Ask, Listen, & Respect

Ask, Listen, and Respect is a multifunctional book for an adult (either parent, teacher or professional to read to their child or student. The story book is created by fold the book in reverse, extend inner tabs, and propping it up on its new side to create the flip book look. On the front, there is an empowering story for your child with the textual context for the parent or teacher on the back.

Ask, Listen, and Respect is a teaching tool I designed for children ages 4-10 years old and an adult to create a mindset of asking permission, listening to the response, and respecting the choice.  

Practicing these three steps is an effective habit for children to develop at a young age. This book not only empowers children to respect others, but also supports children to speak up about their comfort levels. This teaching tool educates parent/guardians, teachers, and professionals on the importance of listening and accepting children’s decisions. When children’s choices are validated by those around them, they can be more confident and comfortable in discussions about how they feel. As children grow up, this reinforced habit can carry over into personal and professional relationships to build a strong and healthy foundation for communication about consent.  

This capstone project represents how I will use my Interdisciplinary Studies major (Graphic Design, Communications, and Marketing). I studied the graphic design styles in children books, observing what type of cartoons represent the tone of your book and what characters are most relatable for the target audience. The language in the book shows what I have learned in communication about the most effective communication methods based on who you’re speaking with and the message you’re trying to convey. Since I am talking with a child, I used appropriate words for their age such as “personal bubble” to talk about heavy topics such as consent. The marketing aspect of this project is tested by the affect my story has. I networked with professionals in the fields of children’s psychology, language, sexual assault crisis center outreach teams. I created a product for professionals and parents to not only teach children and students but also for adults to learn communication they should be using. With my Graphic Design, Communications, and Marketing degree I will use art as an instrument to share knowledge and ideas. Art has the power to change minds. I hope to use my art to advocate for ideologies that I believe in.

This flip-book so far has four story pages and their corresponding information page. Each page has a different lesson of teaching consent that is important for children to practice: No means no, no answer means no, “no, but…”, and verbal & non-verbal communication.

On the No means No page, I talk about the importance to create a habit of asking first and respecting yes or no answers. Children can learn from a young age how to ask first and have that practice throughout their lives. It is important that children understand that they do not always get what they want, so that they do not feel entitled to others’ behaviors. A child might feel hurt, bothered, and even angry that they are not getting their way but this is a learning opportunity for them to respect others.  

If a child says “no” and they are not responded with a respect for their choice, it enforced the idea that they are undeserving of their wants and needs. Respecting a child’s choice sets a standard of how they should be treated giving them autonomy over themselves. As they grow up, they may be asked much more than just to play blocks, in these cases they should feel listened and empowered to respond knowing they will be respected. 

On the No Answer means no page, it covers how teaching a child to ask permission before they do an action teaches them respect for who they are with. Sometimes a child might not answer because they are not comfortable saying “no”, do not understand what is being asked of them, or unable to articulate their feelings. In these cases, where a child does not answer, that is not a “yes” or up to you to decide for them. It is your job to explain to them further so they understand or tell them it’s okay for them to say no if they are uncomfortable. 

As they get older, these are patterns that they can carry over into professional and personal relationships or social groups where there are pressures to do what everyone else is doing. There is also a pressure to do something just because it is what someone else wants you to do. It is important for a child to be taught that their silence is not an invitation for someone to make up their mind for them. 

The third page, “no, but…” encourages parents to have a conversation with children about how they want to be touched by others, and to teach them words such as: personal bubble or private spaces. An open communication about a child’s personal bubble can lead to a child being more comfortable talking about how they want to interact with others when they are older. Everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to being touched, and it is important that a child is the one in charge of making that choice for themselves.  

Children should not feel pressured to kiss, hug, or touch if they are uncomfortable because it reinforces the idea that how they feel is second to others. When the person who wants to show affection in a physical way is someone you love, saying no is hard because you do not want them to be offended that you do not show affection in the same way as them. Saying “No, but..” and suggesting an alternative is great for children who have a hard time saying just “no” to people they care about. It is important for adults to accept other suggestions that the child is more comfortable with, so that they are empowered to express how they feel. 

