School was not meant for happiness

I’ve been anxious to get this audio clip up of a phone conversation with my supervisor, Alexandra Bal, for a while now. Well, it’s more of a passionate monologue by her about our ailing system of education! It was great! Just what I needed to piss me off enough in order to keep my learning and media-producing momentum going on this issue.

Give it a try, feel the emotion:

Alexandra Bal

In all the interviews I have conducted so far with students and teachers, I have been wondering what my concluding statement about education would look like. Although I have seen patterns develop from the students, some of which demonstrate that they need a passionate instructor no matter what the subject is, and a near unanimous opinion from teachers that the system doesn’t work very well, there’s something missing. CONFLICT! Alex got me thinking about how and where I’ll attain that critical element necessary for any good story.

I will follow through with my plans to interview people from a cross-section of educational establishments, including the principals and ministers of education. By asking them what the perfect education is in their eyes, layers of contradictions in values will distinctly emerge. In Alex’s words: “We’re human and we have built a system that has nothing to do with that.” The complexity of this point is what needs to be demonstrated with the media I produce (…for the purpose of a podcast and installation–not the documentary film she thought I was heading for)

Alex asked if I knew the digital anthropologist, Michael Wesch. I didn’t think so until I discovered that I (and nearly 4million other people) had seen a video that he and his students created- A Vision Of Students Today– that he gives an awesome backgrounder about in the video below during a TED talk earlier this year. In it he also speaks of his observation in a village in New Guinea when (the new-media of) books are introduced. He remarks how the introduction of new-media anywhere requires everyone to become receptive, caring and open minded media-literate people. Sadly, we’re training most learners within an archaic system of education where the walls that box them in are sending a specific message: this is the place to acquire information, from an authority who has the information you need, etc.

The best 15min you’ll have today:

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (, the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)