learnt o appreciate each of them both as a genre in themselves and as a part of the greater picture that is literature.
Labeling has become a part of our everyday life, we’ve become so used to it that most of us don’t even remember how to effectively categorize without attached implications, and we’ve forgotten how detrimental and limiting it can be.
Hence, through our presentation, we wanted to depict our journey and our process of healing.