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Recording Stories of Artistic, A

Work experience

Performance Simulations address Common Core Listening and Speaking Standards

Story Lab West

Common Core's English Language Arts Standards for Speaking and Listening for Grades 11-12  endorses the "Presentation of knowledge and ideas... adapting speech to a variety of contexts and tasks". What better way for students to develop this ability than with performance simulations?

In my experience, informational interviews engage young people in what should be recognized as an American rite of passage: personal assessment and career research, engaging social media, leading to face to face interviews with professionals in a field or job under consideration, followed by reflection and decision-making, followed by more interviews, followed by internships.  What I observed in students who completed their career research project was enthusiasm about what they learn, informed decisions and greater ownership of their career, particularly when their informational interviews were enlightening.  The Problem:  Anticipating a stressful experience, too few students perform these interviews unless they are required, as they were in the courses I taught.  Unfortunately, for students who did them, the interviews were sometimes less effective than they could have been. Even with written guidelines and video examples, interviewing strangers can be fraught with anxiety, particularly for shy or introverted students and it can seem an intrusive or disrespectful assignment to students from different cultures. And without a referral of some sort students sometimes interviewed people who were available but who were not representative of the work under investigation.

The Proposed Solution: I want to offer a way for students to prepare for their informational interviews at the moment of need, by providing opportunities to practice what they want to say - out loud, in a private, on-line simulation; representing a resource for counselors working with students needing preparation beyond what the career center can provide in person or on the career center Website.  As career center budgets are cut, the sims could become a valuable tool for counselors and students who wish to review and critique effective and ineffective responses to career research and job search situtations. If they are done with humor and are seen as a light-hearted depiction of the serious world they inhabit, the sims could draw students to the career center.

The Research Hypothesis: When students (especially shy, introverted or culturally reluctant students) practice speaking aloud in video simulations about their career assessment results and respond aloud to situations they are likely to encounter in seeking, conducting and following-up on informational interviews, they will engage in more actual interviews and attend more networking events. In addition, edited video from the sims will enhance eportfolios, LinkedIn Profiles and VisualCV Portfolios.

Sycamore-in-the-1970s Reunion

Story Lab West

In July 2008 Sycamore Elementary School in Claremont Ca held a reunion of over 100 students who attended there in the 1970s, plus teachers, parents and principals. Over 40 interviews were videotaped and edited into a menu-driven set of 5 DVDs by a Story Lab West crew of four. The school's progressive teaching methods were influenced by an earlier Ford Foundation Grant as well as by A.S.Neill's book, Summerhill, about his innovative school in England. Sycamore philosophy is documented in conversations with students and teachers Terry Kneisler, Paul Douglass, Rosemarie Sullivan, Elaine Kalamanis and others, including principal John Bobo, who was fired after allowing teachers to participate with parents and students in a school board recall movement that kept the school open. Stories of the recall and the school's creative classroom methods are told in 10 thematic episodes in the Story Lab West Gallery.

Oct 2008Present

Chief Imagineer and Project Manager

Story Lab West

Personal History Projects

Story Lab West

Inspired by attending a 1980 What Color Is Your Parachute workshop, I began to research new ways to use my favorite skills and career priorities. I soon focused on oral history and an earlier interest in documentary film making.  In our family history was kept alive by family reunions, letters that my mother exchanged with her sisters and brothers and my father's 8mm Keystone camera.  Active listening was a central part of my work as a counselor in several agencies and schools where I was employed so interviewing people about their lives was a logical variation on that skill set. And adding family photographs and music to recorded stories had great creative appeal to me. My technical skills were insufficient to produce the movies I wanted to make so I contracted with students in CIS, Broadcasting and Social Science to work with me on weekends to produce 5 tribute video DVDs for family and friends, illustrating audio and video interviews with home movies, photos & music: Martha's Story, Bob McPherson's Story, Jim Barlogio's Story, Frank Bertrand's Story and the Sycamore Reunion 5 DVD series.  Continuing on my own, I was able to produce the The Pixar of Educators, the McPherson-Laakso Family Archives (a family history DVD with oral history interviews, home movies, photographs and letters) and Remembering Howard, a DVD tribute to my dear friend, Howard Sinclair, who died suddenly in 2011. Excerpts from those DVDs are on the Story Lab West Gallery.

Living in a community of universities, artists and musicians suggests to me that recording stories of artistic, academic and career success will be beneficial to the story tellers and to the community.  The Story Lab West Flyer's links suggest several benefits of recording interviews and presentations in the new studio, pictured on the flyer.


Aug 1980May 2006

Cooperative Education Instructor

Chaffey College

As a full time Cooperative Education Instructor and senior staff person in Career Services, I: • managed office policy and procedures* helped students enrolled in Cooperative Education courses earn unit credit for internships and work experience • developed learning agreements with students• conducted site visits with students and their work supervisors• assigned individualized career advancement projects• monitored and evaluated learning outcomes* counseled students regarding career and ed plans* taught seminars on career development issues• developed the content for the Career Services/Co-op Web site* co-chaired 2 career center development committees (virtual & actual)*developed curriculum and resources for guidance courses. • wrote or co-wrote the career research, print and electronic career portfolio, small business planning and journal projects assigned to Co-op Ed students• taught career exploration and planning courses in the Counseling Department in the traditional lecture format* taught job search skills and career preparation to disabled students.

Feb 1979Jul 1980

Rehabilitation Counselor

City of Hope

I met with patients before discharge to help them plan for a return to work that met their new priorities, following treatment for a major medical disorder and served on four medical teams.


Rehabilitation Counselor

Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital

I coordinated in-house training programs with hospital staff for clients of the Department of Rehabilitation under a facilities grant; was liaison with local agencies; evaluated client progress; taught work adjustment workshops; and counseled in-patients.


Rehabilitation Counselor

California State Department of Rehabilitation

I met with disabled clients to help them plan their return to suitable work after injury or illness and encumbered funds for client education and return to work expenses. I began working in the East Los Angeles office in 1969 and transferred to the Eureka office in 1972.


Aug 1965Jun 1968

Master of Science

California State University Los Angeles

Bachelor of Science

University of California, Los Angeles


California State University at Los Angeles