Reading Room Posts

Diversity in the English Classroom: Global Feminist Literature

Julie M. Barst writes “Pedagogical Approaches to Diversity in the English Classroom: A Case Study of Global Feminist Literature” which contemplates the ways that expressing issues of diversity in classrooms can be challenging for instructors.  This article explains that feminism, as a study, is global in scope and that teaching the concepts strictly in English is very problematic.  The English studies classroom traditionally restricts literatures to those that have been written by the English or have an extremely close connection to the English studies. A Case Study of Global Feminist Literature provides some ideas about how we may allow for more perspectives. The example given to display the issue is of Larissa Behrendt’s book about Australia.  Barst has interviewed Larissa Behrendt about her studies in law and indigenous studies at the University of Technology in Sydney.  Behrendt states that the indigenous peoples were not a part of curriculums until about the 1990’s, and that she felt compelled to write a book about it.  Bart  teaches the contemporary novel titled Home, which is about the “stolen generations” of aboriginal children in Australia that were placed into boarding homes away from their families and then placed as servants in the homes of white families in order to be taught to assimilate.  Barst shares that “ironically the policy was called the Aborigines Protection Act,” and the instructor teaches historical contextual information informing the students about what had happened factually and how it connects to the book Home that she teaches in Australia.  She also mentions that the situation was very similar to Native American Boarding Schools in the United States.  I like this article because it gives some ideas about how we may teach global and minority feminism to our students.  When teaching Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938) , a narrative about a Native American women taken from her family and brought into a boarding school, it may be helpful to discuss the Native Aboriginal displacements in Australia as well, in order to demonstrate the scope of global feminist literature.

What I learned from the response about my Annotations comrade assignment.

My annotation assignment partner gave a lot of helpful feedback about the assignment that I had designed.   The poem was one of her favorites about activism and overcoming injustice, she said, and that let me know that this is a topic close to her heart and within her interest of studies so I felt glad that I was able to provide a material that was relevant to my audience.  My annotation partner had difficulty getting to the poem in order to make annotations on-line because I did not include a link in the post which included the assignment, and this was very important information that she shared with me because I wouldn’t want to make this mistake with future students.  Rather than ask students to look up the poem on the website, it would be far better to include the link on the assignment post.  The analysis about the poem was very thoughtful and scholarly (it was really good!) but what I was concerned with was the emotional reaction about the issues and relatability, which I did get too!  My assignment partner recognizes that minority women within feminism face another layer of oppression, and questions how feminism may be able to better encompass these issues in the future.  I think that my assignment directions may not have been clear enough because my partner was under the impression that I wished her to write a poem, which would be far too much to ask!  What I had wanted was for the future students in my class to add a poem to a class website from poems that have already been written, so that each student had posted a poem to the site that they liked, and we could then study those poems for a future assignment.  I should have been more clear about what I was asking and so I am grateful that this was brought to my attention.  My annotations partner ended the assignment by recognizing that not much has changed since the poem was written, especially with regards to women’s rights.  It would be a good idea in the future to ask students what they would like to see changed and how we might go about enacting change so that students can end the assignment with a feeling of hope and agency, which was my goal.  Thank you so much to my annotations assignment partner and to this assignment!  The lessons learned here are very valuable and will be employed in the future!

Difficulties when teaching T.S. Eliots, The Wasteland

During our class discussion of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland we were able to talk about the fact that some difficulties are presented in teaching the poem, but I’m not sure that we were able to offer a concrete solution about what should be put together. These are some of the ideas I brought in to share about teaching the poem.  Classroom discussion was very helpful in that we could bring in our opinions to see if they were well received and appropriate for teaching.  Pairing Backwards Design, Conversations with Texts, and many other class readings this would be my plan for future students to be able to experience The Wasteland. :

If we see all pieces of art as equal opportunists of expression for a moment, we could situate Elliot’s “Wasteland” between Rene Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe where the audience is given an image of a pipe and told in the same moment “This is not a pipe,” which displays the Platonic philosophy of the fallacy of representations and describes the confused nature of the world in which the people were inhabiting. Such atrocities were happening, yet not being called out as such. Following “The Wasteland,” art seems to burst out in Pollock’s dripped and flung paint on canvas which seems to deliver an expression of chaos, also describing the confused nature of the world the people were inhabiting. The modernist movement, which seems pillared by “The Wasteland” produced pieces of art that displayed the emotional tumultuousness, as well as glimmerings of hope, of the day. The disarray delivered by Pollock could be inspired by the same concepts of being that Eliot was struggling to describe.