The last page, Verbal & non-verbal communication talks about how children and adults have many ways of communicating with each other. While verbal communication seems to be the most obvious way to give consent, non-verbal communication is just as important. Reading facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language/orientation can also give you can idea of how the person feels. In this scene, Logan is laughing but his face and body are sending a different message.  

A big part of effective communication that children can learn and use as adults is reading non-verbal signs, such as: crossed or open arms, eye contact, and pulling away or leaning forward. Logan originally was having fun in the tickle fight but is allowed to want to stop at any point. When someone non-verbally is showing signs of being uncomfortable it is important to stop and verbally confirm consent, even if it was previously given. Part of respect is understanding that choices change and to make people feel comfortable to express when or if that happens. 

With this book I hope to teach young children about consent in an age appropriate way through the events of their everyday life. The purpose of this book is to create habits in children that will help them when they are older and the issues of consent are higher stakes. Ask, Listen, and Respect will hopefully be part of a larger collection of stories I am writing to support, educate, and empower.

Process and People

I want to keep a live record of the people helping and guiding me on my capstone project as I go on the journey of creating my children’s book. This post I will continue to update as there are new ideas and developments for my story.

Katie Herzig: Professor of psychology at Plymouth State University, specializing in children’s development. She had amazing insight about real life families teaching modern lessons to their children. She pointed me in the right direction of the demographic of children I should target the story with; a group that is young enough that the story is being read to them, but old enough that the lessons are understood.

Janette Wiggett: Plymouth State University TitleIX Coordinator. Provided insight about why communications about consent is important. She has been my mentor all year teaching me laws and language of sexual misconduct issues and really opened my eyes up to the important of messaging around this topic.

Tina: After meeting with Tina E from Voices Against Violence I had such a better idea of where this project was going. I am turning my children’s book in a marketing flipbook learning tool for children and adults.

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/18/12/consent-every-age is a website that talks about how to teach consent at every age.

  • Develop a shared vocabulary
  • Lay the social-emotional groundwork
  • Teach kids that it’s OK to express hurt
  • Model consent and empower student

Reference Books:

Sanders, Jayneen, and Cherie Zamazing. No Means No!: Teaching Children about Personal Boundaries, Respect and Consent; Empowering Kids by Respecting Their Choices and Their Right to Say, No! Educate2Empower Publishing, an Imprint of UpLoad Publishing, 2018.

Kurtzman-Counter, Samantha, and Abbie Schiller. Miles Is the Boss of His Body. Mother Co., 2014.

Working intro page:

Ask, Listen, and Respect is a multifunctional book for you and your child or student. Fold the book in reverse, extend inner tabs, and prop it up on its new side to create the flip book look. On the front, there is an empowering story for your child with the textual context for the parent or teacher on the back! 

Ask, Listen, and Respect is a teaching tool I designed for children ages 4-10 years old and an adult to create a mindset of asking permission, listening to the response, and respecting the choice.  

Asking is a great way to find something out like…  

“Do you want to come over and play?”  

Listening is how you learn the answer to what you asked…  

“I cannot come over to play. I am going to my cousin’s house.”  

Respecting is important to show that you care about their feelings and the right to say yes or no..  

“That is okay, maybe another time, have fun at your cousin’s house!”  

Practicing these three steps is an effective habit for children to develop at a young age. This book not only empowers children to respect others, but also supports children to speak up about their comfort levels. This teaching tool educates parent/guardians, teachers, and professionals on the importance of listening and accepting children’s decisions. When children’s choices are validated by those around them, they can be more confident and comfortable in discussions about how they feel. As children grow up, this reinforced habit can carry over into personal and professional relationships to build a strong and healthy foundation for communication about consent.  

Original sketches of characters
Coloring the characters

There is a huge importance of the style of character because it contributes to the tone of the story, reliability from the audience to the character, and visual engagement. I studied many cartoon styles and their type of story they were from.

These are popular characters that children from the age demographic I was targeting watch or have seen. To the right is the same character draw in many different styles.

