Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking with the Learner with Professor Robin Dash by Sadye Sagov

Sadye Sagov shares her EL experience:
"Looking with the learner was an amazing class and one of my favorites taken at Brandeis so far. For the first five weeks we had free reign in the Rose Art museum as it was prepared for the newest exhibit. Each class we were given a prompt and then explored different media both individually and as a group. No one had to be an artist we just played with art, interpreted the painting that slowly began to fill the walls, and formed a group dynamic that needed to be present for the next layer of the course. 

For the next five weeks we added the teaching practicum component. Each Monday we met sixteen students from the Stanley School and walked back to the Rose in pairs. We had the same learner every week, and although it was short, we really developed rituals and relationships. After eating hot bread with honey, donated by Iggy’s, and fresh fruit often picked from an orchard, we moved into the museum to begin our explorations of the art with our children. 

We gave the children prompts, but also allowed a lot of freedom— to discover new spaces in the museum, try new materials, interpret assignments in their own ways, in the same model that we were taught in the first weeks of class. Every week we wrote a journal reflection about our experiences as being both a teacher and a learner, the next week we were handed a detailed and receptive response almost equal in length to our own. Instead of a final paper or exam we presented our experience to the class and had a final meeting with Robin. We learned from experience not a textbook. We gained tangible knowledge that reaches far beyond this class. We developed creative problem solving that as our teacher says is “essential to both teaching and learning,” got to know our peers and professor on another level working with them rather than next to them, and explored the museum- an extension of the school that is too often ignored."

Freshman Yifan Wang Shares Her Experiential Learning from Professor Goldin's Class

"We learned environmental issues from nature, and we applied our knowledge in real life. In this Greening the Ivory Tower class with Professor Goldin, we went on many feild trips. For me, from the biggest city in China, Shanghai, this experience really opened my eyes. I believe many other students have the same feeling. Sometimes I even get really into nature because it makes me forget life's worries. I remembered in our final presentation, many students realized that to say that they will carry out something is easy, but when really doing the project, we met a lot of troubles we never expected. So this class gave us really good chance to really make a dream come true, to experience failure, and the process of working it out- all in our own semester long experiential projects. 

In our organic farm trip, we held chickens and hollered with turkeys, we did planting, and tasted fresh organic local food. I still remember the excited appearance from the curious eyes and laughters of my classmates. That's just beautiful! Also, in this class, I made a lot of good friends. Nothing is better to build friendship than experiencing something together. We went to different places every week; everyone donated their passion, intelligence and good ideas to solve problems, which made the projects come to life finally.

I was motivated to do the video documentary project because I believe after a semester, there must be more miracles going to happen. Also, I hope this movie can be a beautiful memory for our class and I want to affect more people in Brandeis and beyond and let them learn from us and make some change as well.

So many my first time exprience happened in this class. I have never imagined in one specific class, that I could make so many friends, get this close to nature in our community and listen to it from my deep heart, and finish with my project: the video. Thanks to professor Laura Goldin's magic to make everythig so organized that the projects can make progress. She's so great, what's more, she makes others great!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Waltham Committee at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis

"Committee member Rajashree Ghosh leads our growing connections with the offices of Experiential Learning and Community Service, and is the committee’s contact person with faculty, students and staff at the university. Rajashree reports that “There have been tremendous efforts by the Brandeis entities in engaging with Waltham as much as we at WSRC have had. As a first step I initiated conversations with members of the Brandeis community in an effort to share and learn from our mutual experiences. My in depth conversations with Audra Grady, who is the Program Administrator for Experiential Learning at Brandeis University, led to her participation in our meetings and events.  I have also initiated discussions with faculty members at Brandeis. It is during these discussions an opportunity to present my work on social development in India presented itself.  I was invited by Prof. Laura Goldin to speak to students in Women, Environment and Social Justice on March 2, 2010. Her testimony represents ongoing and continued efforts to connect with Brandeis faculty and students.”
Rajashree also writes a monthly column in the Waltham edition of  Her article “Investing in Community,” (from Oct. 20, 2009) is HERE."
Check out the article here:

Greening Project Showcase with Professor Laura Goldin's Students

Laura Goldin's class Greening the Ivory Tower is a great experiential learning class. On campus, the class examines the University’s buildings, grounds, operations and infrastructure -- from energy use and sewage disposal to landscaping and food services -- to identify and analyze the environmental impacts created by the campus population. Students work in groups to conceive, design and implement workable “greening” projects intended to create measurable benefits to the campus and local community, collaborating with Brandeis administration, staff, local officials and others. Toward the end of the fall semester, students presented their project work at the Greening Project Showcase.  Students also created Greening Class Project websites residing on the Brandeis University website to serve as a resource to the community.

