Building upon strengths

Yesterday I attended a presentation about the Building Castles Together project.  Though I cannot do justice to the project in a blog post,  the presentation got me thinking about a often- overlooked aspect of information literacy.

In a few words the Building Castles Together project uses art to help build upon the existing personal and cultural strengths of at-risk children.   Presenting about the project were Robert Baskett (Sandcastle Clinical & Educational Services),  Christina Bechstein (Maine College of Art), and Michelle Vazquez Jacobus (USM Lewiston-Auburn College).

The project reminded me of an article I had recently read:

Morris, G., & Beckett, D. (2004).  Learning for/at work: Somali women “doing it for themselves.” Journal of Workplace Learning, 16(1/2), 75-82.  doi: 10.1108/13665620410521530

Both the article authors and the project presenters recognized existing strengths in their respective populations.    In the information literacy context both were good reminders to build upon students’ resourceful everyday uses of information.

The presentation was also a fine demonstration of experiential learning.  Those of us attending got to create a piece of art reflecting our particular cultures.  My art work (pictured above) is my attempt at a fleur-de-lis, a symbol of my Franco-American heritage.