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Week Five of our Diablog: Learning and Teaching

jccohen's picture

What is something you learned, and something that you taught, during the times we walked and talked w/ one another on Tuesday? (If you weren't able to join us then, name something in the last week that you learned, and something that you taught--not necessarily in school.)


Ralph Abernathy's picture

When Parkway went up to

When Parkway went up to brynmawr, I had alot of fun. I meet a lot of new people the people that gave us a towr were funny and cool. I just we couuld meet up with them one more time. Brynmawr is a nice school, there were a lot of thing that I didn't kn ow they had there was there.That was a fun time with them

Ma Rainey's picture

you have to disungish the

you have to disungish the difference between whats real and what you want ..

i was wondering .. for you Bryn Mawr students what was your inspiration to find out what you want to be or what was your inspiration for going to college for what ever you are studing.

Utitofon's picture

I did not start college

I did not start college immediately after high school. I worked in a cyber cafe, tutored kids and volunteered for an organization. Several factors, but mostly the strong encouragement and support from my parents, especially my mum, my aunts, grand parents, college advisor and high school teachers inspired me to apply to college.  . I cannot sing like Miley, I cannot dance like Beyonce, I am not very keen about acting nor would i succeed as a stand up comedian. I realised from personal experience in the job market, that the career path i was interested in towing - which oddly enough is still metarmorphising, required that i get certified. College was the shortest and cheapest route to acquiring the skills that would hopefully help me attain financial independence. I am still on a path of self discovery.

alesnick's picture

distinguishing between what is real and what you want

Is it possible that what we want can lead to something real?  Maybe wanting something (as in having a vision/dream of future possibility) helps bring that into reality, or helps change reality to make room for it. 

I so appreciate this post, and the question: "What was your inspiration to find out what you want?"  To me (speaking as someone who was once a college student and who now teaches college students), my role models inspired me.  I so admired my teachers that I wanted to turn into them!  Another source of my inspiration is my friends -- they have helped me believe in myself and be brave.


MVW1993's picture

Something to Consider

Taking the Parkway students on their tour was a particularly enlightening experience for me, not necessarily because of the tour itself but because of the questions that the students asked. At one point, one of the girls in our small group asked us, “why did you decide to come to Bryn Mawr?” That question struck a cord with me because it was and still is a subject that I am struggling with. Her question not only challenged me to come up with an answer to that question, but also later forced me to contemplate who I am and why I thought this college was the right place for me. It has really forced me to step back, engage in some self reflection (which is always a good thing), and truly think about it… and I’m still thinking now.

lissiem's picture

I actaully feel like the

I actaully feel like the visit from PHS allowed me to learn so much more than I was able to teach!  My tour actually ended up being a tour for me.  Another Bryn Mawr student actually brought me and the PHS student to places I'd never been before, like the English House.  I realized that theres a lot more to campus than whats within the interior square.  Had she not shown me, I'm not sure when I would have ever discoverd it myself!  It made me realize that the buildings that are across streets are never shown on tours, or even hardly mentioned within everyday campus life.  Talking with the students about applying to college also allowed me to reflect back to my own college application process and think about what I did then, and what I would do now if I could redo the process.  Overall it was really insightful and a learning experience for me.

jrschwartz15's picture

Parkway Visit

It was interesting showing the Parkway students around. The group I toured was primarily interested in student life, which I expected. Most students looking at colleges tend to focus on student life unless they have a specific academic plan in mind. I definitely hope they look at other liberal arts colleges so that they can have more opportunity to explore other interests and make sure they study their true interest.

snatarajan's picture

During the students' visit to

During the students' visit to Bryn Mawr, I definitely can relate to the many posts about seeing Bryn Mawr through new eyes, through the eyes of the PHS students with whom we walked around campus. Although we've been here for nearly  a semester, I was able to realte to the various questions and curiosities that the students in our group had about BMC. At the same time, however, I feel that I learned a lot about the different aspirations and dreams each of the PHS students have: some to go to colleges in the area, some to become pediatricians and nurses in the future, some to go on to play college level and even professional basketball. I definitely loved having the PHS students visit us because not only did we get the chance to show them some of our most favorite places on campus, but I was also able to learn about the hopes, dreams, and future goals of the students, some of which could potentially come to life on Bryn Mawr's campus in the future.

snatarajan's picture

During the students' visit to

During the students' visit to Bryn Mawr, I definitely can relate to the many posts about seeing Bryn Mawr through new eyes, through the eyes of the PHS students with whom we walked around campus. Although we've been here for nearly  a semester, I was able to realte to the various questions and curiosities that the students in our group had about BMC. At the same time, however, I feel that I learned a lot about the different aspirations and dreams each of the PHS students have: some to go to colleges in the area, some to become pediatricians and nurses in the future, some to go on to play college level and even professional basketball. I definitely loved having the PHS students visit us because not only did we get the chance to show them some of our most favorite places on campus, but I was also able to learn about the hopes, dreams, and future goals of the students, some of which could potentially come to life on Bryn Mawr's campus in the future.