Senior Capstone Mind Mapping

Where To Start:

My interdisciplinary Studies major is a combination of graphic design, marketing, and communications. With each one of these disciplines I will add a new element to my capstone project. I will use graphic design to visually communicate a message, make the art style age a prorate and relatable, and study the art behind the media I use. I will use marketing to understand my target demographic and apply the project to the that benefit of the consumer. I will use communications to appropriately articulate the message taking into account tone, language, non verbals, and the agenda of my project.

Mind Mapping #1

What is the message:

Using my women studies minor and my experience in working and volunteering with crisis centers, TitleIX, and sexual misconduct awareness groups, I will focus my capstone project as a resource for support, empowerment, and education in these topics.

There is a huge lack of lessons for young children empowering them to say “no” and educating them about personal space or speaking up when they are uncomfortable. When these are not repeatedly taught to children they grow up in a world that is teaching them to be polite at the risk of their own comfort and safety. 

I have worked the NH Young Women’s Conference for the past four years, and have had the incredible honors of helping with workshops that have built the foundation of what I want my Interdisciplinary capstone project to be. At this conference, they teach young children important lessons on body image, comfort levels, self-love, and healthy coping methods. I would love to bring these concepts, of taking difficult conversations, and making them age appropriate for children to better understand them. 

A large issue I want to dive into, are the behaviors that society pushes onto young girls that stunt their growth making them susceptible for believing they are deserving, as an adult, of dating violence.

Mind Mapping #2

What is the medium:

Through a children’s book, I want to embed situations into a story, that empower kids to say ‘no’ and speak about their personal space. I will develop a story of the every day life for a family and focus on the normal domestic situations where life lessons can be taught to children about the power of consent. This book will take the reader through a day of a young girl and through her eyes understand the internal struggle of actions that are normalized that make children uncomfortable, and have the parents in the book show the daughter to not be silences and speak up. 

Society consistently teaches women from a young age to be polite to the point that puts women in danger. Women learn this from a very young age; to make ourselves small, quiet, and blindly obedient. As women grow older, these learned habits groom them to be targets for domestic violence, making them believe they deserve it.

I would like this children book to be targeted at an age demographic that is young enough that the book is still read to them, but old enough that they understand the concepts in the book. I will work with faculty in the psychology department and employees at Voices Against Violence to do research on how to approach this project to build the story.

Mind Mapping #3

Mind Mapping #4

Timeline:

Research

  1. Contact Education faculty about how to write a children’s book
  2. Contact Psychology faculty about how to talk to children this age
  3. Look at other children books to learn about art styles for this age
  4. Meet with Tina from Voices Against Violence to understand language and lessons that are important

Decisions

  1. Choose age demographic
  2. Pick an artistic style
  3. Select three or four situations where children would learn about consent as a child

Execution

  1. Write the script, work stop it, bring it to the writing center, have faculty review it
  2. Draw the illustrations for all the pages
  3. Print book

Bring it to life

  1. Read the book to a group of young students and discuss the lessons in the book
  2. Pros and cons of effectiveness

You Are Art

What was my intellectual journey?

In theory, I do not feel as though I grew up a lot, or even that a lot of time has gone by. Then I look back at where I was at the beginning of college, and think oh yeah, she grew up.

For me, my intellect and my actions were very different. My intellect, being my thinking and reasoning, was so different then how I actually acted. I knew who I wanted to be but convincing myself I was actually capable of being that person was something that took a long time. I was not confident that I was where I needed to be.

Before I was in school, I thought I was an artist because people told me I was.

Painting signs for Rose’s Mothers Day art show (2015)

I was the daughter of two architects and was doing three-point-perspective before I was even reading and writing. I was always doing art or art projects. I was seen as an artist to my peers and faculty but, looking back, I did not see myself as one. That was at least until my apprenticeship with a woman named Rose. She was a well-liked local artist who I met at an art show and ended up working for her for seven years. She was a child that never grew up, she lived in a bright pink house with polka-dot walls, she painted huge canvases of trees that were allowed to be blue, and she taught me about pushing the boundaries of art. Her art made people laugh and smile. I knew then, that art was so much more than what you made it, but what others made of it. Knowing this, made me think maybe I was an artist.

