When thinking about the word “preserve” in a physical sense many things come to mind. One of those ideas could be a country preserve. When thinking of a country preserve you may think of a large piece of land, possibly even hundreds of acres of land, where there is a large family of sorts with many responsibilities that need to be taken care of on the land. The family may all stay there together due to the fact if someone leaves then the others need to do his or her jobs. But on the preserve there are limits on what you can do due to the fact that you have jobs to do. Going into the community and enjoying things outside of your land can be hard and it sets a bar on what you can do.
Now, while thinking of the word preserve in the context of a space where you can make decisions, this course is very similar to the idea of a country preserve. In this writing seminar the student is allowed to express their thoughts on the topic of the essay in any way they can. While sitting down with the professor of the class, Beth McCoy, she explained how we have an enormous amount of freedom on our hands, but the restrictions tend to be very specific.
A simple way of thinking about why a class could be a “preserved” space is in the physical way we type papers. This class makes it possible to put all your thoughts on papers which is a way of making your choices possible, but on the other hand there is a minimum amount of words you need to write for the paper. This is a simple limitation but if a student were to have a short idea that is very well thought out and he doesn’t feel any other way about the prompt it could potentially create a worst essay due to the fact that he is pushing himself to write even more words on the page. The limitation of having a word count does have a positive outcome in some cases due to the fact that it pushes the student to go deeper into his idea which can turn this into a personal choice to extend your idea to another level.
When thinking about Octavias Butler work “blood child” the terrans can be described as a group of people that are in a preserved space. This space is a safe place run by the Tlic but as long as the terrans follow simple rules then they can live there with no problem. The reason why this can be compared to college is that college is a preserved space that can give us power for the future but also has many limitations. In both college and the space in the book the place where students and terrans are great, however there are not many other options. For the terrans if they were not in this preserve then they would be realized to the rest of the planet which is unsafe. When leaving college there are really only 3 options a 18 year old can do, which is military, college/trade school, or entrepreneurship. College is the safest bet to make enough money for a comfortable and safe life.
The idea of a mutual agreement is when 2 groups split each of their ideas and come up with an agreement that fits both their needs and wants. In “Blood Child” the terrans and Tlic have a mutual agreement about the living save on the preserve however the Tlic have an upper hand in this agreement. The terrans invaded the Tlic and now the Tlic have control of the terrans in many ways. For example, in the beginning of the book, Gan explains how he went to get his father’s gun. He explains how the terrans weren’t allowed to have guns but his dad had hidden one a while back just in case. This shows that the tlic have control because if the terrans wanted to fight back they wouldn’t be able to. This reminds me of college due to the fact that the student and professor should have a mutual agreement which is do the best you can so the student can get good grades, but the student does not grade the teacher bit the teacher grades the student. In a way professors can be compared to the tlic because they can control what the student gets on his gradebook.
Another way that this class can create a “preserved space” is the way you can push yourself as an individual. In the syllabus for INTD 105 Beth Mccoy states that we have only “self assessed assignments” which is something kids in college and high school never have experienced. At first a student or outside adult may think it is absurd that a class that counts for your GPA is self assessed however you can not judge the freedom of this until you experience it. At first,yes, I did believe that I could coast through this classand give myself a 4.0, but when I started having conversations with professor Mccoy about writing these essays I realized that I enjoyed doing the work for this class. Since there is so much freedom when writing you can really put your best thoughts on paper and not need to worry about writing to the graders rubric. Being able to grade your own papers helps make you realize that your writing is a part of you.
One other example that makes your choice possible in a Preserved space is using citations. Plagiarism is a huge problem in college and a lot of the time it is due to the fact that kids simply forget or do not know how to citate. In this assignment rubric professor Mccoy states “You may/may not be English majors, and so I’m not asking you to follow my specific disciplinary conventions about citation.” This is a great simple way of showing how a student can make choices possible but can also create a limit. There is a simple limit being the need for citation, however it is the student’s choice in how he would like to cite his evidence.
Self assessment actually gives the class a sense of self pride and accomplishment as well. A Lot of times students appreciate teachers giving feedback but they almost never appreciate a teacher giving them a bad grade. In a self assessed class the teacher will make you correct and edit your mistakes which is a limit but it’s also a way of making your own choice because you decide how you want to change it.
Within a space that allows a student to create his own choices with limitations critical questioning is something that can change in this environment. In this setting a student can really think of what he wants to know and since there are very limited limitations on learning the student can dive into the concept he is studying and ask any type of questions he would like on this concept. The negative is that the student may get off track about questioning the idea and forget that he needs to understand the topic.