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Period 5 - Reyna Wan
Session 1 materials: NPR: Out of a Nigerian Slum, a Poet Is Born + Four Worlds

Focus Question: How do problems like government mismanagement and public dissatisfaction first arise? How do these problems develop into factors of violence (both domestic and foreign)?

Before delving into the domestic and international variables as causes of war, we wanted to start the students with something more relatable to them, specifically in the role of individuals. To do this, we focused the class on “Out of a Nigerian Slum, a Poet is Born” to discuss how human rights issues and overwhelming poverty can push constituents into wanting war. We first had students read through the article as a class before splitting them into four groups. For the first half of the class, each group answered two of the eight questions based on the handout. Then, we had them categorize what they learned into the Four Worlds with each group representing one of the categories. Both activities were Think-Group-Share sessions with a concept map. 

The first half of the class seemed to be the most difficult for the students. It was harder for them to relate to, and the last three questions of the handout were longer, more open-ended questions. To break down the more difficult components, we walked around the classroom to clarify any definitions by providing examples illustrating something similar. For example, Student A was struggling to understand how diversity is present in Nigeria. We guided them to the answer by first asking her what diversity means to her. When they mentioned culture, religion and ethnicities, we asked them how they see these qualities present in cities like Los Angeles. From there, they were able to connect the thoughts and later answer the questions about the “paradox of plenty” with limited help. We used the same guidance when the entire class came together to share their answers, specifically on questions regarding the international community and how political change can occur with or without economic change. The teaching assistant and Ms. Hernandez also helped to answer questions within the groups. 

We then moved onto the Four Worlds where we had students rank each category’s factors based on how much they were prioritized by Nigeria. Right next to that ranking, we asked them to rank the same factors for the United States. This activity was more engaging for the students than the hand-out as there was more discussion and variation in their answers. In the group discussing culture, Student B placed tolerance as the most present in the United States while Student C placed hope. Both students had also placed these two components at the very bottom of what’s present in Nigeria. When I asked both students why they placed these variables as their first, Student B discussed the importance of making minority groups feel more accepted, while Student C felt that people in the United States have a shared sense of hope that keeps them relatively stable. 

When we came back together as a group, we saw how students were beginning to understand how the presence or lack of these factors can lead to war. The most discursive topics were the paradox of plenty, where students were curious how Nigeria could be rich in resources while poorer than countries who bought their resources. Students also provided strong reasonings for their placement of infrastructure (specifically in electricity and education) as well as a democracy. 

Overall, the students were as engaged as they were distracted. Some students were more willing to participate, while others took a little bit more convincing to focus. Though I think our first lesson went relatively well considering how little preparation our team did, I hope to make future sessions a little bit more relatable to the students. Instead of providing them with handouts and putting them into groups immediately, I think it’ll be better to open the class with a lecture and a class-wide discussion. When discussing actual wars in the upcoming weeks, I also want to parallel elements of the battles to battles they’ve personally experienced in their lives. 

Word Count: 637

Messages In This Thread
Period 5 - Reyna Wan - by CALIS - 09-26-2023, 09:56 AM
RE: Period 5 - Reyna Wan - by Reyna Wan - 10-30-2023, 02:34 PM
RE: Period 5 - Reyna Wan - by Reyna Wan - 11-06-2023, 02:11 PM
RE: Period 5 - Reyna Wan - by Reyna Wan - 11-13-2023, 06:53 PM
RE: Period 5 - Reyna Wan - by Reyna Wan - 11-24-2023, 03:27 PM

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