For our final group project, we have all decided to go with writing an anthology based on the many stages of growth in life. In the anthology of our existence, our chapters will stand out as defining moments, each contributing to the rich narrative of our personal stories. One such chapter revolves around the profound experience of my sister’s car accident, a memoir that encapsulates the essence of unyielding faith amid times of uncertainty.
In the grand tapestry of life, uncertainty often takes center stage, demanding resilience and an unwavering belief that everything will unfold like it’s supposed to be. The story unfolds on a fateful night, October 24, 2021, under the sky with stars, and the world is quiet, unaware of the storm that is about to descend upon our lives.
My sister, Denise, finds herself at the center of a catastrophic car accident, an event that would reshape the course of my family’s narrative. As I drive to the scene, the world blurs into a surreal haze, reflecting the emotional turmoil. The hospital waiting room became a battleground of fear and anticipation, and as my parents arrived, the grim reality revealed that Denise was paralyzed from the neck down.
In the anthology of life, such moments stand as pivotal chapters, pushing us to grapple with the fragility of our existence and the unpredictable nature of destiny. The night of the accident transforms into a testament to the human spirit’s resilience. The city lights once blurred in the urgency of fear, now twinkle with a promise of a new beginning. The road ahead, though uncertain, stretches into a horizon of possibilities, echoing the sentiment that everything will unfold as it is supposed to be.
This story will be a moving chapter in our Stages of Growth anthology that mirrors the various stages we navigate, from the innocence of childhood to the complexities of adulthood. It stands as a testament to the importance of unyielding faith and growth during times of uncertainty, a guiding principle that becomes more profound as we move through the stages of life.
With just one week remaining in the semester, I’m excited for our upcoming Monday class, where we will share our contributions, exchange feedback, and discuss role assignments for the production of our anthology book/website. I’m interested in contributing to the creation of the table of contents page for our class anthology book or the layout of the website, which will serve as a platform to showcase all of our contributions.
December it what I always call the end of the semester rush. It’s literally the most wonderful and stressful time of the year. At the time being, I find myself tying up all loose ends and finishing all of my submissions. Not new updates to really update here other than I am working on my thesis proposal, and my final self-assessment narrative. I look forward to the one-on-one counseling next week to conclude any final thoughts and questions I have. I look forward to closing out this Fall Semester as I anticipate my final semester as a graduate student (eeeekkkkk!) Lots of look forward to, and lots to come. Stay tuned :p
As we stand near the semester’s conclusion, it’s both a reflective and anticipatory moment. The journey we’ve collectively undertaken in our graduate course has been of intellectual exploration and growth. As we approach the final group project, I am excited by the diverse and imaginative ideas many of you have suggested for the group project.
In these final weeks, the spotlight falls on our final group projects, innovative endeavors that encapsulate not just the knowledge we’ve acquired but the spirit of collaboration and creativity that defines our cohort.
Although I missed class last week, I looked over the workshop brainstorming notes from the previous class. I was excited to see that we all have a connection with the most exciting ideas, the learning outcomes, and how we can make this group project count in a meaningful way that matters most to each of us individually. I recognized the profound connections with the themes we’ve explored in class: Identity, Multiculturalism and multilingualism, AI, Voice, Healing, Trauma and writing, and Pedagogy of the oppressed. These thematic intersections provide a wide-array framework for our project, ensuring that it aligns not only with our collective interests but also a pathway for creating something that resonates on a personal and profound level.
As I consider how we can make this project impactful, I find myself driven by a desire to venture into the creative realm. I envision crafting a project that transcends the typical academic endeavor, a work that involves both academic exploration and personal, creative growth. This project represents an opportunity to generate content worthy of inclusion on my CV, portfolio, or website, serving as a testament to my academic proficiency and ability to engage with thought-provoking themes in a creative manner.
I enjoyed reading through everyone’s final project suggestions. I thought Michael’s idea of creating a curriculum was creative and innovative. It presents an opportunity for us to apply the readings to theoretical concepts we studied throughout the semester in a practical and impactful way. Crafting a curriculum becomes a channel for our understanding of writing pedagogy, theory, and creative expression into a dynamic learning experience.
I also enjoyed Fran’s suggestion of writing a fictional story inspired by a real-life struggle that we have encountered, then giving our story to a classmate who will read it, digest the emotional appeal, and then write a poem that reflects the emotions they had felt while reading it.
