My eminent document of learning is my learning centre. Creating this learning centre was quite difficult at first, as Harper Lee really only wanted a plain, simple, and quiet life with no fame and attention. It was hard to come up with the ideas for what artefacts would fit her life. In the end, I remembered that her idea of a good life was nothing more than writing and peace, so I decided this shouldn’t be a tacky, bright centre that stood out, but a plain and simple one while capturing what she accomplished and created. There wasn’t a way to show that she combatted her dislikes without words, so I included an entire timeline of her life on my posterboard that would serve like a powerpoint with a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird on the side to show who she was on a basic level. I also found some old and rustic looking books to have an older, yet calmer look. I also had a bluetooth speaker playing calm piano music to convey the mood of her lifestyle.
Link to a photo of my learning center: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lbw9WJ-zb-bdMVHlqmr3kmXmfOVV54d4sw/view?usp=sharing
The idea I covered the first was her life as a child. Like anyone, a person’s childhood and the way they were raised have a significant impact on the personality and career they obtain as an adult. She grew up in a small town with a friend (Truman Capote) and started discovering her passion writing stories.
She had a tenacious inner personality. Even though the way she treated her peers changed from time to time, she held onto her passion for writing. In the environment of a law school with law students she never fit in with, she became the editor for the school newspaper to write. She was fed up with the education she never asked for. Her parents wished her to take a different path, but she followed her heart and left school and her small town to pursue her life as a writer despite all of the backlashes from her family and neighbours who only thought she was trying to copy the life of her friend Truman Capote who did the same and became a famous author.
I also wanted to point out the power of kindness. Harper faced difficulty in her financial well being away from home and ended up having no time to write. Two people entered her life, befriending her. Micahel Martin Brown and his wife Joy became her friends and with deep consideration, they gave her enough support and money for an entire year so she could devote time to writing.
Thanks to them, the book To Kill a Mockingbird came to be, after many rejections from publishers all over the place (points on tenacity, again.).
Her book is practically a portrait of her childhood with a discussion on racism included.
As a woman of no fame, she had no way to express her complaints or thoughts on society to the world. Even if she did, it could not make much of an impact.
The main accomplishment I talked about was not only that she wrote a book read by all high schools across America, but it’s that she took her opinions and thoughts and used her passion to express it.
She fought the idea of racism with literature in days where it was moderately acceptable to think lowly of people of colour.
This is also why I think it is acceptable to use racist language in literature. It can bring a positive and large impact, a dent in prejudice.
My interactive component is an activity I asked my audience to do at the end of my short presentation. I asked each person that visited my learning centre to write down a small thought on a sticky note on what they thought about racism. If they supported or not, why or why not. It was to see the difference in the ideas people had back in the 60’s and today, 2017. I then asked people to stick it on the left panel of my posterboard that was empty before. Almost every single one of the notes contained a message depicting that racism is bad, and that it should be stopped. I was surprised to see some notes supporting it. One note that stuck with me for a while was “Literature can combat racism.”
I loved the experience. It was quite obvious to see expressions of disapproval when I mentioned the casual use of the N-word in the book To Kill a Mockingbird. It wasn’t that people were disturbed by the usage of the word, but the fact that it was acceptable to say such things publicly back in the days.
Seeing the change in how people view racism today makes me proud. I’m sure that Ms. Harper Lee would’ve felt joyful to know that a piece of work she did had contributed to the fight against discrimination.