The “Wasteland” is about a world gone wrong.

Langston Hughes writes “One-way Ticket” about how both he, and the world, needs more. He says he needs to go to another place, where all of this hate doesn’t exist. The oppression, racism, and threat to his very existence physically and metaphorically is poignantly displayed in his poem. I wonder if we could share this poem along with the “Wasteland” to show another prospective. To give another prolific writer the chance to give his first hand account and interpretation of events going on at the time.

The commonality of these works is a hope for the future. By declaring that the world is a “Wasteland” Elliot is imploring us to fix it. Hughes proclaims, “I pick up my life and take it with me and I put it down in Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Scranton, any place that is North and East – And not Dixie… I pick up my life and take it on the train…” At the end, the poem states, “I pick up my life and take it away on a one-way ticket – gone up north. Gone out west. Gone!”

Hughes encapsulates the telling of suffering, and we can say it is a reflection of the society. Out of the worst of times, some art did come. Isn’t art a glimmer of hope, which rises and rises, until it’s a burst of full-blown happiness?

My theme in teaching the “Wasteland” would be about the individual’s minds eye during America at this time. I would begin by showing the artistic pictures, from before and after Eliot, and talking about the time period in which they lived. The modernist art movement was a display of the emotions of the people and Eliot’s work contributed to defining a way in which those emotions could be displayed through art. We could discuss New Criticism. We could also discuss the responsibility that there is in art.

To end the class I would want to speak about difficulty once more. The difficulty that artists have to decipher about how they may deliver a work that will at once be widely received opposed to a work that contains only highly human moralities. Often the most famous works will contain both.

For homework, I would ask students to re-read “The Wasteland” and to choose a portion that we discussed in class that they find most compelling to post on the class forum. The students would then give an analysis of the form and content using notes from class. (Assignment 1)

We could talk about Hughes and his concise writing style. We could return to the paintings of Pollock to discuss the abstract expressionist movement. For homework, I would then ask the students to compose a stanza utilizing the gestural expressionist “drip method.” (Assignment 2)

The end of class final would allow a few choices of essay prompts. Some of the prompts would be about connecting the artistic concepts to discourse about the social constructs. (Assessment)

 

 

 

“The Fairy of The Fountains” poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon in a Gothic narrative course.

Kari Lokke has created a fantastic article in Project Muse about how to teach Letitia Landon’s “The Fairy of the Fountains” in a Gothic narrative course. Having often shied away from even thinking about teaching Gothic narrative, (because I have never taken a course about it specifically,) I felt this article was an eye-opening plethora of ideas about different works to pair together for comparison and contrasts in a Gothic course, in addition to specific ways of implementing “The Fairy of the Fountains” in the course.

The course about Gothic Literature began with the books The Castle of Otranto (Horace Walpole, 1764) and A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe. Suggested polemic pairings for a course about gothic narrative were “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Cristobel” by Coleridge and Keat’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci” and “Lamia.” Lokke states that she would put “The Fairy of The Fountains” alongside the canonical works of the romantic period. Lokke also states that she introduced her students to a theorist Michael Gamer who wrote Romanticism and the Gothic which argues that the romantic poets of the day, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, “were strongly influenced by Gothic narratives and the women writers who excelled” in this genre.

Lokke then lays out some awesome ideas specific to “The Fairy of the Fountains.” She points out the trochaic tetrameter, which echoes the witches chant in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. She recommends comparing the maternal relationship to the passive and submissive mothers of the books The Castle of Otranto and A Sicilian Romance, along with the “dead ghost mother” in Coleridge’s poem.

There are definite psychoanalytic components to “The Fairy of the Fountains,” and one of them is about the mother-daughter conflict whereby the “mother’s role in dooming her child to repeat her same tragedys” is explored. Lokke informs us in the article that “The Fairy of The Fountains” was readily accepted by her students after reading “the convolution and dense classical allusion of “Lamia” and that in a survey she conducted about teaching romantic women’s poetry, students “found comparative analysis to be a strikingly effective means of opening new perspectives onto the poetry.”

Lokke also shares that Hans Christian Anderson’s Christian and sentimental version of the Undine fairy tale (which some of the romantics are referencing in the Gothic) “The Little Mermaid” is published three years after Landon’s “The Fairy of the Fountains” and that comparisons between these texts was very appealing to the students.

I thought that these were wonderful ideas and really appreciated the insights, it seems like it would be a fun class!

