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					                           OUR CLOTHES
            Echoes of the time in the actual fashion image

                                Lavinia Butnariu
               1
                Technical College “Maria Baiulescu”, Brasov, Romania


1.        INTRODUCTION
    As a result of the invitation I received to participate to the 3 rd meeting of
the “i.e.Us” project, I considered, as head teacher of the institution-host of
the meeting: Technical College “Maria Baiulescu” Brasov-Romania, that
this fact shall represent a new international cooperation opportunity in the
purpose of the institutional development.
    At that time, I was considering that, the involving of many teachers in
that team teacher who is going to experiment the “i.e. Us” game at school
class as educational environment, simply complies with the development
priorities of the school, by introducing the innovation in the teaching-
learning activity. Moreover, as I know my colleagues, I think - using the
“similarities and differences” game – is stimulation for them to explore new
educational methods in the end to help their students to learn actively,
consciously and pleasantly.
    Considering the presentation of the project objectives, the covered stages,
but especially the two web based tools, I wished to take part in the
experimentation of using the ICT platform in the learning-teaching process.
There were very attractive the denomination: “game”, not a sophisticated
instrument for “learning”, the accessibility of the two versions:
http://merlin.hull.ac.uk and http://ieus.cti.gr and also the huge
possibilities of development some communication competencies and of
working in team.
    I analysed the variants I dispose in order to experiment the game at my
lectures (not too many because my number of teaching hours is reduced),
and I decided to apply this game during the guiding hours for the graduation
designs of the students from the XII class. From the beginning I thought that,
introducing this game in conceiving the graduation projects should be
something new in order to make students to work together, in team, because
I noticed in the previous years that students usually intend to work
individually. The success of the project is a reason of a personal proud. Also
I hoped, this game should allow to have many speciality information about
the environment influence on the clothing, should allow comments upon
different opinions and accepting different points of view, or, at least, their
negotiation.
    But the most I loved the idea that, by introducing a game inside our
lectures, we determine a detachment from the routine of the traditional
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lectures and the competencies are obtained in a relaxed mode, more similar
to the real life.

2.        OUR SCHOOL - TECHNICAL COLLEGE
          “MARIA BAIULESCU” BRASOV-ROMANIA
    Through its representatives, wishes to be considered as an institution of a
dynamical, opened professional instruction and training, involved in the
local community life, moreover, in the actions of national and international
co-operation.
    Technical College “Maria Baiulescu” Brasov-Romania is the unique
institution of pre-university instruction from Brasov county where it is
assured the qualification of young people as workers and technicians in the
domain of textile-leather. In the last 10 years it enlarged its instruction
competence also in the field of public food. Our school is placed in the
central zone of the city, in fact in the old – Middle Age - fortress of Brasov,
near the “Bastionul Tesatorilor” (the old weavers’ bastion), a veritable stone
testimony of the old time preoccupations of Brasov habitants, renowned for
their trade and skills.
    Brasov, one of the biggest Romanian industrial towns, finds at present in
a stage of economical reorganization (liquidation of the great state units)
with a redirection of the weight towards the development of the private
sector, industrial and tertiary too. The unemployment rate is increased
enough (11% in 2004), especially for the feminine population (environ
13.4%). Our school domain determines a proportion of girls from the total
students’ population of 83%. The yearly students’ number is of 1100, 60% at
the High School and 40% at the Vocational and Art School. Students have
an age between 15 and 19 years.
    Also, our students come from families with social or materials problems:
mono-parental families, families with one or both parents working abroad
and children are left in the grandparents care or even in the care or bigger
brothers, families affected by the unemployment.
    The familial situation influences our students’ opinion concerning their
possibilities to progress as human being, alters their vision about labour and
doesn’t motivate them to learn.
    Concerning the school teachers, I believe we have a teacher team well
prepared, coagulated and preoccupied by each student personal and
professional development, by forming of the necessary competencies in
order to may participate to our society progress.
    The instructional offer varied permanently in order to correspond to the
market demands but also in accordance with students’ desires to be
specialized in domains with perspective. The education and the professional
instruction of the students from the “Maria Baiulescu” Technical College are
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carried out through the development and implementation of a curriculum
adapted to the actual demand and also through complementary actions of:
– permanent collaboration with the economical agents from our domain
– participation to national and international collaboration projects
– professional orientation and consulting
– cultural, sportive and artistic education
    The curriculum for technical study matters is one of modern type, which
refers to the future graduated instruction, so that, their chances to be
included as professional and social points of view, increased. This objective
can be realized through:
1. development of the professional competencies according to the actual
    training standards
2. forming abilities of orientation, integration and adaptation to the labour
    market.