The idea of swapping papers and having a classmate respond with a reflective poem introduces an outsider’s perspective. This element of the project encourages a mutual exchange of empathy and understanding. As writers, we often get absorbed in our narratives, and having someone else articulate the emotions they felt while reading our stories can offer new perspectives and illuminate aspects of our struggles that we might not have recognized.
The incorporation of poetry as a response adds a layer of artistic expression. Poetry has a unique ability to distill complex emotions into concise and powerful language. The poems generated through this project will serve not only as reflections of our classmates’ emotional responses but also as creative pieces in their own right, offering a different medium through which to explore and communicate the shared human experience.
This project aligns with the goals of our writing and theory course by integrating theoretical concepts into a practical, creative context. This idea is a meaningful and holistic exploration of personal narratives and creative expression. It has the potential to deepen the understanding of ourselves, and the powerful connection between writing, theory, and the human experience.
I’m open to exploring any additional final project ideas that may arise, and I’m excited about working on this group project with all of you!
This week, taking a break from my literature review I drafted up my methodology section for my proposal. Using the guidelines I put together what I have below, hopefully it is okay. Looking forward to feedback on Tuesday’s night class:
For my thesis project, Dr. Zamora recommended employing the autoethnography methodology, a qualitative research approach favored by scholars interested in vividly describing and evoking the intricate tapestry of lived experiences. Autoethnography aims to weave compelling narratives that illuminate specific phenomena encountered in the research setting. When applied to a memoir study, this methodology facilitates a nuanced understanding of the author’s experiences, emotions, and the cultural influences shaping the narrative. Incorporating insights from literature reviews, encompassing works ranging from Emily Ratajkowski’s writings to Sylvia Plath, my scholarly and writer influences play a pivotal role in shaping my own work. These influences guide me as I curate and compose vignettes that collectively narrate my women’s experiences. In alignment with the autoethnography methodology, my reflections on personal experiences and motivations associated with exploring the theme of womanhood form a crucial foundation for my thesis. By infusing emotions linked to pivotal events and considering their intersection with the narrative and my personal identity, I establish a meaningful connection between this research methodology and my thesis. Autoethnography enables a harmonious integration of my personal experiences with relevant literature and theories. Delving into how scholars, writers, and researchers have approached similar themes related to my topic has proven invaluable. This exploration serves to position my memoir within the broader context of existing academic discourse, fostering a more profound engagement with the subject matter.
I think as of now, I’ve made a lot of progress. I do think my lit review is done (for now) since the semester is coming to a close and I do now have to work on putting my proposal together. For the lit review I followed the same format that I used in Dr. Nelson’s class last semester. I assume that is the same format I will use when it comes to submitting the entire proposal?
I did take a small break on writing the vignettes/essays. I plan on utilizing my winter break time to kind of get back in touch, focus, and write some more again. If I write anything right now, I feel like it will come off forced and therefore it won’t be as organic or as good as I want it to be. I wouldn’t say it’s a writers block, but I do have a block as of right now because of the end of the semester rush, and of course because of work. But I will get back to it, just need to find that right time again. I am constantly utilizing my notes app to write down ideas or writing that comes to my mind late at night or after driving. Can’t wait to get back to that part again.
Last week I took the time to finalize my outline. It’s still in a rough phase but this is my second time reviewing it. I feel it is good enough for me to start working on the Literature review now and figuring out how to piece this all together. Last semester in 5002 we worked on a Literature for our research proposal and I will be takin that approach as I am comfortable and familiar.
This week I am going to start working on my introduction section and really get a good strong thesis statement solidified. My main focuses with is thesis will be the integration of technology into early childhood education and the improvement of tech tools being used as well. this gives my research so clarity, but still keeps my main topics open to many sources I can choose from.
I have confirmed 5 solid sources that I can put into my annotated bibliography to start the process on that piece of the literature review. I have about 25 sources all together to sort through, and see what I would still need to to gather. I want to do that this week along with my introduction and the start of the annotated bibliography an keep me in a rhythm if I can do about 3-4 sources a week.
Overall I am very confident in the work I plan to present in this literature review and feel I just need to now start. the writing to allow my self enough time to thoroughly edit my work and really get the key details fully expressed. This process has been a but easier than I thought it would be as I have really taken time to get into my work and have used the 5 hour a week method of working on my thesis work. The biggest issue I am noticing is organization of the sources but I feel I will eliminate this as I start the annotated bibliography and I can have my sources in one place to refer to and access. I am excited to see my final result and how this work all comes together.
As our class delves into the topic of writing and multicultural/multilingualism this week, we are guiding through the profound insights found in Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks and Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva. These readings offer unique perspectives on education, urging us to reconsider traditional approaches and embrace the changes in the education system over the years.
In Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Hooks challenges the lack of practical discussions on teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. This observation resonates with the education system, highlighting the need for a more inclusive and diverse pedagogical approach. The emphasis on multiculturalism as recognition, acceptance, and preservation of diverse cultures underscores the importance of moving beyond a singular perspective. Hooks urges educators to courageously embrace the reality that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, encouraging a shift towards valuing multiple perspectives.
I agree with Bell Hooks statement when she mentions:
“To hear each other … to listen to one another, is an exercise in recognition.”
The idea of Hooks’s pedagogy is the importance of voice. Hooks is critical of Paulo Freire’s traditional “banking concept of education,” in which students are passive and silent learners. She argues that all students should have a voice in the classroom to share their own experiences, ideas, and beliefs. Equally important to Hooks is that students learn to listen to one another. When students hear and understand voices besides their own, it allows them to recognize and acknowledge that the classroom is a community.
Looking back at my undergraduate years, I remember how I was required to take a multicultural education course myself. Not that I didn’t know this before, but it was in this class that I understood and became aware of the importance of including every student’s perspectives, cultural backgrounds, and individual experiences. This course served as a pivotal moment of enlightenment, revealing the significance of fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment. It not only broadened my understanding of diverse cultures but also emphasized the need for educators to go beyond the differences of every student.
I enjoyed reading Bell Hooks perspective on Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom as she challenges educators to reassess their pedagogical approaches, advocating for a transformative education that values diversity, embraces multiple perspectives, and fosters a sense of community and shared goals. Her insights prompt us to reflect on how we can contribute to creating more inclusive and empowering learning environments.
Moving onto our next assigned article for this week, Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva, the authors delve into the complexities faced by tutors working with ESL students. The central theme revolves around the challenges in determining whether a student’s difficulties lie in language proficiency or writing skills. The authors emphasize on the intricate negotiation process between tutors and students when establishing the tutoring agenda. Harris and Silva make an impactful statement when they mention the possible issues ESL Students and tutors can come across:
“So when the tutor and student negotiate the agenda of what they’ll work on, the tutor has to do some assessment about a variety of things, including some sense of what skills the student has or doesn’t have, not an easy matter when it might be that the writer’s low level of language proficiency, not weak writing skills, is causing the problem.
For example, does the thin, undeveloped two-paragraph essay an ESL student brings in indicate the need to talk about how to develop topics or is the student’s lack of language proficiency in English keeping her from expressing a rich internal sense of what she wants to write about? As tutors we know that our conversation would take on a somewhat different emphasis depending on our analysis of the situation. The question then becomes one of how to decide whether the student needs help with language or with writing processes.”
A critical question by Harris and Silva revolves around the tutor’s ability to determine whether a student requires assistance primarily with language proficiency or the writing process. Tutors face the challenge of navigating this intricate relationship to identify the specific causes of a student’s writing difficulties. This can be a pivotal point for tutors, urging them to cultivate a solid understanding of language nuances and be discerning when language challenges might mask the student’s genuine writing capabilities. Harris and Silva stress the tutor’s multifaceted role, emphasizing the importance of a nuanced assessment that connects language proficiency and writing skills. The authors highlight the dynamic nature of this assessment, urging tutors to adapt their approaches to cater to each student’s unique needs.
The article Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva serves as a valuable resource for tutors, offering insights into the complexities of working with ESL students. They provide guidance on navigating the delicate balance between language proficiency and writing skills, emphasizing the importance of tailored tutoring approaches that address the unique needs of each student in this diverse and dynamic educational world.
This might be a bit of a repeat, but I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into some of the topics I wrote about back in August on future seasons. With that post, I touched more on how the future and the dreams and fulfillment of desires God’s planted in us all start where we are right now. But what about the things we don’t see happening? Can we trust our own intuition and foresight to determine whether or not something is worth investing in right now?
I’d say that sometimes intuition like this makes sense– God gave it to us for a reason, after all. But here’s the catch: He also tells us explicitly not to lean on our own understanding.
I recently rewatched Hacksaw Ridge with my parents. The thought hardly occurred to me because of the sheer faith Andrew Garfield portrayed Desmond Doss to have— that I’m sure the real Desmond Doss did have,— but it occurs to me now in hindsight: did Doss really believe the whole time, with His whole heart, that he could survive World War II without a single weapon? Though the movie is little more than an adapted reenactment, Garfield (as Doss) still seemed to demonstrate a tinge of fear in his eyes– the doubt that he might not make it because he couldn’t see a way out with his own mind or two eyes. He was pressed with this very human understanding of how a soldier should operate when at war. He was given little else to remind him of why he chose to contribute to the war efforts other than his wife’s bible with a photo of her tucked inside. He was surrounded by human understanding while likely already wrestling his own. But his heart saw that way out, and that way through the atrocities of war unarmed was The Way.
