Browsed by
Author: srini92577@gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg

Reflection of Narrative Technique

Reflection of Narrative Technique

  • How has your understanding of narrative technique, point of view and perspective developed / deepened so far?
  • Refer to last year’s texts and the passages we’ve looked at (about the student and teacher, the 6 prose snippets, the story Dressing for the Carnival) to underpin and illustrate your thinking.

A base understanding I have gained from the lessons on point of view, perspective and narrative technique start in understanding the distinction between the terms. Points of view focuses on the type of narrator, voice or speaker used to tell the story whereas  perspectives focuses on how this narrator, voice or speaker perceives events. Although this is a nuanced difference, I understood the impact of a difference in point of view and perspective when comparing it to the literary works we have studied before. For example, Carol Ann Duffy often uses dramatic monologue style, plays with the authorial voice to often embodies the voices of disenfranchised groups, used sarcasm or dissonant imagery to evoke reflection, plays with darker thematic/ historical material (war, voyeurism as a journalist, feminism in camps), sometimes uses a ‘traditional’ form whilst discussing controversial topics, unsettling speaker and perhaps a witty/comical tone. She plays around with the narrative technique and point of view in her poems to illicit a different effect. In the poems she utilises first person in, eg. Education for Leisure or Stealing,  the first person voice serves to highlight deep insight into a particular character, but casts some unreliability on their voice/opinion or world view. When she uses second person (eg. The Last Post, We Remember Your Childhood Well) it talks to the readers in a way that makes them feel the feelings of the oppressed. Each time you change the narrative technique used, a different quality and way of position the reader is brought out by the work. In other works, like plays and dramas a perspective is created without point of view necessarily. The prose snippets we had read and were able to modify showed how changing the voice in which the story is told changes the biases we make towards the characters.

One point of view and technique that created special special qualities in varied circumstances was the use of the several kinds of third person narrations. When understanding the differences third person omniscients, wherein having a single focalizer or multiple focalizers (like in Brand New Ancients) create a different tonalities and understanding of the circumstances around conflict in the story. We like, for example in Brand New Ancients, that the use of multiple focalizers can serve to highlight on character (Gloria) in particular or highlight the stories of a whole range of characters. We discussed the impact and limitation on third person external reportage, where the understanding and the moral opinions typically casted by the narration is now placed in the hands of the reader as reportage does not get into the minds of the characters. Interestingly, we underpinned the effect of third person free indirect discourse through phrases and the story Dressing for the Carnival, wherein  we grappled with the idea of having no punctuation but the thoughts that flow between the reader and the external narrative voice flow in seamlessly but effectively. Furthermore, Shields uses free indirect speech which serves to break the pattern of text with free indirect discourse.

 

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

 

 

NYAA Healthy Living: May/Month – Fitness Journey Reflection

NYAA Healthy Living: May/Month – Fitness Journey Reflection

Since the beginning of the Singapore Circuit Breaker, I have been looking for ways to ensure I have enough physical activity for the day to stay healthy. I wanted to start a workout plan and try it for 6 weeks. After doing some research into youtube fitness channels, this is the workout plan I am to follow:

Daily: 6:00pm – 6:35pm

  • 10 minute warm up cardio jog 
  • 12 minute abdomen workout (no equipment). Difficulty level: medium (link here) to difficult (link here) as the weeks progress) 
  • 12 minute leg workout (link here)

Week 1 Workout Plan Reflection

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

Week 2

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

Week 3

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

Week 4

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

Week 5

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

Week 6

by Megna Srinivasan | Nyaa Healthy Living - Fitness - March/May

NYAA Outdoor Appreciation – Activity Trip to Tioman, Malaysia

NYAA Outdoor Appreciation – Activity Trip to Tioman, Malaysia

   Disclaimer: Due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions, this outdoor appreciation project will be based on a trip that took place a few months before the published date.

For my NYAA Outdoor Appreciation Project, a group of my classmates and I had travelled to the Tioman Islands in Malaysia to spend 5 days developing our outdoor skills, teamwork and completely detaching from technology. In this trip, we engaged in several outdoor experiences ranging from kayaking to hiking. I will elaborate on my experiences and personal learning in the following voice recording outlining the events of each day. 

