Telling the Story: Communicating Local History in Contemporary Culture Through First Person Narrative Julie Kling
Chautauqua Place of learning; keeping current on society’s ideas and social issues. Lakeside’s current mission. 1
Linking past with present • Awareness in Ohio : Ohio Bicentennial 2003 • Generally, alienation in society
How to make history relevant to today’s generation: contemporary culture? • NOT THE SAME, UNIQUENESS OF THE INDIVIDUAL • TECHNOLOGY, VIDEO GAMES, INTERACTIVE • REALITY TELEVISION: SEE THE WORLD AS IT REALLY IS • TALK SHOWS: OTHERS WORSE THAN I AM, CURIOUS, THRILLS • VIOLENCE • LIVE IN THE NOW: “MCDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY” • FOCUS: PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE • WORRIED ABOUT MY LIFE: PERSONAL EXPERIENCE • EXCITING AND SCARY AT THE SAME TIME!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland • Would you tell me, please, said Alice; which way I ought to walk from here? • That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. • I don’t care where…said Alice. • Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk, said the Cat. • ….so long as I get somewhere, Alice added as an explanation. • Oh, you’re sure to do that, said the Cat. If you only walk long enough. • (Lewis Carroll)
Is the past valued by individuals? If so, when? • Important for job/career: know field • Important to know who I am • Important to transmit culture; cultural diversity • Important: when it somehow touches me! • Personal experience: use it to our advantage!
Tell our story, allow others to tell theirs by: • changing our assumptions and expectations when needed, changing our approaches, being part of our community, and not being afraid to be creative and innovative.
Desire for interaction: reality TV Make history real No time machine; accurately potray history, bring past to present. Create ways of engaging visitors, students When have you engaged students? Personal Experience
Change “To exist is to change. To exist a long time is to change often.” (John Henry Cardinal Newman) Two realities of change: “it must occur” and “uncertainties of its outcomes must be reduced” What does this mean?
Peter Drucker: Innovation and Entreprenuership • Way things are/way things ought to be • Need to perform tasks better in light of market demands, demographics, collective personality (new moods, personality), knowledge • “If at first you don’t succeed with an idea, do not try it again and again, change it!”
Assumptions Expectations Approach View of Change: Adaptability View Role in Community: Integration View of New Ideas: Creativity, Innovation Change
Change Assumptions • Organizational/Institutional Goals • Old: “single-set of uniform goals” • New: “multiple and sometimes competing sets of goals” • Power/Authority • Old: “power located at the top” • New: “distributed throughout the organization”
Change Assumptions • Decision-making • Old: “logical problem-solving process” • New: “a bargaining process to arrive at solutions that satisfy a number” (variety of persons) • Education • Old: teacher directed • New: learner directed, learner as consumer
Expectation Effect • Self-fulfilling prophecy effect • “If you predict it, it will come true.” • original expectation • behavior communicates expectation • evidence that confirms expectation
Expectation Effect • Sustaining expectations effect • How is a group viewed?
Change Expectations: Learning as Personal • See learner as an individual. • 1916: Dewey, democracy in schools; everyone has a voice • See each individual or situaiton as unique. • See positives of group. • Education: good or bad; “you never know what’s going to happen next!”
Factors that influence expectations • Context: age, time of year, subject matter, learning environment, • Interpreter or Educator’s personal characteristics • Students’ personal characteristics
Change Approach: Learning as Active, Part of Group • Problem: Student Passivity • Institutions have made people passive by way we treat them • Some active/some passive. • Group activities helpful to accommodate all types, feel safer in groups.
Change approach: Incorporate Narrative/Storytelling • Good storytelling draws listeners in • Remember stories • “We are looking for ways our stories fit together.” “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees Example: Writing courses
Advantages of Group Learning Activities • Learning is more effective in groups. • Visitors/learners learn from each other. • Safety • Groups see that they learn something • Cooperation • Narrative, personal sharing among group members: my story is not the same as yours, but there are similarities! • Narrative, connect with past: ah, hah others struggle with similar problems. (encourage reflection on likenesses and differences; history—why?)
Methods • Dyads--working with partners • Group cooperative learning/Group Investigation • Role-play • Analyze/inquire about social issue, personal experience • Example: Sociology/World Religion
Group Investigation • Learners are given a problem • Learners explore their reactions • Learners formulate tasks for study • Independent/Group study: level depends on time • Learners analyze process
Role-play/hands-on activities • Warm-up/get to know each other • Introduce problem • Set the stage/give some background • Prepare observers • Enact-”do it” • Discuss and evaluate.
Social Inquiry/Personal experience • With interest in “now”: important to connect history with now and learners personal life. • Share narrative from history/present historical information • Ask learners: have you had experience similar to this? • Similar emotions, questions, etc. • Ask learners: similar issues or questions in society today? Bridge the gap between past and present.
Historical Facts+Personal Experience+Present Culture • Example from College Classroom • Example from Chautauqua
Example of challenges of narrative: • Ottawa Native American Woman • Natives and Newcomers Museum Theater • (by Julie L. Kling, 5/20/04) • Hello, I am _________________________ of the Ottawas. My people “are great story tellers” (40). When the men come in from hunting, they share their “experiences of the hunting trip” as they eat bowls of hominy and venison (40). We women always have something cooking over the fire. Every visitor or caller is given a bowl of food. Visitors often receive “ a bowl of boiled corn” or roasted venison (40). Food and sharing stories go together. • One of our best storytellers was Wasaonoquet or Fair Sky (116). I could sit for hours and listen to him describe the history of our tribe and the great leaders of past generations. How great our history once was. How different things are today as we are scattered and live far away from the “grave and council fires” of our forefathers. (40-41). • Wasaonoquet was once our Chief, but after contact with some of the white traders and the whiskey they brought, he was forced to give up his office and become an ordinary member of the tribe (40). He “died soon after being removed west of the Mississippi from the effect of the Whisky” (41).
Changing Way We Adapt: Applies not only to individuals but to institutions! How do our colleges, universities communicate their history? • Successful must listen not only to learners also employees, volunteers, • Result: Commitment and Energy • Employees, volunteers support system; value institution • “Me” first idea not only true for students but for staff
“Dissonance Theory” • Compares expectations of employees/staff to actual experiences • How close do expectations meet actual experiences?
Consumer-oriented society • The degree to which an institution does/does not offer programs in line with community norms and expectations is related to difficulty or success in sustaining interest/support for institution.
Monitor Environment • Internal: staff, faculty, students • External: community, potential students, technological advances
Integration: Institutions, part of society? • Goal attainment: Alice doesn’t have a sense of where she is going. • Society: technology, change, individuals often have no clear sense of where they are going, so focus so immediate concerns. • Look outward for answers: how do institutions respond when someone approaches?
Integration • Listen to students, staff, community, etc. • Articulate clear, common vision • Individual knows role in larger plan, feels role is important.
View of New Ideas: • Encourage creativity: process by which new ideas are generated • Encourage innovation: process by which new ideas are transformed into tangible, useful things, ideas, reality • Creativity? Innovation?: not something into nothing; shapes something into practical services, programs, etc.
Cautions about change: • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is going well, don’t change it. • Ask why things are going well before you change it. • Base future success on present success. • Watch for novelty. • Sometimes think small. Start small. Sometimes small changes lead to spectacular results.
Back to Alice • May our institutions know which way they are walking. • May we be walking with purpose! • May we help others on their journey to learn history by changing our assumptions and expectations when needed, changing our approaches, being part of our community, and not being afraid to be creative and innovative.