To begin our reflection process on project week, we decided to plan a video/documentary/moving pictures thing. The mentor text that isn’t a text but is rather a video. Our final post will be done collaboratively, we will plan it together, and Sophia in her capacity as the media coordinator, will edit the videos. As for future-ready we will be using, resilience, perseverance, caring, self-awareness, and UWC skills and qualities. We will document the perspectives of our service partners, some of the “service” we do, and also the activities we do. Maybe just some fun experiences as well. We will interview Mr. Thy about the importance of education, maybe some of the kids as well, and other people in the community on their opinions of the school. Just put it all in. We will have a very long video. It too will be a video with human beings who speak. So, we will be using the mentor source. Perhaps the video will give us ideas of question to ask.
After run for rights we haven’t been doing as much at Daraja in terms of the UWC community at large. However, I’ve been doing this small project where for approximately twenty minutes each lesson I do a presentation on an issue to do with women’s rights or education world wide. Most recently, we did FGM. There was a presentation and it was honestly very disappointing because there was a group discussion, and I felt that many of the people in the GC weren’t engaged. They just didn’t particularly care about women’s rights that weren’t in their everyday lives, and I don’t know how to change that. However, I do know that in showing people global issues like FGM, and raising awareness, perhaps we can make some change. In this way we’ve been engaging with issues of Global Significance, not only by raising money for girls education at Run for Rights, but also by raising awareness and thinking critically about issues relating to gender equality and education.
In December I was in line to get food at Santai, and I ran into Manuel who was doing tech week for Candide. He invited me up to the tech booth to watch what he was doing, and I realized it was really interesting that I actually wanted to spend more time on it. So, I asked him if I could help out with The Odyssey, and thus my very own odyssey began.
One day, when I was in class, Dhir asked me to MC for Culturama and I agreed to. Thus started a whirlwind of Culturama madness. One day I was a regular civilian, minding my business, the next I was receiving a barrage of emails with information on who the other MC would be, the needs for the script, and regular updates on new things that the script needed to be. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but Vivian and I were given a deadline to write the script by. Learning outcome five is to “Demonstrate the skills and recognise the benefits of working collaboratively”. We started working together, but from computers in completely separate locations. This gave me a unique view on the benefits and challenges of collaboration. Maybe it wasn’t the best form of collaboration, but we also discussed it at school.
I began to realize that collaboration could decrease workload if done well, enrich the product, and make me learn new ways of thinking about and doing things. I didn’t have to write half the script, which decreased my stress levels a lot. I got feedback on what I wrote, which made me think more about what I wrote and improve it. I also got a bit of a peek into Vivian’s mind and the different ways we could write the script. I had approached it from a very formal and informative standpoint, but Vivian reminded me that scripts can be funny too. Unfortunately, this initial collaboration was a double-edged sword. I didn’t get to write half the script, meaning I had less control over it, I got some negative feedback on things that I still think might’ve worked well, and part of me feels like I got forced into doing a cheesy script. However, it wasn’t only two of us who had an input. In this entire process we were getting emails from a myriad of people who all wanted different things, which really complicated the process, and I think was bad for the script.
There was only one season of Cross Country, but I went to two practices every week, and I ended up going to the ACSIS meet on the 31st of October. I did not place well in the race, but it was very encouraging because I had finished the five kilometers and I accomplished a lot. I know that I improved during the season, and I really challenged myself with continual repetitive activity. In addition, the girls team got second place, and that was very encouraging, because while I may not have contributed to the score, I still felt like I was part of something. The second learning outcome for CAS is to “Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.”. I think the first part of this post effectively demonstrates the challenges, but what I have yet to mention is the skills. For me this was a lot harder to think about. For a while I didn’t think I had developed any skills. Then, I realized that I developed social skills, I have new friends that I gained through cross country. I also gained some very practical skills, such as ways to exercise better to achieve desired outcomes, like better aerobic capacity. I also learned methods of warming up and diminishing the effects of lactic acid and fatigue after a hard training session.
Walking into this service I hadn’t been sure what to expect. I had experienced service with the elderly and the sick before, and while that is different from working with mentally disabled people, it has many similarities. I knew that part of the reason I chose this service was that I knew it would allow us to enrich our relationships with service partners through a wide variety of interesting activities. I knew we would eventually leave the school and try to do things all around Bedok. I had wanted to really help people develop social skills or at least provide a positive experience.
I helped plan the first session where we interacted with our service partners. It was hard for the three of us who volunteered to run this session, because we weren’t sure what to expect. However, we came up with the idea of eating lunch with the service partners, and then doing some games with them. We knew that we had to have lunch first because given the time they came, the first half of the session would be when the cafeteria is most empty. Since we had never met our partners, and they had never met us, we had the idea to get name cards for each person, so that we could all see what each others names were. We did all of these things because we had a bit of a three point strategy for planning this session. First, identify the needs of the session. That was actually rather difficult. We had to reflect on how we wanted to help our service partners. We came to the conclusion that the main purpose of the first session would be ice breakers and getting to know each other. That was the reason for the name tag activity. Second, we needed to identify the plausibility of all our plans. One of the earlier ideas we had was to play tag with our service partners in a gym. We then realized that this would probably not be safe given that not all of them are very young or able to do things like play tag. Thirdly, we needed to make sure we could make it happen. We went to the service office, and they let us into the store cupboard so that we could look at the supplies and see what things we could use. That gave way to the idea of using a giant parachute and balls. The activities that we did with them went rather well. Overall, I’d say that session was a success as an icebreaker.
Having been part of the service for several sessions, I now know that my original expectations were a bit excessive. Yes, we do interact with our service partners, but right now we’re still getting to know them. Maybe at some point in the year we’ll change our meeting place, but not yet. In addition, part of me feels very discouraged because we haven’t made a lot of progress with them. With several of the activities some of our service partners have become annoyed, bored, or frustrated. However, some of our activities with them have been going well. Unfortunately we haven’t been very successful with our communication, as that is something which many of our service partners find very difficult. We haven’t learned that much about their interests and personalities, and while we know who they are, I’m not sure they’ve started recognizing us yet. I’m not completely sure how our service and interaction with them actually constitutes a service, and whether it’s successful in helping them integrate with society and work on their motor and social skills. Still, there’s a year to go and I have hope.