In simple terms:

This blog is about media creation and education. It follows my process of building a documentary media project for my Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON) on the topic of education, namely, how high school learners and educators interpret their environment, their work, and the system of education that they are involved in. This process is also about building a ‘bridge’ between teachers and students so that they can learn from each others experiences and hopefully understand each others position on a deeper level.

The longer version:

This blog begins with posts that describe the development of my MFA project in Documentary Media. Here, I candidly share my thoughts about how I wish to develop media on the issue of high school educational systems, how learners feel about school and how instructors interpret best methods of teaching. I came close to omitting the voices of instructors from this project as wanted ‘youth’ (the predominant recipients of high school education) to be the focal point, given that their voice is so often unheard in this realm. Instructors, however, have been offering me insight into such areas as how the ‘system’ runs, what has led them down the path of teaching as a profession, and what they feel are the ‘best’ methods of teaching which, I believe, will add a valuable angle to this thesis project.  I am also eager to discover some of their creative ideas, teaching methods and wisdom that have shaped so many young minds during their career, and continue to do so.

I love learning but I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with school. Despite having 2 university degrees and now working on my third, school has often been a struggle and a disappointment. Specifically, I have found too many teachers in my academic life to (seemingly) lack a passion for teaching. They have most often submit to the institutional method of conducting a class and expect their students to simply ‘get it’ and move on. I never ‘got it’ that easily and, as a result, the better part of my student years were spent bitter, bored, restless, stressed, scared to ask questions and feeling stupid.

As an adult, I can now see that what I needed growing up was either an alternative school, a mentor, more enthusiastic and expressive teachers or all three… and I still do. Perhaps I needed to be taught in a personalized way with someone who would be patient with me and help nurture the natural talents that I had lurking inside–mostly in the arts. Instead, I was typically forced through rote learning to ingest subjects that often made no sense to me because I had nothing to relate the subjects to; and, I could honestly care less at the time about how important they were going to be in my life… someday.

Meanwhile, plenty of fellow classmates were seemingly doing just fine. Why?

I’d love to hear what you have to say…


About the Author

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)