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The Ecology of Democracy, Chapter 6 - Your point of view - 2

Hello Everyone,

Our classroom discussions have centered on a chapter you were assigned from The Ecology of Democracy.

This is a gentle reminder that your posts and responses are due by Monday, November 27th by midnight. Keep in mind, you are to write a well thought-out, meaningful reflection paper about your group project  and respond to two of your classmates papers, for a minimum total of three posts.

Remember, we are interested in your original thoughts and ideas! This assignment is designed to get you to think critically and engage in a civil discussion with your classmates about the democratic process of problem solving as it relates to you in the classroom and in the community.

Please do not wait until the last minute; post early and often. Each post will be graded based on the quality of the content. Your post should cover some aspect of the chapter you are reading including the problem, process, program and projected outcome. Please use this link to enter the website http://ecologyofdemocracy.org/.

You will make your posts in the classroom conversations area; under the thread The Ecology of Democracy Your point of View-2. You can also receive up to 20 points extra credit by answering the thread question: How do you understand the role of citizens or the citizenry in a democracy?  If you have not registered, you will need to do so. Feel free to catch me in class or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Best

Comments

UParsian's picture

The Ecology of Democracy Project proved to be an eye-opening group project. This project allowed our five group members to collaborate and share our ideas while having to make decisions about our final project. Group projects, in general, can be something difficult to complete when people are not contributing all of their ideas all of the time. Cooperation is key for making group projects work, and I am very pleased that my group was able to come together to complete our project smoothly. Although at times some members did not contribute as much as expected, we were able to complete the project with ease.

Our group was assigned to address the issue of gang violence. All members thought that we all knew a good amount of this issue; however, I believe that some of us may agree that we did not care about this issue personally. Because of this, I believe that our plan could have been lacking quality. I believe that if our group was given an issue that was significantly meaningful to us, then maybe we would have created a better project. In this project, our group needed to create a process, program, and a project outcome.

We all collaborated well together for what we wanted our process to be. We all agreed that we were going to have/having several meetings in class to discuss our topic and how we were going to execute our plan. We also planned to continue to meet with the mayor to discuss our group program as it continued to develop. In order to create awareness throughout the community, our group planned to advertise on local radio stations, and social media sites. All of these actions would then help us in the development of our program.

Our program was something that continued to change more than what we would have liked it to. With our professors constantly reducing the amount of funds our group would receive, our group needed to continue to think of ways to to make a meaningful program with the little money we had available to us. With $5,000, our group decided to rent a movie theatre that would play the movie “Straight Outta Compton” because we felt that it is a movie that could help raise awareness about our problem. We would price the tickets at $10 which would help generate money for existing gang rescue and support programs. Also, if any money remained, our group would use the money to help advertise on radio stations and social media if it were needed.

Our goal from the beginning was to prevent gang violence. Our program is designed to have all proceeds go towards already existing gang rescue and support groups in hopes to remove people from being associated in gangs. We thought it was appropriate to give our proceeds to these programs because we believed that by helping removing people from gang, we will be able to prevent other people from joining gangs. I understand that gang violence can be something that cannot be stopped completely; however, we have hopes that our program could help reduce violence.

From chapter 6 in Ecology of Democracy, the very first heading reads “why get involved?” This question was also brought up in our group discussion. We all kept wondering why were assigned to do this project. At first, I truly did not see the point in doing this project. I found that gang violence did not impact my life personally; however, as I write this paper, I find that gang violence does impact my life indirectly. Gang violence is always around us, and since our school is located in Flint, gang violence can be closer than you think. I may not be affected by gang violence, but people that I care about may become involved, or victims of gang violence which is something that I want to prevent.

Overall, I found that this project was something that benefited our class. Some group members are just starting college, and this was a small insight to the many group projects they may face throughout their college lives. We found that were were able to work together to create our project in a timely manner. I am very pleased at how this project turned out, and I hope that my future group projects can run as smoothly as this one did.

Uduarte's picture

         In class, each group was assigned a topic that was occurring in the community. In my class there were eight different groups. My group was group four and our topic was racism. I think that we had a more difficult issue because it is very difficult to stop racism. Racism has been going on for years and it was difficult for us to think of solutions to stop it. Our group decided to pick a film production to help us send the message. We were going to create a documentary that showed how people are affected by racisms in Flint, Michigan. I really enjoyed my group, we all had similar ideas.