“Literary Flowers” in a Western Survey course to “plant” formative voices in the community as students “sow” final narratives.

“Literary Flowers: Using a Literary Garden in the Western Survey to ‘Plant’ Formative Voices and to ‘Sow’ Final Narratives” was an article with a wonderful idea about how to overcome the gap between 21st century and 17th century literature.  The students could apply the concepts individually and then share with the community, through the display of artistic “flowers,” to promote classical literatres of the time period that they were studying in the course.

“All human beings carry about a set of words which they employ to justify their actions, their beliefs, and their lives. These are the words in which we formulate praise of our friends and contempt for our enemies, our long-term projects, our deepest self-doubts and our highest hopes. They are the words in which we tell… the story of our lives.” (Mark Edmundson, Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Virginia, borrowing words from Richard Rorty.)

Shawn Rubenfeld, the author of this article, states he had an assignment when he was a graduate student to promote interest and awareness of the 17th century literature into a lower division course that was teaching, and then to have the students create a service project to spread the words into the community. He asserts that he modeled his project after the “New York City’s Library Way” which is a series of plaques with quotes of literature that line the pavement to the library.

The students were asked to choose a quote from a 17th century writer that spoke to them individually, and then to create a “flower” that they would plant symbolically in the community to promote interest of early literatures. The students were able to connect themselves to the literature personally while also spreading awareness into the environment, which resulted in an amazing narrative.

The flowers did need to resemble a flower in a sense, but creativity led students into many different directions. One student who picked the first line spoken by Goethe’s Faust: “Alas, I’ve studied Philosophy,/ The law and Physic also,/ More’s the pity, Divinity,/ With ardent effort, through and through/ And here I am, about as wise/ Today, poor fool, as I ever was” ended up posting his “flower” with the stem staking through an old economics book that the school would not buy back, as part of his artistic expression decoration, he then “planted” it in front of the administration building for everyone to see. It was meant to be humorous, and some found it to be.

Another student chose a line from Goethe’s Faust as well, she chose: “The god indwelling in me causes/ Deep turmoil innerly” and her flower creation was then a design of multiple shapes and colors to represent feelings of chaos within, the flower was planted at the bottom of a hill symbolically because the student stated that “there is a perception that humanity starts at the bottom and must strive for divinity, when it is really with them the whole time.”

Rubenfeld states that the assignment was a success because it encouraged his students to “look for themselves in two-, three-, four-century-old literatures.” He states, “It encouraged them to consider the relevance and importance of these texts, and at the same time, to keep them alive and in bloom.”

It was a huge success! The only real problem was the weather, but luckily the students had taken pictures of their projects straight away so they had a picture of the monument to place with the narrative. The flowers were destroyed by a small hurricane like storm with hail and rain that blew through the region. He says they had five to seven days of admiration and attention. Some of the other professors Rubenfeld worked with even gave their own students extra credit if they went on a scavenger hunt to find all of these quotes. The community was touched in many ways! The only improvement to this project, he states, would have been if they weatherproofed it.

“Journalogues” and Blogging in the classroom: for all performance levels. (R.R. 10/9)

In an exploration about pedagogical blogging, this article speaks about challenges and the overall positive effectiveness in blogging for all levels in the classroom. I enjoyed that this article often broke down studies and results in three categories, pertaining to the highest students in the class, medium level, and lowest performing students in the class because it displays how blogging is effective or ineffective in each instance which helps us, the teacher, to better understand how to employ blogging techniques in the classroom.

“Journalogue: Voicing Student Challenges in Writing through a Classroom Blog” asserts that blogging has been proven to urge “students to think about their thinking (reflect), and to write about their writing” which is defined as “metacognitive skills” by scholars. Blogging has also been shown to “enhance learner engagement, foster knowledge, and increase socio-cultural interaction in the classroom.”

Blogging is also defined as “journaling” which allows the student to reflect through “reflective writing, learning logs, learning journals, research logs, and diary entries” which is an “expressivist approach” to learning that allows the students to express their personality rather than answer questions during impersonal tasks which actually makes the event of blogging a social event. (It was questioned whether or not blogging created a more distanced and impersonal environment.)

The second question was about whether blogging helped with literacy skills. A reflection from one of the highest performing students was “…I actually do spend a lofty amount of time deciding how to phrase my sentences. I would play around with words, crafting bombastic and colorful sentences.” Although this student has high literary skills, the student still found a way to challenge these skills. A student performing at a medium level states that after feedback he “understood all my errors and those were mostly run-on and repeated sentences…” which showed that students of this level benefited greatly from writing down ideas as well. The lowest level students state, “When I write my essay, I meet many problems…” and the students at this level are learning the language as well, they said that they use dictionaries, ask roommates for help and try to write the essays as best as they can.

