Field Based Explorations
Field Post #3
Notes for first visit Feb. Thursday 7th, 2013:
I came in with the students lined up against the wall outside of their classroom. It was nice to get friendly hellos from the students who seemed to like my presence there. When we settled down we went over the same routine as last Friday. They had Morning routine, which was to take out homework if they had any and to take out their math word problems and start working on them. While working on their problems the morning announcements came on and they stood up for the Pledge of Allegiance and they did fluoride. After their morning routine they go into reading and after reading they go into writing- these are the two classes I will be apart of on Thursdays and Fridays. Today for writing they where going to go onto the “rug” and sit around and read. They were finishing up their story of the week that had to do with inventions and inventors. When sitting in the circle it was curious that the students sat on the floor cross-legged and one of the students pulled up a chair automatically for the teacher. I found it interesting that the teacher had to sit on a chair while the students sat on the floor and looked up. Having just had read Freire this simple action spoke to me. I too pulled up chair since it seemed like the “right” thing to do. It felt odd to me but the students and teacher didn’t seem to react too much to this action.
Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
Hello beautiful Serendip world!
My name is Briana Bellamy, I'm a BMC alum '11. Recently, I returned from an incredible year of living in Nepal, working on a project funded by the Davis Projects for Peace grant. The project was called Sharing Knowledge for Peace, and its basic structure and philosophy grew from something that may be very familiar to some of you: the Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI). As a sophomore at Bryn Mawr, I became involved with the staff-student branch of the TLI as a student mentor with a wonderful man from transportation services. It completely transformed my experience at Bryn Mawr, and became a huge part of both my sense of community and personal development. The relationships I built through the reciprocal model of the TLI and the deep learning I experienced both in these relationships and in the reflection meeting had a deep impact on me. I went on to become a coordinator for the program, and even wrote my thesis about it, exploring the inner workings of friendship, community, and shared spaces. I knew there was something powerful about the dynamics at play, and I was curious as to how the model of intentional reciprocal teaching and learning relationships could be valuable in other settings.
For our final web event, sekang, dchin and I reflected on the process of our class presentation and asked ourselves the questions we had asked others for the interviews we conducted.
*Both videos are long, so please allow time for loading before watching.
In the first video we reflect on our motivation for our class presentation, the process of interviewing strangers at Philadelphia train stations, the process of editing those interviews and how the product we created related back to the discussions we have had in Critical Feminist Studies this spring.
In the second video, we interview each other in the same style that we conducted the interviews for our class presentation. We then reflect on being asked these questions and our new perspectives on documentary filmmaking.
The Editing Process
While in Ghana, I couldn’t help but think about my group’s discussion of NGOs in Ghana and their work, and compare these things to the realities that we saw on the ground. I still have a lot of questions, but my post is long overdue, so observations + questioning will have to be sufficient for now!
During our project, one of the more resonant questions for me was, “How do NGOs collaborate and is this collaboration successful?” I think this question guided some of my observations during the trip.
Observations: Looking around the Dalun Youth Association (DYA) building, I saw some posters, asked some questions. All this happened very quickly, so I’m not 100% this is the correct information, but I’ll relay what I remember and wrote down.
DYA exists to bring the youth together – students gather here and “because they are together, they are stronger and can advocate for the needs of the community, what they see the community needs to develop” (field notes), like new roads to Tamale (which I would also advocate for, for both selfish and unselfish reasons). DYA uses sports as a tool for development – in this rural community, athletic competition is a perfect way to bring people together, both young and old. Once the people are gathered, the youth can spread their message of change. And this message is much more powerful coming from a vibrant, organized youth group.
Going back to my notes on that reading - there was a heavy focus on alienation. Adults may be alienated by being illiterate, but then, forcing them to learn could also be alienating.
I’ve been thinking about all these things because I’ve been reflecting on my internship from last summer, trying to find a connection between that experience and the 360/Educ 250. I worked in the Education department at Nationalities Service Center, especially in classrooms in which immigrants and refugees are learning to speak English. This experience had a huge impact on my academics last semester - I applied that passion to classes on bilingual education, cultural tensions/fusions, and immigration. After that internship, I found connections between the experience and courses about Language, Culture, and Policy. However (and thank you to Alice again, for helping me flesh this out), I wasn’t thinking about the fundamentals. - Fundamentals being, I think, Literacy. So of course there is a connection between my tutoring adults and the class I am taking now.
Having A come in this week was a great “reality check” for me. It also made me think harder about all of the literacies I have gained this semester and year in my field placement. My placement is in a very vocabulary-y school--there are catchphrases for everything, from “catch a bubble” for not talking to “X is off the team, but working hard to turn it around.” When I first started there last semester, I was constantly overwhelmed by the vocabulary. I could usually understand it in context, but I was unable to apply most of it independently. Now, I’ve led a small group lesson, I regularly work with individuals, and I’m preparing to teach a writing lesson to the whole class on Friday. I’m also going to get a pull-out small group for word study.
When I started thinking about this post, word study was really the connection. I recognized so much of what A was talking about--digraphs, blends, welded sounds, the idea of a picture representing every sound. I also learned that my school uses a balanced literacy program. It fits with my experience in the classroom, and it was great to hear a different teacher talk about the same curriculum. I really have developed an understanding of what’s going on in the classroom, and I no longer need (although obviously I still appreciate) my mentor teacher’s input on vocabulary when I’m moving throughout the classroom and working with individuals.
I had an amazing experience in my field placement on Friday. I'm in a charter school where the special ed program is primarily inclusive. I frequently work with a student named "Jeremy" who often struggles to stay with the lesson, especially in large group instruction. One specific behavior that can be disruptive is when he calls out in the middle of the lecture--it is frequent enough that his classmates are distracted and that it interrupts the flow of the lesson. Throughout my time at this school, the teacher and administrators have been working on various interventions for him, including a paycheck for good behavior, check-ins with the teacher after every subject, and "choice time" when he makes it through a lesson. On Friday during the Writing mini-lesson, when he started to interrupt, the teacher told him to get a piece of paper and write it down. He did! He makes so many connections to the material, and he wants to share it with everyone, but in the middle of the lecture is not the most appropriate time. By writing it down, he got to express himself without requiring anyone's immediate attention. He made it through the rest of the mini-lesson and worked productively and independently throughout Writer's Workshop, specifically answering the prompt from the mini-lesson using appropriate vocabulary and responding to the feedback I gave him.