         When we received our topics, we then had to come up with a process, program, and a presentation on the outcome of the problem. Whenever we would meet in our groups, we would have to deal with another issue. For example, one day we would have $25,000 and the next day we would go down to $5,000. After we came up with a plan on how we were going to display our film, we had to pick a director in our group. Our director had to tell everyone what we were going to do and how. We also had to explain our money situation.

       After each director explained there issue, we then had all eight directors from each group and combined all of our ideas into one. Now I was not a director, but I was listening to what they were all saying. They took a while to come up with an idea. After the directors finished, they then picked one person to present all of their ideas combined. I really enjoyed this project. It made me realized that we have so many issues and ways we can solve them. It also made me realize that working together is very important to solve an issue.

UParsian's picture

I agree that racism is something difficult to stop. I think that your group made a good choice by choosing to do a film to raise awareness for your topic. I also enjoyed this project because it allowed us to collaborate on something important. I agree that it was difficult to make a good plan while our money was constantly being cut short. I think all groups did well with what they had and were able to put their differences aside to make a good plan.

aliciahinojosa's picture

I completely agree with you when you say racism is a difficult issue to tackle and solve. I believe racism will always exist in our world, as you simply cannot please everyone. But I also believe that there are more good, kind-hearted people than there are mean, close-minded people. It isn't easy to talk about racism with other people, especially when that other person is not the same race as you. Even talking to someone who is the same race as you about racism is difficult as well. Racism is a sensitive topic, but the more we talk about it and acknowledge it, the closer we get to resolving the issue. I think it would be very helpful to talk about issues of racism in our country that is going on right now, right here, today as it is still a very current and very rising issue. A film about the current issues of race going on today would be interesting, as most films about race are focused on the times of slavery or early to mid 1900's. I also agree that even though it seems like there isn't much we can do to help, there are actually so many little things that we, as normal everyday citizens, can do to make a difference as long as we work hard, show empathy, keep an open mind, and show everyone kindness. 

UAldahammin's picture

I totally agree with you that racism is hard to stop. It happened to me a lot, sometimes some people look at me with weird look in their face just because I’m from different country. Anyway, you and your group did a great job.

hunter.ludwig's picture

I believe one of the biggest issues in our society today is child abuse. Unfortunately, it’s only getting worse and a lot of people don’t have the right resources or knowledge to handle it… or they’re too scared. The issue is getting worse with children that are being abused and being bullied into not telling anyone with threats from the abuser.

 

In my UNV 100 class at University of Michigan-Flint, we split up into 5 different groups with 4-7 random classmates. We were each presented with a problem (child abuse and not knowing how to handle it) and a budget and had to come up with a way to raise awareness to issue and display different methods to resolve the issue and place children into the right hands. We started with $25,000 and then our budget was cut which originally led to some complications. However, we quickly found a resolution to the money situation.

 

As I previously stated, the problem was child abuse. The director and I immediately went to brainstorming and remembered the assemblies we used to attend in middle school/high school that would raise awareness and provide resources for the children to get help and be protected while they went about it. We decided to put on a play to show a scenario of child abuse and how the child in the play went about getting help in a safe and effective manner. Seems how we decided to put on the play for free at the schools, we decided to put it on at the local theater as well and charge a small ticket fee to raise a little bit of money for the props and resources we acquired.

 

Our projected outcome was the children that are experiencing child abuse or know someone that is, acquire the proper knowledge and resources to get help and make sure the children stay safe while they are going through the process and also know that it’s okay to get help no matter what anybody says.

 

After solidifying the plan, our team leader Megan had to collaborate with all of the other groups and compare our program. As I wasn’t the team leader I didn’t participate in much of it, but I really liked how our class came together and took the project completely seriously.

 

After this project, I learned a lot about the stand I could take against child abuse and how when you and a group of people put your heads together you can really make a change. Not only that, but I learned that I work well with other people. I’m used to being on my own when it comes to projects, and collaborating ideas and comparing situations with other people can even make for a better outcome when you have more than one person working to solve an issue. I really enjoyed partaking in this assignment as it taught me many new skills I can use later down the road.

UHohman's picture

For my group project we were tasked with finding a way to reduce teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy is an issue that is not solvable like other more tangible problems. With Teen pregnancy the issue arises after a simple choice whether or not to have sex. Most kids in our area already go through sexual education and learn about how babies are made and what the organs and stuff do. After sexual education there is not a whole lot of information you receive regarding sex and pregnancy. In my personal experience I can only recall talking about it in a health and wellness class my first year of high school. It’s because of this lack of information that leads teenagers to practice unprotected sex and this is the problem our group was tasked with solving.