Although the linguistic struggles of the lowest level student in the class make blogging a challenge. Some students stated that they lost confidence and stopped writing because of problems with the use of English language. However, at the end of the study it was the low level students that “showed hope in wanting to better in class” even if they struggled in journal posts. Medium level students faced many difficulties as well, but said that they enjoyed the freedom of expression and language use.

Positive aspects found in blogging were perfection of skills such as grammar, mechanics, and semantics, coping with challenges, enhancement of writing, language, expression and research skills, enjoyment, hope for better writing, and development of confidence.  Negative aspects were translation issues, lack of confidence in some students which was very difficult to overcome, difficulty choosing topics, and struggles looking for good sources.

Blogging is a useful tool when teaching and for practicing linguistic and literary skills for students, but teachers must be aware that they have many different levels of performance in undergraduate students and must tailor lessons to allow for different levels of competency in the writing assignments. Assignments should be abstract enough that higher performing students can be challenged and lower performing students can feel confidence through completing and learning the literary and linguistic skills.

Annotation Comrades: Final

This is a short assignment with the objective of delivering 3 layers of understanding through the use of backwards design. The top layer of knowledge for students is a general understanding about life, we all have a story to tell, and each is unique and valuable, this is to impart a general feeling of peace towards mankind and the idea that while we are all different, we are all still human, and have that shared experienced, therefor, we can all get along. The 2nd layer of knowledge being imparted in the lesson is about Feminist Literature. Just as all people have a story to tell and it is valuable, all women have a story to tell and it is valuable in its uniqueness. Though the experiences of the women are vastly different, they are relatable to women and the female experience and also to men and women, the human experience of suffering and pain, strife and perseverance in adversity. The last layer of knowledge is more specific to the study and conversation about poetry, students would be able to read a poem written by anyone from anywhere, analyze the form and content, and then discuss which aspects make it relatable to the human experience as a whole, or in other words, universal.

The main objective of the assignment is for students to feel that “good” poetry, as a form of art, does what art does, which is to bring us together in a shared understanding of the human experience. Students should have the confidence after reading a poem to say, “yes, this is good, because… and although the specific context may be unfamiliar, the experience of being human is familiar.”

Speaking of universality gives students a direction when using aspects such as figurative language, theme, imagery, context, and form of a poem. While we recognize that a poem is written by a person in a certain time and place, and this information is sometimes relatively apparent in the poetry, it does not detract from its’ universality. Universality does not mean that we all have the same detailed experiences, it only means we share the human experience. For example, In Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise”, references to slavery are about the African enslavement in the America’s, but it’s also about living life after that historical moment, with a message that one can live with a knowledge of the past and that the world, though it changes in some ways, doesn’t seem to change in other ways, and so we are all sort of living in a world that was formed by our ancestors and it has a large impact on our lives today. This is universal because it’s true for all people, and it’s true in large and small scopes, because we all have ancestors, and because something has happened in the world in every place, leaving an imprint on the world in which we all live. Therefore, we all must find a way to live in that imprinted world, to make changes big and small in our respective current world, as well as individually, without forgetting the past, but to in fact attempt to overcome the past, to the best of our abilities.

The above paragraph contains the answer that I would like to see from every student from my class who participated in the entire unit, in their short essay at the end of this assignment. The assignment to assess knowledge is a short essay about Maya Angelou’s poem “Sill I Rise”, students can examine any part of the poem that speaks to them, whether it’s imagery, metaphor, form, repetition devices… the sky is the limit about which lines or words they would specifically choose to focus on and point out, and I expect the reasons why the choices were made to vary among students at least slightly because people relate to a poem themselves for a personal reason based off of their own life experience.

At the beginning of this lesson I would guide students in reading and commenting about 3 poems also written by women in the modern feminist movement time period in America. Each poem is deeply steeped in their respective cultures, which enhances the imagery displayed through language and metaphor. The structure and form of each poem is generally the same, as the poems are lyrical, narrative, and written in stanzas. The themes of Identity, Hope, Mortality, Love, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Self, History, Family, Feminism, Patriarchy and Tradition are all present in each poem.

