“Donnel! You won’t show up in the picture!” a reflection by Yizhou Aria Jiang

Today is the last day for me this semester to intern at the Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet Elementary School. As my group finished our video for the “Stories from Stagville” project, I gave my phone to a student from another group and asked her to take a picture of my group.
Everyone except Donnel was readily by my side when Donnel suddenly kneeled down on the floor and posed as if he just won a football game. From my angle, it looks like Donnel was in a much lower position than everyone else. I started to get worried that Donnel was not going to show up in the picture so I blunted out: ”Donnel! You won’t show up in the picture!” Donnel insisted. I was a little frustrated because I thought the picture would look really weird with a huge gap between us four at the back and Donnel at the very bottom.

Anyways, the student took the picture. When I checked out the picture I was stunned – the picture turned out so much better than what it would be if Donnel had followed my instruction! The composition of the picture is great and the picture looks extremely lively. The subjects fit the diagonal lines in the picture; The “hand map” serves as background, David, Jaida, Mayra and I serve as mid-ground and Donnel perfectly fits as the foreground.

This instance prompted me to reflect on how I have been working with this group of fifth graders. As an adult, when it comes to decision making in the group project, I have been unintentionally putting more weight on my opinion because I unconsciously think my way is the “right” way. On the other hand, I sometimes fail to recognize the fifth graders’ ability to analyze situations, to solve problems and to create. In the case of this picture, I ignored the ability of the student who was taking the picture as well as Donnel’s initiative. Instead, I chose to give more weight to my perspective and even hoped to convince the students to follow my way of thinking.

LTP has been a great medium for me to observe, communicate and collaborate in depth with others. LTP involves a great amount of creativity and self-expression. Through the process of creating something together with others, I have been able to understand others’ perspectives and thinking process, which is hard to do normally. To me, to be able to get to know more people in depth is the most inspiring part of LTP.

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