DAY 1

In the first day of the trip, we settled into our accommodation and gave up our technology for the week. We played a lot of team bonding games and activities to build connection on the first trip of the day. The highlight the first day of the trip was swimming freely in the ocean which was something I had never done before and had actually been a little afraid of. One of the first exercises we did was a swim test as a team relay race in which we had to swim 50 metres into the ocean. I quickly realised that I wasn’t as afraid or as incapable of swimming in the ocean than I had first thought and this was definitely one the activities in the trip that had made me aware of my self-limiting beliefs that would prevent me from being more comfortable in the outdoors. That night, we had a reflections in groups guided by our activity facilitator as to what we individually want to achieve through this activity trip and I said that I wanted to be less reserved and be more adventurous and active. It was nice to detach from technology today.

DAY 2 

This morning we woke up around 6am to do morning yoga. It was a nice and different routine in comparison to my typical morning of checking my phone. It was peaceful to view the sunrise and the beach. Our main activity of the day was practicing kayaking techniques and capsizing in a kayak. We first learnt about different types of kayaks and learnt about which kayaks would be suitable for our own heights. We dragged our kayaks out to the shore (they were surprisingly heavy!) and then learnt how to do safety check-ups with the kayak. We set up with our gear and took turns practicing capsizing technique so that even if we flip over when we do kayaking we know how to get out of the kayak safely. It was amusing. Then, we continued our kayaking practice in larger groups and further into the ocean. We learnt how to link arms/get connected in a kayak and some hand signals to communicate at far distances Later on, we went snorkelling and saw the impacts of coral bleaching and ocean pollution on the corals in the ocean. It was a moment in which we became more aware of the environmental consequences of human activity.

DAY 3

Today was the day of our biggest activity challenge – hiking and overnight camping in one of the oldest rainforests in Tioman. We started off early in the morning with packed belongings and took a long walk to the base of the hiking trail. We spent the next eight hours hiking through the jungle. I was surprised by the fact that I actually enjoyed the hike, though tiring at times. I had practiced hiking before and maybe it was why I found the experience more enjoyable. Some of my friends had a little difficulty navigating the route so I tried my best to help them through the process. The hike was a good bonding experience with the people on the trip and had some funny and good moments – we saw a big snake and had to change course. Eventually, we reached out campsite at the other side of the island and set up our camping tents by ourselves as a challenge. We sat by the campfire for a while and ate food, then we went to bed. It was a really tiring day, due to the humidity and the travel but I had fun. I learnt that good company can really make any situation better!

DAY 4

After we woke up, we started packing up the campsite, and dragging kayaks placed in the campsite into the nearby shore. Our day today consisted of us kayaking around the island back to our accommodation. We had to make kayaking groups. The highlight of this day for me was when my teacher suggested I team up someone in our group who was a little apprehensive about kayaking on the open water so I would be able to support her. I was happy that I could be a comforting friend to someone who was fearful, even if I am not the more natural athletic person. The kayaking was a nice experience feeling the ocean water and looking at the other islands near Tioman and chatting with my friends. It was a bonding experience. After the three hour kayak and some time to refresh, we went to visit to turtle rehabilitation center on the island. We were taught more about the biological life cycle of turtles and I learnt a lot of interesting facts about them, but more importantly, we gained a further understanding of the widespread impact of human resource consumption and urban development on turtle populations. It made me feel strongly inclined to pursue awareness about the environment when I get back to my community.

DAY 5

Today, we explored more of Tioman’s local community and met with local people who taught us a lot about their culture and sustainable living. Firstly, we visited a farmer family on the islands and learnt more about their daily activities. We did raking, composting, planting, harvesting of their land and learnt more about all the processes involved in growing food. We even ate some local food and asked questions to the local community on their experiences on the island. On the way back from the visit, we did a beach clean up, and I saw the global impacts of industrialism and pollution in the remote beach island. Later on, we did a team building exercise that involved building a suitable raft with just metal barrels, sticks and ropes and it took a lot of creative thinking and teamwork. We had a race between rafts and my team used our fastest swimmer as a propeller. Our last full day on the island was really rewarding and a fun way to bring this activity trip to a close. 

Reflection: My Top Takeaways

  • Limiting Beliefs and Persistence

Even though I may not be very athletic naturally and have had a lot of experience with outdoor activities, I felt like this trip broke my self limitings beliefs and fears of participating in outdoor adventures. I enjoyed being in nature and I felt like I developed more grit, persistence and mental control.

  • Teamwork and Understanding

What I really enjoyed about this trip was the connections and friendships that were strengthened throughout the process. Furthermore, I enjoyed the fact that people of all different physical abilities were able to come together in a judgement-free way to support each other in each activity we did. There were many instances in which we needed to rely on each other and think as a team and I felt like my abilities to both lead a team and work cohesively in a team has improved.

