So, my research with Dr. Clayton is coming to an end.
From my research and experiment (that yielded a whopping nine responses) I was able to come to the conclusion that the comedic monologues that were written for this project were able to make participants laugh, stimulate their interest in educational topics, and inform them further about the topics. Despite this, participants generally agreed that the monologues didn’t really inspire advocacy within them. This could probably either be because the participants were all freshman and sophomores who just naturally feel like they can’t make much of a difference in educational reform or because they were passive and just didn’t want to even consider doing anything about it. Either way, I feel that this put a giant damper on the project as a whole—it seems that in the case of these nine students, educational comedy isn’t likely to inspire advocacy. But then again, most of the students were from the same campus and around the same young age. I was also pretty discouraged when participants were asked to discuss the themes of the monologues and were barely able to come up with the correct answers. A majority of the participants thought the Vergara Trial monologue was about how ineffective and unnecessary the common core standards are. I still can’t tell if this is a result of a lack of interest form participants or an overestimation of my comedic writing abilities.
Honestly, throughout the majority of this project, I’ve been very busy and I wish I put more time into doing this research. It’s been a long and grueling process and there were many a time when I just didn’t feel like putting any effort into this research anymore because I had other things to worry about such as certification exams and a capstone paper. I’m grateful that my partner in crime, Professor Clayton, was there to constantly keep on me about doing this work and thinking about the end result. This is the first time I’ve completed a research project like this and even though I didn’t really earn the participant turnout or results that I wanted, it I’m still pleased with myself that I was able to actually do something like this. After doing this experiment, I’d like to take the experiment and perform it on a larger scale with non-Pace students and many more participants. I feel like maybe doing this will provide me with more accurate results for my research and better address my hypothesis. The fact that I’m even considering extending this research proves to me that the project may not have inspired many others to advocate in education but it sure has ironically inspired me.
My research has been finished for a while now and I’m currently in the deepest chasm of my implementation phase. These types of commitments are difficult when you have many other responsibilities to tend to, but I’m still just barely managing to make it work. My monologues have been recorded and I’m currently making arrangements to have them mixed and mastered. I decided that these monologues are chick full of important information and should be treated as such so I’m looking to maximize the potential of this project at this point. I’ve been reaching out to talented film students and I’m sure that they’re help can only make this project better.
As the implementation phase goes on, things continue to get complicated in regards to the comedy aspect of the work. For instance, I wouldn’t have been able to show audiences my monologues during the gas leak incident on campus because they would’ve probably been too stressed out and disgruntled to properly respond to the comedic aspects of the work. Furthermore, work on this project is helping me to realize how much timing and pictures can affect comedy as well. Sometimes you don’t need jokes to make people laugh—random pictures at the right time can make that happen. Although it’s become stressful, this research project has been helping me to learn more about my own craft without me even knowing it.
So far, when it comes to this research, I haven’t made much progress in the grand scheme of things. In all actuality, there’s not much progress that needs to be made. I did more research on the Vergara v. California decision and because of that, I had decided that my first monologue that I had written about the topic was not sufficient. Professor Clayton agreed with me, based on the fact that the monologue only displayed a surface understanding of the research and was very repetitive when it came to analyzing the decision’s effect on first in-first out laws in California. In response, I did more research on topics ranging from due process laws to politicians like Campbell Brown who are raising the issue of the constitutionality of due process laws in different states across the country.
This research has become increasingly more difficult to conduct this semester, and it’s not because it’s a difficult or time consuming task. It’s more-so that it’s so easy that it slips my mind during this extremely busy schedule of mine. This is one major challenge that I’ve faced with this project this semester. However, with the help of my partner, Professor Clayton, I was able to whip myself back into shape and even look to different sources for research. I went as far as contacting Steve Feyl, a research guru that works for the Mortola Library, asking for suggestions on where to find sources for research. Throughout all of this, I’ve been able to re-write my aforementioned lacking monologue, and make it better than ever and ready for its final recording. At this stage, Professor Clayton and I are leaving the material creating phase and moving into the experimental phase. Let’s see how this goes.
The title of our project will be “Educational Advocacy Through Comedy”, although I’m probably going to want to change the name in the near future being that the work that Professor Clayton and I are currently coming up with is resulting more in informing people who aren’t in the educational field and attempting to change the thoughts of those in the education field. The goal of my research really is to better my understanding of current events in the educational field but also to learn how to convert these current events into engaging comedy. Another goal is to check to see that my comedy is actually engaging its audiences and teaching them, although I’m not exactly sure on how our project is going to achieve that goal just yet. From this project, I expect to have a better understanding of educational current events, how to perceive them, and how to utilize them correctly. I also expect to hone my comedic writing skills through the challenge of having to include educational facts and opinions in my writing while still having to make it funny and appealing to my audiences. It also may seem like a funny thought, but by the end of this project, I expect that Professor Clayton will have a better understanding of the science behind comedy and comedic writing. As of right now, the methods that I’ll use to answer my research questions are very simple because my research questions are very simple. Is my comedy actually teaching people about educational current events and important topics in education? Is my comedy still funny and engaging despite the fact that it has educational elements incorporated into it? My methods will basically consist of performing my work on crowds, make sure that they are laughing, and then possibly give them a quick and informal assessment at the end to make sure that they actually picked up on information and retained some of it from my performance. It’s that simple. Let’s just hope that everything goes according to plan, and it is that simple.