See, I think we often get stuck in places God is trying to call us out of because we focus too much on our own foresight. I’ve been— I am— quite guilty of that. I can’t even tell you how many ideas for businesses, paintings, prints, sculptures, poems, essays, etc. swirl around my mind on a daily basis. I can tell you that the myriad of ideas narrows incredibly when considering the ones that come to any sort of fruition. Why? Because I doubt the idea. Because I doubt myself and my abilities. Because I doubt my resources. Because I doubt that the people around me actually want to help me out, or I doubt my worth to them. My foresight is clouded with doubt.
And ultimately all this doubt is rooted in the doubts I wrestle with almost daily about God— whether regarding His provision, sovereignty, or His very existence depends on the day, the season, etc. The point is that even I, as a believer in Jesus Christ, doubt my God. I would tend to say that any believer that claims to never doubt Him in any capacity is a liar. There are fearsome things in the world, and fear is doubt that things will not work out (in whatever capacity is irrelevant to this point). In the case of Israel right now, there are countless Israelis being held captive by Hamas right now in fear of never making it back to their families— doubting they will see their loved ones again. In the much less tragic case that I brought up in a previous post about my fear of becoming a mother (Lord willing), I’m most afraid of it because I doubt myself most in my ability to be that gentle and understand my child’s needs before they can communicate it all for themselves (in part because I have trouble truly expressing things myself, often times).
And it’s hard to express doubt when it feels like everyone around you is so knowledgeable and strong in their faith. I get it, I’m there all the time. I will straight up be in my Wednesday Bible study listening to someone pour out some insane wisdom and there will be a voice screaming from a cage in the back of my head something along the lines of “you do not really believe these fairy tales, do you?” Even as someone who writes and ponders and posts all about my faith, I still have my doubts— but I have a stronger desire to believe than the enemy clearly has to take me down.
What we don’t believe will or could happen may be exactly what God has in store for us. Did Job really expect to go through all he did? I’m willing to bet not! Through the process of all Job goes through, he doubts God’s goodness. Job doubts his worth, wishing he’d never been born. Job falls into misery and despair in the midst of all the loss and afflictions he endures. Job is confused and angry wondering why God would allow this or what he did to deserve it. Yet he was taken through day by day, and what I think is interesting is something Tim Keller once pointed out:
So when things don’t seem to be going the way you might hope, or whatever God’s spoken over your life just doesn’t seem possible… wrestle with that doubt. Wrestle with God as Jacob did with one of His angels and then named the descendants of Jacob accordingly– the Israelites. That wrestling process is going to look different for everyone. Personally it most often comes in my racing and intrusive thoughts that I’m constantly having to examine and/or replace with the Word and its hermeneutical contexts. I’m still reading Faith: A Journey for All by President Jimmy Carter, and just came up to a part where Carter expresses some of the doubts he faced after leaving the navy and even more so after losing Georgia’s gubernatorial election in 1966. While Carter was third in the governor’s race, the man that topped him and another opponent, Lester Maddox, was “an avowed segregationist” who “proudly displayed [the] political symbol… a pick handle that he used to drive potential black customers from the door of his restaurant in Atlanta.” But the thought that Jimmy mentions that I think we’ve all had at a time or two in our lives is this: how could God let that person get what I would’ve been better for?
See, it would make sense that God would want to heal racial tensions (as demonstrated by Jesus going to the Samaritan woman at the well as Jews and Samaritans of the time were two races at odds with one another). In fact, I’d argue that He does want that– He wants His children to be one Church, and one body, meaning every member works cohesively no matter how different… that’s how we were designed to work anyway. But because the world and our flesh is corrupted, that isn’t always the case.