Utitofon's picture

Learning and Teaching

I was impressed with the deep thinking of my group mates, especially the guy from a single parent home, who said he wants to learn how to be a man and raise a nice family. He got me thinking about my future after Bryn Mawr. Talking to them also confirmed my belief in the power of positive thinking. They had such wonderful goals and that reminded me of the  importance of 'big thinking' and the need to keep striving hard to attain our aspirations of ourselves.

The guy asked us if we went to college straight from school, and that gave me a chance to tell them a little of my story. Yet, I hoped that my story would not change their views of me, but rather would emphasize the fact that no situation is permanent. We also spoke about the importance of a college education and I felt that, in those few minutes we had together, they inspired me more than i could ever hope to inspire them.

alesnick's picture

"the importance of big thinking"

I am intrigued by this idea -- say more?  I think it is challenging to sort out the scale of our thinking: to move across different scales, micro to macro, feels like a very important resource for learning, change, and growth.


Utitofon's picture

It can be challenging to

It can be challenging to dream  when the immediate situation and surroundings are gloomy or hopeless. After several disappointments, it requires less effort to be pessimistic and resign oneself to some limited sphere of achievement. By big thinking, which i got from Ben Carson's idea/book, "Think Big", I mean going against one's grain to keep a flicker  of hope alive; to fantasize about a banquet when you are dying of ulcer; to hold out and convince yourself that you will get 'there' someday. The high school kids are still juniors, right, but from the expression on their faces and the convinction with which they spoke, it was clear that they really saw themselves in their future positions.Their imaginations were so real and that level of positivity can empower one to swim against the odds and eventually speak of one's current sufferings in the past tense. It takes some maturity to cultivate and maintain such optimism, but its worked for me - I was just musing over how my childhood and teenage wishes are getting fulfilled, not necessarily when i wanted them to, but as they say, 'better late than never'.

alesnick's picture

Thanks for Thinking Big!

I checked out the Carson book and find it useful, relevant.  Thanks! I really appreciate your thoughts about how to update one's mind, despite sometimes constraining human time sense, such that suffering does not shut down future possibilities.  This seems so important both to individual growth and social change, both of which are aided by energy of hope not fettered by a sense of finitude and its accompanying ghost of futility.

Chandrea's picture

Simple Questions, Difficult Answers

One PHS student asked one simple question that puzzled me for the rest of the day and I don't think she even knew it. I had just walked into the classroom and she asked me and a fellow classmate: "Why did you choose to go to Bryn Mawr?" I thought it would've been a really easy question to answer. And after a moment of hesitation, I replied, "I'm on scholarship." I felt a twinge of shame because I wanted to show how much I loved Bryn Mawr. My scholarship is a manifestation of my leadership skills and the potential I showed in high school. And I'm so grateful for the scholarship but I think there is a stigma that comes along with the word. I think I felt embarrassed only because when one says "scholarship" we automatically think of financial aid, and I didn't bother to explain the context of the scholarship I'm on. I don't think Bryn Mawr would've been an option to me if I didn't get the scholarship, so for some odd reason, I felt like I wasn't qualified enough to talk about how awesome Bryn Mawr is. I didn't anwer, "I love the traditions" or "I like the small, close-knit community it offers." I answered, "I'm on scholarship." I wanted to make Bryn Mawr a huge possibility for the female PHS students because it's great! I don't want monetary reasons to prevent them from considering Bryn Mawr.

Rae Hamilton's picture

Hope for PHS students

It hurts me to think of all the PHS girls who fell in love with Bryn Mawr, who might not be able to attend. It would be amazing to start some initiative program that would allow PHS students to come here instead showing something they can't have.

