"...and justice for all"by Jan Janes on Apr 14, 2017
Gavilan College students in Dr. Enrique Luna's History 1 class paired selected books from the Silicon Valley Reads program with their history research, using a "justice" lens to examine their work.
In its 15th year, Silicon Valley Reads suggests books around social and cultural themes. For 2017 two books, "Unfair" by Adam Benforado and "Writing My Wrongs" by Shaka Senghor were selected to draw out discussions about unconscious bias. The Gilroy Library hosted seven public events showcasing this year's theme. For the final event March 28, Gavilan students moved out of the classroom and into the library to present their work.
Melissa Premo presents her work on women's rights at the Gilroy Library.
In advance, students read, discussed and critiqued chapters from "Unfair" to illustrate and understand bias. They each also chose a separate historical topic to research, then framed their discoveries within a specific chapter of the book.
Before building their public displays, students served as peer evaluators in the classroom, listening to each other's presentations without question or comment. Each student received written feedback noting the strengths as well as areas needing additional work. Reviewers noted information that was familiar and the ways it contributed to their understanding of the concepts.
Luna teaches the History 1 class as a hybrid, which couples class time and lecture with online databases where students share their work. He described the process he uses as Public Sphere Pedagogy or Project Based Learning. Each iteration builds on presenting work in progress incorporating critiques, culminating in final research papers at the end of the term. Presenting work in a public manner is a key component of the learning process.
Dr. Enrique Luna, Gavilan College history instructor, confers with students as
they prepare their presentations at the Gilroy Library.
Joel Valdivia, second year biological sciences major, used the women's injustice theme to focus his research on the history of conquest and disease of native North Americans, specifically women, with the arrival of Europeans. "It was a good process, leading up to today," he said. "Because this is in the library, it is weird that the audience just leaves." Students learned to continue their oral presentations and disregard the flow of the groups.
Melissa Premo, a second year nursing student, took the class as a general education requirement. She said she didn't have much interest in history before taking the class. Her research focused on the history of women's injustice, and she used examples of vintage photography to illustrate female disempowerment. "The process, working as a class, gives a thorough explanation of the issues," she said, noting that it helped strengthen her research. It also decreased her anxiety. "I used to cry before presentations, but this made it fun."
Reviewers Celestina Gomez and Hannah Sepulveda offered feedback after listening
to a presentation.