Art had the power to make people feel.

My first work of art in a gallery at college (2016)

I found my home at Plymouth State University where I knew I wanted to learn art, but I wanted to make art that meant something. I wanted to learn types of art, like graphic design, that I had never had the chance to do. I wanted to learn marketing and business so I could make the art persuasive with content. I wanted to learn psychology so I could get into the head of someone viewing my art. I wanted to learn communications so I could understand how to speak to people through my art. I wanted to learn about the environment and social issues, so my art had my passion and a power behind it. What I really really wanted was to major in “things and stuff”.

Little did I know, there was a major for that.

Graphic Design self portrait (2017)

Being able to design my own major and be the architect of my educational path was everything I did not know I needed until I had it. It was the ultimate craft, and if you know me, you know I love crafts. I was, for the first time, able to understand what I need to do, to get where I wanted to go. I had, for so long, this image of who I wanted to be and no way of getting there because I was blindly following a traditional curriculum, instead of creating this liberating learning environment. Knowing about interdisciplinary learning was a huge game changer, and it made me think okay maybe now I am actually an artist.

Things fell into place once I figured out how I would create my major so I could use art to make people feel and understand things. Art was this visual channel of communication that I so desperately wanted to learn everything about. But what was I meant to communicate?

The organization SAVE All (sexual assault and violence education alliance) found me at a time where I needed it most. The people in this group taught me the kind of lessons you do not learn in school. They empowered me, they supported me, and most importantly they gave me what it was that I was meant to use my art for.

I wanted to do for others what the people in this club did for me.

I designed a large-scale self-empowerment art project. I got a canvas the size of the wall and invited others to paint their bodies head-to-toe in their favorite color and press their bodies on the canvas, to see themselves as a work of art. Art is beautiful, even if you do not like a piece art, that does not make that work of art not art. Art, no matter who likes it and no matter what someone does it, it is still art. I wanted people to reclaim their bodies and to know that they are art. I remember doing this and think okay I was definitely wrong before this makes me an artist.

I used all parts of my interdisciplinary major to design large-scale art projects like this one every year after this, to continue the message that you are art. In every club, every class, and every job I used art in this way, I used art to make people feel something, just like Rose taught me.

Marketing Fellowship with the Alumni Association (2018)

With every class I was able to bring something new to my next opportunity. I used my skills from event marketing classes in my internship for TitleIX. I put all the communications classes to use during running open houses and being an orientation leader. In my graphic design courses, I strengthened my design abilities and then put them to practice in working for companies like Bauer Sports and my own university. Even public speaking lessons gave me the courage to go into positions like Student Body President, a role I never saw myself in until I was doing it and loving it.

The most amazing job in the IDS department where I get to do the coolest projects! (2019)

So many faculty and staff have pushed me, encouraged me, and given me the opportunities to become the person I am now. Day by day I made small choices to live as an interdisciplinarian, slowly becoming the person that four years ago I did not think I would ever be. I feel confident in my educate and what I want to do with it. I feel confident that I have all the skills I need to graduate, and I feel confident that I have the ability to be a forever learning. I feel confident in my art and my passion for using its power to change minds, so much that I think I can finally say that I am an artist and I have been this whole time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

In No Textbooks, No Lectures, and No Right Answers. Is This What Higher Education Needs? by Beth McMurtrie, she covers many topics from standardized testing, using your major in your career, and the way teachers teach. For a long time, lesson plans were about the information and not about the vehicles or the way the lessons were communicated to the students. Students learn in many different styles based on their background, the way they understand, and their learning abilities or impairments, because of this, one type or teaching or test can not accurately represent someones intelligence.

“In the age of standardized tests, where there’s always “a checklist to get an A, some students can’t handle that.”

