Cultural Artifact Assignment: connects students with their own & other cultural stories

Education is all a matter of building bridges. –Ralph Ellison

Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another. –Mary Catherine Bateson.

Real education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students.  What better books can there be than the book of humanity?  –Cesar Chavez

The more deeply you understand other people, the more you will appreciate them, the more reverent you will feel about them.  To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.–Stephen Covey

Two weeks ago, I was asked to take over as a long term sub for an instructor who had a medical emergency. I was able to meet with the instructor, get copies of her syllabus, texts, and scores for the students etc.

It was up to me to figure out how to combine her teaching style with mine in a way that would equal a smooth transition and success for her students.

The first class I taught the students how to do Natalie Goldberg style writing practice and we held a council so I could learn from the students what was working for them and what they needed from the class. I then incorporated what I learned from them into a few changes in the syllabus, specifically in the essay assignments and the deadlines.

Since I don’t know the students at all, they barely know each other, and I think forming a community is of the utmost importance to build the trust required to work together in seminar discussions and on writing projects as well as for other reasons discussed in the link below, our first assignment is the Cultural Artifacts one described here:

Usually this assignment does not include a formal essay but again this isn’t a typical class. So I adapted a personal narrative assignment to the task; it’s posted below for those students who need to refer to it or for other faculty who may be curious about it. The students will also be writing an argument that analyzes a text and writing a research paper. Continue reading