3.        THEME SELECTION
    The graduation project of the High School determines, if it is positively
appreciated, the obtaining of a Certificate of professional qualification in the
chosen specialty and has a interdisciplinary character. It is carried out in the
last study year, in a time period between December and April and it is
presented in month of May. The criteria according of which it is settled the
theme and the number of students who participated to it are not compulsory
norms, so that, I considered we have any impediment to implement and
apply the “i.e. Us” game. On the contrary, we considered this fact to
motivate the students and moreover, applying this strategy, their professional
competencies should develop in the same proportion as their communication
abilities, also those of working in team, of using languages of international
circulation, of using IT and communication techniques.
a) The project theme: “Echoes of the time in the actual fashion image”
    was chosen by common agreement with class students – they surpassed
    in this way a first and important stage, learning to negotiate.
b) In the next stage, we established the project structure and the students,
    organised in pairs, chose a time period for which they studied the fashion
    characteristics (Antic Egypt, Antic Rome, Romanticism, Art Nouveau,
    New Look, Hippie, etc.). Each team member gathers documentation
    individually (according to the selected bibliography), synthesised the
    information and, coming back, he discussed, analysed, negotiated and
    decided together with his pair the fashion characteristics in the studied
    period. In this way it is realised a first negotiation exercise.
c) Next stage consisted in establish the similarities and differences between
    the studied period and the actual -one clothing, activity developed in pair
    too and finalised through the performing, by each student, of a set of
    sketches with modern products inspired by the analysed period. This was
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    the activity by the intermediate of which, each team member was able to
    express himself graphically, to exploit at a great degree his creativity but,
    it was also a first stage to establish the similarities and differences upon a
    given theme.
d) Next stage consisted in choice of only a sketch from all, made by each
    student, and then the elaboration of the technical documentation for the
    chosen product (materials selection, patterns, frames in order to cut,
    settled the process of product manufacturing and finishing. In this stage
    there are improved and/or obtained the most of the general and
    specialised technical competencies.
e) The last stage consisted in execution of the conceived product, an
    execution to a real scale according to the technological process,
    previously established. There were valorised the students’ executive
    competencies.
    After the project presentation, students organised a mini fashion show of
the conceived products, conceived and executed by them; every year, this
moment represents an event for our school.
    Unfortunately, I was too preoccupied with the students’ activity, taking
care to accumulate information which we used during the game, so that I
slowed to announce our proposal to the group of teachers who experimented
the method. It can be said that this was happened also because of the
conditions in which our school functioned during 6 month (from October
2004 till March 2005). This time our school functioned in another space
because it was rehabilitated by the intermediate of a Phare programme. In
that space we haven’t conditions to install computers, so that it was very
difficult to contact our partners.
    Another impediment consists in the fact I considered unlikely to find
foreign partners because there was too many conditions to be fulfilled. I
“forgot” that there are necessary two teams to play a game and the first step
would be establishing the subject by common agreement. We were too
involved in preparing us for a game which we are going to play in conditions
settled only by us. At a certain moment, we organised in the school
laboratory an activity, besides the school programme, in order to present the
virtual environment to students and to familiarise them with it.
    In February, in the occasion of a national meeting with colleagues having
the same speciality, I proposed them to play together according to the “i.e.
Us” game, developed inside the graduation project. Of course, all these
projects were started still in December, so that I did not find partners,
however, I was contacted by colleagues from Cluj and Constanta, interested
of my proposal for the next year.
    Thus we should cancel the game idea, students finished their projects and
those presentation in Mai, was a success. They remained, however, with the
un-fulfilment that they “did not play” and I think they feel the frustration of
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non-respect the project initial plan, in which it was, included the sequence of
using the virtual teaching environment.
    At the beginning of June, the Romanian project co-ordinator organised a
national meting of the teachers – participating in the “i.e. Us” project and the
game implementation. In the end of analyse the developed activity and of
development of a methodology in order to a rapid organisation of other
games. Fortunately, Technical College “Maria Baiulescu” was again the host
of this meeting. If the meeting would take place in another place, I should
not dare to take part in because the use of the virtual environment rested only
an intention in our case.
    The experience and enthusiasm of teachers who finished the game
determine me to reconsider the idea of the “i.e.Us” game implementation, in
spite of the impediments: the time – very short until the year end, the
impossibility of involving the students of XII class who prepared to sustain
the school leaving exam.
    However, there were advantages: it could be valorised the colleagues’
experience, many persons could offer us “assistance” if we need it in order
to avoid faults they still had made. Another advantage was that it could be
exploited the materials realised by the XII class students, in the case of
keeping the same theme.
    I decided, by common agreement with Silviana Ciocianu that our teams
shall play on the theme: “Echoes of the time in the actual fashion image”,
the subject being: “How the 60s’ fashion is reflected in the actual clothing?”
This subject was chosen because, in the occasion of graduation designs
presentation, the students from XII class decided that the actual clothing is
very influenced by the 60s’ fashion.
    At the project meeting from November 2004 and also at the one from
June 2005, both educational web based environment, which implement the
same game without significant differences between them, were presented
and critically analysed. The conclusion was that both of them are adequate to
be used at class and I agreed to choose http://ieus.cti.gr because Silviana
finalised a game in this educational space and it was familiar for her.

