I originally had the idea of making it similar to a ballot or poll box where someone would usually write a question and put it into the box. But that wasn’t good enough, I wanted to find something that was more meaningful and tied closer into what I am mainly conceptualizing (challenging societal norms throughout history). Also, with election season in the air, the ballot box may take a whole new meaning. I, then, was perusing through my source materials and tools, and saw some old textbooks. The idea hit me, I need to use these! To question, you must have context, you must know what you’re questioning. Then I saw an assignment I did for bookmaking class, a plain small bookcase and some small sample books. It clicked. It reminded me of an encyclopedia set. I thought about what I do when I want to question something, I first look it up, or Google it. A physical form of Google that I could think of is the encyclopedia, no?
Initial frustrations were mainly with choosing what to use to make the cover. I flipped through nearly all the pages and finally found a map in the back that I think is perfect to represent the universal nature of the idea “to Question.” I used my very limited knowledge of bookmaking and hand lettering, as well as my horrible lack of skill in collage to make the cover.
- The Idea of Play -
- Historical Lineage -
Finished Work (Exterior)
Finished Work (Interior)
My historical lineage of education begins with love; the opening of my story. I was taught at a very young age to love God, to love myself, and to love all of the people around me. These ideas developed through informal methods, nothing written out to tell me how to behave, just like education in preliterate societies. Coming from a family of 4 older siblings and 2 younger siblings, there was a wealth of knowledge to be circulated constantly. My parents and siblings taught me language, skills, and behavior through example.
The way I learned Islamically is strikingly similar to the Hebraic education tradition, where as a child I learned how to pray, to know and observe the commandments, and to learn about our holy book by my parents and sometimes a local religious leader. Following that, a major pedagogy that seemed to be prevalent in my elementary school years was social constructivism. The most I learned during this time was through folktales and fairy tales, through song, and through conversation.
The kind of teaching I liked the most was liberationism in free thinking, as well as leaving memorization of trivial things in the dust. I recall a horrible experience with a teacher who many others seemed to like. She was outraged at the fact that I couldn’t recall a “simple” translation of an Arabic word, even though I tried so hard to get it right. She made me feel stupid because I didn’t learn the way she wanted me to. This seems to be an instructional method that is popular in all of history, drills and memorization, operant conditioning, with both rewards and punishments.
What outshines these kinds of experiences are teachers who show they care through their actions. The more important teachers are the ones who I connect with outside of their curriculum, when they stretch the bar higher because they know I can get there, or when they provide me with the tools needed to build a ladder so I can finally reach that high-hanging fruit. When a teacher notices, and when they care, that is when they’re a good teacher.
I chose to make my historical lineage a miniature book, assembled with culminated knowledge from childhood until now. Pop-up cards were essential in my youth, so I incorporated that aspect with some pieces of notebook paper and a pen and a highlighter. I enveloped the piece with my newfound knowledge of hand-lettering and wood-burning on the two heart-shaped pieces of wood. It was difficult to incorporate negative teachers, but the ones that stood out to me were acknowledged with my professionalism on the back; forgotten, vulgar, but with a bit of class.