Another note, no one should be ashamed of being on a scholarship. Recently a girl from Bryn Mawr became a Rhodes Scholar. No one is looking down on her, they are celebrating all that she has done. I advice that you do the same, having scholarship shows that there is something really special about you as a student. Hopefully one day some of these PHS students well be celebrated by their achievements by receiving a scholarship. 

alesnick's picture


Bryn Mawr has scholarship money designated for Philadelphia students.  Last year, we also applied specifically for a grant that would support a PHS students' tuition.  Although we didn't get that grant, the College was eager to support pursuing it.  If you want to discuss this further and perhaps work on something else along these lines, let me know :)

Serena's picture

Chandrea - I understand what

Chandrea -

I understand what you mean. It's definitely difficult to say to people, "I chose Bryn Mawr over _____ because they had the better financial package." I usually make something up about how I love the academic challenge and community, but ultimately, while I did want to go to Bryn Mawr, it wasn't really my choice.

- Sx

alesnick's picture

stories we tell/reasons we voice

Thank you for raising this rich set of ideas about choice, freedom, disclosure, and voice.  To me, bespeaking more complexity, rather than narrating our lives in simpler terms, is a way to crack open the myth of meritocracy and challenge barriers to access.

HSBurke's picture

After walking around campus

After walking around campus in groups on Tuesday, I realized how far I've come since I arrived at Bryn Mawr. Only three months ago, Bryn Mawr was completely new to me. The traditions were just something I heard vaguely referenced and I still couldn't differentiate Taylor from Thomas. Now, as I proudly touted our campus to the Parkway students, I realized that Bryn Mawr has become familiar and comfortable, and that I feel a small sense of ownership: this is my home now. However, through this experience I was able to take a look at the campus through new eyes. Learning about what the campus looked like to outsiders and the feeling that it exuded helped me understand what prospective students feel when they first visit campus. These impressions provided valuable in supporting my essay as well as expanding my personal perspective of Bryn Mawr. It's hard for me to imagine our visit from PHS as a teaching experience, because I really feel like I was mostly a learner. However, I do feel like I was able to give a first hand account of what it's like to be in college, which can be a valuable tool for prospective students looking to apply in the future. I hope that the PHS students found the experience to be as valuable as I did. 

gfeliz's picture

What I learned...

Something that I learned from Tuesday was that the PHS students are very easy to approach. It was nice to be able to talk to them not just about class and space but also about why I chose Bryn Mawr and what I think about the campus, and so on. It was also nice to learn more about the PHS students and what their school is like and what they are interested in. I met a student who had very similar interests that I have and we were able to talk a lot about Biology and Chemistry in which I was able to share some of my knowledge about the science programs here at Bryn Mawr. I felt like this visit allowed me to really relate to the PHS students’ thinking—especially when we did small group discussions. Lastly, I think that I also learned that as students (PHS students and Bryn Mawr students) we are all on the same academic level. I felt like there was a good amount of respect towards one another and that we all understood that just because the Bryn Mawr students are in college doesn’t mean that we are superior over high school students. I treated the PHS students like they were my friends, not visitors, and that the space we were in was not just mine but theirs as well. 

kganihanova's picture

What I learned from Parkway students

In PHS students, I saw myself, not now but at one point in my life. From PHS kids, I learned to really appreciate where I was, in that they were impressed by the campus and also by the prospect of college. Since getting here, I've gotten a little more jaded about college and life in general because of the massive amount of stress that college is. It was refreshing to see them so perky about going away to college and applying out to higher education. It definitely made me look at Bryn Mawr's campus and dorms differently after interacting with visitors who were new to the place.

nbnguyen's picture

Visit for Parkway last Tuesday

It's not as hard to communicate with high school students as I thought. I recognize that open-mindedness and mutual respect are the two most important factors for effective communication. No one is considered superior and is willing to learn from and listen to others. I did learn a lot from Parkway students. I could see how the life of a student in American high school is, how they imagine about the college life, and how they expect to learn from others. I really expect our partnership can continue so we can exchange our ideas with others.

melal's picture

I think comparing to my

I think comparing to my experience when we visited PHS, both students from Bryn Mawr and students from PHS are more relaxed. During the time we showed the two PHS girls around, they seemed pretty happy. We talked about our majors, our college lives, and they also expressed their opinions about college applications. I really agree with what you said: no one is considered superior and is willing to learn from each other. This is my first time that I show people around our campus. Actually before meeting with PHS, our campus doesn’t seem like my “home” that much. But during the time we walked around, when I introduced many places to them, I felt a strong sense of belonging to Bryn Mawr. For me it is really interesting change.

alesnick's picture

feeling at home . . .

by welcoming guests!  What an interesting, generative shift. I think this also raises such important questions about the importance of community partnerships, and hospitality.

