Appendix E: Written assignments.Institute writing assignments are based primarily on the City as Text[TM] learning strategies, which are Mapping, Observing, Listening, and Reflecting, described in Appendix D. Assignments are site-specific, growing out of the places, people, and events explored and observed. The major focus is to help participants, or explorers, decipher how space becomes place in human cultures. General framing instructions include what to look at, how to take notes, and how to think about the implications of those notes. Some focus for the exploration is also given, such as evidence for economic status, religious activity, recreational options, and aesthetic expressions: the elements of local culture that might help answer the question, "What is it like to live here, and for whom?" Participants are also asked to place themselves in the context of what they observe as participant-observers and to examine the lens or mindset mind·set or mind-set
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit. through which they make observations. Participants share aloud all or portions of their writing with the entire group.
There are several observation exercises during an institute, a structural element replicating the student learning cycles in semester-long courses; these illustrate the benefits of recursive See recursion.
recursive - recursion activities such as exploration, note taking, interpretive and analytical writing, and self-reflection. Together these exercises constitute a combination of field investigation and ethnographic inquiry, but with a heavy admixture of self-reflective examination of the constitutive constitutive /con·sti·tu·tive/ (kon-stich´u-tiv) produced constantly or in fixed amounts, regardless of environmental conditions or demand. lens and the nature of how we construct meaning out of experience. All institute assignments lend themselves to student projects at home institutions or studies off campus. Specifics vary at different sites, but the following are examples of forms and formats most frequently used.
Participants are divided into groups of two or three for the initial walkabouts, which are exercises meant to hone observational skills as the participant-explorers scan a particular environment and discover its structural principles. Groups are assigned a specific destination, where they probe beneath the surface impressions to develop a sense of the hidden reality or underlying organization. On the streets, group members choose a specific scene, an event or interaction, or a group of people to observe more closely. These exercises involve observing and then describing and analyzing how people in the specific location or cultural setting make private use of public space (a family having a picnic in a cemetery, children playing Album Info
Museums are particularly significant locations for this type of investigation. Participants not only consider the objects and images on display but examine how these are displayed, what information is provided about them, patterns of groupings, etc. Participants might also observe who is visiting a particular museum (e.g., age groups, ethnic groups, socio-economic class Noun 1. socio-economic class - people having the same social, economic, or educational status; "the working class"; "an emerging professional class"
social class, stratum, class , likely relationships if any, locals or tourists) and note how these people address the invitation to see.
These apparently simple assignments are collected in field laboratory notebooks, which are most fruitful when detailed and conscious. When participants share their observation essays with the rest of their own group and hear reports from other groups, they find differences among the observers and discover the importance of expectation and lens for both the perceptions and the analysis of events recorded. Participants are forced to examine and reflect on their own way of seeing. Some writers realize for the first time that even the selection of an interaction or person to observe is an act of interpretation that provokes self-reflection.
Turning Point, or Critical Incident, Essays
This lengthier essay is an occasion for participants to understand more deeply how meaning derives from context. Participants typically review past observation exercises, readings, and seminar interactions, reflecting on how their own seeing and understanding of this specific place has changed since their arrival. This assignment asks participants to describe a scene, an event, or other occasion that gave them a shift in perspective or a new insight into the location, its people, art, psychology, or culture. What were the elements that might have precipitated this shift or epiphany? Again, participants should engage in self-reflection about their impressions, considering their own lens, and ask the question, "What made me think so?" This part of the process is a search for evidence to support conclusions buried in their analysis and an opportunity to consider possible provocations for attitudinal shifts that have occurred to open this site to the participant-observer writing about a complex experience.
n. pl. my·thoi
3. The pattern of basic values and attitudes of a people, characteristically transmitted through myths and the arts. , Logos, and Ethos: Ethnographic Writing
This assignment has its genesis in the works of N. Scott Momaday and Suzanne Evertsen Lundquist, as well as NCHC's City as Text[TM] and Honors Semesters. The objective is to enable participants to examine the richness of a particular place from the standpoint of myth, history, and self-reflection. The writing approach is patterned on Momaday's structure and technique in The Way to Rainy Mountain Rainy Mountain is a rounded hill standing northwest apart from the main Wichita Mountains in Kiowa County, Oklahoma. It was a prominent landmark for the Plains Indians on the southern plains. .
Momaday, a Kiowa, creates a picture of self-reflective, connected knowing--that is, a depiction of an individual's process of locating himself in reference to the nature and culture of a specific place while at the same time helping to define that place by means of self-reflection, imagination, and language. In very brief tri-part sections, The Way to Rainy Mountain traces the mythic origins and migration of the Kiowas from the northern plains to Oklahoma, presents historical references to the Kiowa culture, and explores Momaday's own journey and perceptions as he places a self-created version of himself in the context of that culture as participant-observer.
During the field experiences of an institute, participants collect material for a tri-part essay, roughly approximating Momaday's juxtaposition of myth, history, and personal reflections, focusing on some specific part of the literal terrains visited during the institute as text. Each member of the cohort is asked to compose an essay involving three entities that are separate yet connected: a brief myth or legend (mythos); a brief historical event/building/account/commentary (logos) related to the myth; and, a somewhat longer autobiographical reflection (ethos) that is related (sometimes literally, sometimes intuitively) to the mythological and the historical accounts and has in some way given the person new insight into the specific location. Participants are encouraged, but not required to vary genres (such as poetry, drama, etc.) and types of narrators for each of the three sections.
Projects for Home Campuses
During and following the institutes, participants from varied disciplines outline writing assignments for students on their home campuses modeled on or adapted from the above-described assignments. For instance, the walkabouts followed by observation essays are often used in orientation courses to introduce new students to their campuses, the turning point essays have been adapted to students' exploring their own majors, and the ethnographic assignment has been used for everything from individual assignments to semester-long projects in courses traditionally considered as dissimilar as composition and math. Many NCHC NCHC National Center for High-Performance Computing (Taiwan)
NCHC National Coalition on Health Care
NCHC National Collegiate Honors Council
NCHC North Carolina Horse Council
NCHC North Coast Hardcore (Australia) institutional members whose faculty have participated in institutes now offer courses in their on-campus honors curricula and their international studies curricula that make use of the above assignments.
Lundquist, Suzanne Evertsen. "College Composition: An Experience in Ethnographic Thinking." Approaches to Teaching Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain. Ed. Kenneth Roemer. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : MLA MLA
Modern Language Association
MLA n abbr (BRIT POL) (= Member of the Legislative Assembly) → miembro de la asamblea legislativa
MLA (Brit , 1988. 110-115.
Momaday, N. Scott Momaday, N. (Navarre) Scott (1934– ) Kiowa writer, educator; born in Lawton, Okla. Educated first in Indian schools, he received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1963. . The Way to Rainy Mountain. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S). P, 1976.
Endnote See footnote.
(1) Bernice Braid (Long Island University) created the Observation and Turning Point essays for the first NCHC Honors Semester in 1976. Shirley Forbes Thomas (John Brown University) designed the Mythos, Logos, Ethos Writing Exercise, which she piloted in a 1994 Honors Composition course.