For this week’s assignment we were asked to participate in something, anything. For me this seemed like it would be an easy task to complete but it was more difficult than I thought. It took me until Thursday to come across something where I was a participant. That is four days! What I finally participated in was a yoga class that I take weekly on Thursdays.
With something like a yoga class participation is more physical/kinesthetic than it is verbal. I participated by setting up for class, doing the positions and meditations, and then cleaning up when class is done. For the most part the instructor spoke except for in the beginning and end when I said hello and goodbye to a few other classmates. In an activity like yoga being a good participant means following the “yoga culture”. Being quite, being respectful of each other and the space, as well as, setting up your equipment in the proper way.
In the Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture article by Henry Jenkins he defines participatory culture as, “type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices”. For my yoga class the instructor lead us through the positions and flow of class. Without her I know I would not be able to practice yoga, but each week I do gain more knowledge and more knowledge. Henry Jenkins also defines participatory culture as, “members feel some degree of social connection”. Even though there is not much verbal communication between the students in my yoga class, all the members of the class are still connected because they are in the same room participating in an activity that they enjoy.
With the students in our class I think it is important that we remember that when our student are passionate and care about something then the participatory culture can be stronger and more affective. As teachers though it is also important that we recognize there will be students unwilling to participate but it is important that they still feel free to contribute whenever they are ready and willing.