JHarmon's picture

Teaching and Learning

I had some similar experiences with the Parkway students. It really did feel like their visit was an opportunity for teaching and learning. Dialogue between us and the Parkway students was a lot easier than I expected, and in many ways, we could really relate to each other. Through sharing high school experiences, a strong dislike for math, experiences of past jobs and stories about our families, I felt like there was a pretty cool connection between us. I didn't feel like a tour guide ushering students around, I felt like I was kind of walking around with friends. I had a chance to share what life is like at college and how life here differs from large state colleges, and I learned a lot about Parkway high school and how it is to be a student there. Overall, the visit was a great experience for me, and I hope the Parkway students loved it as much as I did. 

thamid's picture

I thought the visit was

I thought the visit was successful and I learned a lot about the students and their school. I learned about what types of classes were offered and what the students hoped to do after high school. A majority of the students said they wanted to go to college after high school. One of the boys in my group said he was a little upset because Bryn Mawr was a Women’s college because he would have applied here if he could. I also learned that the students had a lot to say about themselves and what they were willing to teach others. A popular theme that arose was that students wanted to teach about themselves and their backgrounds. They were also very open about telling their stories, but the openness seemed to come after we left the classroom where we all seemed more comfortable. I learned that there were more Bryn Mawr students that spoke up than PHS students. I wonder if this was because the PHS students were in our environment. When us Bryn Mawr students were at PHS there seemed to be more PHS students speaking up.

Even though the trip was successful, I still felt that there were many questions left unanswered. A common theme that came up was the beauty of Bryn Mawr. I wanted to hear more about why people thought Bryn Mawr was so beautiful and what made it beautiful. Was it the trees? the size of the classes? the structures?

I hope our discussions continue to grow. With that said, I was wondering if people would be interested in continuing the partnership even after ESem is over. If that’s a possibility people are willing to consider.



George Washington Carver's picture

In the pass weeks i have

In the pass weeks i have learned a lot, but the one thing that stand out to me was math when we were learning banking, and how the bank handles our money.

Maya Angelou's picture

Something that i taught

Something that i taught somebody in life is how to never worry about what people are saying about you just look forward in life and keep going on and looking ahead. It took me a long time to learn this. I pass this on because its always going to be people to bring you down in life and its nothing you can do but do whats best for you.

nbnguyen's picture

This is the thing I really want to learn

Hi Maya,

This is the thing I really want to learn from you. If you have time, please tell me how to do that. It's obvious that you shouldn't care much about what people think about you. You just need to know whether you are in the right direction or not. However, I am easily influenced by people's opinions. I try to be perfect so no one can criticize and look down on me. But I know, it's quite impossible to satisfy everybody's wants. Sometimes, I am not brave enough to make decisions for fear of mistakes and criticisms. I tried to get rid of these feelings but it's hard. I wonder how you learned this skill. It's nice to learn from others.

Angela Davis's picture

On Tuesday at Bryn Mawr we

On Tuesday at Bryn Mawr we learned about the different Dorms, each floor has a different theme. Also that they have to pass a swimming test and if they don't they have take a swimming class. I think i taught about how every time we go on a college tour, we only learn from a teachers point of view and never a student.

Michaela's picture

I learned from students at

I learned from students at Parkway about how to see the school through new eyes--so thank you for providing that new, non-teacher point of view! It is so crucial for students to go through a process of seeing college that is not necessarily guided by their teachers, so I was so grateful for the opportunity to show you all around on Tuesday. I think that one thing that I helped teach was that everyone has something to teach. In our discussion groups, at first, each participant seemed a little hesitant to share what they thought they could teach--as though it were bragging to speak about something that they could do well. Though I felt similar insecurity, I tried to break the ice by explaining both what I think I am currently qualified to teach and what I would like to be able to teach in the future. I do think that each of us does have something to share, and we shouldn't be ashamed about it! Be proud of what you can do!

Hummingbird's picture

I also thought it was great

I also thought it was great getting to see the campus in a fresh way. As a freshman, I definitely feel a little out of place when I'm with upperclassmen because they're so much more comfortable with the campus. Walking around with the PWHS students gave me the chance to feel more ownership of the campus because I became the one explaining traditions or showing students hidden nooks. 
The discussion about what we could teach actually taught me a lot, too! At first, I didn't think to look at teaching as something that wasn't academic. One of the visiting students talked about how he gave advise to his younger siblings, and how that was a form of teaching. It reminded me of my relationship with my sisters and how I give them advice, too – but I'd never really thought of it as teaching, but like "Msolson," I realize we really do all have something to teach because we've all had different experiences. Overall, I really appreciated the fresh perspectives.

alesnick's picture

re-framing "teaching"

beyond the academic.  so cool.

