Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sessions vs. Workshops

(Note: Below is a post that I had intended to release back in June. However, I just found out that Blogger had kept it in draft form, so it never went online. I'm posting it publicly now.)

One of the advantages of doing the Create a Comic Project in two venues was that it gave me a chance to reach a broader population of kids, in turn giving me a better idea of how to craft the CCP to be appealing and informative. It's also interesting the differences between the two locations: the original CCP sessions at the New Haven library and the workshops at the Dixwell-Yale Community Learning Center.

I think the students in the workshops were generally older, probably due to the population being serviced by the DYCLC. The New Haven library mostly had events aimed at young kids (0-6 years), with the CCP being one of the few aimed at elementary kids. As a result, the kids who became aware of the CCP tended to be the slightly older siblings of very young children and usually weren't older than 12.

DYCLC was mainly geared to elementary and high school kids, so those who attended the workshops tended to be from that group. As a result, I had many more teens than I ever saw at the library. This was further caused by the presence of the High Meadow School, which is an educational facility for troubled teens.

Another difference is diversity: the library had a much more diverse population than the DYCLC. The key here was again the target population. The library serves the entire city, while DYCLC is intended mainly for the those in the Dixwell neighborhood of New Haven. The Dixwell neighborhood is predominantly African-American, so the students at the workshops were, as well. At the library, I arguably had equal numbers of Asian and African-American students, with a few whites and Hispanics.

Another difference was family involvement. Parents tended to accompany their children more often at the library than at the DYCLC. The library wasn't in walking distance of most schools, so students generally needed transportation from their parents to attend. Also, the Children's Room of the library generally encouraged parents to take part in all activities. The DYCLC, on the other hand, was more an extension of school itself. Parents tended to drop their kids off and let them go on their own. In general, children with their parents attending tended to perform better and focus more on the activity at hand.

The school a child attended seemed to matter more than either race or gender in terms of their grammatical skill. I noticed that children who attended normal public schools in New Haven did not write as well as those in New Haven's magnet schools or who were from public schools of other towns.

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