3.1       Description and organisation of students’ team
    Except the lectures from the XII class, I don’t have courses at other
classes and I don’t work as teacher with other students, so that I decide to
select a group of students from XI class, profile: clothing design, to take part
in this game. The selection was made according to two reasons:
– students are going to familiarise with the graduation project demands and
    to use information found in it, so that they should study it in detail and, in
    this way, it will be easier next year when they will work to their own
    graduation project..
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– students from the respective class still had been involved in other local
    or international projects. Some of them take part in the group of
    volunteers of Brasov Town Hall, group acting in the ecological domain
    for a cleaner town, others worked in a project “Healthy eating” in which
    we worked together, so that I knew them.
    The team of 11 students from the XI class was selected at students desire
from a total of 25 students. When I announced the theme, these students
expressed their wishes to take part in and I had to select from these, those
having the best knowledge in computer operating and in English language.
But it wasn’t the case! All the 11 students fulfil the conditions in order to
make a competitive team. It was a homogenous team, they worked from a
long time together, and they were involved in diverse projects and knew
each other very well. The choice of the leader wasn’t a problem and their
girl-mate, chosen as leader, assumed this role which she has had also in other
occasions. The choice of the spokesman was between two students – a girl
and a boy - who had a number of votes equally sensible: 5 to 4. They chose
their girl-mate as speaker because she had communication aptitudes, but I
think it was also because the team was preponderantly feminine.
    During all the time the project was developed, students were enthusiastic
because they took part in such a project, the teaching developed in a very
friendly environment that stimulated their creativity and that allowed them to
train each other to search and discover new things, but also to negotiate and
to respect different opinions. Students had inside the team the desired role,
but they assumed also others if it was the case. Also as a result of our
“debates” we decide to call our team “The Milliners” and it was a generally
disappointment that finally we were called Light Industry High School
Brasov team because, there is a year our school doesn’t call like this.
    The Silviana team (from the Forestry High School Codlea) was
composed only of girls, students in the XI class, technological High School,
profile: natural resources and environment protection. It was a number of 12
students, volunteers. Indeed, girls are always interested in fashion, actual or
the 60th years or the clothing fashion evolution and influence over the years.
    During the game, the Forestry Codlea team hasn’t remarkable problems
concerning the connection and the messages posting, both personal or lists
and theme documents. Two team members took part also in the other game
about Nutrition; in this way they were able to help their mates. The leader
was designated by Silviana and was a girl who took part in last game too;
she was very active and appreciated by the entire team. The students
volunteer participation determines them to involve themselves in activities
and to study materials, both the ones given them by the team of Technical
College “Maria Baiulescu” and also those procured by own resources.
Besides materials, the team students talk to mates from other classes
(especially girls, but not only), asking them about the mode of dressing in
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different occasions, their preferences concerning clothing and then they used
the received information.

