Monday, December 13, 2010

Sorry about all the political stuffs as of late but wait a minute one more thing: an interesting little editorial from Sunday's paper about the Obama tax cuts. Instead of politics, Ishmael Reed uses sociology and race to explain Obama's compromise. "What Progressives Don't Understand About Obama." Psychology and class are useful ways to talk about politics, don't you think?


Tomorrow morning will be the end of the digital photography class where there were three students who needed my help. Five actually, but by the three quarter point two of them mysteriously disappeared. Like Batman. Feedback and critique is mostly what will take place on the last class, but like a lot of critiques, it's mostly the teacher who does the talking. In my experience with writing workshops, a helpful critique depends mostly on if the other people in the room are interested in each other, and by extension, each others work. In a studio class (as opposed to a seminar) where everybody is just trying to keep up, it doesn't leave much time for developing group dynamics. Then again, like the current incarnation of my creative writing class, even though we've had plenty of time to 'bond' the workshop hasn't exactly gelled. There are too many variables to possibly understand why some groups work and some don't. Maybe it's a time issue or an effort issue or a homework issue or a confidence issue or a scheduling issue or an economic issue or a personal issue or a teacher issue or an attendance issue or a classroom issue or not. I'd be lying if I said I didn't take it personally, and there lies the problem. And the solution.

One of the students that I've been supporting in the digital photography class has been having trouble with the instructor's critiques, not exactly satisfied with the idea of talking about possible interpretations rather than hard line direction as to what she should or should not include in the photograph. The idea that our creative decisions are our own rather than the jurisdiction of larger governing aesthetic bodies; idea of classics, and canons, and way that things should be. Rather, with this instructors critique, the road to justified creative decisions begins with the awareness of possible interpretations. That you can't control something if you don't know it exists. An approach I tend to favor but for many students coming from East Asia, this is strange way to go about education. "It's the American style!" Freedom to figure things out on our own. And the freedom to fail if we don't have enough time and/or money to do so.

Whew. Back to normal a gray day in San Francisco it's the last week of the semester. Today I'll go to my story boarding support class and watch final projects. I probably will not be needed to reiterate whatever feedback comes up from American English into International English but it will be fun to see the culmination of the students' work this semester, short films shot with a Super 8 camera. Come home and do laundry. Finish reading the Sunday paper. Tuesday afternoon I'll finish the pronunciation classes I've been running, and on Thursday and Friday I'll finish in the writing lab. As the main even,on Thursday and Friday I'll finish my creative writing and rhetoric classes. Mucho change coming very soon. "Preparing for the dive is always a tense time." samples the Boards of Canada. It's been a pretty good semester. I'll be sad to see it go.