Thursday, September 26, 2013

LIEP Students Learning About Crisis

By Felix Garmendia
Crisis: House on Fire
Earlier this semester, my classmates from the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) and I had the opportunity to learn about crisis and how people react to it.  As part of the Advanced Reading class, my classmates and I started gathering ideas about the characteristics people have when confronting a crisis. Some of the ideas provided by the students included activeness, determination, intelligence, and positive and critical thinking.  The majority of us knew how people behave during a crisis; however, we concluded that we wouldn’t know how we would react in a crisis or the possible effects of it in our life. Some of the doubts were clarified when we read and discussed the follow articles in class.

Crisis: Head-On Car Crash
After reading and analyzing the experiences described by the authors in the different articles, we were very interested to learn more about this topic. Why do some people freeze during a crisis? Why do others become more active and try to help?

The students had many questions before they learned the concepts of active passiveness, normalcy bias, and incredulity response, described in the articles.

With a little bit of understanding about the concept of crisis, we were ready for our first Intercultural Conversation. This is a meeting where the students have the opportunity to express their ideas about a specific topic. In this meeting, we mix international students, native English speaking members of the Loyola community, and some New Orleanians who come to the Loyola campus to share with us. 

Dr. David O'Donaghue
Dr. David O'Donaghue, who is a philosopher, psychologist, and artist and who founded and directs the New Orleans Lyceum and Chautauqua New Orleans for life-long learning, was in charge to conduct the participants through a discussion of crisis and ways to respond. He began talking about crisis and perceptions that people have about crisis. The students were fascinated hearing the experienced opinion of Dr. David O'Donaghue. The people from the New Orleans community provided many interesting stories about the reaction that people had when Hurricane Katrina destroyed many places in the city. In the same way, people from the New Orleans community had a good time learning about the different stories that students told. We were all impressed by the fact that people act differently depending on their culture, beliefs and previous experiences. For instance, the students from Japan talked about the crisis they experienced in Tohoku with the tsunami in 2011. Also, a student from Brazil talked about how the economic crisis was affecting poor people in his country.
Crisis: Earthquake

We had an unforgettable experience learning about crisis and the effects it causes in people. We had the opportunity to clarify our ideas with interesting articles we read, discussed and analyzed in class. Finally, we learned a lot when we had the Intercultural Conversation. In this meeting, we discussed people´s reactions, experiences and learnings when confronting a crisis. My classmates and I are anxious to know what will the topic be for the next Intercultural Conversation.

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Felix Garmendia of Venezuela

A huge thank-you to LIEP student Felix Garmendia for this post about the work of our Advanced Reading class with the topic of crisis and response to crisis. Felix is a corporate lawyer in Venezuela. This Fall 2013 semester, he is beginning his course work for the LL.M. degree in the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans while also perfecting his English writing and reading skills in the Loyola Intensive English Program. In addition, Felix is an artist, with paintings on display at Garmendia Art Gallery on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Thank you, Felix!