3.2       First meeting in the computer lab
    The “The Milliners” team had the first meeting in the computer lab, after
elaborating, in the occasion of other two meetings, the own synthesis in
connection with the proposed subject, and after these-ones translation in
English language. All discussions concerning the subject were previously
consumed; we had still the user-name and password, so that we have only to
act.
    First, I presented them the game space: http://ieus.cti.gr and I guided
them in order to connect themselves to the subject “Our clothes” by using
their name and password. At the sequence end, they succeeded to edit their
own short presentations in English and also to transmit their own messages
in “Open Space”. At the beginning they were timid enough and they asked at
each click what is going to happen. They were careful concerning their
presentations, which they wanted to be original, different from their mates-
ones. After only 10’, the atmosphere relaxed and the team members acted as
they used from a long time the game space. The questions’ number about
next step decreased and each student, in his own rhythm, fulfils the task for
that sequence. Each of them posted the own message in Open Space: a short
presentation of hobbies, preoccupations and holiday plans or a e-mail
address. Thus, the two groups knew each other in a relax atmosphere. Even
we agreed the messages to be in Romanian in order to communicate easier,
the English language wasn’t a problem, many of students editing their
personal messages in English. In this way, our students, using English
language which they study at school lectures, developed the professional
competencies and also the competencies of computer operating.
    I affirm also, and not at last, that, by playing, they establish connections
with mates from other schools, found common preoccupations, expressed the
desire to know each other. However, I must recognise that the problems
appeared at the beginning in the game space are of my fault, because I was
scared I’m not familiarised enough with virtual space (all previous tests were
realised on Merlin), I have not the assistance of a more experimented
colleague; in this way I “succeed” to obstruct, in the first 5’, the access of all
students in the game space. I solicited, by phone, Silviana help and she
guides us in order to start first round. Moreover, during all game time,
Silviana accorded us assistance with patience and professionalism, and the
fact we could contact her whenever we need, was an important advantage for
us.
    Thus, after the first 5’ of panic, I was delighted to find that each student
knew what to do – from the previous meeting, he found by himself or he
learned from his mates.
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   I considered indeed that this first meeting with the game space was a
success and I felt the need to congratulate the “Scormonitorii” (researchers)
team on Open Space. Any obstacle which we were not able to surpass in
time could provoke a game time delay and it wasn’t possible because school
year was at the end.

3.3       Activity description
    I thought, from the moment of theme settlement, the fact the two teams
had different objectives, to be a stimulation; the waited results were not
common because one of the teams, those of Technical College “Maria
Baiulescu” included future specialists while the other: those of “Forestry
Codlea” included students for which the subject was a hobby. In the first
case, the “i.e.Us” game was applied inside some speciality lessons, while in
the second case, it was applied inside some extracurricular activities. For
this reason, the two lessons structure, according to the lessons plans, wasn’t
similar.
    Concerning the activity organisation, we consider that it can be used with
good results the ERR background method (evocation - realisation of the
sense – reflection).
    The ERR background method is an excellent mean to guide a text lecture,
either literary or scientific, whatever were the students’ age. This
background stages allow the organisation of a speciality material by
furnishing the support to generate the sense:
a) the evocation – the precursory discussion about the subject was realised
    in our lesson through brainstorming
b) the sense realisation was performed by the intermediate of a study guide
    which allowed to students to direct their investigations upon some ideas
    from the informational material found at their disposal. The study guide
    helped the students to get certain thought models or subtle ideas which
    they, probably, otherwise, wouldn’t have understood; we can say that this
    guide allowed to students to develop thoughts of superior level.
c) the reflection - the following discussion leads to obtaining some
    information non-mentioned in the evocation stage and which are later on
    synthesised in a list: first individual list for each student.
    The utilisation of the ERR background method in order to synthesise the
information about the clothing actual tendencies and about the 60th years
fashion, permitted to realise some important objectives:
– helped students to generate questions for themselves
– allowed students to express their own opinions which must be respected
– stimulated the students’ critical involving.
    In the occasion of their meetings, students carried out specific tasks
which can determine the forming of their specialised technical competencies:
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1. they elaborated a catalogue – for the sketches they had - with the
    samples of the materials used for each product
2. they identified and elaborated the list of model transformations in the
    case of classical patterns
3. they performed paper casting for some of the sketched products.
    In this way it was possible that, inside a speciality theme, to be projected
sequences which lead to the objectives fulfilment, without any rebate from
the quality and by using different methods: the ERR background method, the
“i.e. Us” game, the directed remark, the exercise.
    The proper game, the activity in the virtual space, prevents the routine
settlement, it was an excellent teaching modality but also a stimulation in
order to continue the investigation to get more and more information.