  • Environmental Conservation and Sustainability

Being in the beautiful Tioman Islands, but also seeing the man-made environmental damage make the realisation of our unsustainable practices very clear in a direct way to me. This has motivated me to look for ways to make my life more sustainable and I have started making changes with the regards to the cosmetics I use. I have tried using coral reef friendly ingredients in my cosmetics and tried to make sure product packaging is recycled or repurposed.

  • Freedom from Technology

Lastly, this trip was a welcome break from technology for me and made me aware of my own dependence to technology and all the times I do not really need to use my phone when I could be engaging in more meaningful activities. 

 

NYAA Community Project: Part 4 – Post-Project Reflection

NYAA Community Project: Part 4 – Post-Project Reflection

The Community Project I had taken along with my group-mates to Bintan Indonesia was an eye-opening experience into service learning. The following are the important takeaways I have gained from the experience:

  • Leadership and Teamwork.

During this community project, I feel like my inclination towards leadership has grown. Needing close collaboration with my group, we did struggle initially to manage our schedules and personal commitments with the time it takes to prepare resources for a project like did. However, I found myself delegating tasks often, asking questions that will guide the group forward or creating resources like the previously linked powerpoint presentation. I enjoyed working in a group and ensuring that our group stays focused to our goal of ‘developing a lesson plan and educational resources to promote 21st century skills’. Furthermore, I discovered the importance of playing to the natural strengths of people in the group. To create the book for example, I relied on my teammates who were artistically inclined to envision the art and colours, whilst I worked on the narration, plot and including important English language chunks in the book. Furthermore, the teamwork this project required was not only between our group members but also between educators in my school, UWC, and TIF educators. Online communication and consistent communication were skills I developed here to ensure that our group had the right aims for the students we were about to teach

  • The practice of seeking the insight of experts

During this community project, my group had several times when we felt like we needed to reach out to educators of certain age groups to create a lesson plan for them. We had set up a meeting with a teacher of 5th grade and understood how he tailored his lessons to be age appropriate for his students and applied that to our lesson as well. It was very helpful to reach out and speak to people with expertise to better understand the nature of the project that we were doing. Additionally, research into journals and reports produced by the NGO’s in Indonesia or the Indonesian government gave us a better sense of the barriers the community was struggling with in terms of their education needs. We learnt that effective research leads is important to the effective implementation of a project so that we are not blindly serving a community.

  • Breaking prejudices and a new service mentality

Once of the first things that we had learnt in the community was that the locals did not want to be seen as an object of pity or an object of rarity that tourists should come and look at blindly. The community was strong, independent and unique in their own rights and our service trip was not meant to be to benefit us or ‘look good’ but was truly meant to benefit the people without pity. It was an interesting ethical dilemma in service learning that we had to grapple with as we went along with our project. Through the conversations with the local community in Pengudang, I feel that my understanding on the aims of service were clarified and I gained practice in engaging in service without ulterior motives. I can now be more appreciative of true service learning and have learnt to spot-check where my own prejudices arise during service projects and correct myself. This understanding has definitely transformed my experiences with community service.

 

 

 

NYAA Community Project: Part 3 – Action

NYAA Community Project: Part 3 – Action

A few months later, we went for our second trip to Bintan, Indonesia to carry out projects we have been planning alongside The Island Foundation over the past few weeks. Our objectives were to teach students concepts that would be relevant to their life within the community of Bintan and maybe give new methods/resources of teaching for the TIF staff. With the lesson plan and the book we had prepared, we had now gone to carry out what we had prepared to do. These are a few images and videos of my participation in the lesson:

My group  created a lesson plan that would allow for students to think about their environments and what they could do as individuals to help it in the future. We had created a set of activities and tasks that would help achieve this. To better understand how effective our lesson was after it was finished, we spoke to the TIF educators and students and formatted this SWOT Analysis:

 

The following is an look into how our lesson plan and resources created for the lesson can be used in the community in the future:

To aid our lesson we made several resources for example, sets of pictures and words, but most importantly, we wrote a storybook for the children to learn the relevant threats to their environment in Bintan (overfishing, crude oil spills, pollution etc.) In my opinion, the storybook resource that we created was the most applicable to their needs as a result of the variety of possibilities in which it could be used.  The main opportunities the book could lead to are:

