Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

January 22, 2013

THE MASTERPIECE CHALLENGE

THE MASTERPIECE CHALLENGE


A fellow blogger from one of my groups posted an exciting challenge:  Write a blog post on the theme of “Masterpieces”

There were two ideas that really drew me in:

  • ·         A “masterpiece” usually isn’t born as a finished object of high quality; it can start life through a few humble steps in the right direction.
  • ·         The creation process of the future masterpiece will probably push the creator into unexpected areas that he/she has never really attempted.

So I went into my attic of “dreams-to-be” and there picked out the one I most love!

This post will describe that dream and show my first small steps taken outside of my comfort zone.


SEMBLANCE OF SPANISH AMERICA


This blog is all about Spanish America and is written from Chile, my own country. However, I believe the topic will prove to be of interest to a much wider audience as well! So, let’s start.

The Hispanic countries of the Americas all share a strong agricultural background. This means that there are many areas inhabited by rural communities with ancestral ties to the land they live on and its rhythm of productivity. They often have a different mind-set in relation to the more urban type dwellers and some also carry the ancestral genes of the indigenous cultures.

As a teacher in the Biobio Region of Central Chile, for about 22 years I directed two different public secondary schools that served different rural communities. According to what our teams of teachers and I myself observed over that time span, the teenagers (and indeed most of the adults) were mainly concrete thinkers. Abstract thought did not come easily, and the area they were really weak in was that of their feelings and emotions.

They “felt” very deeply, but could not make contact with those emotions and feeling and much less communicate them to a counselor. However, they did have a strong appreciation of colors and forms, which gave us some necessary clues.

We dreamt up a project centered on the concept of “emotional intelligence” and what’s more, we actually got it financed by the ministerial authorities! The complexities of this project are too lengthy for this blog post, but I can highlight one aspect: we used “mandalas for self-knowledge” as a central activity. (For “mandala”, see photos further down).


HOW DID THE MANDALAS WORK?


The students drew and painted their mandalas and then produced “ideas by association”, meaning that they made a list of anything that they associated to a particular color, shape, or figure or whatever they came up with. They were free to do this as a group activity, or more privately with their head teacher or a counselor.

Results were slow, but amazingly, the students liked it and gradually became more free and confident in their introspective descriptions.  For example, to say things like: “Today I felt blue, so I started to paint a blue mandala, but then I painted it in red, yellow and green to blow the blue away”

We teachers were so happy with these results, it was truly amazing!


THE FUTURE MASTERPIECE



So where does the “future masterpiece” come in? Well, during my last years before retirement, my school community was shaken to the very chore by a really tragic event that happened within the school premises, practically right in front of the students, who were all in class at that moment.

Thankfully, we had already advanced quite a lot with our work on mandalas  so we were able to pick up the pieces and put the community back together again in a comparatively short time.

I have always considered that this was an important  achievement which should be made known as widely as possible, so I have been planning an eBook which will describe the project on emotional intelligence, the use of mandalas, the terrible tragedy we all went through and the way we pulled out of the emotional chaos that followed.

But… I had no mandalas! The students naturally kept all their own productions, so what to do?  Well, do some myself, of course! Yes but I can’t draw and I know practically nothing about the technical aspects of editing images and so on. How was I ever going to get that done?

Enter the “Masterpiece” challenge proposed within my blog group! So I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and actually created two mini-masterpieces. The little girl that I live with (aged 8) insisted on joining in, so now I have three! Here they are after a lot of effort, so please be generous in your comments!


MY FIRST MANDALA

Source: Joan Robertson, 01.20.2013. I used Paint, and created this directcly on the screen.


MY SECOND MANDALA


Source: Joan Robertson, 01.20.2013. This was first drawn using markers and then scanned. Much better!


MY THIRD MANDALA

Source: Sofia, aged 8. 01.22.2013. A real mini-masterpiece!



SPANISH VERSION



(This blog is bilingual)

Este post s refiere a un desafío propuesto por una integrante de mi grupo de blogueras y blogueros, consistente en producir o al menos iniciar la producción de una “Obra Maestra”.

Los conceptos básicos son dos: una obra maestra no se produce de inmediato, sino que se crea a través de un proceso que se inicia con pequeños pasos y además, generalmente es necesario esforzarse por salir de la “zona cómoda” de cada uno, para enfrentar tareas desconocidas a la fecha.

Rebuscando entre mis “sueños de obras futuras” elegí un sueño que me es muy querido y lo paso a relatar.


SEMBLANZA DE LA AMERICA HISPANA.


Este blog está centrado en la América Hispana y su población, del cual yo formo parte por nacer y residir en Chile. Prácticamente todas los naciones americanas de habla hispana tienen una fuerte tradición agrícola, con un gran arraigo a la tierra donde habitan y sus ciclos de productividad. Existen muchos sectores rurales donde gran número de sus habitantes conservan los genes de sus primitivos ancestros y además interpretan el mundo que los rodea de manera distinta al habitante más urbano.

Durante más de 22 años, fui directora en dos colegios secundarios estatales que prestaban servicios a sus respectivas comunidades rurales. En conjunto con mis equipos de docentes, pudimos percibir que  nuestros alumnos eran principalmente “pensadores concretos” y que el pensamiento abstracto les era bastante difícil. Además un área realmente débil era la de la “inteligencia emocional” ya que les era prácticamente imposible identificar sus propias emociones y sentimientos, y mucho menos expresarlas verbalmente a algún consejero.

Creamos un proyecto centrado en “mandalas para el autoconocimiento” y logramos financiamiento desde los niveles del ministerio. Los alumnos realizaban talleres donde creaban sus mandalas y después los comentaban mediante asociaciones con sus propis pensamiento y estados de ánimo. Los resultados fueron lentos, pero empezamos a observar avances concretos, como el siguiente: “empecé a pintar con azul, porque estaba deprimido, pero después cambié al rojo, amarillo y verde, para espantar la depresión”  ¡Qué extraordinario!


¿Y LA OBRA MAESTRA?



En mi último par de años antes de jubilar, nuestro colegio fue remecido hasta sus cimientos por una tragedia que se desarrolló prácticamente delante de los alumnos que en ese momento estaban todos en clases. La técnica de mandalas que ya estábamos usando, nos sirvió mucho para reparar el daño emocional que esto provocó en la comunidad escolar.

Mi más preciado anhelo es escribir un eBook que relate todo esto, incluyendo el inicio del proyecto, la tragedia en sí y cómo salimos adelante como comunidad principalmente a través del uso de mandalas. Creo que esta información puede ser de gran interés para un público lector más bien amplio. 

Pero no dispongo de ejemplos de mándalas, los estudiantes se guardaron los de cada cual, y yo no sé dibujar ni pintar, y menos estoy al corriente de cómo desarrollar la parte técnica del manejo de las imágenes en un computador. ¿Qué hacer?


Entonces apareció este desafío, lo acogí y me lancé a crear mis primeras mandas para el mundo computarizado. Son las que se muestran más arriba. ¡Sean benevolentes en sus críticas, son sólo pequeños pasos iniciales!


More about the use of mandalas  in a future post.               Más sobre los mandalas en  un próximo post.



LANGUAGE TIPS FOR ENGLISH


Words that go together!  * Great deal of time - * Draw you attention to  - * Go fishing  - * Keep quiet  – * Come to an end



LANGUAGE TIPS FOR SPANISH.


Expresiones de uso frecuente: * A propósito  * Hacer borrón y cuenta nueva  - * Ir al grano - * Llover a cántaros


How is your level of comprehension?      ¿Cómo está su nivel de comprensión?

© 2012  joanveronica  (Joan Robertson)

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