Sunday, June 12, 2011

Real World: ISP

ISP Narrative Evaluation Form

We will be writing a three paragraph narrative evaluation of your ISP report and work.  Students in the past have asked us if they may have some input in this.  Therefore in the space below, write your version of what might be submitted on the transcript.  We will use your information as guidelines or text whenever possible and correct. Usually it looks like this:

1.     Several sentences describing your ISP in general, i.e. the site, the topic, your interest.

Molly spent three weeks in Prainha, a coastal community within the municipality of Aquiraz, about 40 kilometers from the program base of Fortaleza. There, she studied a group of twelve to fifteen old Brazilian women who sometimes make lace but also do a lot of snacking and telling of inappropriate jokes that she couldn’t understand, which was surprisingly pleasant. She also attempted to adjust to a new homestay family, in which there were fluctuating numbers of residents and some of them occasionally showed her their boobs, all without the support network of fabulous Americans that she had grown accustomed to and for whom she did not realize her extreme need until it was too late and her mental health was at risk from spending so much time in her own English-speaking mind.

2.     Several sentences about the field methods you used, what you did, how you got information.

Molly put forth her best effort at informal interviewing and observation despite the complete lack of field methods training she received from SIT. This involved sitting in plastic chairs consuming coffee, juice, tapioca, bread, and several kinds of cake, all while attempting to understand old-woman non-lip-moving Portuguese and being bitten by ants. She also conducted a formal interview which occurred rather suddenly and lasted five minutes, and for which she was entirely unprepared.

3.     Several sentences describing the content of your written work.

In her paper, Molly attempts to force the thousands of partially understood fragments of conversation with older Brazilian women who barely ever move their lips into a cohesive representation of the circumstances and challenges of lacemaking in Prainha. This includes many completely contradictory statements concerning the complex political divisions within the Associaçao itself; the deciphering of which she is now convinced would even be impossible for someone who actually speaks Portuguese. She then tries to describe lacemaking in Prainha and its potential demise in a way that conveys the altogether pessimistic outlook for the craft without being melodramatic. She also attempts to convince the reader of the obviously incredibly high level of social relevance her study of old women making lace in a tiny town in Brazil without actually lying and without making you want to throw up.

4.     Three or four sentences describing the strengths and weaknesses of all the above.

Molly demonstrates an awareness of the problematic nature of the previously mentioned total absence of field methods training and its implications for her research, namely that she can’t even generalize what one subject said to the entire group. Her Portuguese also sucks, so there’s a good chance she made everything up anyway.

5.     Several sentences on your oral presentation.

Molly gave an oral presentation explaining her project and her findings, including photos and a video clip of someone making lace that is only fifteen seconds long in an attempt not to bore everyone to tears, but leaving out the boobs, the potential for insanity, and the constant and irritating finger wagging of a Brazilian eight-year-old which would undoubtedly be a little more interesting. The presentation was well organized and clearly delivered, although this statement is actually completely unfounded because she isn’t even going to think about getting ready for it until approximately Wednesday.

Please write about yourself in the third person.

(In all honesty, the ISP was actually a valuable life experience and I'm glad I did it. I just don't want to ever have to do it again.)

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