Covid Cant Stop us From Learning

The course epigraph states “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is risk, T’Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” –Octavia Butler, “Blood child.” In this course we talked about a lot of examples and within these examples we try to think of the risks and rewards of putting these examples in our daily lives. The book “Blood Child” has many examples of risks and rewards which is why I believe we spent so time going back and explaining what we learned and comparing it to the book.

Right in the beginning of the year we talked about Growth mindset. Trying to convert yourself to have a growth mindset is a risk because your changing the way you think. However, what we have learned in the course is you need to compare your risks to your rewards. By changing your mindset to a growth mindset, you can achieve a lot more success in life.  In an earlier forum this year we were asked to watch a video on growth mindset. In this video Carol Dweck stated that she has been studying growth mindset for decades because she wanted to answer one question. This question was why are people with the same intelligence successful and some are not? She found out that the reasoning behind this was the person’s mindset. They explain in the video that someone with a fixed mindset thinks that you are not in control of your abilities and someone with a growth mindset thinks skills can be developed overtime.  You may be asking “so why is growth mindset a risk?” Well, with a growth mindset you are taking risks to succeed in something you decided you wanted to be successful in, but if you fail at that task then mentality you may turn back to a fixed mindset and not try to succeed at something different again. For example, the one thing I have been trying to do better in this course is starting my writing earlier and doing it in segments of 5-10 minutes. I am trying to become a better writer, which is growth mindset, but if I do my writing in segments and forget about it one day and don’t turn it in then I will have a worse grade. But if I do succeed at this way of writing my grades will be better. 

Like stated earlier, “Blood Child” has many examples in taking risks. Many examples show that Gan is taking risks for his Tlic partner. In the beginning of the book Gan shows a fixed mindset but realizes he needs to kill an animal to help his fellow Terran. It states in the book “”slaughter? But I have never–” and he then manages to get smacked across the room by TGatoi.  He is risking doing something he never has does before because he respects and cares for T’gatoi. This action relates to our self and peer care we talk about weekly in the discussion posts and on our zoom calls. When we grade ourselves at the end of the year one of the ways we grade ourselves is by caring for others. It states in the syllabus that we get graded in three categories which are “care for my course accountability, care for my growth, and care for my peer’s growth.”  Caring for our peers is a great risk like the epigraph states because you are taking time to look out for other people instead of yourself. However, the reward for this partnership outweighs the risk because caring for others is one of the best ways to learn and grow as a person. Gan and T’gatoi have this partnership in the story. Gan is giving up some of his rights to her but in return he will have safety. In a student’s case, they are giving up time and effort but in return they are helping to grow their partner as well as themselves.

            Another example of how this epigraph relates to the topics we discussed this semester is when we got the honor of speaking to Mr. Cope. Mr. Cope joined a zoom call to mainly talk about the attendance policy that Geneseo created due to COVID-19. Mr. Cope also explained the process of deciding what classes should be in person, hybrid, online, or asynchronous. He stressed that one of the main goals for Geneseo is to get and keep students on campus. We all realize that being on campus is such a big reason for going to college. When he was done speaking, I asked him a question that stated, “why do we have asynchronous courses now if the goal is to get kids on campus?” Mr. Cope replied “first asynchronous courses are more accessible to students. Think about how many times you were supposed to be in a zoom class and your professor’s camera freezes or you cannot log in to the meeting. That day of learning is potentially gone. Also, if you have a in person class at 2:30 on Mondays and Tuesdays some people may not be able to make it because that is the time, they have to watch their baby brother.”  The example of an asynchronous class correlates to the epigraph because the new way of learning is a risk. The risk of not having a teacher to talk to in person with questions you have is a risk that has just been created. Until COVID-19, almost every class setting was taught in person by a teacher. However, the reward is flexibility in a troubling time. Mr. cope said that a well mapped asynchronous course should have the dates when everything is due before the class starts so the student can manage their time and know when they should work on their assignments. In addition, a lot of people had other responsibilities during the first semester of school because of COVID-19. Having an asynchronous course made it equal for all students to succeed in a class. The epigraph states there is a risk in dealing with a partner. Well, like stated before INTD 105 has helped students show that it is important to care for your peers. There is even more reward for the community of Geneseo with having the options of asynchronous course because it shows that we care about our peers outside of the classroom.

            The epigraph that we received before the semester even started has in fact created a through line in the conversations, we have had with each other. At first reading the book “Blood Child” seemed like it was just another book to write essays on, but as we began to start writing forums and talking to a class the ideas between the book and our lives are quite similar. Risks are things that we need to be able to take as humans because the rewards of those risks are what creates better individuals.

The skies the limit, but its your choice how to get there

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.