In RDA, new skills are developed. (LO2) We learn how to collaborate with others to create a safe learning and developing environment for the riders. We have to understand how to help a rider who faces either physical or mental disabilities. RDA is an organisation that helps disabled people by offering therapeutic sessions which are conducted on horseback. Our job is to walk alongside the horse in order to help the rider better.
Also, challenges have been undertaken. (LO2) I think the more sessions I go to, the more I am able to fit in to and understand the routine that goes around the organisation. How everything is conducted and how we were able to contribute to the organisation in order to improve our skills of communication. There are many types of communications that have been involved throughout this experience. First, we have to learn how to communicate better with our horse leader and side walker that we have to work with in order to create a safe environment for our riders. Some challenges we faced was because the people working around the horse may be a little inexperienced whether it’s their first time leading a horse or the first time walking alongside a horse but everyone there is very supportive and encouraging to the volunteers. Someone will always be there to guide you but of course we always have to do our best and be the best possible selves.
Next, we’ve got to figure out how the best way to communicate with the rider is either. Sometimes the best way to communicate is to be firm in your language. We can’t always be soft with them. Also, sometimes only one person should speak to the rider so they can figure out who they should listen to. Having multiple voices speaking to you at the same may confuse them which will mess up the goal we’re ultimately trying to reach which is to help them.
Lastly, communication to the organisers at RDA in order to inform them about how the rider is doing in that particular session which will help them figure out what kind of way is the best way to help the rider.
Culturama has been such a wonderful experience and I would definitely describe it as unforgettable. I’ve learned so much about dance that I never thought I could and have met so many incredible people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. It was tiring through the performance week but it was exciting at the same time. Performing on stage isn’t like performing anywhere else and so I feel so blessed to have had this experience in my life. I think I will definitely do it again next year because it has been so amazing.
Even though there was a time restraint and everyone was stressed about it but we managed to pull through and make everything look great.
The instrument I play is the piano and I have been since the age of 6, that’s about 10 years of playing piano. I have to say I rather enjoy it, otherwise I would’ve given it up a long time ago. This school offers amazing opportunities like the instrumental teaching programme where we learn an instrument in school. This makes my life so much easier as I don’t have to go out and find a teacher that is close by to where I live where I have to go out of my way to pull out a huge chunk of my time for piano lessons. So right now, I take lessons once per week and I have an amazing teacher who anyone can evidently see that she loves what she does which is teaching. It’s also a plus side that she gives me food sometimes.
I’m currently working on my grade 8 ABRSM exam which I will take in February or March of 2019. I’m not the kind of kid who’s parents make them only focus on taking exam grades but I do it in my own pace and it is nice to finish all the grades. My piano playing is definitely not to an incredibly high standard but it’s a de-stressing method for me and it’s just great when you play something beautiful.
I am someone who is really shy, at least to the people who don’t really know me. I do view myself as a little crazy but I think everyone is.
I am a caring worker so I like to know that everyone’s feelings have been taken into consideration and that their voices have been heard before a decision is made. I think this could really help me in the field of being fair but most of the times, it’s far too time consuming and self doubting because I’m always afraid that I will hurt someone’s feelings. I do think it’s rather positive as people do view you in a good light.
After doing the EQ test, I realised I had pretty low EQ. Lower than average that is. I’m not really one to have complete control over my emotions so control is one of the characterisations I want to learn because if I’m not able to, it will affect other people negatively. In addition, I want to develop sincerity because it’s important to being a decent person. I’m not really good at recognising and identifying emotions and that might affect my ability to participate in group projects but I will definitely start to work on it.
Grit is being able to have long term determination in the face of challenges. For myself, it varies. I have a spur of motivation when I face challenges in subject matters that are interesting to me personally and therefore have a motivation to push past any barriers. However, when it comes to things I don’t really like or have interest in, I tend to care about it less and consequently have less grit in those matters. I think if I change my mindset in how I view things, I can definitely start to have better grit. For example if I were to write an essay, I could tell myself that it’s expanding my knowledge realm and it’s developing my skill set which will probably help me to motivate to finish the essay.
Culturama is definitely a new experience as I’ve never danced in a school showcase like this before. A celebration of cultures and sharing that with everyone else, I think that’s pretty amazing. So this is adding onto an old experience and developing it I have been doing Chinese dance since I was 6 years old, so it’s been almost 10 years and it’s something I deeply connect with. Dance is such an amazing way to express and explore new areas within your emotions that you haven’t come in contact with before. Let’s you really be free.
We only get a month to put the whole show together so there is definitely a stress on the time restraint. People are getting really stressed about getting everything ready for the final show which is in 2 weeks. Extra rehearsals are constantly added here and there and that puts pressure on everyone as we would have to try to adapt our own schedule to accommodate these rehearsals. It isn’t exactly the greatest thing as if a few person are missing, everything would be really confusing and hard to figure out. People also learn at different rates and especially with a time cap, it’s hard to give everyone the time that is needed to learn a piece properly.
The time restraint aside, I do think that the show will be a great one. The dancing doesn’t exactly have to be professional as not everyone involved has prior knowledge of dance but I think the energy to celebrate a culture that we possibly relate to makes up for everything else lacking. Culturama is very unique to our school, so being involved makes it even more special.
