Currently I am done writing the manuscript for my book and am in the process of finishing the illustrations and designing my book. Hopefully I will be sending off all of these materials to potential agents very soon!!! I am also in the process of brainstorming and designing the curriculum that will be available with the book. This is an example of a potential cover design.
Read the most recent article about my project written in the online news platform Technical.ly.
I think my greatest "aha" moment, was when I finally decided what I wanted to do. In the beginning, before starting this project/ journey I had almost no clue as to what I should do, what I wanted to do, what I could do to change anything, etc. I was constantly stuck between a couple of ideas, and I was constantly confusing many of these different problems together... then I started talking to people. I think this really is a key piece of advice. At first, I was very hesitant. It was not that I was afraid to talk to others that I did not know, it was that I had no idea what to ask, say, or talk about if I didn't know what I was I was doing. I started by contacting some very big organizations such as the ADL or the YWCA. Now this gave me a starting point, but these organizations were just a bit to big to provide me with the help and mentorship I needed. Then I started reaching out to teachers and asking the people around me, as to who they knew that could help me with what I wanted to do. I started with teachers at my school, and started branching out to other teachers and even a professor from the university. Through these people, I learned more about my topic... and after circling for weeks around this idea of cultural identity, I was finally able to develop it into my project of implicit bias. After thinking about my target audience, what I wanted to solve, etc. I finally had my aha moment when I came to formulating my solution.
In order to spread my ideas at the exhibition, I will be telling my own story relating to this problem as this is what influenced me to start my project in the first place. I will also talk a little about what I've seen around me, and examples of implicit bias to get people to understand what I am addressing. I think that my main goal by sharing my own story is to allow others to relate to what I am saying. I might also reflect on a little bit of my journey to getting to this point in the problem, and how I originally started with the problem of cultural identity. I could even share some of the stories of others I interviewed along the way, such as a couple of teachers and instructors. I will be using different types of media to share my story. I will have a fun powerpoint, not really with words but more of a virtual portfolio for my journey with this project. I will filling it mostly with a lot of the illustrations I have been working on with my illustrator, my storyboard, maybe a video on implicit bias, etc... hopefully I will also have a cover design in this powerpoint. I will also have an actual portfolio there with maybe what a really rough version of the book will be like. Hopefully, once I am a little bit further into the process, I will also be using social media to share my project. So far, I know that I will probably start off with self publishing a couple of copies and going to different schools, libraries, other events, etc. to read my book and get it out there. In the long run, I hope to be able to actually publish the book, but as a prototype I will be reading it and using social media to share and advertise the book.
I have decided after researching and talking to many individuals and groups on the topic, to write a picture book with classroom activities and a mini lesson included to teach kids about the topic of implicit bias, and explain what stereotyping is and why we should not do it. Right now, I am still in the process of creating the content for this book and figuring out the logistics of how I can get it printed, if I can illustrate it, etc. As for prototyping, I am not exactly sure what I will be doing, as getting a book published will take a long time and as of right now, I do not have much to prototype or show to others. After reading Ch. 2 of the Dual School Ebook, I think what really stuck to me was that I should not focus on tackling this huge, ginormous issue. I need to break it down, and find one place that I can try to help. Doing something, is better than doing nothing. I need to learn to start small, and eventually grow and create what I really want to accomplish. As said in the Ebook, think about your audience, and ultimately who you think your product will affect. In my case, I am going to go to the library, check out many children's books, talk to children, and discover what they like and what would be useful. I need to put myself in their shoes to create the best book that I can, all the while getting my point across and addressing this serious issue.
After debating for a long time, as to where I should begin prototyping, what my topic really is, and what I want to achieve in the end, I have decided to shift my topic. Originally, I decided that I wanted to focus on cultural identity. I wanted to start prototyping a monthly "culture" class to young students in the elementary school. After thinking about what I would be teaching them, I decided that this was completely against what I wanted to accomplish. By teaching children that China is just "Chinese New Year" and showing them foods such as rice and dumplings, that is simply reinforcing many stereotypes. By showing that many traditional African cultures include these "strange" clothings and that Africa is filled with many wild animals, I would be reinforcing that Africa is strange, different, and maybe not developed as us, which is not true. When I got to the root, I found that what I really wanted to do was break stereotypes and change people's biases toward other groups of people. You can't change how someone feels about their culture, especially if they are constantly surrounded by another culture. Although people should respect other cultures, I have found it is completely okay to be more "American" than to be "Chinese" or "Hispanic", etc. because it is what we know. How can you ask someone who is a 10th generation African American to feel closer to native Africa than to America. That is why my new/ updated topic deals with breaking stereotypes and implicit bias. No matter what culture someone feels closer too, no one should be judged or criticized by the color of their skin. If I can teach young children not to make assumptions about people of other races, allow them to recognize what implicit bias is, and what they can do to stop it, that is what I want to accomplish.
Progress update: Right now I have contacted and talked to several people and organizations and I am continuing to do so. I have also done some more research and I have started to formulate some ideas to what I may do.
Assumptions and Test: I think one of my biggest assumptions that I am making right now is that this problem, that I think is a problem, is actually a real, legitimate problem. In order to test my theory, I will probably be conducting some type of survey and workshop at my school, hopefully, to get feedback and information on how I should continue. Right now, although I do have ideas, I still need to find the right age group, and most importantly just see what kids are feeling these days to get more opinions on the topic.
Hi, my name is Megan Chen. I am passionate about helping the Earth, finding solutions to solve racism, and discovering peace within yourself. I have a dog named Mardi, whom I love very much. I also love to paint, read, play the piano, and figure skate.