Hecho a mano
As a teacher in Philadelphia, my practice has been greatly informed by the work of Patricia Carini and all at Prospect Center, through the use of many processes to describe students, their work, and our own teaching. Patricia Carini’s adapted remarks from her address “Made By Hand” often come to me as I am describing student work.
“The Descriptive Review of Works starts from the premise that what people make, child or adult, has meaning and importance — that the work bears the imprint of the maker – and that these meanings and the maker’s hand are visible in the work.”
When we describe student work through oral inquiry processes, we develop a relationship with the maker, with the work, and with each other. To prepare for the original Digital Is conference, Christina Cantrill and Paul Oh gathered a group of us to remix the Prospect Center Descriptive Review of Works, with an eye towards looking closely at digital work. (I can not stress enough how this process grows directly from Prospect processes, and I hope this resource leads you to find out more about their work!) Teachers around the country have been using this process to look closely at digital compositions, in a variety of spaces, with very different purposes. It is a process open to more remixing.
In the end, I think the power of the process lies in the ways we use oral inquiry to deepen our relationship to the human-ness of digital composition and all of the work our students make. Celebrate the dualities! The fragility and the strength! The broken links and the powerful images! The consistencies and the inconsistencies! As Myles Horton wrote in We Make the Road By Walking, “I’m as proud of my inconsistencies as I am my consistencies.”