Little Bighorn College
Crow Agency, Montana
Luella Brein, Professor of Communication Arts
Shelby Jo Long-Hammond
RMC Student Trainers:
Our second day of workshop at Little Bighorn College was a great success. We continued our work with the four classes that we ran our workshops with during the Wednesday visit. We lectured and practiced with Public Speaking, Developmental Writing 1 and 2, and Interpersonal Communication. The students were excited to continue learning about argumentation and debate.
We enjoyed working with the same classes so we could build upon the foundation that we had established in the Wednesday workshop. Our workshop sessions included Types of Evidence, Advocacy Building, and Research. Students were very receptive to the different lectures and activities.
The workshops were conducted in a similar fashion as our Wednesday workshops. We lectured for 5-10 minutes and than conducted argumentation workshop sessions that focused around different themes. The participants from RMC and the students at Little Bighorn College responded well to the small group work during the argumentation sessions. We were all able to learn from each other and accomplish the goals of having students think critically and form arguments.
We had the opportunity to really engage with the students at Little Bighorn College about issues that were controversial on the reservation. We discussed many of the issues and were able to explore some feasible and practical solutions. One of the issues we discussed during the day was the economic and cultural implications of changing the Crow reservation from a dry reservation. We also discussed women participating in combat roles, banning the use of Facebook, the ethics of advertising Happy Meals (TM) and banning smoking in public.
We look forward to continuing this relationship with Little Bighorn College. I am hoping that we can host a mini-tournament and workshop day at RMC that they will be able to attend.
RMC Student Samantha Zetler's reaction to the workshop:
"All of the students that I mentored wanted to participate and had active opinions about the debate. They were all really good at communicating their ideas, and the group was receptive to everybody’s ideas. I was in a room with a group of inspired individuals who were excited about what we were teaching them.
Being new to debate myself, I learned more than I had expected helping others with their debate style. I learned where my flaw in developing arguments was. When I asked them questions such as, “why do we care,” or “how are you going to support that.” I realized those were the questions that I needed to ask myself when forming a debate. In addition, listening to my peers lecture about the structures of debate and the development of evidence helped me to better understand the principals behind them.
Overall, I would say that the day was a smashing success. Everyone, including the mentors, were excited and involved in the learning process. I saw improvement in the student’s debate from one argument drill to the next."
RMC Student Toryn Roger's reaction to the workshop:
"I think it's safe to say that we were very excited to run our first workshops at Little Bighorn Community College, in part because it took us so long to coordinate schedules on both ends. But I think it was also that, this being our second series of workshops after our test run at Lame Deer, we had clearer expectations and goals going in, and some new ideas that we wanted to try out. Therefore, we structured the lessons much differently, and placed less emphasis on lecturing from detailed, prepared notes to instead focus on group activities and speaking on the basics from our experience. These were also predominantly student-led workshop sessions, as Shelby did very little lecturing beyond introductions.
The workshops Little Bighorn College exceeded our (or at least, my) expectations wildly. The students, after a little prompting from their instructor and our liaison Luella Brien, were very active and engaged, to the point where they generated their own topics for group drills. The new approach emphasizing group activities rather than lecturing worked superbly and seemed to make a much stronger, longer lasting impression on the students. The close proximity of the workshops also probably contributed to the sense of attentiveness. Luella did seem very interested in the possibilities of expanding the program, which is exciting to hear; my only concern about any runaway success is that we will try to do too much too quickly, which would be a disservice to both parties. Other than those slight misgivings, I look forward to going back to Crow Agency and seeing what happens through the grant."