We were a community theater organization that thought it would be best to put on some skits at the local middle and high schools to ultimately display the struggles and hardships of being a teen parent and then encourage students to practice absence. For older teens we wanted to not only show the difficulties of being a young parent but after those skits discuss with them the importance of protection. We recognized that you cannot stop older teens from having sex but you can explain to them how easily accessible protection is. With this in mind we had our program down.

Our process to fulfill our program was to schedule times with the local middle and high schools to put on these skits and have these discussion points. The schools would be tasked with handling of permission slips if need be, and we would use our own company transportation to move and items we needed to put on our skits.

Finally our projected outcome was through educating the students around us we would see a drop in local teenage pregnancy. The process could be repeated every couple of years so new and more students are able to receive that education thus the likelihood that our plan would work.

UAldahammin's picture

Problem – Child Abuse

Child abuse is a major –problem in modern schools. It may be from peers or adults, such as teachers and other subordinate staff. Consequently, schools would change their practices and policies to abolish child abuse, but have cordial relations with the learners as the latter also become pro-adult staff, within their precincts to the benefit for the student.

Process

            The project team will secure permission to carry out the production at Flint Community District School. The choice of this schools in its accessibility and convince for the project team. Then, the team will focus on the elementary students who are the subjects of the project. The team will, afterwards, talk to the head of administration and the principal as well as other staff to ensure that support and collaboration is initiated that enhance success. Moreover, the team will engage the social workers and the other professionals such as counselors so that the multidisciplinary approach to child abuse in schools can be achieved. Still, the demographic and baseline information would come from the professionals and the school’s staff.

Production

The production features will involve subjects chosen by the school staff, such as counselor and the teachers, among the students. The participants, students, will be taken to a special room within the school in which they would try the equipment available for the production. The students will, mainly, focus on how to produce a piece of art using the equipment. During this time, also, the students will create rapport with the project team and the other involved parties. All these will take about half an hour to one hour.

Projected Outcomes

            We expect this project to act as a means of improving the relationship between the students and the other school staff. Particularly, fear among the children will be replaced with friendliness and trust. Volunteers will help improve the relationship between students and the teachers through active engagement and talking. Any aspect of child abuse from home will, then, be easily brought out by the child for proper interventions. The intervention would be carried out by the competent social worker and counselor. Play and equipment handling will also reinforce the feeling of sense of belonging among the children. The project would be scaled up to other schools if successful.  

UGarza's picture

Currently, I am a student at the University of Michigan, and in my UNV 100; Let's Go Arts class with Dr. May and Dr. Jones, we read and discussed chapter 6 of Ecology of Democracy. After our class discussion, we were then split into different groups, each tackling some type of problem in communities all over the world. Each of the groups chose to become some type of pillar in the community that would provide some type of art related service, with a budget of $5,000 to fund our projects. In my group, we chose to be an art museum, and we were assigned the problem of domestic abuse being any room in shelters. 

To help solve this problem our group came up with the process of using the community surrounding us to fund and promote our idea. Our plan on getting more funding from local colleges and community schools either through a monetary donation or through a donation of materials. We then plan on finding out if there are already bus routes that go to the museum, and if there is not already finding ways to get a route to it. Promoting and putting up flyers around at local business promoting a night of art created and inspired by the woman who suffers or has suffered domestic abuse would be our way of introducing this issue to the community. Getting involved with a local film company to create a television ad or some sort of short film that could air on the television would also help promote this idea. 

We came up with the plan to create a support group, either at that is dedicated to art and offers support for those who have suffered abuse. The showcase night would feature a staff of people who are victims of domestic abuse. The night would also feature short films, theatre performances, and an art gallery in which all dedicated material would be shown at this time. 

Our projected outcome is that those affected by domestic violence have new jobs so that they might be able to find ways to get out of the situation. The community is more understanding and vigilant about domestic violence. Also, the proceeds from the auctioning of the art the women made in the classes will go towards building a women’s shelter.

Our plan is to help set up programs for women that suffer from domestic violence. We are going to hire some of the women to work at the museum so that they can make some money and try to get out of their situations. The money that they would be being paid with is the profits that the museum makes from museum admittance and profits from the cafeteria, classes, and daycare services that the museum provides. Along with providing job opportunities for the women, we are also going to provide them with day care services and different classes for them to go and make art. After they have made the art, we are going to then hold a gallery for the art that the women made and also auctioning it off as well as posting it around the community. The proceeds from this auctioning event will also go towards building a shelter specifically for those suffering from domestic violence.