Encountering the Other | Encountering the Self


If you’ve experienced Service, Service-learning, or if you have ever volunteered or offered what you could describe as humanitarian aid or support, I invite you to describe the experience(s) in writing.

If you have not had such an experience, I invite you to describe in writing an experience in or with an unfamiliar place or a memorable encounter with unfamiliar people.

This is a stream-of-consciousness writing experience where the writer puts pen to paper and writes on theme, non-stop, for five (5) minutes.


Now, I invite you to write for another five (5) minutes, in the style of a stream-of-consciousness, about what you learned about the place and the people you encountered.


For a third time, I invite you to write for five (5) minutes, in the style of a stream-of-consciousness, about what you learned about yourself and the world that you come from because of the encounter you experienced.


In the reading for today,* the authors assert the idea that individuals have dispositions — character traits — certain regularities about themselves.  For example, any given person might be talkative, humble, receptive to new ideas, rigid, empathetic, aggressive, nervous, shy, outgoing, funny, serious. They also included other potential attributes that are more obviously socialized such as a being religious or tolerant, racist or sexist.  What of your many dispositions were affected, in play, or challenged during the aforementioned experience(s)/encounter(s)?

Please write on this prompt, in the style of stream-of-consciousness, non-stop, for five (5) minutes.


In the reading for today,* the authors play with the concept of disposition to suggest that in the kinds of experiences that you have been writing about, it is possible to become dis-positioned.  In other words, as a result of the experience or perhaps in spite of it, it is likely that one or more of your dispositions has shifted! Or, to put it another way, through experience or encounter with the other, it is possible to be re-positioned.

As a fifth and final stream-of-consciousness writing experience, with continuous pen to paper, I invite you to write for five (5) minutes about how you have been changed as a human being through the experience and through your encounters with other people that you have been describing.

*Reading:  Mitton-Kükner, J., Nelson, C., and Desrochers, C. (2010). Narrative inquiry in service learning contexts: Possibilities for learning about diversity in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education26(5), 1162-1169.