According to Shulman (2005), without a certain amount of anxiety and risk, there’s a limit to how much learning occurs. Our team is learning from our mistakes, carrying on our works, and making a positive impact in our community.
It’s the second week of March, which means there’s only one month left in this semester. How time flies! Hopefully, everyone is not too stressed by all the upcoming due dates.
This week, our main objective is to modify our decal designs based on our community partners’ feedback. We plan to combine our group members’ ideas into one, that is, to use a simple design with the same colour theme as the bins; for bins that are frequently misused, we will use a cross-out sign that tells what items should not go into that bin. As soon as the modification is done, we will go to Kerrisdale Community Centre again, where we will implement and test out our newly designed decals. Subsequently, we can conduct our second round of observation and data collection at the waste stations to see if there’s a difference in diversion rate. Also, we will make sure that our second observation takes place at the community centre’s busy hours, that is, 3-5 PM, in order to maximize our sample size.
Figure 1. Our decal re-design so far
Achievements to date
So far, our group has conducted our first round of observation and data collection at Kerrisdale community centre. Our main findings were that the actual diversion rate (60%) is lower than the average (79% as presented by our community partner Paul), mixed papers are often sorted incorrectly, and that children are more likely to sort wastes properly. Through this observation, we now understand that some items are more commonly mis-sorted than others, and that age plays a factor in sorting ability. For our first decal designs, we divided our group, which consists of six members, into three pairs, so we can present three different styles of decal designs to our community partners. During our second meeting with our community partners, we informed them on our observation findings and presented to them our decal designs. We discussed what each design did well at and how we can combine the three different ideas into one. This meeting combined with our observations informed our new decal designs where we are using simple black and white waste item drawings, with a border that coordinates with the bin color, and most importantly has an X symbol for items that are commonly wrongly discarded in that particular bin. We are hoping this new design theme will address sorting deficiencies at our community center.
Moment of Significant Change workshop
Figure 2. Graph of Emotions and Knowledge/Skills
In our last tutorial session we participated in the moment of significant change workshop. We were asked to draw two graphs: (1) our change in emotion and (2) our changes in knowledge/skills throughout the project and semester. We discussed the significant moments and used these as our x-axis (ex: our first community member meeting was one significant moment), we then each traced out lines that represented our level of mood and development of skills at each of these moments. The moment of significant change workshop This allowed us to discover the fluctuation of our group members’ emotions throughout the project and outlined how our skill levels in specific parts of the project are. Interestingly, our team members seemed to follow similar trends when it came to emotions but had somewhat more variation when it came to skill levels. Now that we have noted the differences in each other’s skill levels we can use this information to guide future parts of the project.
As seen in the graph above, our group had a general feeling of optimism from the start of the assignment, first meeting with the group, to the first meeting with our community partners. We were inspired by Mathie & Cunningham (2003)’s article, where they highlighted the important elements of Asset-Based Community Development: collecting a community’s past successes, analyzing the reasons for success, and working towards a better community. After learning about Asset-Based Community Development, we were all looking forward to making an impact in our community by improving waste sorting. However, our emotions began to drop as we proceeded to writing the first blog post and it subsequently reached a low point upon receiving feedback from it. We were unsatisfied with the grade we received yet relieved that we can still make revisions to obtain a better final grade.
After our first observation, our group’s emotions began to diverge as we had different schedules and were affected by other classes, work, and extracurricular activities. An all-time low in emotions occurred when we had to write our proposal report for the project. We felt overwhelmed as our workload was getting heavy and at the same time we were confused by the unclear expectations.
As seen in the graph for skill/knowledge, our skill level for the first blog was below intermediate, but we expected to become better at it, which lead us to this blog post. by learning from our mistakes. We decided to assign a different member as the main editor each time for our revision and future blog posts. The editor is responsible for collecting the input from all members and organizing it into a formatted, coherent blog post. We find that this method is more effective than members working on random parts.
Like the first blog, we didn’t do well for our first submission of the proposal, and we all felt anxious since the proposal is worth a lot of marks. According to Hardford (2016)’s TED Talk, uncertainty and messes require more focus and attention, which has the potential to increase learning, creativity, and achievement. We decided to incorporate more research on CityStudio, the City of Vancouver, and other academic sources on waste sorting into our proposal. We also went through each part of the proposal together and discussed specific ways to improve. As a result of our collaborative effort, not only did we receive a higher mark for the second submission, but we also gained skills on proposal writing that will be useful for our future career as a food professional.
Figure 3. First edition of our decal designs
Another moment of change would be our second meeting with the community partners. As seen in our skill graph, all of us began with very limited skill with decal designing at the beginning of the project. As a result, none of us felt confident about our decal designs, and we were all nervous before presenting them to our community partners at the meeting. Undoubtedly, things do not always go as planned, just like Dan Barber’s failed attempts to replicate Sousa Eduard’s program of making foie gras (Glass, 2011). Before the meeting, none of us felt confident about our decal designs, but However, after hearing feedback and receiving the required images from our community partners, we all had a clearer outline of what to do in the future in mind. As a result, we are expecting to have a higher skill level for our new in decal designs. The lines behind the dotted vertical line on the graph are future projections or our feelings about the success of the project. All in all, we are feeling positive about what’s to come and are confident about the finish of the project.
The Graceful Dismount: Our strategy for successful project completion
Our project will be complete when we give an official report on our findings and make suggestions for future improvements of the zero waste stations, supported with data and research. The dismount will involve stepping back, analyzing our findings, and connecting them to our goal of achieving a higher diversion rate. So far, our group work has been smooth and effective. Based on our personal moments of change, we have collectively designed strategies for a successful project completion.
As always, we will continue to keep our timeline goals. Importantly, we should ensure to have good communication within our groups, with our community partners, and with our TA so everyone remains on the same page and is not confused or uninformed about how the project is going. Having all team members to meet up outside class sessions is difficult but valuable for our progress, so we have agreed that for every task in the future, we will set up a meeting to exchange ideas and finalize our work before it is due.
Our main communication tool is our Facebook group, which has proven to be effective by allowing us to share project materials and ask questions. We will continue to use this method, but perhaps with more frequent postings and active response.
We also believe that in order to write an inspiring and comprehensive report, we should constantly ask for feedback and ideas from our community partners, our teaching team, and possibly from the other Put Waste in its Place group.
We hope that by utilizing these strategies we can fulfill the expectations of our group members and our community partners, and at the same time make a positive impact on the sustainability of our community!
Stay tuned for our final blog post of our quest to divert waste!
Glass, I. (Producer). (2011, December 2). Poultry Slam 2011: Act 3: Latin Liver. [Audio Poscast]. Retrieved from https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/452/poultry-slam-2011?act=3#play
Harford, T. (2016, January 17). How messy problems can inspire creativity|| Ted Talks 2016. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd_j_kw_jZQ
Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ697350.pdf