Beth McMurtrie 


When I was in school standardized testing was the only type of testing that decided what level classes we got into, what our GPA was, and what school we were going to when we graduated. The problem with this is that not all answers are black and white. I always had questions about the questions and felt there was more then one direction or answer, and there was never the opportunity for me to draw it out of explain it verbally. For many students, standardized testing is a dreaded stressful situation; take the SATs for example, timed, silences for hours, you can not leave the room, and your entire future depends on it. How can this be the only way we judge students’ ability to retain knowledge?


Students have different strengths and weaknesses, they learn in different ways and they express the knowledge in different ways. The main three being auditory, visual, and kinesthetic, these mean the way we process information best is either by being told verbally, or being shown through diagram or infographic, and then some learn best by doing with an experiment or activity. 


In my time in higher education, I have had the pleasure of learning from professors who understand all the ways students learn best. Many teachers start classes by asking how they can be most effective to the student. What is their learning style? Do they prefer working in teams or individually? Do they want assignments online or on paper? How do they want constructive criticism? Online texts, video explanations, or physical textbooks? These are great questions to ask a student so they can get the most out of their education.

Architect of My Own Future

As an interdisciplinary studies major, I am the architect of my own education. That is a power few can say, because they follow a step by step education process where they are doing everything because they are told to, not because it is their passion. I whole heartily believe that if I could redesign the education system I would wrap the entire outline around the idea of shaping passion in student’s minds.Image result for passion learning

How education is being currently taught is an outdated structure. Instead of teaching children what we think, we should teach children how to think. This is where this force comes into play, because who says we know what is best for them. What we were taught as children could be completely irrelevant by the time they are learning it. Sugata Mitra, a professor that spoke in the short film, Future Learning, dove into this topic of obsolete education. He compares how hundreds of years ago riding a horse and fighting with a sword were taught and then became a sport, just an extra skill that was not a commonality to be taught, because it was no longer relevant. Being taught how to ride a horse was important for travel and hunting, now we learn how to drive a car or cook. Education is a growing entity. Mitra posed this question that reading and writing might one day be just a sport, just something we do for fun and that a new age of education will take cover. He does not directly believe education is broke because of this, just outdated. Here is where, if I had the opportunity to redefine education, I would follow this path of progression.

Knowledge to me is only as powerful to the person who holds it. If you, as a learner, are just taking in this education because you just want a degree or just because you want a job, that’s as far as you will ever get. Knowledge can only take you so far, the rest is all on your ambition to take that knowledge and actually make something out of it.

This brings me back to being an architect; since I am in control of my education, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I am picking the classes in an interdisciplinary fashion, I am trying as hard as it is possible to push myself, and I am enjoying every second of learning because it is an adventure of everything I care so deeply about. In a perfect world, I see everyone having this opportunity to be an architect; to be able to learn across disciplines and stretch their knowledge to places they have never been.

Image result for relevancyYour education should be built by taking what you want to do in the future and then organizing your education to give you this knowledge to get you where you need to be. Education right now is this constant endless doctrine of the past. We need to update our times because we are not preparing students for the world we grew up it, and we are not preparing them for the world we are living in now, we have to prepare them for a world that does not even exist yet. How do you do that? You do not teach them the skills for a subject, you teach them skills for adapting, learning, communicating and thinking for themselves. These are through transdisciplinary lessons; this idea of learning in real life experience way, across a series of disciplines.

If you just prepare yourself with a specific discipline for a job, that job could be obsolete in the future; you need to prepare yourself for the passion that you are alive for, and then education yourself on the job that will allow you to do that passion. For me personally, I do not just want to be an artist because I like painting, I want to change the world, I want to spread my ideologies and art is just the medium I am doing it through. This is why when you tell a student to do something and you do not give them a reason it is because they are asking ‘why?’ What is the relevancy? What is the reason a child has to learn what you are teaching? If they do not have that passion that reasoning behind their education they will have no reason to swallow any of the knowledge fed to them in school.

