Week 4, Day 20
Pinak and I had been concerned that students would not have work completed by this time, which was supposed to be their first of two exhibit days. Pinak expressed this concern to others at the school and the deadline was eased back by one day (so the students only had to do one exhibition day). Funny thing is that the students did get all their work done in time, and we could have exhibited on this day, but I was very happy that it got pushed back because we were able to use the extra time for collaboratively assessing the course and practicing for the big exhibition day.
We started by rolling out all the banners and posters on the floor, then we gathered around it in a circle, I congratulated everyone and then we played a silly game of high-fives around the room (kinda like the wave). It was fun and made everyone feel good and confident.
We did a brief full-group assessment of the course, like the +/- kind of thing, and then a smaller group assessment where I asked students to come up with “top 10 lessons learned.” They listed everything from patience to confidence to punctuality to people skills to responsibility for picking up someone else’s slack. I also asked them to write brief personal reflections on the process and what they learned from it – this was a homework assignment to be completed by the end of the last day, but I had encouraged students to work on it throughout that week, because I knew they were likely to slack off, as I had not assigned any binding homework assignments thus far (this one was crucial to giving grades, so I wanted to make sure they did it).
This group reflection session and the individual written reflection were really productive, I think, they certainly taught me a lot. I think this was one of the most important parts of the whole project – you know, praxis and all.
I also think that students got a lot out of it. Some of the students individual reflections were just great to read, very thoughtful, insightful about the process. I am not posting them publicly here, but if anyone is interested in reading those, I would be happy to share, just ask.
I told them to start by playing a variation of the “Yes, and…” game, but this time it goes, “And then…” each person tells one part of the story, and then the next person elaborates or segues or whatever. I encouraged them to all keep going around for almost an hour. This was very useful for all of the groups.
Tibet group had already developed a narrative pamphlet to go with their poster (the content of which is on their blog), LGBT group wrote a poem, and had it printed on different cards (that is a large download, btw). In every group, people were sharing and preparing and getting all psyched up for the presentation day. This was a great moment, everyone was feeling good and excited. The one disappointing thing was the fact that about one third of the class was absent this day. This was not terribly surprising, I had already observed that some students had gotten a little burnt out by all the group process.
In the afternoon, we all went over to the exhibition site (a wall on the street, adjacent to another part of the college, across the street from a bus stand). And there we surveyed the site, eventually hooked one sturdy rope to a series of pre-existing nails (I got to climb on top of the wall), and practiced putting up one of the banners. It seemed to work fine, so we agreed to meet early the next morning, and just take it from there.