The last class we had in this course was not an ordinary one. Our professor invited us over at his place for a dish party. This was an amazing class for me. I’ve discovered that I, as a learner, I strive in learning communities, which is something I truly appreciated about this course in particular.
So here are some photos from our delicious party!
upper left: devouring the diverse meals prepared by my talented classmate chefs.
upper right: Mona and I engrossed in conversation about how amazing the course (and the dish party) was.
bottom left: our group reflection on our journeys in the course
bottom right: stuffed and sleepy after an amazing meal, which was how I felt until I had tea and started reflecting, at which point I became pretty energized.
After the dish party we sat down in a circle and reflected on our journey in the course. We took turns talking about what our journey was like and what we appreciated most about it.
This is more or less what I said:
I started this course not knowing what to expect, and I was okay with not knowing. Because life has taught me not to plan or expect anything and I am not the kind of person who can expect exact things, which is why the first assignment of carefully crafting statements of suspicion about this course was very difficult for me. It wasn’t easy to put myself in that mindset.
Also, the reflection points we did throughout the semester helped me connect all concepts and readings together and helped me realize how every individual looks and reads the same texts in different ways. In addition to that benefit of those reflection points, they were also kind of like walking on a path and stopping to take in the view, stopping to breathe and appreciate my surroundings on a journey rather than being goal or destination oriented. This is a fundamental point for me generally because I aim to do that on actual trips and am not at all fond of rushed reflections or rushed observations.
Something else I really attribute to my involvement and engagement in this course is the sense of community that was established literally from the first class meeting with the introduction exercises the professor did with us, and I also blogged/reflected on them previously in my first and second journal entries. The fact that we all discussed and reflected freely as a group was just beautiful and was in fact rooted in the diversity in our backgrounds, fields and experiences (which I loved by the way). It was a safe and accepting environment to share reflections, thoughts, opinions because we agreed and disagreed with one another respectfully with the mentality of being in a powerful social community, which in essence is what this course is all about. I find this to be one of the best ways to learn about social communities in education; the subject of our course.
I was always used to individual reflections, such as what I do on my blog. But I was never part of group-based reflections and that was a totally different, yet very beneficial, experience for me. I have come to love this idea so much that I think I want to incorporate in my educational philosophy (when I do teach- fingers crossed) and even at work.
I’ve noticed, and blogged previously about, how people have selective attention, not only selective retention, so instead of going into detail about it again here, here’s the blog post.
Aside from how beneficial the book review exercise was for my own knowledge, it also made me feel like I read 9 different books rather than only 1 because when we all presented our book reviews in class, I got insight and critical analysis of each one of them.