The Paw Print
On October 2nd and 3rd, the POET club travelled to Minnesota to attend an academic conference hosted by the Center for Scholastic Inquiry. Not only were they there to attend, but were also accepted as student presenters, presenting their research on Dynamic Skill Theory and Social Movement in Education. It was a great opportunity to increase the POET club vision of inclusive creativity and academic collaboration. As the only undergraduate students to be accepted as presenters, all eyes were on the Adams State Poets and they didn’t disappoint.
The POET club won Best Presentation for their work on “Poetry as Contextualized Education,” a brain-based framework for culturally inclusive classroom environments, differentiated curriculum, and socially responsive instruction methods. The message was simple: create an educational environment that advocates on behalf of students, provides accessibility to and availability of necessary resources, and establishes a positive educational narrative that inspires students to achieve their potential.
Too often students are blamed for their shortcomings, whether it is a low grade or failing to complete their diploma/degree. Whether this is true or not, it is not an educational institution’s function to marginalize students who are underperforming. Furthermore, it is an educational institution’s responsibility to provide every available opportunity for its students to succeed. This means not only providing structures of support – such as financial aid and student support service departments – but ensuring that those structures also act as agencies of change.
This effort of accountability furthermore extends to academic departments and the educational narrative that they create for their students through their classroom environments and methods of instruction. It takes into account the personality of teachers and professors and the pride in profession that they demonstrate. The days of forcing students to submit to educationally obstructive paradigms are over. As students we ought to be empowered to hold faculty and administration to a higher standard than the minimum that their contract may ask for. This is a right we have earned by in turn striving to surpass those high academic standards imposed upon us by those same faculty and administrations.
Students want to be inspired. They want to believe that dreams can come true. They want to believe that they are capable of achieving greatness the way they were raised to think. This is the root of why they stay in school. This is why the flower blooms. But just as the flower depends on water, soil, and sun in order to blossom, students also need to be nurtured toward growth and development. Schools are the soil, curriculum is the water, and the teachers and professors are the sun. Nothing can grow through gray skies and unforgiving soil, so it is important that students are not living through an educational experience that creates this type of narrative for them.
For the rose that grew from concrete, it shouldn’t have had to. Everything that is beautiful about our generation is being covered by man-made constructs that constrict our view of ourselves. We’re being buried by social pressures and mainstream ideologies. We’re getting lost in a stack of paperwork in the back of student support filing cabinets. There are less and less students blooming in education these days. There’s nothing poetic about this.
The POET club sees this and has not turned a blind eye. They have not ignored those who are being ignored by the education system. They’ve been studying the conditions, paying close attention to the variables, and looking for opportunities for improvement. They’ve slowly been collecting the research and building a stronger vision for the future. The presentation of that future won conference recognition in Minnesota, voted on by Doctors, Professors, and Professionals also in attendance to present. For a brief moment, the smoke of uncertainty caused by this world cleared, and there stood a group of students leading the charge toward prosocial movement.
Passion Over Every Thing: It has been the POET club motto since they first began. We are starting to see where that passion is taking them and the heights they have climbed in a short period of time. They are truly the Adams State University Avant Gard. Forward thinkers in a time of forward movement. Passion Over Every Thing.