R2 Ted Talk- February 18th

The Politics of Fiction

Elif Shafak does a remarkable job at revealing the detriments associated with imposed political identities. Readers develop expectations of how a story is to be written simple because of the national origin of the author. An author is assumed to be in-genuine if she or he writes of anything other than something that involves individuals or characteristics of things that are associated with their homeland. I thought this piece definitely connected to Alma Flor Ada simply because Elif discussed the significance of shifting gears and not only writing in her native language but also in English. She recognizes it as a challenge, as does Alma Flor Ada. In addition, we talked about the single story in class, multicultural literature helps “punch wholes through the walls” as Elif mentioned in her talk. I believe that it is pivotal to create these peep whole that help individuals gain perspective on the lives of other people. Our cultural frameworks are so heavily influences by imposed stereotypes that we don’t even see the beauty some cultures have to offer.

I believe that in order to effectively teach cultures to younger children, pieces of fiction need to be accompanied by facts and images. It’s easier for children to connect to a culture if they can visually catch a glimpse of it. In addition, I think fictions can easily help fascinate children and facilitate their curiosity when it comes to learning more about culture and diversity.

Telling Stories from Africa

There are both negative and positive implications for implementing the use of storytelling and language into the classroom. Students can literally get lost in translation. There seldom is a perfect transition of the text from it’s original language to English, the beauty of the original work isn’t usually captured as fairly as it should be. However it’s important to tell stories. And by stories I mean pieces of work that capture history and culture, and not necessarily news. Chris Abani emphasized the different images portrayed in thew news compared to traditional stories. We are so focussed on a pure identity that we fail to recognize the variants and diversity within a singular culture. The news tends to only encapsulate the negatives, while the stories tend to strike a somewhat fascinating and imaginative balance. Stories also allow individuals an opportunity to connect, to escape the reality of their life and step foot in the adventures of someone else. With all this being said I can only imagine there being mostly positive implications. Culture is complex  but it is crucial for students to understand that their common knowledge of a cultural is typically flawed. Understanding other cultures around you  could compel students to want to learn more of their own.

R2 Ted Talk -January 22nd 2014

Clues to a Great Story

Andrew Stanton does an excellent job in laying out the fundamental components of a great story and what each story should accomplish. It’s essential that story includes the “2+2= Theory” where the author gives the audience bits and pieces of the story and allows them to use their own inferencing skills to piece together the rest. It’s essential in captivating readers and keeping them completely engaged. He also noted that the story has an underlying theme, it’s important to not have everything on the surface. Stanton also noted the significance of  a story being a “get away” and allowing those who are wallowing in stress a moment of wonder and enlightenment.

How Do Covers Tell Their Own Stories?

The Ted Talk made it clear that covers are the very first impression, they draw in the prospective reader. When creating a cover it’s important to not demean your audience. Allow the cover to be somewhat abstract and ambiguous, you want the reader to want to connect the fragmented components together, which will only compel them to get the book. I found it especially interesting that the speaker believes a piece of humanity is loss do the E-books, and that the reader can’t use all their senses and truly indulge in the book. One last important thing to note is that the cover becomes a symbolic representation of the story. The Jurassic Park example was great, it really showed that the skeleton-like dinosaur on the cover of the Jurassic Park became a significant part of the branding for toys, movies, and other things connected to the novel.

How Do I Find a Story in a Painting

The most important thing to do while looking at a selection of paintings is to be selective. You shouldn’t feel compelled to look at every piece of artwork and you also shouldn’t feel obligated to feel connected or fascinated by every piece either. It’s best to extract a detailed story from one painting than a handful of shallow stories. When finding the story it’s important to break down the artwork into micro elements. Asking questions pertinent to the whole piece becomes overwhelming. Piece together the story like a puzzle and examine certain elements separately and then together as a whole. Also it’s important to do research, figuring out the emotions, disturbances, home life, and other facts about the author helps you devise a more creative and well thought out story. Lastly, don’t look at the character in the artwork as just a character. Examine the focus of the artwork in a different way, think of the relationship between the model and the artist.

What Makes a Great Story?

This is simple, there are a few essential things every story should do or contain.

1.) A story should have a strong voice.

2.) A story should have a main character that will potentially be well liked by the audience.

3.) The story should have a singular goal.

4.) A story should help expose similarities between individuals.


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