Identity and the Unintroduction #CLMOOC style
Our first deceptively simple first challenge was to Unmake an Introduction. The idea was to do more than simply introduce ourselves, but to explore and challenge the idea of identity and how context influences the ways we identify ourselves. More than that we were charged to explore how these identities come with built in boundaries that can include or exclude others as well as help us make connections with others (or inhibit those connections).
The questions this Make Cycle raised made my process much more of a struggle than I initially expected – an experience I saw echoed throughout the #CLMOOC community. This surprised me because I have been creating digital introduction for years. They play an important role in my community building process when I teach and for my work with the Morehead Writing Project (see Community Doesn’t Just Happen). Typically I use a mixture of six-word stories and me museums although after last year’s CLMOOC experience I changed the me museums to have more of a “How To Be/Make” flavor. However, as I struggled through my own first “Make’ I realized that the task I give my students – to introduce themselves in an unfamiliar, and perhaps intimidating, setting could actually be pretty challenging. They have to decide just how much of themselves they are willing to reveal and what identity or persona they want to adopt for the class. Sadly, too many of my students don’t have a lot of experience with a classroom community so they tend to go very superficial which is understandable. Perhaps I need to be more open and vulnerable in the way I introduce myself to provide a better model (see How To Make Deanna Mascle). I am still playing these ideas, but I am certain this make cycle will influence the ways that I introduce myself to my students and have my students introduce themselves.