Each of the three poems is available on my website for my annotation partner to skim through for a general idea of the things I would have guided students to look for in the poems, and comments I would make to the class about the poem are displayed in the annotations. Of course, the ideas of the students is missing, please feel free to add any insights or thoughts to any of these poems.

Following a detailed reading and discussion about the poems and life, (because they are powerful pieces and hard to not have many opinions and feelings of), I would assign the class to read Maya Angelou’s poem and annotate it as a student community on the website for homework. I would like for my annotation partner to add at least 3 annotations to Angelou’s poem.

            Once we come back to class, with annotations already complete, I would have a discussion about the similarities and differences between the poems, how they all exist in the feminist movement, how they are valuable and relatable human experiences to read for both men and women, how they are valuable and relatable across cultures. I would do a separate activity for each of those three concepts. At the end of this class session, I would assign the short paper (2 pages) about Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” I would like for my annotation partner to write a paragraph about the poem using the annotations that he or she made.

            After this assignment, I would assign students to march forth and find their own poem and to add it to the website for everyone to be able to annotate. I would then have an assignment asking students to read 3 poems of others in the class, and make annotations on them for homework. I want my annotation partner to please send me a poem that I can put on my website as a students poem, with Professors Hanley’s help, because I really want to learn how to do this for future teaching experiences.

            That is the end of the assignment. So first you will skim over the poetry selection on my website. Then you will annotate Maya Angelou’s poem (3 annotations at least). 3rd you will write a short paragraph about the poem “Still I Rise”, and last you will somehow send me a poem that you, the student, chooses.

            Student learning and participation would be assessed by the short paper essay concept, and through a portfolio of about 6 small paragraphs that they would turn in that they had been writing throughout about the poems. A progression of more concise, focused paragraphs should be on display with apparent growth in the applicable use of terms learned in the class to discuss poetry. For extra credit, I would assign a voluntary 5-minute presentation of the students chosen poem to the class, contextual information, and the paragraph about it. The culminating assignment would be a reflective essay about the poems and concepts, interactions and the growth they produced for the student, both in the study of poetry and in skills and understandings that they feel they could utilize better somehow in life henceforth. The reflective essay would help the student to realize what they had been learning throughout the entire process and so they could congratulate themselves on the results of their participation and hard work, cooperation, open mindedness as it would be a clear essay of “where I was, and where I am now.” In order to cement the values of the course the students must connect what they have learnt as a memory of diversity and openness in art to the feelings it invoked and the conversations that they had. The reflective essay should touch on the value that ultimately we are connected as human beings because while we are all unique and live different lives, we are still all connected together in the greater community of our world and how the poems as a form of art were able to teach us this.

            Lastly, the 3 poems, including a picture of the author and some contextual information, is included here. The students would have posted a paragraph as homework about each poem after we had annotated them together, held group discussions, and then class discussions about them.

Sylvia Plath is a famous American Poet from the 20th century. Plath was the daughter of a German immigrant college professor and was born in 1932 in Boston. She excelled in university and won numerous awards for published stories and poetry. She passed out of life at age 30.

Daddy

BY SYLVIA PLATH

You do not do, you do not do

Any more, black shoe

In which I have lived like a foot

For thirty years, poor and white,

Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

 

Daddy, I have had to kill you.

You died before I had time——

Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,

Ghastly statue with one gray toe

Big as a Frisco seal

 

And a head in the freakish Atlantic

Where it pours bean green over blue

In the waters off beautiful Nauset.

I used to pray to recover you.

Ach, du.

 

In the German tongue, in the Polish town

Scraped flat by the roller

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common.

My Polack friend

 

Says there are a dozen or two.

So I never could tell where you

Put your foot, your root,

I never could talk to you.

The tongue stuck in my jaw.

 

It stuck in a barb wire snare.

Ich, ich, ich, ich,

I could hardly speak.

I thought every German was you.

And the language obscene

 

An engine, an engine

Chuffing me off like a Jew.

A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

I began to talk like a Jew.

I think I may well be a Jew.

 

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna

Are not very pure or true.

With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck

And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

I may be a bit of a Jew.

 

I have always been scared of you,

With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You——

 

Not God but a swastika

So black no sky could squeak through.

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.

 

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

In the picture I have of you,

A cleft in your chin instead of your foot

But no less a devil for that, no not

Any less the black man who

 

Bit my pretty red heart in two.

I was ten when they buried you.

At twenty I tried to die

And get back, back, back to you.

I thought even the bones would do.

 

But they pulled me out of the sack,

And they stuck me together with glue.

And then I knew what to do.

