Judgement Day!

On this day of my Master’s defense, here is a review of some of the pivotal moments throughout this journey:

The Interviews

So many interviews had an impact on me. They all did in fact. Some however, resonated with the audience in ways that I was not expecting such as the one with my ex history teacher, Ms Lanthier, and I. Constructive criticism from two audience members following the screening revealed that the scene was counter-productive to my argument and should be cut. The project’s argument, they felt, was that educational environments should be more learner-centered; revealing my willingness to absorb blame for my educational struggles then, presented a conflicting message. My response to them was threefold: first, being faced with my high school teacher again led to a degree of regressed behaviour whereby I may have become too insecure to assert my authentic needs; second, previous to this moment, this teacher, now in her eighties, shared with me how much she had loved her career and had hoped that her efforts left a positive impact on her students. She taught in a manner that she felt was professional. I was, therefore, concerned that my answer to her question might seem like a criticism of her rather than a critique of the system of education as a whole–which was the point I was trying to make; and lastly, our face-to-face interaction was the very scenario that I would eventually mold in the editing process with other subject to produce a simulated conversation between learners and educators. As a result, it seemed like a distinct necessity to contribute such an authentic and revealing experience to the mix of voices projected:

Ms Lanthier and I, 2010

 

It was a genuine delight to see the positive impact that an educator can have on a learner, and how that impact can resonate with subsequent generations. Andre had a huge impact on Melissa and her interest in pursuing physics and math in her anticipated career path. Andre had the same experience with his own physics teacher which led to his professional pursuits as an engineer and physics teacher.

Andrew and Michelle

Andre and Michelle

 

The CICO advisory group

Despite the inappropriateness of the installation environment, this experience significantly informed critical details for the thesis project, including the visual presentation of the media and, most importantly, that the audience for this project is first and foremost teachers. While my effort is to bridge communication between learners and educators, neither the media content nor my method of dissemination was of equal interest to both parties.

Full story of the process HERE

 

Social Media

One of the most important realizations that I have had since my engagement with social media for WTL, has been the insight I have gained about the contemporary high school educator. I have discovered a vast network of educators through Twitter and the blogosphere who are dedicated to creating a stimulating atmosphere and innovative projects in their classroom. This pivotal discovery altered my initial point of view, which was that education and educators in general are lacking in creative and empathetic teaching methods. It seems that these passionate educators were probably much more isolated prior to social media but, now, in these spaces, they are building communities of practices where they can share their experiences and ideas and learn from their peers. As a result, my initial concerned about portraying my final project in a negative light, given my original point of departure, has since dissipated.

 

A Site-Specific Art-Installation

The WTL site-specific art-installation at Inglenook Community High School, however, brought the blog’s narrative to life by inviting the audience to the (symbolic) site of inquiry. Here, unlike the blog, the immediacy and detailed dialogue in this space of actuality was an experience unmatched by the virtual dialogue I acquired. Within a four-hour exhibit period over two days, I was immersed in discussions ranging from the personal to the technical including constructive criticisms of the installation design.

 

Was my experience an isolated incident? (See the About section)

No.

Learners from the public, private and alternative sectors that participated in this inquiry shared common opinions: a successful learning experience depended largely on a creative, empathic and passionate educator who presents course material in a challenging way and correlates the material with real-world experiences; group dialogue also figured significantly in the appeal of a course; and, the liberty to express themselves aesthetically and verbally without negative consequence was a condition that for many also had a distinctive impact.

 

Future documentation

Much thought has arisen regarding how media on the topic of education can evolve. Where I was once consumed with a cynical belief that public education was impenetrable to change, I have since discovered that new, creative methodologies are emerging. These are the stories that need to be shared. While there has been a wealth of value in learning where flaws and successes lie for educators and learners, a focus on new solutions to an old system will hopefully motivate further conversation and actions in the direction of positive and transformative change.

 

Front page image “A Well Worn Masonic Gavel” BY

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 (citizenshift.org), 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)