Using Artifacts In Teaching: The Little Box Project
Location: JC Room E
In this interactive workshop, attendees will learn about different adaptations of the "Cajitas" or "little box" project in courses in the Spanish program at George Mason University. This project, originally created by Alberto Lopez Pulido to use with his students of Chican@ Studies at the University of San Diego, asks students to prepare a container of artifacts that reflect their culture, heritage, and personal experiences for Day of the Dead celebrations. Using a feminist pedagogical approach, the little box project was adapted for students at GMU to address the following challenges: How can we help students apply critical theories from a specific academic discipline to their own lives and experiences? And how can instructors embrace authenticity, particularly when they are from a different cultural background than the discipline in which they teach? The little box project was used as a midterm assignment for students in the course Introduction to Latinx Studies (Fall 2018) in order to engage students in applying critical approaches to understanding representation and the concept of intersectionality in identity. The little boxes also had a significant impact on the student's sense of community in the course and their appreciation for one another's diverse backgrounds. We will also discuss how the project was adapted again in the spring to address the needs of different learners- students in intermediate Spanish courses (Spanish 202, SPRING 2019). By creating their own "cajitas", students were required to become active curators of cultural content. Additionally, they were asked to reflect on and research examples of marginalized representations in art from the Spanish-speaking world. Overall, the project's approach encouraged students to engage more actively with cultures from the Spanish-speaking world while at the same time sharing information about their own culture(s) and backgrounds.
Copyright (c) 2019 Colleen Sweet, Carrie Bonilla, Carla Burns, Ana Ruiz Alonso Bartol and George Mason Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.