  • We could make a video narration of the story for the students and to make them adept in listening to fluent English speaking which can help them have experience understanding to English speaking in the future.
  • In Depth study: The book can teach a variety of topics for example – emotions, nature, animals, environmental- and help in developing particular topics vocabulary
  • According to TIF staff, there is an opportunity to publish the book as a resource for English learners in general and the profits from the book can be used to aid TIF with funding.
  • Out of classroom

Secondly, Our group came up with a small activities that was engaging for the children:

  • WhiteBoard Reflection Activity: In this slightly competitive activity, a group of students line up behind each other and the first in line writes a concept they learnt from the lesson and passes it on to the next person – this goes on in rotation. This was an engaging way to mark their progress and what they have picked up through the lesson. The versatility of this can be applied to any unit or topic and is fun  and collaborative for the children.
  • System-Mapping Based-Activities: Our initial activity to introduce the children into the topic of the environment was by giving them a series of pictures in which the have to decide why one image was good for the environment and one image was bad and asking the question ‘why?’ behind their reasoning. To further develop this activity by asking students to come up with connections between different impacts on the environment and will give them an opportunity to enhance their critical thinking.

Adaptations in our lesson would be in applying our ideas into the unit of ‘Food’ that they are planning on teaching the children. We revisited the ‘whiteboard reflection activity’ and how that could fit in the unit of ‘Food’ and came up with a sequence of energiser activities based on the concept. Additionally, suggestions were given to improve our storybook and develop it to be better suited to the children in a variety of mediums (video, different language) and add actions throughout the story to make it more active.

Overall, the experience of the trip was very eye-opening and it made our group feel a sense of achievement actually carrying out what we had been preparing for over the last few months. We got to meet a great community and great people along the way!

 

NYAA Community Project: Part 2 – Preparation and Presentation

NYAA Community Project: Part 2 – Preparation and Presentation

During the following months, we drew from the knowledge we had gained about the community. We spoke to TIF educators, teachers in our own school campus and researched more into the established concepts and philosophies on cognitive development to produce an effective educational lesson for local students.

The following is key points I  learnt from teachers and educators on how to construct a lesson for the students.

1. Incorporating 21st Century Skills (Critical Thinking, Collaboration)

I learnt the importance of incorporating 21st Century Skills (Critical Thinking, Collaboration) to raise the quality of students and develop highly refined and practically applicable skills. These skills help children to have better thought processes and communication skills that help them in the future. The importance of starting to develop these skills early and provide a quality platform for students to learn is something we usually take for granted and not really understand how beneficial these are for our future.

2.  Contextually and Age Appropriate

When planning a lesson it is crucial to make sure the lesson is of the conceptual understanding level of the group of students that we are working with. The concepts should drawn upon knowledge they are familiar with and knowledge they can expand on related to the particular topic. In this case, we learnt how teaching knowledge that is relevant to the lives of students in the community would be highly beneficial and practical.

3. Time Management

While planning our lesson, we realised the difficulty of trying to fit all of the content we wanted to cover within a particular time limit. The main issue we learnt how to work around was leaving time to consolidate the information that will be given to them so that the lesson if effective and not open-ended. I realised that we need and equal amount of time to give new information as well as discuss and digest that information during class time.

4. Classroom Management

During the process we researched into classroom management techniques and I learnt a lot about effective methods of keeping the class attentive and engaged. I learnt that vocal or visual cues are better methods than verbal cues. Additionally, we learnt to modify our techniques to the age group of the students again which account for their attention span

We incorporated ideologies from cognitive development philosophers into our plans for the project. In our lessons plan we aimed to build upon concepts and draw upon knowledge students are familiar with and knowledge that can enhance their understanding on that particular topic and prompt them toward new refined ideas. This syncs up with the Vygotsky’s  ideologies of the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ wherein teachers guides them through what they know and what they have to learn through discussion and debating. This then relates to the 21st Century Skill of collaboration as it evokes sociocultural learning and helps children catch ideas themselves rather than it being taught and not understood. The latter is a philosophy put forward by Piaget.

Furthermore, we read reports from Indonesian educators such as the ‘Catalysing Productive Livelihood’ report that helped us know how to tailor our lesson plan to the Indonesia’s development needs. The main components lacking Indonesia’s educational development from reading the Catalysing Productive Livelihood report is the quality of teachers, the quality of education and the late enrolment in school. The approach of learning we want to incorporate gives students a higher quality of education as it develops more practical skills needed from the future using more holistic ways of teaching rather than rote-learning or teacher-centred learning. This method of education focuses on realistic levels of knowledge so that no conceptual understanding is lost in translation. It is a method that can be implemented at a young age and non-reliant on level of content so students can starts practicing beneficial skills that can counteract late the issue enrolment. Student-centred learning gives teachers new improved and efficient methods of teaching as well.