Image result for teachingI have watched my mother be a teacher for eight years now and the first year she told me that every day children would ask her why they had to learn the quadrative formula, or verb tenses, or geometric shapes. After the first year of teacher we sat down and I explained to her that I said the same things I school, because I was never told why these things were important. From then on, anytime she taught a lesson she would propose the contextual thinking behind it; apply it real life and have them act out a probable situation where they would actually use this information. Never again has a student asked her why they have to learn algebra or historic dates.

The creator of KhanAcadamy stretches this believe that education should come from passion not pattern by really trying to be that inspiration in his student’s educational path. He designs his whole academic philosophy off having interest in a subject helps him want to learn and helps his students want to learn because it makes them care more. Having a good teacher is such a big part of students finding their passion because it makes them feel like there is something worth fighting for and caring about.

I have found so much freedom and power in being the architect of my own education not just as an interdisciplinary major but at Plymouth State, and there progressive teaching styles as a whole. I hope that this paper does not stay a hypothetical of how I could change education in the future but I hope it becomes a next project, so that education can become a place where everyone is the architect of their own education.

 

My Journey to Interdisciplinary Learning

Going into this Interdisciplinary course I had no idea what to expect. I had this idea that it was just a fancy way to have a duel major, or that it was this magical place where I could do whatever classes I wanted and still get a degree. I had no idea the extent to which I would learn about my curriculum and the fundamentals of education in a whole.

I had never even hear of interdisciplinary studies before I came to college and met someone who was involved in the program. She explained to me that she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she was older; she told me she wanted to make the art work that was in biology text books and posters, but since this was not a major she designed her own. I thought this was such a creative outlet that this school had a program that allowed you to design your own curriculum.

     When later this first year at school I was told I could not do a duel major between Graphic Design and Marketing, my Professor Phil told me that his wife was head of the IDS program here. He told me that in this program I could still take the classes I wanted to build towards the same goal of getting a job that involved the arts and Marketing.

I knew exactly the job I wanted I knew exactly the type of classes I would need to take to get there. After learning more and more about IDS, I knew that was the program I belonged in. I was so excited to build my own major and looking forward to this academic freedom. IDS to me was like my own little art project where I created this who personalized educational path for myself.

After getting into the class, my ideas about IDS only got better. I learned that IDS is so much more than just freedom in classes, but also freedom across education. It is this new perspective of fluidity in disciplines and learning platforms that comes from such an experienced based learning.

Some ideas that we talked about in this IDS course were the concepts of the renaissance’s scholar, being the jack of all trades, and this unity of knowledge. Moti Nissani talks about the Renaissance Scholar, such like Leonardo da Vinci and we have put this Renaissance Scholar imagine out of reach by making it seem like an un-achievable goal. Really though, this goal of being great at everything is something we should focus on because of how important it is to not limit our knowledge. All these concepts we discuss in class and read about all come back to broadening our education. Being “the jack of all trades, master of none” is a fake stigma of IDS because in truth we are master of all, because we are combining majors to make one new integrated field to be a master in.

This is why IDS matters so much because when we are out looking for jobs are working on real world problems, one discipline is not enough. We need to be able to attack from all sides, and have a bigger picture of understanding on the situation. Having an IDS degree puts us one step ahead in the world because we can use our  major to understand and work with others in other fields.

With my degree personally I want to be one step ahead. I do not just want to be a graphic designer; I want to be one with a back ground in business. I do not just want to be an advertiser with a sales associate; I want to be one that can think creatively. I want everyone to have this advantage so they can learn as much as possible and go as far as possible. I think the main barrier on education is closedmindedness and lack of understanding. With people studying in an interdisciplinary fashion though they can have mutable backgrounds in many fields and there for know how to approach problems from all angles.

Learning the Digital World

Before this class my media involvement started and stopped with just looking at memes. I had no public learning network where I was able to reach out to others and not only share my ideas but also learn from everyone around me.  Creating a PLN was a big step in having a presents online. My PLN is built from my professional twitter and my website where I regularly blog and talk about my educational path. To build this PLN I started with seeing what was out there. I researched other graphic designers, followed ecofriendly and social issues twitter accounts, and used articles in my papers. This covered the gaining knowledge of what is out there part of the PLN. I used other resources to increase my learning but there is so much more to it. Slowly I started feeling comfortable with putting myself out there and interacting online. Here I would tweet at other people, reblog/ message people who were posting similar things as me or just interesting topics, and tagging others in posts they might like. On the ePort I would link up articles or reference people in academic fields and then share the papers with them. This builds a connection in the professional world and has expanded not only my knowledge but my awareness of involvement.

