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Tuesdays With Morrie: An Interview Project with Remarkable S

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Alex Coe

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of Tuesdays With Morrie: An Interview Project with Remarkable S

Tuesdays With Morrie: An Interview Project with Remarkable Seniors in Our Community
Jill Davis--Writ 101 Instructor
Created By: Alex Coe, Student Intern

WE live our lives forward, but we understand them backwards...
In looking back over their lives, our seniors can identify turning points or dynamic events. With thoughtful listeners they can clarify and organize their thinking about life, make sense of events, and enrich the meaning of their life story. If we make meaning as young adults by fashioning dreams, older adults make it by shaping memories. They see how the story of their life has turned out – then change what they can for the future and accept the rest. This process of looking back is formally called "life review."

Frankl’s 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp survivor and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding a reason to live.

Viktor Frankl- Our Muse
Frankl's Writing Reflection:
How did he survive such terrible adversity?
What meaning did he give to his adversity?
What can we learn from him?
How do we find meaning?
How do others find meaning?

3 Ways We Find Meaning: According to Frankl
1. By WHAT WE GIVE to the world, as far as our talents, skills, and wisdom
2. By WHAT WE TAKE from the world in experiences, education, and lessons
3. By WHAT WE STAND FOR as far as the human predicament and suffering
Where Do We Search for Meaning?
Listening is an Act of Love--NPR
and the Storycorps Project
Tuesdays with Morrie: An Enlightening Story About a Connection Made Between a Young Man and An Elderly Man That Would Change Both Their Lives
Meaning at its Finest
"Stories Heal" --Maya Angelou
The method and practice of teaching, as an academic subject or theoretical concept
Questions About Pedagogy:
Why conduct inter-generational interviews in a writing class?
How is the interviewing process genuinely useful for research writing?
Will there be sufficient time in 15 weeks to conduct interview research and write a narrative document worthy of an individual’s story?
Does doing so, offer students opportunities to strengthen writing skills?
Does it provide meaningful writing experiences for students involved?
Does the interviewing process help students understand their part in the tapestry of our community and national history?

With these questions in mind, we began our 2010 interview project with seniors at:
Highgate Senior Living
Aspen Point at Hillcrest
The Bozeman Lodge
The 5 R's of Engaging Millennial Students
1. RESEARCH based methods- offers a variety of active learning methods
2. RELEVANCE- helps students apply information rather than disseminating it
3.RATIONALE- provides meaningful purpose for the project
Outcomes from the Interviews:
4. RELAXED-offers a less formal learning environment
5. RAPPORT- pursuant of learning experiences with relational outcomes
These interviews are of ordinary people whose lives have been impacted by historic events such as:

The Great Depression of the 1930s
Feminist and Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
Other Crucial Periods:
Women joining the workforce...
Farming foreclosures of the 1970s
Changes in marital relations
Shifting of schooling practices on reservations in MT
Introduction to travel abroad
Coming to the realization that although we are all different, in reality, we are all one!
Overlap in Our Stories
Witnessing the Strength of the Human Spirit...
Deep Listening While Exhibiting Compassion and Empathy
Life Lessons Learned:
The Role of Optimism in Health
Suspending Judgment:
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

– Mark Twain
The Importance of Support Networks and Family
How True Grit and Determination Strengthen One's Resolve
How Nature Has Impacted Longevity
1. Motivates writers to raise the bar on their writing
Impact of the Study:
2. Increases “ownership” of writing
3.Provides a “win-win” experience for both partners
Impacts Continued:
4. Affords academic learning in writing for a “real world” audience
5. Creates a more industrious attitude towards revision work
6. Offers a life changing experience
7. Encourages students to create a body of relevant, meaningful work
8. Meaningful civic engagement

“What impressed me was the maturity, compassion, and friendliness shown by each student, the excellent job they did in gathering the story, the thoughtful listening, the careful writing, and how precious our time together was.”
Would you like to see us continue with the project?
100% yes, we “brag about it with our friends here.”
Did you find your student was a good listener?
100% yes, “as well as empathetic and very kind.”
Did you feel comfortable with your student?
100% yes- and quickly so. We were “surprised with the reliability, maturity, and preparedness shown by students in the project. We had no idea how mature MSU students could be!”
Would you engage in this project again with us?
“Absolutely yes, but it was a strenuous process telling one’s life story, but family members are so glad for it and so are we!”
100% said they would recommend this project to other students
100% had incredibly positive commentary about the partner match-up and their partners
78% used the words “inspirational, empowering, and meaningful” to describe the project
92% said they worked harder on this narrative biography than any other paper written thus far in college. Most had between 10-14 revisions of the final narrative.
95% felt their writing improved with each draft revision for final essay
100% felt that the meetings, research projects, readings, lectures found on YouTube on memory and aging, in-class discussion on Tuesdays with Morrie, and weekly progress conversations, visits from MT Gerontology Society, Hospice, and other community workers to educate students on aging process- all made for an excellent foundation.
We thank you for letting us share our work with you!!!!!!!
Special Thanks To:
Matt Weigand: MSU Student Photographer
Lauren Favero: MSU English Education Student - Mentor for first two years of project
Alex Coe: HHD Student Intern, Senior in Community Health (HHD)
Full transcript