But let’s go back to the question that we so often seem to ask ourselves when we don’t get the position or the relationship or the anything we strived so hard for:
How could God let that person get what I would’ve been better for? What I would’ve used more wisely? What I worked so hard for?…
And before I elaborate at all, let me just drop this gem here that does most of the elaboration for me:
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I think Paul makes the point here pretty clear: you may think you’re better for the job, but you’re not. God’s plan is the best plan, because He’s after more than just solving the problem. He’s after more than just the surface-level healing we’re so often after. He’s after more than the quick fix. God is more than a band-aid on a bullet hole. He is the God of redemption, and redemption is not something that can only be done in part. He is the God of salvation, and being saved is not something that can only be done in part. He is pure and righteous, and as James points out in his epistle, “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”
So while it grieves Him to see us all at odds with one another or it may not be His favorite thing to allow such people as Maddox to hold power over arguably “better” people as President Carter (even though I don’t agree with many of his actions in office), it would grieve Him more that we weren’t given the opportunity to seek and find Him as many are driven to do when things are not ideal. It would grieve Him more for us to be eternally separated from Him at the end of time. It would grieve Him more that He did not try to love us, to make Himself known to us, or to save us from ourselves. In fact, if He didn’t allow many of these hard things as a means to seek and to save more people, I’d argue it would go directly against His very nature because God is love. And while love is indeed patient and kind, it is also [from a broken, human perspective] a difficult thing to live out. Love is a lifestyle, and at the core of that is God Himself doing a sanctifying work within us Christians so that we might live with Him forever in heaven. It’s too easy to lose sight of that bigger picture– that He is looking to bring all to salvation and make peace within each of us that allow Him to because He sees the deeper root of all our issues better than we ever could.
And I think that’s why, although I struggle deeply with having the faith to do this, we need to step out into things that don’t make sense just a little more often. I like the practical. Though I’m not great at it, math is in many ways something I appreciate because it doesn’t change. I could have remained with my former interest in STEM but I didn’t. In part this is because I simply realized I was a bit better with artistic endeavors such as writing, but in part I think I appreciated the mildly abstract that could form from such concrete experiences in my life. Among those concrete experiences now is my walk with Christ. He is solid and reliable and does not change, and yet there is this beautifully abstract element to Him. Perhaps this abstract quality is merely the limitations of my human understanding in trying to comprehend such a great God, but regardless it’s beautiful and something I love to explore in my study, worship, and prayer here with you.
And I encourage you to pray and seek Him in some of those things that might not make sense to you. Not everything will come to fruition the way you imagine it will, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about God’s plan. Though it seems our sin leaves us with no way of redemption, though the disciples had gone into hiding knowing the Messiah was dead, He rose again and in doing so brought us redemption. Now that’s an ending I don’t think anyone would have expected– hardly anyone did it seems, even with all the scriptures prophesying how Christ would die, and that He would not stay dead. And this is Truth spoken over you. God’s word is as good as done so even when it seems that things aren’t going great to you, don’t lean on your own understanding of the situation, the human point of view is not only limited but (on this side of eternity) largely tainted by sin. God’s point of view is greater; it accounts for even the smallest details we wouldn’t think matter and ties it all together perfectly for the good of those who love Him and respond to His call. Trust that. Trust Him. He won’t fail you, even if what He’s asking you to do doesn’t make sense to you or anyone else. God’s been at this for a long time (like, literal eternity kinda long time). He knows what He’s doing. Trust Him, and lean into that– into Him.
Spent this week starting to organize my literature review, and looking closely at my strategy of achieving my thesis goal. Picked up more information during this week from different articles, but I am seeing how intense it can get with organizing the work you find and the places you want to be able to go back for reference. Really seeing how detailed this work will be is helping me to extra organized in my work.
I have began writing blog post in my words document on my computer so I’m rushing to have content once I pick the platform I want to use to show my work. I want that to be decided by the end of this semester so over the winter break I am Abel to start posting and creating content more consistently, with any media form I choose. A lot will be writing and just expressing the important aspects of technology in early childhood education and parenting. The coming of the education and parenting communities is what my blog will focus on with a specific focus on technology and different aspects in their realm.
Overall feeling very confident in the work that I am producing and I do see how I am able to find so much information on my topic and I am starting to find new things that spark interest to me, or I have heard nothing about. Deciding which information to keep and focus on is very relaxed due to the idea I am presenting. There are so many sub categories to touch upon and I want to chose those that most interest me. I am narrowing those down which will be how I will be presenting my literature review.
I don’t have much to talk about this week, because there isn’t much static now. From last weeks post I’ve been centering around my thesis around those themes. I am working on my literature review now and just siting down, collecting, and writing. I present next Tuesday (11/14). So I will also be working on that over this week and weekend. I am excited to share what I have, read a bit, and just really give a glimpse of what my thesis will be about.
The official class site for Dr. Mia Zamora’s Spring 2023 "Networked Narratives" course.