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Jasmine Renner
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Dr. Jasmine Renner, Carnegie Diaspora Fellow, Fulbright Specialist Scholar, 2014 Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellow, (Tenured) Full Professor, East Tennessee State University.
Dr. Jasmine Renner, Carnegie Diaspora Fellow, Fulbright Specialist Scholar, 2014 Tennessee Board of Regents Maxine Smith Fellow, (Tenured) Full Professor, East Tennessee State University.

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At U.S.State Department Exchange Alumni TIES Portland Oregon, May, 2017.
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5/29/17
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#Lookin the mirror. #Thereare other worlds to sing in. #Keepgoing. #Progress is accomplished #BethankFul! #Takecare of yourself. #HappySunday!
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Who or what has influenced your thinking, your beliefs and your values, so that you help other people to learn, develop, create and achieve in a particular way?'. We invite you to complete an online survey which seeks to map these influences.

Like #Chrissi the “who” and “what” that has influenced my thinking, beliefs and values can be drawn from multidimensional experiences I have encountered as a child growing up in a West African nation (in my formative years), to an adult learner in North America (USA) who first pursued a second law degree and finally a (Ph.D) doctoral degree and now a fully tenured full professor who has taught in higher education for 14 plus years.

Geographically in school and in college, I have always found myself in some sort of “labeled” minority group not only in terms of race, language, gender, but as far as my hand writing preferences. I am a total left-handed individual. (smile). These attributes what I fondly called “hidden opportunities” and “strengths” did not allow me fit into the usual norm at all, nor did I ever try doing so. Instead it gave me the deepest and rare opportunity to perceive realities, structures, solutions to effective learning in multiple ways and to pursue multi-dimensional approaches as a student and active learner. Coupled with this diversity I do speak 3 languages fluently and the fourth proficiently. The experiences of managing all of these attributes synchronously, effectively and also excelling in what I do has deeply influenced my beliefs, values, to help other people to learn, develop, create and achieve.

I will be quick to admit now that those experiences whether, good, great, bad and ugly sometimes, has so deeply and keenly caused me to not only be perceptive about the needs and variations of different learners, but to also empathize and move in a concrete way to providing creative, outlets and ways for my students to harness knowledge and resources in an effective manner. I have also worked effectively with regular main stream students with little or no experiences in these variations as I have learned through all of these experiences to consciously switch my role and mind-think from minority processing, to full main stream regular students. Quite a learning experience and moment for me all the time.

Like #Chrissi as a result of this, I have dug deeper into the “creative dimension” of myself to navigate effectively through my educational journey. The belief that there is nothing impossible to those who adapt, translate and effectively use not so advantageous positions to turn into great success stories had been one of my cornerstone or core beliefs that guide me to help people learn, develop and create. My very deep experiences and triumph at Law school and pursuing a terminal degree in the US has taught me that to grapple seemingly difficult circumstances and turn lemons into lemonade. This believe is embedded within all the structures, methods and strategies I unconsciously and subconsciously use as I pass on knowledge to students to learn, create and achieve. pass on to my students.

Speaking a different language was the biggest game changer for me and what has influenced me profoundly. Whether it’s your grandparents’ tongue or high-school Spanish, research has suggested that speaking several languages fundamentally changes the structure of your brain. Put a bunch of these malleable minds together in a classroom, and you create the potential for some truly original thinking.

A richly creative classroom always thrive on the diversity of ideas created by a multi language speakers. So while speaking multiple languages might have been seen as a potential for challenge, it did shape my life and helped me see though the lens of multicultural awareness.

Multicultural awareness is an essential soft skill in work as well as life, and it goes beyond the classroom and translates to real life essential soft skills that ever creative practitioner must have in his or her tool box.

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So glad to be able to participate once again. For me creativity is like a "card board" of flying giant bird" Once awaken to its innate essence in you, you never go back. teaching students how to harness this innate power and to feel comfortable expressing it out in formal academic settings can be a challenge. The bird connotes the ability to possess freedom of though, movement, action and delivery. Students need all of this as a practice of learning and instructors need to facilitate and embed instructional practices like this into their day to day activities.

This picture I have posted in my story line captures the idea of creativity being unleashed out and the symbolic pictures of white birds with wings connotes out ongoing attempts of freeing our minds, spirits and abilities to simple become comfortable with our creative essence to the point of being "normal" in a world that might consider you abnormal sometimes.
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