In the first couple of games, I felt that I struggled as captain of the team and felt responsible for our shortcomings. Despite having good players, the first couple games showed us that this was not sufficient to be successful. In order to address learning outcome 1, I led team discussions and spoke with coaches about our strengths as a team, to use that to our advantage. Similarly, our areas which needed development we focused on in training and did not rely on as heavily in games. I also thought about my own individual play and reflected on how I could improve the team my changing certain tactics. Upon discussion with the coach, I started playing striker where my skill set could help the team more effectively than another position. An example of one of the weaknesses highlighted in the team discussion was how we start our games and our attitude towards our opponent. Often in football, a good mindset at the beginning of the game enables the team to work together and play their own style of football throughout the game. In the past, we were too fixed on the score which prevented us from playing the game to the best of our ability. As captain, I felt it was my responsibility it is my responsibility to ensure that we start well and this was something I have been working on in the past couple games. I have noticed that if I am able to start well and encourage others by setting a good precedent, other teammates find it easier to follow suit. This was definitely a challenge I undertook and adapted and improved in order to make it an advantage thus, addressing learning outcome 2.
As Coates explains in his essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, the Civil War was “a story for white people—acted out by white people, on white people’s terms”. The idea that black people merely featured as “stock characters and props” in their own war for liberation allows us to understand the question better. How can a black man succeed equally to a white man when a black man’s fight for freedom was not his own? With so few black people in positions of power, it is difficult to argue against the lack of equal opportunity for blacks and whites. With this basis for an economy, although the intent may not be to continue a legacy of colonialism, does intent really matter if the behaviour exhibited in our society demonstrates minimal regard for equal opportunity in life?
That being said, I also feel that it is important to recognise behaviour with good intention when it is being displayed. For example, I felt that Coates’ critique of the Obama years of the presidency was quite unfairly cynical. He argued that Obama wasn’t truly a “black man’s” president, however, it is important to understand what it meant to be president. Obama was elected to be president by a majority of the population, not all of whom were black. As president, he must appeal to the entire population, not isolate black people in an attempt to benefit them. Even if he did want to do change laws and policies to benefit the black population, the presidency does not give absolute rule over a country, meaning unless there was a majority vote from both black and white senators, he would be unable to do so.
When comparing the Stockett and Coates passages, it is important to take into account their audience and the similarities that can be drawn from the two texts. In Stockett’s book, The Help, the maids are almost enslaved to the words they shared as even though they allowed to tell their stories, it was still under the rule of a white person. A comparison can be drawn to Coates’ essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, as during the civil war black people could “never to truly join the narrative” but to “speak as the slave would” indicating a similar idea of white rule despite their intentions. In ‘The Help” the intention of the Skeeter (the white protagonist) was to tell their stories and in the civil war, it was to free the slaves. Despite the best of intentions, in both these scenarios, the white people ultimately gained the most. In the book, even though Minny got revenge on Ms Hilly, the readers never truly had the sense that it was enough. Additionaly, Skeeter, a white character, gained the most from the book. Similarly, in the civil war even though it was slavery was outlawed, the segregation following the war was so prominent that its racist effects are still seen today.
After our first two visits with the children, I feel it is important to highlight the challenges that have been undertaken and identify ways in which we can develop new skills to improve them. One of the main barriers that we have faced is our barriers in communication, as we can only speak and understand English we cannot communicate with the students with a hearing impairment without an interpreter. In the next seven sessions, the children are unable to visit us, and as such we will be learning Singapore sign language through the use of online videos, in order to be able to make an effort to be able to interact with all students. We are also developing our body language and facial expression to appear more friendly and approachable, with the goal of allowing the children to feel comfortable in the new environment. This was important in tackling learning outcome 2, we were adapting to the challenges that faced us and took action through our planning to improve this and achieve our goal.
Another piece of information that we discovered was that the visually impaired (VI) and hearing-impaired (HI) children could perform activities alongside each other. Initially, we had developed separate activities for the VI and HI children, however, through trial and error, we discovered that the children prefer to choose their own activities rather than to be assigned ones, and can often interact with all kinds of students. This allowed us to see the students working collaboratively on different art pieces, no matter the disability. It also changed the way that we collaborated on the activities.
One main challenge that we faced was surrounding commitment. We only have a limited number of sessions to plan our activities and brainstorm new ways to keep the children engaged. One of the things we noticed was that attendance was much lower for the sessions were we planned which in turn, made it very difficult to run sessions with the children. This was a challenge we faced which we had to overcome with collaboration. We divided the volunteers up into groups, each leading a different activity. Even when volunteers were not at the sessions, we learned that good collaboration and communication was crucial to maintaining organisation in the sessions. We achieved this through emails and follow-ups to delegate tasks, running smooth and successful sessions with the children, tackling learning outcome 5.