An experience that will develop strengths is the learning outcome achieved here. I’ve never danced a piece that is choreographed by a person my age so it’s interesting and really let’s me appreciate by how talented people are. Dance I would consider a strength of mine since I’ve done it for so long so I’m developing it by trying new things within that field.
Friday 14th of September was the first time we went to the RDA. I really didn’t know what to expect as I haven’t done a service before where I had to be hands on and helping someone physically. I knew that the people riding the horses where disabled in some way, whether learning-wise or physically, and we had to walk along side the horse (aka side walking) and help them. They were going to be on the younger side and dealing with children/teens hasn’t always been by forte. So I was totally nervous going in as I had no idea what I was doing (I’ve never side walked before) and my mind was whispering somewhere in the back of my mind that I was going to botch something up and everything would fall apart. Apart from all that, I was excited because it’s something new.
As we first arrived, we were given an introduction and a lesson as to what to do and what really to expect. Then we got on with it, meeting the riders, introducing ourselves, putting on the helmets for them and giving them a general prep up before getting onto the horse and starting the actual riding. As some riders had a learning disability, they were non-verbal as well so trying to communicate while barely getting a response was very frustrating. This was also the first time meeting the riders so I didn’t know what to look for to see if something were wrong thus I had to be really tentative in my approach as to not alarm the rider in any way. Also, ensuring the safety of the rider was at the utmost importance and any harm would be our fault. With that thought in mind, I definitely had an amount of pressure to make sure the rider stayed on the horse as some of them physical disability. With a physical disability, they could not hold onto the saddle or maintain their balance which is what the organisation RDA is trying to provide a therapy lesson of.
All the worries aside, there was definitely a very rewarding side to the experience and many things I learned. As the horse started walking, there was a very obvious happiness that spread throughout the riding hall. It seemed like the riders were having the best time of their lives and some even broke into ecstatic laughter. Even though the goal of RDA is to provide lessons to improve the riders in some way and these lessons to improve themselves obviously takes concentration and laughing may take away from that concentration it still gave me a sense of fulfilment. These riders have probably gone through so much more than we could ever imagine and yet they are still able to find a place in themselves to just feel happiness. They are so strong in a way that doesn’t require wit or physical strength but one that of bravery. For that, I hold a piece of admiration for them.
I definitely learned or am still in the process of learning a new skill of side walking. It definitely isn’t easy and requires a certain amount of arm strength if we were to hold up a physically disabled. After learning how to do it, I think it is more important to be able to see and adapt towards the needs or other riders because we’re not going to get the same rider every time. That skill is definitely one worthwhile to have. The whole first experience was a challenge and that’s one of the learning outcomes: An experience that will be a challenge to you and where you will learn a new skill.
100% I’m looking forward to the next session and to see what’s more in store for the organisation. I have to say, I’m honoured to be part of an international organisation and can proudly say that I’m directly helping people, and making their life a little more blessed.
Activities are starting this week for season 1 and here are my activities:
For creativity, I’ve joined with Aida, the musical production, which will end in a performance in January of 2019. I’m really excited for this as I had to audition for a part and everyone was incredibly talented. It will definitely be challenging and time-consuming but it will all be worth it to be able to experience working in an environment of excitement and passion for this project. The last time I acted in a production was 5 years ago and I’ve always found drama fascinating so looking forward to it.
I also play the piano so I’m taking piano lessons once per week as part of the ITP which is offered in school. I’m planning to take the grade 8 ABRSM exam at the beginning of next year. Maybe not looking forward to that as much because who likes exams? But I like playing piano.
For my activity I have chosen to do Culturama where there will also be a performance in October of this year. Again, this required an audition and I’m just glad I made it in. The country I am representing is China and I have been dancing Chinese dance since the age of 6 so being part of something that represents my heritage is an honour.
For service I have signed up for Support and Friendship with Riding with the Disabled (RDA). RDA is an organisation that offers free therapeutic horse rides for children and adults with disabilities. This helps improve their coordination and confidence. This is especially exciting because I’ve always loved riding and horses are probably the most majestic animals.
I have also joined a Global Concern called Smiles of China. In this GC we collaborate with a foundation called New Hope Foundation. They care for physically handicapped and abandoned children in critical health conditions in their child care centres in Beijing. What we do is support the New Hope Foundation by raising awareness of the specialist medical care that is required by children who are marginalised. This could possibly build international relations and knowing that I’m helping and making a difference for someone makes myself proud.
In general, there were too many activities to choose from but I’m incredibly happy with the ones I have chosen and looking forward to a great season.
We were asked to read Akanksha’s post which she kindly shared. From her website I learned about the person she is as she gives much insight all the time what she is feeling and her opinions on matters. About grade 11, I see that many options are offered. Trips, internships, opportunities and support for work all seemed to be included in the package. What also struck me was her wide range of vocabulary, maybe it was her own love for books and striving to become the best but maybe we will learn that in grade 11. She struggles with her own problems like acne, a cleft lip and leukaemia perhaps. The support offered from the school and peers around her has made her a more confident person which can be prominently seen from her words.