I felt like this unit was a good introduction and laid down the foundation for the class: defining the terms and posing the big questions to contemplate over the course of the semester. It has encouraged me personally to engage with and explore technology that I have been reluctant to experiment with in the past, including prezi and instagram, and I am excited to continue to learn. We have also established initial contact with our pen pals in Ghana and while we are uncertain about the development of that relationship at this point, I am excited about the possibilities. The prospect of an undeveloped structure to this part of the course is exciting but at the same time, a bit anxiety provoking, and so I hope we can help future participants by laying down some sort of structure for them.
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.
To Begin. . .
As an avid TV junkie, I have stayed up many a night to watch re-runs of the shows “Teen Mom” and “16 & Pregnant.” I know you are probably rolling your eyes if you're not a fan of the “reality” TV phenomenon, but these shows have affected me in a way that other “reality” based shows never could. (...So understandable when thinking about their consistent lack of depth: there are not a multitude of thought-provoking conversations that follow the documentation of rainbow Jello shots and women pulling out other’s hair extensions). These shows have affected me partly because I am the product of unplanned pregnancy to a fifteen-year-old girl myself, and a subsequent adoption. I find the show to be a way to help me begin to understand what I meant to my birth mother at age fifteen, the prime time for being a devoted Frito Lay consumer and wearing exactly what the mannequin wears.
I have a few goals for the end of the semester:
- I've been reading a lot of teachers' blogs lately, and I really want to get to the point where I blog about my experience as a personal reflective tool. I assume that most of the teachers whose blogs I read were not told that they had to blog, and it seems like a great way of processing your experience whenever you have time. I've seen similar things happen on twitter with #edchat, #ntchat, and #1stchat, but blogging can just be a record. For the rest of the year, I'm going to try to do a few shorter blog posts when I have things to say instead of gathering them all up at the end of the week.
- I want to continue working through my narratives in Literacies of music, tech, and linguistics.
- I want to engage more with the class community in Literacies--on twitter, here, and in person. I know that I've been spending a lot of my time looking out to the world through social media for this class, but I think more intra-class communication would help me grow more.
I'm thinking about using Storify to tell my thrice-told tale once. What storytelling method are you excited about?
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.
For this week I decided to revisit Paulo Freire's "Cultural Action for Freedom." I am drawn to his idea of education as cultural action for freedom. Nonetheless, it also leads me to wonder if the education that Freire describes ever truly exists. On a basic level, Freire talks about how this type of education is dialectic and involves an act of truly knowing (not just rote memorization), where one knows about his/her "concrete historical and cultural reality." However isn't history always written by the victors? And does an essential cultural reality exist? In Wozniak's psychology class we talk about the origins and development of culture. We also discuss the lack of an essential self, and so I wonder if such an essential cultural reality exists. Won't this cultural "reality" in the end be influenced by the mindset of whichever side one percieves reality to be?
After skyping with the founder of an NGO which provides libraries and Ghanaian children novels in Ghana (I forgot the name of the NGO but I believe Kathy Knowles is the name of the founder) and learning more about the history of formal education in Ghana, I became to reflect a lot about what could be done to improve the education system in Ghana. According to Ms. Knowles, literacy is a problem in Ghana because reading is not seen as a leisurable activity, and is only associated with academic work. Moreover, education there is based upon repetition and memorizatioon, thus school can be very boring and dry to students. Also, students are constantly anxious about being graded since the whole curriculum and attitude of the teachers is based upon doing well on the exams. Additionally, I personally feel that such a system does not cultivate appreciation for the art of learning. We've virtually discussed (via twitter) the importance of making mistakes for one's learning and education. However, such a system in Ghana appears to leave no room for mistakes, or creativity for that matter. These aspects along with many others compose Ghana's education system and consequently do not appear to be conducive towards a positive, fun, and interesting learning atmosphere for students (or the teachers).