4.        CONCLUSIONS
   A complex activity as the-one developed by us, certainly has many
aspects which can be analysed.
a) Students’ benefits:
– they manifest their interest and creativity in studying a speciality subject,
   in an inciting and relaxed atmosphere
– they were able to develop the capacity to synthesise the information
– they had the occasion to know themselves, their own qualities and limits,
   they accustomed to express their opinions, to sustain the own point of
   view with arguments, to accept other points of view and even to make
   compromises
– by working in teams, students were obliged to collaborate for the editing
   of their affirmations, they assumed roles – sometimes unpleasant, they
   assumed also responsibilities, carried out at the end
– they settled contacts with their team mates, in this way knowing them
   better, and other contacts, with other young people, even personal
   relationship
– they learned to communicate efficiently
– they improved the speciality vocabulary in English language and they
   developed their communication competencies in this language
– there are developed the competencies of computer communication too.
b) Teachers’ benefits
– they used new methods - active-participated, which allowed to carry out
   the proposed objectives in a friendly, relaxed working atmosphere
– they knew better the students, their possibilities to work in team, to
   negotiate and they could make them responsible for a task performance
– they collaborated with teachers from other schools.
c) School benefits
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– The applying of the “i.e. Us” game to 5 different teams allows in a first
    instance to settle contacts with schools from our country and from
    abroad.
– The use of the “i.e. Us” game contributes, in an important mode, to
    elaborate the development priority regarding the evolution of the
    teachers’ professional competencies, through:
– The innovation of the teaching-learning methods by using ICT education
    technologies
– The centred teaching-learning processes on the student, according to the
    individual needs and to the own rhythm.
d) Research study
    The game utilisation contributed also to form a favourable background
necessary for the elaboration of a research study, concerning the team
management. The teachers involved in the games: “Our clothes”, “Reasons
why we are working for”, are interested to study the team, as a result of a
training stage organised at the House of Didactical Corps from Brasov.
    The “i.e. Us” game was an occasion by the intermediate of which the
taking part in students’ teams were studied but also the teachers working for
and constituted in a team, were studied. The initiative of a study of the
teachers’ team, was the exclusive result of this project taking part in and
offered to us, the teachers, the opportunity to form and to act as a team, even
we are from different schools or even our lesson objectives were not the
same.
    In order to study the interaction of the students from the teams
participating to the game “Our clothes”, there have been applied
questionnaires about: the team members’ roles (based on “Dale’s interaction
categories”), the team cohesiveness (Seashore’s index and Gross and
Yalom’s questionnaire), leadership, the evaluation of taken a decision and
team efficiency (from Beatrice G. Schultz “Communicating in small
groups”). Both of teams were composed from members who knew each
other and who took part together in projects and, by comparing the results,
we arrived to the following conclusions:
– Roles in the team: Students from Technical College “Maria Baiulescu”,
    in a proportion of 62%, felt and played the favorite role and also other
    roles when need it, while only 50% from the “Forestry Codlea” students
    had this impression. The role that each student felt he played in the team,
    coincides with the kind in which the respective student was perceived by
    the other team members during the game development in a proportion of
    80% in the case of “Scormonitorii” and in a proportion of 85% in the
    case of “Forestry Codlea”. In both of teams, the leader was perceived as
    such by all the team members, but, at the Technical College “Maria
    Baiulescu” the leader saw himself as a leader, while at “Forestry Codlea”
    the leader considered himself as a harmonization member.
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– Cohesiveness of the team: The members of both of teams considered the
    developed game as an attractive or very attractive game and they would
    keep the team composition if they would take part in other project. 85%
    from ’The Milliners” team members always felt themselves as a really
    part of the team, while 80% from the “Forestry Codlea” team members
    felt the same. The rest of members from both of teams felt included the
    most of times.
– Decision taking: At the Technical College “Maria Baiulescu”, only 53%
    from the team members felt always listened to and well perceived by the
    rest of the team; at “Forestry Codlea” this proportion was of 80% (always
    listened to). One of the reasons was because of the fact “the Milliners”
    studied a specialty subject, new for them, while “Forestry Codlea”
    discussed about a hobby. The adjectives describing the mode to take
    decisions were: clearly, unanimous, democratic.
– Team efficiency: The Milliners considered that “the team has opened
    lines to communicate” and the “Forestry Codlea” students considered
    that their team functions in a climate of trust and mutual aid. The least
    score was given for affirmations about the team transparence, the reason
    being probably the time – very short so that it was not possible that the
    team results and activities to be known by other mates, from other
    classes.
    Both of teams manifest their interest to continue the game with subjects
belonging to the same theme. Moreover, they wanted to know each other, so
that we decided to organize together a carnival of the 60s’, with costumes
and music from those years, at the end of October.
    The “similarities and differences” game awakes to students the happiness
to think and to learn by themselves, with responsibility and makes them able
to decide upon the own career, to pass away through life with spiritual
mobility, despite all future provocations.

				
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