I made a model of you,

A man in black with a Meinkampf look

 

And a love of the rack and the screw.

And I said I do, I do.

So daddy, I’m finally through.

The black telephone’s off at the root,

The voices just can’t worm through.

 

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two——

The vampire who said he was you

And drank my blood for a year,

Seven years, if you want to know.

Daddy, you can lie back now.

 

There’s a stake in your fat black heart

And the villagers never liked you.

They are dancing and stamping on you.

They always knew it was you.

Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Sandra Cisneros is a novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, and children’s author. She was born in Chicago and spent much of her childhood moving between Chicago and Mexico. Her novel House on Mango Street won an American book award and is taught as a part of American curriculum. Cisneros has won many awards for her works, she is also an activist for Mexican-American and Chicano rights, as well as a feminist.

Loose Woman

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success–
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
¡Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
shoot-sharp,
sharp-tongued,
sharp-thinking,
fast-speaking,
foot-loose,
loose-tongued,
let-loose,
woman-on-the-loose
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
¡Wáchale!
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

Emily Jungmin Yoon is a PhD student at the University of Chicago studying Korean literature. Yoon also earned her bachelors degree and master’s degree in the United States. She has written a book entitled A Cruelty Special to Our Species about ‘comfort women’ from Asia and Korea whom the Japanese detained in sexual slavery. Yoon was born in Busan, South Korea, and is currently working on translation projects of feminist Korean writings.

Bell Theory

BY EMILY JUNGMIN YOON

When I was laughed at for my clumsy English, I touched my throat.

Which said ear when my ear said year and year after year

I pronounced a new thing wrong and other throats laughed.

Elevator. Library. Vibrating bells in their mouths.

How to say azalea. How to say forsythia.

Say instead golden bells. Say I’m in ESL. In French class

a boy whose last name is Kring called me belle.

Called me by my Korean name, pronouncing it wrong.

Called it loudly, called attention to my alien.

(I touched the globe moving in my throat, a hemisphere sinking.)

Called me across the field lined with golden bells.

I wanted to run and be loved at the same time. By Kring.

As in ring of people. Where are you going? We’re laughing with you.

The bell in our throat that rings with laughter is called uvula. From uva: grape.

A theory: special to our species, this grape-bell has to do with speech.

Which separates us from animals. Kring looked at me and said

Just curious, do you eat dogs? and I wanted to end my small life.

Be reborn a golden retriever of North America.

Lie on a field lined with golden bells, loved.

Today, in a country where dogs are more cherished

than a foreign child, an Oregon Senate candidate says no

to refugees. Says, years ago, Vietnamese refugees ate dogs,

harvested other people’s pets. Harvest as in harvest grapes.

Harvest as in harvest a field of golden rice. As do people

from rice countries. As in people-eat-dog worlds.

Years ago, 1923 Japan, the phrase jūgoen gojissen was used

to set apart Koreans: say 15 yen 50 sen. The colonized who used the chaos

of the Kanto Earthquake to poison waters, set fire: a cruelty special to our species.

A cruelty special to our species — how to say jūgo, how to say gojit,

how jūgo sounds like die in Korean, how gojit sounds like lie —

lie, lie, library, azalea, library.

I’m going to the library, I lied, years ago, on a field lined with forsythia.

 

Dr. Maya Angelou

Our Grandmothers

She lay, skin down in the moist dirt,
the canebrake rustling
with the whispers of leaves, and
loud longing of hounds and
the ransack of hunters crackling the near
branches.

She muttered, lifting her head a nod toward
freedom,
I shall not, I shall not be moved.

She gathered her babies,
their tears slick as oil on black faces,
their young eyes canvassing mornings of madness.
Momma, is Master going to sell you
from us tomorrow?

Yes.
Unless you keep walking more
and talking less.
Yes.
Unless the keeper of our lives
releases me from all commandments.
Yes.
And your lives,
never mine to live,
will be executed upon the killing floor of
innocents.
Unless you match my heart and words,
saying with me,

I shall not be moved.

In Virginia tobacco fields,
leaning into the curve
of Steinway
pianos, along Arkansas roads,
in the red hills of Georgia,
into the palms of her chained hands, she
cried against calamity,
You have tried to destroy me
and though I perish daily,

I shall not be moved.

Her universe, often
summarized into one black body
falling finally from the tree to her feet,
made her cry each time into a new voice.
All my past hastens to defeat,
and strangers claim the glory of my love,
Iniquity has bound me to his bed.

yet, I must not be moved.

