Iraqi / US Student Discussion Project Description

Iraq & US student conversation, exchange and design project

Purpose:
To have a conversation about how power and authority might be structured in class rooms, in this case in Iraq and the US.

Goal:

  • To investigate how education some times involves its own power structures that can reflect cultural norms
  • To promote intercultural understanding
  • To connect groups of groups student activists, so that they might discuss issues of free speech

Content:
A.  Conversations

  • As per both groups interests, we might have 3 conversations, one per week, about teaching, curriculum and student activism.
  • This first week we are focusing on Experiences in the Classroom. Please respond to the questions with a blog post as soon as possible.  The first week’s questions are found here:  http://shapeofchange.com/blog/?p=39
  • The basic structure would be to post a list of 3-5 questions at the beginning of the week.  Participants would have one week to post their answers to the word press blog site.
  • Depending on availability, participants would try to log on to skype on Wednesdays starting Wednesday July 14th at 10:00 am California time, 1 pm NYC time, 8:00 pm Iraq time for a 30 – 45 minute conversation of that weeks material.
  • Because of the difficulty some people may have with electricity and logging on to skype, the center of the conversations will be text based.

B.  Design Project
Then, we might do an exchange based design project, based on rules the groups in Iraq and the US would mutually agree on.
Project concept examples:

  1. One idea would be to do something based on the Surrealist’s idea of the Exquisite Corpse, which was a game played on slightly altering text, images or ideas as they passed from person to person.  This might be executed by having all participants in all 3 locations (California, New York and Baghdad) read a single text concerning education, politics or philosophy.  Then, each group would interpret that text in a design project of their choosing.  They would pass their work off to the next group off in the next site, would reinterpret the work according to differences in their site.  The project would end after 3 rounds.
  2. Another idea would be to do something based on humor, which is very difficult to translate.  Perhaps the group in Iraq would find images and texts associated with a transcript from a beloved Iraqi political comedian, whose work they would translate into English (realizing the work might loose much of its humor when translated).  Then perhaps the Americans would try to reinterpret this work according to their local context in NYC, and translate the work into Arabic, etc.

There are many such design projects that are based on education, power, translation, image, site, youth, media and politics.  Ultimately, the project should be decided by the people doing the work, these examples are provided as starting points.