W.E.B Du Bois's picture

Something i learned about

Something i learned about brynmawr was it is an all girls collage it was voted collage to look most like hogwarts the the have a tradition that involves the students to pay tribute to the statue of athena for what reason I don't know all the women where extremely intellegent and polite.

Aretha Franklin's picture

Learned and Taught at Bryn Mawr

We we went to Bryn Mawr on Tuesday I learned that an all girls college isn't any different than any other college, it just doesn't have boys. I also learned that their college a small and nurturing environment.

gladys night 's picture

Something that I learned on

Something that I learned on Tuesday was that not all of the classes are big they can also be small.

Stage Coach Marry's picture

I learned last week about

I learned last week about aerodynamics being a component of drag. It is also a branch in physics.

alesnick's picture

What was meaningful to you about this?

How is knowing about this entering into your life?

Carol Moseley Braun's picture

I learned that most of the

I learned that most of the high school students share similar views as the college students. When we were talking about what would we teach people, we both shared our thoughts related to teaching people about ourselves. We have a lot to learn from each other and our life experiences.

ssaludades's picture

This reminds me of what we

This reminds me of what we wrote on our post its about places we can learn and places we can teach. For my group, we didn't have a single place in mind and most of us wrote 'everywhere'; our capacity to learn doesn't depend on where we are but what we do in the place that we are in and how we interact with what and who is there. From the visit, I learned a lot about how the ideas and relationships that arise when people share their thoughts, as you described, can change a place's meaning and purpose towards positive change. Although I had been aware of this potential, I took this fact for granted until now.

Zora Neale Hurston's picture

Something I learned is that

Something I learned is that you can be apart of a community even if your new to it yourself. It becomes old to you once you share it with some other new people coming into the area. Something I taught or can teach is to try to be independent. Your nothing going to always have your family and friends around to give you answers to everything. I can also teach respect, to treat people the way you would want to be treated. Loyalty is also a major key in life. You have to be loyal to your peers and most importantly YOURSELF.!

LJ's picture

Dear Zora, I think you are

Dear Zora,

I think you are completely right about treating people the way you want to be treated. I've found in high school and college that not everyone has this philosophy in life. At Bryn Mawr we have an honor code with esentially this exact premise sadly the entire communtiy does not abide by this. Just yesterday, our dorm president sent an email that people have been stealing other people's detergent. I hope that you are able to teach people how to respect others because I think it is the most valuable lesson anyone could learn .It's also something that everyone needs a refresher course in every once in awhile. I believe at the end of the day we're all human beings and we should be treated as such.

Martin L King Jr.'s picture

I learned how to interact

I learned how to interact with strangers in a nice and pleasant way. Also that by us coming to their school and this being their first year, we took them to places that they have never been before on campus, and taught them new things about their school. And they taught me that you can choose your own classes and how you have freedom, and that you gain more responsibilities from being on your own and not having your parents to lean back on as much anymore.

alesnick's picture

Well said!

I appreciate how you point out that as visitors you were in a position to be teachers.  Expertise is thus not the only source of teaching.  So interesting.

Diane Nash's picture

Although I did not go on the

Although I did not go on the trip, I learned about the American Revolution with Mr. Nick. We played a game about putting the events of the American Revolution in order. It helped us prepare for our test. I had fun with the people I were went.

Lucy Terry's picture

I enjoyed my time at Bryn

I enjoyed my time at Bryn mawr because it was just a great experience and opportunity to see other peoples' home and surrounding. I learned that you have to be open to being in a new environment because being in college is nothing like being home with your family. I really liked the way the college student welcomed us in the own space with open harms and where willing to tell us about what they are going through now that their not home

LJ's picture

As a student at Bryn Mawr I

As a student at Bryn Mawr I really enjoyed sharing the college with you. It takes a lot of adjusting to feel at home in a new place but after showing the PKW students around I realized how much I knew about the campus and how comfortable I feel on it. I find it amazing that even though I was showing others around the campus I was still able to learn myself.

W.E.B Du Bois's picture

something i learned at

something i learned at brynmawr well it is an all girls collage it was voted collage to look most like hogwarts

Marvin Gaye's picture

I taught a group of first graders.

As part of my Community Service for my Senior qualification project, I taught a group of First graders how to draw a park Background, I taught them neat tricks about drawing trees, brushes, and other types of scenery for art's and crafts.

Their pictures where a little....abstract, but for some first graders it was pretty good.

alesnick's picture

teaching kids art

I wonder what you noticed about doing art from doing it with young kids.  Also, did you see your younger self in some of the kids?  Thanks for sharing this.  I think it's great that you are sharing your passion with the young.