She heard the names,
swirling ribbons in the wind of history:
nigger, nigger bitch, heifer,
mammy, property, creature, ape, baboon,
whore, hot tail, thing, it.
She said, But my description cannot
fit your tongue, for
I have a certain way of being in this world,

and I shall not, I shall not be moved.

No angel stretched protecting wings
above the heads of her children,
fluttering and urging the winds of reason
into the confusions of their lives.
The sprouted like young weeds,
but she could not shield their growth
from the grinding blades of ignorance, nor
shape them into symbolic topiaries.
She sent them away,
underground, overland, in coaches and
shoeless.

When you learn, teach.
When you get, give.
As for me,

I shall not be moved.

She stood in midocean, seeking dry land.
She searched God’s face.
Assured,
she placed her fire of service
on the altar, and though
clothed in the finery of faith,
when she appeared at the temple door,
no sign welcomed
Black Grandmother, Enter here.

Into the crashing sound,
into wickedness, she cried,
No one, no, nor no one million
ones dare deny me God, I go forth
along, and stand as ten thousand.

The Divine upon my right
impels me to pull forever
at the latch on Freedom’s gate.

The Holy Spirit upon my left leads my
feet without ceasing into the camp of the
righteous and into the tents of the free.

These momma faces, lemon-yellow, plum-
purple,
honey-brown, have grimaced and twisted
down a pyramid for years.
She is Sheba the Sojourner,
Harriet and Zora,
Mary Bethune and Angela,
Annie to Zenobia.

She stands
before the abortion clinic,
confounded by the lack of choices.
In the Welfare line,
reduced to the pity of handouts.
Ordained in the pulpit, shielded
by the mysteries.
In the operating room,
husbanding life.
In the choir loft,
holding God in her throat.
On lonely street corners,
hawking her body.
In the classroom, loving the
children to understanding.

Centered on the world’s stage,
she sings to her loves and beloveds,
to her foes and detractors:
However I am perceived and deceived,
however my ignorance and conceits,
lay aside your fears that I will be undone,

for I shall not be moved.

Engaging Culturally Diverse Student Populations

Effective Instruction for Engaging Culturally Diverse Students in Higher Education by Lois Yamauchi, Kazufumi Taira, and Tracy Trevorrow was an informative article about engaging students in general and specifically how to engage culturally diverse populations and students of first generation college attendance (two populations that are rising exponentially in numbers of attendance at college and require engagement specific to their needs in order to better succeed.) The three Professors who wrote this article work at a University in Hawaii where the student population is and has been very diverse and so they have employed these strategies already. This was an article that explained the standards and then displayed real life examples, and highlighted which instructors method was the best practice for each standard, so a multitude of ideas where shared.

In this article, academic engagement is first described as “multidimensional” and “consists of behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social investment” which “also includes student’s involvement in extra curricular activities.”

The CREDE standards were developed to promote engagement. CREDE is the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence. The five main standards are:

Joint Productive Activity, where students and teachers work together to develop shared understanding and create tangible results. Language and Literacy Development promotes certain language goals and skill throughout the lessons, such as vocabulary. Contextualization is when students are able to connect their own previous experiences from home, community, and culture to the new information. In Complex Thinking, students are able to develop problem-solving skills using a higher level of thinking. Instructional Conversation consists of developing conceptual understandings in small group discussions.

Engagement is then given a refined definition, keeping in mind the culturally diverse classroom, it is a “students sustained attention to tasks requiring mental effort; students enthusiasm, interest and enjoyment; and their emotional connections to teachers and peers.

The article outlines examples of the ways in which these professors applied each standard in their respective discipline and classroom. Each of the standards provided a very important piece for learning the information, however contextualization engaged the students the most, connecting their prior experiences to the material did “increase cognitive engagement” and everyone’s individual experiences are important to use as students learn new concepts. The small group activities were important for promoting social engagement with peers and with teacher as they traveled from station to station, or the students traveled to them when it was a fixed station in the classroom. Lecture was important for imparting information, and for giving information that the students could them decide how they could relate to. Some students from cultural backgrounds only having ever experienced lecture really needed the lecture portion of the classroom and a lot of assistance and encouragement for other forms of engagement. The students were happy with the results when they felt more in control of their learning environment, what they had learned, and they appreciated how they felt learning.  Research shows that the grades were much higher as well.  Substantial research also shows that fostering relationships for undergraduate students is important to their over all development and success, and rate of graduation completion, it also leads to better learning outcomes of the material that then take with them out into the field.