Since my major is Graphic Arts of Promotional Communications, I mainly follow graphic artists and different marketing teams. Other graphic designers post about new techniques or programs that they are learning. It is so helpful to learn tips or watch videos of them using the same software I am using to basically see what more I can learn. The marketing twitters I follow post very creative ideas that really make you think and remind you that there are many endless possibilities to do something.

This PLN affects my major in such a positive way by giving me this whole fourth dimension to my education. Before it was just what I learned in the class room or at a job on campus, and now I have endless possibilities at my fingertips. By interacting with others it is building your public audience. By putting your name out their other companies or programs can see the work you’re doing and reach out to you. Creating your digital portfolio is a huge step in branding who you are. Now other businesses, artists, writers and so many others are reading or seeing my work. This is more than a two way street of just me learning about other and others learning about me; with a PLN it can go anywhere. The future to PLNs is endless because you can see other people connecting and value from it of share it to someone else. For example, with hashtags or tagging others in posts you can broadcast a single idea to anyone interested in the same topic as you.

The Take Away

I was sitting in class the other day and the girl next to me was asleep. The boy in front of me was on his phone, and the students in the back were passing notes. I did not notice any of this until our teacher got fed up with everyone and sent them home. That’s when I realized that more than anything, I love learning. I thought that lesson she was giving was the most interesting and engulfing content I had ever heard. I am never happier then when I am given the honor to have a teacher care so passionately about a subject and share that knowledge me with me, even if it is the history of Helvetic font.

Learning to me is such a privilege, and the lessons I have learned in some of my classes go so far beyond just skills and techniques. The lessons I have learned are bigger: they shape you to think in new perspectives.

In my Graphic Design class, we were assigned the book Type Matters by Jim Williams. This book dives into the kerning, weights, and other nerdy things like the tracking of lettering. The ideas behind how to compose type, goes far deeper than just graphic design. My teacher taught us these ideas behind art that are so much bigger and more impactful, if only you take the time to get off your phone in class and listen.

Art has this power to subconsciously be appealing to the viewer. In this class, we take these ideas that are art formulas and apply them to our work. This is the beauty of typography; that it can be reduced and simplified it to its basic compounds and still is art.

This is an idea I struggled with understanding for a long time. It’s the idea that every uneducated person struggles with when they look at moderately modern art and think, ‘why is the red dot on a giant canvas called art, even I could do that’. It’s the idea that creates a barrier. Some people only believe art is art if they find it beautiful. But art can be art whether you want it to be or not.

It never occurred to me before that other kids did not find typography interesting. The more and more I learned about type and graphic arts the more I understood that some people see art as a skill not a way of thinking. Since type is this idea of simplifying art down to its bare formula of what makes art art, why not use this idea and apply it to everything.  Jim Williams classified, “Good typography is about visualizing language through the arrangement, composition, and the choice of type.” This way of thinking with an artistic background is not about making pretty art it’s about structured and meaningful art.

This concept of meaningful, simplified art that I learned about in graphic design class flows over to other classes I am enrolled in at school. There are many components to my designed major that take in many ideas from other disciplines besides art. Many of the ideas I want to center my art around are how art can help people.

I am enrolled in a class this semester, which I thought would be nothing more than a class to count for my general education credit. However, taking Helping Skills in Society is more than just another class; it intertwines with what I want to do with my education path. We have been learning about this idea in class of these five steps to helping someone. At first I thought it over kill because I thought I knew how to help someone, but the last step really made me think about my art and how I can really be impactful.

There are five main parts to give someone help; establishing a working relationship, identifying the clients problem, helping the clients create goals, encouraging client exploration and taking action and lastly termination.

