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!