The following links are the resources we prepared to present to The Island Foundation:

A presentation we made to describe our intentions, aims and lesson outlook:

Lesson plan drafted for project execution – LINK HERE 

We had also prepared a handmade book (which is now used in the school community in Pengudang).

NYAA Community Project: Part 1 – Investigation

NYAA Community Project: Part 1 – Investigation

Disclaimer: Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic the Community Service aspect of NYAA discussed here was carried out an academic year before enrolment to the NYAA programme.

In this community project trip, our group visited a village in Bintan called ‘Pengudang’ to work with ‘The Island Foundation’. TIF is an International Charitable Organisation, registered in Singapore. It runs an education programme in collaboration with local people in the coastal communities of the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia. It’s aim is to create lasting change by educating the next generation to create resilient, resourceful problem-solvers, equipped with skills for better prospects in life. (Click here to visit their site and learn more about their projects and support them.) The focus of our first trip to Pengudang was to learn about the people, culture and true needs of the community we aimed to aid. We explored areas of the community through conversations with locals and explored their needs through the perspectives of nature, economy, wellbeing and society.

There are many aspects and areas at play inside a community, so learning about the community in a more holistic way, with several perspectives, gave us a broader understanding of what is happening within Pengudang and helped us make sure that we were not placing emphasis in only one area of the community. Additionally, it aided us in better understanding how all these aspects of the life within the community co-relate, overlap and come together as a whole. Asking different stakeholders about these perspectives was beneficial as it gave us different opinions from people with different roles in the community. It gave us more information, ideas and references.

For instance, our group met with a kite-surfing instructor named ‘Aidil’, and from hearing his perspectives on the community, we got to understand and hear firsthand why there may be financial struggles,  lack of higher education and the aspirations of the youth population in the community. This helped us understand the goals of the community and accordingly adjust our lesson plans towards assisting this goal. In Aidil’s case, one of his struggles was that the lack of English communication skills prevented him from getting a job in the tourism industry, so we realised the importance of incorporating a way to develop English communication skills in our lesson plans.

Similarly, meeting with Ibu Mariani and Ibu Sakdiah also gave us important insights into community life as females. But interestingly, meeting the stakeholders helped break several misconceptions I had had about Pengudang. For example, that there is no prominent gender discrimination, more girls go to schools than boys do or that their culture is greatly important to them and will not be submissive to the rise in tourism. This allowed us to grasp the intricacies of the community and understand it better.


The presentation below is the information Pranav Harish and I collected about the economy in Pengudang, Bintan

 

 

Reflection on Teamwork and Presentation

When presenting this Compass perspective alongside Pranav, I feel we did quite well overall. I believe this is due to various factors during the process of preparation. Firstly, we had collected appropriate information on our compass perspectives that we effectively incorporated into the content of our presentation that helped specifically elaborate on the situation in Pengudang. For example, Bintan Resort Corp. Scholarships, Perspectives of stakeholders that justified the trends spotted about the economy like Pak Madun and Pak Iwan  about increasing entrepreneurship and economic diversification. This was presented in a good way due to the connection-making and cohesiveness we spotted between our trends which showed larger cultural movements and impacts within the other compass perspectives. For example, relating an increase in tourism to women in the industry and it’s effects on the larger society. However, we could have shown a heightened level of refinement with out content through relating this to how we see trends in the economy relate to internationally or spotted more possible trends that could have shifted our views on the economy. Personally, I could have had more insightful things to add to the presentation. When looking at my presentation skills individually, I feel like I spoke with a good amount of clarity and used hand gestures to help put across my points more effectively. However, I did fidget with my hands/hair/face and looked upward while speaking and in those aspects, I could have improved on the presentation. But mainly, I feel the good collaboration we had as a team benefited the clarity of the presentation as we had clear-cut sections for when to speak and we communicated with each other during the presentation and made sure it was connected and well-projected.

 

Healthy Living NYAA Reflection – Muffins (March 15)

Healthy Living NYAA Reflection – Muffins (March 15)

Today I had a few friends over and we decided to make chocolate chip muffins.

We used this recipe that was originally for cookies for this muffin instead. These are the results.

With all this baking i’ve been doing recently, I feel like I am getting the hang of the process such as mixing dry and wet ingredients separately before you combine etc. and the taste of the cupcakes were nice as well!

 

 

Skip to toolbar