After we viewed the documentary,Т Forbidden Voices: How to Start a Revolution with a Laptop.Т The film featured three women bloggers Т in Cuba, China and Iran who write about social injustice in their countries, thus putting themselves in danger. Т Yoani Sánchez, Zeng Jinyan and Farnaz Seifi are pioneers who use the internet as a tool to fight oppression. Т The ensuing class discussions were about fear, conformity, intimidation, labels, propaganda, censorship, risks, change, resistance, determination, corruption, and dignity. Т My students and I realized that as Americans, we often take our freedoms for granted.
The theme I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is RISK. Т The risks I take feel insignificant to those of these women. Т I do not risk exile, or beating, or censorship, or imprisonment. Т These women have made a tremendous impact on the lives of many based on the risks they take. Political prisoners have been released. Т Women’s rights have improved. Т Voices have been heard.
How do I take risks? Т How can I make an impact? Т Are my risks insignificant?
I’m currently taking a risk journey with my freshmen. Т It’s been sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes laughable and sometimes frustrating. Т What are we doing? Т Blogging. Т Why are we doing it? We thought it would be a fun way to improve our skills as writers and thinkers. Т Do I know what I’m doing? Т Absolutely not!
I’m comfortable saying, “I don’t know how to do this, but we are going to learn how together.” On the risk scale, this is a small risk, but it makes me feel vulnerable, so I think it counts.
We are past the uncomfortable, laughable phase, and moving into the rewarding phase. Т In my classes, I Т have 39 young men and women with profound thoughts. Т These students of mine are funny, witty and intelligent. Т They have something to say. Т They are supportive of each other (and me!) and willing to take risks themselves. Т They are thinking and writing and thinking and writing. Т Maybe they are even having a little fun while doing it? Т I’m proud of them!
Please visit our class blog: How I Met Your Blog.Т The students are excited to share their work!
Here is a link to the student-created questions and Zhen and Di’s responses: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A6Az2kINKzZK0rkf2nUN7kL2oJ-T0-0T-se60NK0bno/edit?usp=sharing