A student in this class, Yifan Wang, created her final project as a video including all the class projects throughout the semester. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Day of Experiential Learning

The 2010 Experiential Learning Expo
On October 21, I attended the Experiential Learning Expo, held in the Shapiro Campus Center. I talked to two different students who went abroad over the summer. Each had very different enriching and interesting experiences.
Shannon Festin ’12 is a Health: Science, Society and Policy major. For eight weeks over the summer, she interned with Las Damas Voluntaries at El Hospital Nacional de Los Ninos in San Jose, Costa Rica. Shannon found her internship through researching the AIDE website. She ultimately decided she wanted to go to Costa Rica for two reasons: to improve her Spanish skills and, more specifically, to explore why Costa Rica is known as having a health care system that is comparable to that of the United States.
Shannon Festin '12 speaks about her internship at a hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica
She discovered that the reasons had to do with Costa Rica’s greater focus on health and education – not as much money goes to the military as is does in the U.S. From this experience, Festin realized that she wants to work in health care in her future career, particularly with marginalized groups and children. The children who she cared for in the hospital had a range of illnesses, from cancer to burns, as well as children with Down’s syndrome and other complications from birth. Festin decided to intern abroad rather than in the U.S. because she wanted to see another country’s health care system and study how a country’s culture impacts the health of its citizens.   For example, according to Festin, Costa Rica is more “laid-back” than the U.S., as well as more focused on family and religion. It was interesting to her to explore the different ways in which these factors influence the health care system in that nation.
Chia Jorento '11 presents on teaching children English in Siena, Italy
Chia Jorento ’11 is an English and Italian Studies double major. This past spring and summer, she lived in Siena, Italy. She studied abroad in the spring and then stayed on for the summer with Hiatt’s World of Work summer funding program. Jorento found this internship through her study abroad program, which had an internship component. For the summer, she stayed with the same organization she interned with during the spring semester. As someone with a strong interest in education, Jorento had an enriching experience teaching English to 3rd and 4thgraders. She prepared materials, worked with the kids to perform skits and scenes in English, and recorded language videos to help her students learn English. In her Brandeis classes, Jorento still has the opportunity to speak Italian regularly. Through this experience, Jorento had a change in life plans. She now knows that she wants to live abroad after graduation, preferably in Siena. She is passionate about education and hopes to teach long-term.
The Experiential Learning Expo was a great opportunity to see the work that other students have done while abroad. It was interesting to see how these experiences have influenced the career plans of these two presenters. Working abroad gives one the opportunity to be deeply involved in another culture, an experience that Brandeis students should not pass up.

Friday, November 5, 2010

3 Brandeis Students Win Best in Class Conference Grant

Brandeis EL Practicum Students For Soc191a Win Best in Class Conference Grant. The grant, though modest, signifies major ways in which Experiential Learning is gaining force.

Recipients include Caitlin Abber, Hannah katcoff, and Anna Homitsky.

Their project is to create a booklet promoting preventative medicine and health literacy to be used at the Joseph Smith Community Health Center and distributed throughout Waltham more generally.

Congrats Ladies from everyone supporting you in Experiential Learning!

Waltham Recycling Department's Tips or Fall By Sarit Luban

Sarit Luban Class of 2011 is a current Environmental Studies (ENVS89a class with Professor Laura Goldin) intern, and Eileen Zubrowski is the head of the Waltham Recycling Department and her supervisor. Eileen's ENVS interns have been helping to keep the Waltham Recycling Dept in operation for years, since she has little other staff support. Here is an example of great work Brandeis Experiential Learning students are doing- check out this article and tips on recycling.