In this Writer’s Journal, you will have the opportunity to begin to gather observations for Writing Project #2 and to work on fieldnotes about those observations. To that end, be sure to review the course materials on making observations and fieldnotes. Then, go to the place where you can observe the phenomenon that will be the focus of your ethnography. Be sure to bring something to write with (pen & paper, computer, etc.).
Take notes using the questions below to help guide you (be sure not to make judgments—take notes only on what you observe). Remember that you will first need to take observation notes and then later turn them into fieldnotes (via the questions below):
Next, turn your observations to the people and their actions (being sure not to make judgments):
My fiend notes
Tuesday 19/9/2017 19:00Updated Sep 19th, 2017
Who is present?
Me and my husband, other couples, families, friends and staff. Also, one cat and mosquitoes that bit me! 😡
Who is absent?
Greek and English. Formal language between staff and clients and informal language between customers.
Characteristics of the people
Balance between males and females.
Ages: most are in their thirties and forties. Two infants and one kid around four years old.
Dress: informal, casual style.
What objects are in the space?
Tables, chairs: some are empty, a baby is on a chair, I have my bag on the chair next to me.
Trees and plants: they are decorative and the trees are shaped as a natural umbrella that provides shadow and freshness.
The rocks are decorative but kids climb on them and use them as a game.
The low lights are hidden in the leaves of the trees and they look like they are part of the trees.
The lake is the main attraction of the area.
The glasses are used to serve the drinks and the plates are used to serve the food.
Ashtrays are used by smokers, as this is an open area.
The building is used as a cafeteria and restaurant.
There is wifi, however, it is not open. We can ask if it is free or not. 3G is not good, making my work here difficult. 😳
Dogs are allowed. I don't know if other pets are allowed and who is not allowed to be in this place. We are not allowed to approach the lake and swimming is forbidden here. Only some ΕΥΔΑΠ employees have access.
It is not considered a cheap place, however, people are dressed casually perhaps because of the purpose of the place, that offers relaxation. Someone dressed very formally might feel uncomfortable, unless there is an event, for example, a birthday party. Someone who talks and laughs loud would stand out, as the music is light and it is not very noisy. A kid who is talking loud and running or crying also. Moreover, a tourist from another culture could stand out if he or she is dressed in a particular way. If they are dressed in the way Greeks do, they could blend.
The Greek culture regarding coffee is represented all over the place. The comfortable chairs, for instance, represent our value that views drinking coffee as a relaxing activity. This tells that people of my culture see having a drink as entertainment and a way to socialize.
Jazz music, low lights, the lights resplend on the lake: it is calming and relaxing.
Little flow of movement.
In this Writer’s Journal, you will have the opportunity to practice and hone your observational skills. To that end, select one of the photographs of a bedroom in Mollison’s "Where Children Sleep."
As you explore your chosen photograph please do the following:
Tzvika's bedroom has three beds with blue bed sheets, and they open up like drawers, forming a kind of stairs that lead to the higher bed. On the right side of the room, a picture of an oasis into a desert is hung up on a green wall. On the left, the whole wall is covered by a combination of long white closets and blue drawers. The white tiles of the pavement have the same color as the ceiling.
In this Writer’s Journal, you will begin to develop an “ethnographic eye.” In order to do so, please complete the following activities and respond to the questions for each activity:
I am going to visit the cafeteria for a drink or the restaurant for dinner at Marathon Lake. I will get back with my drawings, pictures, videos, notes, artifacts, observations, and interviews!
Please consider the following questions, and take notes on your thoughts:
How is your position in your community (e.g., youth, leader, worker) influenced by the place where you live, work, relax?
My position in the community as an online teacher and student allows me to live, work and relax in places close to the lake, the sea, and the mountains, away from the center of Athens. These places have helped me cope with the workload of my job and the coursework of my studies, when, for example, I have the opportunity to de-stress myself with a walk after a long day. I don't think that I could enjoy this activity in the noisy streets of the city center.
Are there places/spaces you are not allowed to enter or participate? Why?
When I visit Marathon Lake, I am not allowed to reach the lake's shore, as this area is restricted to the employees of the water company whose property is the lake.
Do your friends, family, and co-workers have access to different places than you?
I think that different access depends on the working environment of my friends, family, and colleagues.
What spaces are private and what spaces are public?
What is private and public depends on the occasion. Although an airport is considered public, some areas are private or with limited access. One of my friends, for instance, who works at the airport, has access to spaces that I can visit only when traveling with the airplane.
What did you find most unexpected or surprising about the process of composing Writing Project #1? Why do you think this was unexpected or surprising? What does this tell you about your previous notions of the writing process?
The most unexpected thing in the course of composing Writing Project #1 was the content of the first draft that we had to write. In the past, I had never prepared a written project following this procedure; therefore, I didn't know what to expect. I had the impression that in this draft all we had to do was only an initial sketch, but a few hours before the end of the deadline I realized that I had to create the whole work. I stayed up all night to create my piece, but I was not truly satisfied with my writing. The good thing, though, was that it was just a rough draft, it didn't have to be perfect! I appreciated this way of writing, and I confirmed that writing is not a one-action process, as I thought.
What did you find most challenging, confusing, or frustrating about the process of composing Writing Project #1? How might this become less challenging, confusing, or frustrating in future projects?
I think that the revision of our first draft was the most demanding part of the project. Utilizing the review of our peers was not easy, as we had to evaluate it and at some points, I could not decide if I should follow my peers' suggestions or stick to my initial plan. In the end, I did both, selecting what to change and what to leave as it was. I hope that practice will help me do it easier in the future.
What—for you—seems to be the most critical or important part of the writing process at this point? Where do you feel you learned the most about your own writing process? Was it before you wrote the project, while you were writing the sentences and paragraphs, or was it in the post-writing revision practices?
I believe that the most critical part of the writing process is the revision. On one hand, you have finished a big part of your work, and this is very satisfying and motivating. On the other hand, you still have to complete your piece. At the beginning of my revision, I didn't know how to start, and I couldn't find something to change. As I began to polish my text, I discovered that some parts would be better in a different order and I moved text and photos to create a flow. I also added a hyperlink for those who want to find out more about a place I described, and I substituted a picture with a short video. This way, I tried to make every piece of information in my project not only cohesive but also meaningful. The whole writing project helped me learn how to write in a more structured way and why this is so important.
If you were invited to teach someone else something about writing tomorrow, what would it be and why?
Being a foreign languages teacher, I would like to teach my students that writing is a multiple-step activity and help them understand the importance of practices like drafting and reflection.
Why do you think the WPA Outcomes (under “Processes”) and this course seem to value reflection and reflective writing?
I believe that the WPA Outcomes and this course consider reflection and reflective writing of great value. A reflective learner can be a successful learner as there is always space for progress. In my opinion, success is not just a goal to reach; it is a state we should aim to have at all times. When we reflect, we are open to evaluating, rethinking and we have an ample view that might lead us to better writing decisions and, hopefully, success.