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CAS Reflection: Activity (Culturama) – Reflection 1

CAS Reflection: Activity

Culturama 2018 Ghana

Reflection 1


Learning Outcome(s):

  1. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.


Our school holds an annual dance spectacle for high schoolers to audition and take part in which revolves around the idea of showcasing different dances that represent different countries. It’s an effective way to show and celebrate the diversity in our school and dancers always have a lot of fun while doing so. This year was my first time auditioning and I auditioned for South Korea, Ghana, and Hawaii. I was incredibly nervous in doing so due to the obvious issue at hand being that I am in no way shape or form a dancer of any kind. In fact, this was my first time ever signing up for a school production.

Luckily, I managed to get accepted into Ghana so at the moment I’m currently attending the practice every Thursday lunchtime. As I don’t have any dance experience at all, my major challenge at the moment is learning all the steps. I seem to be unable to properly get the step down instantly just by watching it in front of me. Another issue aside from my lack of experience is that I also am shy/ have a slight stage fright issue which tends to impede my performance a little bit. I think most of it comes from not wanting to be judged, and by putting myself out on a stage to dance I’m practically asking for eyes to be on me.

As one can see from the video, I often messed up the steps, partially from nerves from being recorded and partially from not having really gotten the hang of them. With each session, I’m hoping to become more proficient in doing them as we practice more and more, and just to get a feel for it I’ve already begun practicing them at home (though I don’t have a mirror to judge for myself). Since a few of my friends are also in the same dance, it’s helping me assimilate into the environment as well as the fact that it helps me in becoming comfortable with performing in front of people.

I think overall though, I’m able to get the steps down with enough practice, but I need to become comfortable with any form of being watched. Aside from attempting to introduce myself to an activity that may potentially be really fun while helping me in improving my fitness through physical exertion, I would like to also improve my confidence in putting myself in front of a large audience and I think that this is a great way to do so.

CAS Reflection: Service (RDA) – Reflection 1

CAS Reflection: Service

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)

Reflection 1

Learning Outcome(s):

  1. Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.


Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is an organisation that provides equine therapy for those with disabilities, be in cognitive, physical, or sometimes even both. In our service, we work with young children who have disabilities such as cerebral palsy (CP), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), down syndrome, or those who display issues with the movement of/ control over certain body parts and motor skills. Our group is partnered up and then assigned one of these children and we have to assess their riding ability and how they’re improving as the weeks pass by. As of right now, all of us have taken the role as side walker regardless of whether any of us have had experiences with horses or not. We have to walk on the sides of the horse and interact with our rider to make sure they have proper posture and are able to follow commands said by the instructor efficiently.

The child that my friend and I were assigned is a young boy with ASD. When we first flicked through the paperwork to get a general consensus as to what he was like as a rider, I wasn’t too worried. I thought I had an idea of what autism was like so I didn’t anticipate that the sessions would be too stressful. Turns out, that idea wasn’t as clear as it should have been. Our first session with our rider seemed to be a little distressing, for both the child and myself honestly. Without the proper training or briefing on his condition, I wasn’t able to work well with him. This could be seen as he wouldn’t listen to me or my partner when we tried to help him sit straight while riding the horse (which is something he tends to not do as proficiently) or even when we were trying to help him with his stretches. He seemed to be slightly agitated as well which made it even more difficult to communicate effectively with him.

In between this session and the next, I knew that I had to learn how to work effectively with him in order for him to feel more at ease during each session. Since I take HL Psychology, I went to my teacher to ask her for a general summary of what the cognitive disability really was as well as how I could go about approaching the rider. I also looked up ASD online as well as talked to my mother (who studied child psychology in university) about my struggle. All of that put together led me to a better understanding as to why our rider seemed to be so on edge for our first session. I learned that people with autism tend to want to do things a certain way, and any little change can cause them to become agitated, which would explain why our rider was uncomfortable during our first session as he had never worked with us before. My psychology teacher told me to continue approaching him the same way so it becomes routine and it will, therefore, lead him to become more comfortable as each session goes by.

Using this advice, our next session ended up being a lot more fun for my partner and I as well as our rider. He was a lot calmer and he began listening to us a lot better. By the third session, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all established a good relationship as he always double checks with us to see if we’ll be there the following week and he seems so much more comfortable with us. He has also been able to keep his back straight for longer periods of time which is a major improvement from the beginning. I feel really proud of him as well as myself for being able to get through to him in such a short amount of time, but I do know that there’s still a lot more to do in that sense due to his ASD, but I’m really happy with the fact that we’ve been able to become comfortable with each other.

(His face has been blurred for privacy)