This last part: termination is where you help them only to the point where they can go figure it out for them self. By distancing yourself from the person it makes them only dependable on themselves. If you stay and walk them through the whole learning process not only will they not know how to do it on their own but they will associate you being there with success or understanding.

This lesson turned out to be a lot more valuable then I originally thought. This is because in art, you usually are not there for them to see your art. When you make art to help or educate someone it is for them to interoperate and take a message away.

This is very applicable for me because I want to use art to change minds and spread ideals. I use these first steps in my work by studying the demographic and including a call to action or inspirational piece. The ideas I learned in this helping skills class helped me broaden my view of how to use my art work.

Both these ideas and lessons apply directly to my designed major. By combining the creative perspective from art classes and the helping skills view, I will successfully because to add to my degree of Promotional Communications. The helping skills will work alongside the advertising and public relations side of it and the creativity will help with my mindset.

Jack of all Trades

Being an interdisciplinarian is to be the jack of all trades. This is an educational path that brings together all styles, disciplines, and perspectives, to create an omniscient view on the how and why of the world. To be able to view the world on this spectrum of understanding you need to be able to understand the individual disciplines that go into to build this larger platter of knowledge.

When working on real world problems or interacting outside of the classroom, having this broad skill set of knowledge comes into play. By learning in an interdisciplinary fashion you are opening yourself up to more viewpoints on assessing information.

In a study, done by the University of Alberta and group of researchers used this method of taking in all perspectives when doing one task. The team’s series of objectives started with determining if children who were exposed to domestic violence were more prone to being cruel to animals when given the opportunity compared to children not exposed to violence. Many different views went into play when doing this experiment because of all the variables.

The key parts of this experiment that you must understand are the psychological, the scientific, and the sociological.

You have to first understand the psychological influence the children are aware of. This context of the experiment is important because of the amount we take in what is around us. We are exposed to so much and this changes how we act and treat others. In the case of this experiment, they wanted to test if someone saw violence would they act more violent.

Having a psychology background in this experiment would be helpful but it will give you a limited view. If you’re only focused on why people do things you forget other factors that come into play.

You must also discern the possibilities for other influences like gender, age, and other exposure to violence. Here is where the scientific background is important; because of chemical make ups from gender when we are born there might be more aggression build into someone that factors into this experiment. In the article, Animal Cruelty by Children Exposed to Domestic Violence by Cheryl Currie, written about this study, she says that, “Animal cruelty may also be self-satisfying, as modeling the aggressor may provide feelings of power and control in what is otherwise an uncontrollable situation”. Being educated in the field of psychology can get you so far but if you are aware of the other influences you can understand the problems better because you have a wide angle on the picture.

On top of these two ways to test in the experiment, there is also sociological. This Image result for psychologydifference from the psychological aspect because it is not so much the learning from what you see but more the outside influence that society has branded. Since there is a stigma for men to be violent or those that believe humans are the most sophisticated and advanced species, then it could be a subconscious force that made the children in the experiment think that is how they treat animals. Currie addressed that so many factors are relevant when testing something that seems so specific, “It is unclear why some children emulate the violence they are exposed to and others do not”. Whether it is where they picked up these actions or if they were born with them, it is crucial to be aware that you cannot just look at it from one side.

In the experiment, they had voluntary participation where the subject had to provide evidence of the domestic violence crime. Even the boundaries for this are too broad because it is unclear to what extend they were exposed. On this statistical alone, you have to be cautions you are not limiting your understanding to one discipline of knowledge.

This article was incredibly relatable because of the way they conducted the operation. They were not close minded, but made it clear that you needed to recognize all the different parts to have a full and correct perspective.

Image result for interdisciplinaryThe way of learning where you do not put a limit on your education can create a more abstract but effective way to handle situations. In the domestic abuse testing demonstration all of the conductors worked together using knowledge each had obtained from there discipline. But by them understanding that all of their backgrounds, whether from science, retrieving data, or psychology, were prevalent they were able to see different views of this experiment that otherwise could have been dismissed.