Calvin College

CALVIN - Minds in the Making

Strengthening Liberal Arts Education by Embracing Place and Particularity

Case Study

Listening to Community Voices: Documenting the past and present of a neighborhood

Pedagogical Suggestions to Foster Student Learning and Engagement

For the South East Community, interacting and opening-up to the students and their equipment was initially gratifying—most would not have the opportunity to document their own histories in a professional media.  However this benefit seems to have been surpassed later in the project by the unexpected experience of interacting for an extended period of time with sincerely interested and motivated students.  From the point of view of the class work, it’s difficult to measure the output the project brought to the community beyond the documentation service; however, after the documentation concluded, several students commented that members of the community openly expressed their gratitude for what, in their experience, was the first time an outside group has demonstrated sustained and wide interest in their social circumstances without a set agenda or rationale.

This project has opened, in both our specific community and in our media production major, a new range of possibilities for service and interaction with off-campus groups and other organizations.  This experience was also shared by a Calvin Honors English student who accompanied the crews in all the interview sessions.  She wrote her honors thesis based on these interviews and her own conversations with SECA residents.   This proves that the experience of CAS 222 has the potential to expand to other disciplines of study such as, journalism, English, and history.


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