Annotations Partners Assignment/ Backwards Design

The objective learning outcome for the annotation assignment is that students can analyze a poem and feel that they can confidently and effectively write a short essay arguing for or against it’s worthiness and universality. It is developing the skills to be a critic themselves, and welcoming the thought that there are many different ideas and that friendly debate is a skill.

It is important that students are able to apply the methods of analysis that we have previous used in class to discuss a poem analytically and independently after a shared discussion of ideas. Then, it is important that they should take a stance. Is this poem a worthy piece of art or isn’t it? It’s important that students understand that they are worthy to judge the poem, to make a statement that it is good or bad, and then explain their reasoning. It is also important to present the argument in a way that acknowledges both the positive and negative aspects, before delivering the verdict.

Students will use definitions such as theme, figurative language, metaphor, paradox, and allegory, which they have already become familiar with or refreshed about in the course as we examined a few poems together, perhaps 3, dissected them, and discussed their universality and/or relativism. It would have become apparent at that time that either standpoint is an acceptable one, it is the reasoning and explanation that defends the standpoint where original thinking is applied.

The annotation portion of the assignment is that every member in the class would point out something of interest to them in the poem and describe how it is a use of language that adds greater meaning to the poem. (This way students can pick the same word or phrase, because they would still give a different reason about it’s greater meaning and importance to the poem in it’s entirety.)

After annotations, which is the collaborative brainstorming phase of the activity, the students will develop a thesis which states that this is or isn’t a relatable and useful poem in it’s universality. Does it span time and place? Is it important? Is it artistically pleasing? Why or why not? If it’s not, why is the poem relative to a certain time and place, and how does this potentially undermine it’s potential to be important and universal.

If your argument is yes, it is a universal poem, then you must devote at least one sentence to the other point of view. It could be a part of the conclusion. For instance: “While Still I Rise is a universal piece of artwork because … , however, …” If your argument is no, you must still acknowledge the other point of view somewhere in your argument.

Students should give at least 4 examples from the poem as a part of their argument and may use ideas from the annotations page but must write the essay in their own words.

At the end of the activity students would have written a short essay detailing an argument about a poem’s universality, would be able to apply the skills in the future when coming across a poem, while also being able to acknowledge the accepted opinion or another point of view about this poem that is in existence already. The annotation portion of the assignment would have opened up more ideas that people may not have thought of before, and writing the essay after witnessing the annotations would be good practice in paraphrasing and sharing ideas, as well as developing an idea into your own, because no one would want to copy another students idea verbatim. Enduring understanding of the students is that they have the confidence to apply these methods in the future themselves and are able to share their own ideas in a discussion of poetry, while also accepting the ideas of others about a particular poem.

Effects of Content Delivery Media on Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes

The Journal of Effective Teaching offered this article about content delivery and it’s effects on student engagement and learning outcomes which I found interesting to review after our last discussion.  Student engagement in this article is defined as “the quality of effort students themselves devote to educationally purposeful activities that contribute directly to student outcomes” (6) and purposeful observations and statistics are collected to compare a class taught by the same instructor using the same curriculum and activities, with the only difference being lecture with white board or chalk board method or power-point presentation method (as supplemental to the lecture.)

The students in each class consented to observation in the classroom and of their graded assignments and tests as a part of the research.  Behaviors that were observed :

Students participating in content-related tasks assigned only to them, participating in content tasks assigned to the group, participation in content tasks assigned to the entire class.  Students active listening to instructor and note-taking.  Students with eyes closed, head down on desk.  Students interacting with instructor such as asking a question.  Did the student ask a question that would be answered yes or no, or a question requiring explanation.  Do students answer questions that have a yes or no answer or answer questions that require explanations.  Did students answer questions without being called on by an instructor, did students leave the room, were students talking with the peers, were students engaged in media technology (phones/computers) having nothing to do with the class.

With the use of statistical and data driven charts the result of the experiment was that student engagement and performance was generally the same whether the teacher used a blackboard during lecture or power-point with pictures.

A lot of factors are involved in the measurement of student engagement such as course content, the instructor, and the environment but teaching and delivery methods do contribute greatly to success in learning outcomes.  Further research studies demonstrate that lecture alone, without power point or black board writing is not effective.  A hybrid method of both black board writing and power point works the best according to other research studies, but those results were not remarkably different than the blackboard alone or power point alone of this experiment, both of which proved to be equally as effective as a tool during lecture and for preparation of assignments when used by the same instructor.