My main points of feedback:
- Topic sentences – starting with the idea rather than the 1st paragraph, then the 2nd paragraph, and so on…
- Using the guiding question and key words to explore characterisation (especially in the prose).
- Mentioning tone and emotion in the poem.
- Be careful with using terminology such as “oxymoronic” and “allegory”, and ensuring key words are utilised to maximum effect.
Overall, even though I don’t know the mark I was given, I’d say I was likely within a 5-6 grade boundary for this mock exam; on one hand, I was somewhat disappointed with my lacklustre job on the prose extract, but I also feel happy with the analysis I produced for the poem. The use of topic sentences and references to guiding questions are definitely something I need to work on, as using paragraphs as a means of structuring my analysis is primitive, and I definitely need to keep the guiding question in mind, as I feel that (especially my prose analysis) veered too far off from the question, leaving an analysis that was not as grounded or as firm in its foundations as I would’ve liked.
CAS Stages 2 (Preparation) and 4 (Reflection)
The news that Project Week would not be allowed to continue due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was not easy to stomach, by me or by anyone in my group; we were all very excited to visit Laos and engage in a week of environmental service, and the realisation that not only would we not be able to follow through with the trip, but that the planning and preparation that we had conducted for the trip was also null, was difficult. Project Week has always been seen as one of the cornerstone components of the IB experience (along with Prom, Grad walk, Graduation, and so on), so receiving the news that we would not be able to go through with it, to put bluntly, sucked. Nonetheless, I still feel that a valuable experience can be derived from the process of planning, preparation, and investigation that went into it. As logistics officer, I was namely involved with budgeting, transportation, and looking over how we would, in broad strokes, organise the trip. Whilst the planning didn’t go as far as I’d have liked it (we were cut short before making any bookings or reservations, which I suppose may even be a positive, as we didn’t have to contend with the additional burden of asking for refunds or getting our money back), I still thoroughly liked the experience in looking, over the internet, at an entirely foreign and unfamiliar country (Laos), from the rural area where we would actually perform our service (Luang Prabang) and the capital (Vientiane), and looking over bookings, hostels, restaurants, and so on. Overall, though project week did not go through, I feel that the skills I honed in planning transportation, accommodation, etc. have nonetheless grown me as a person and improved my independence.
CAS Stages 1 (Investigation) and 2 (Preparation)
With preparation for Project Week having begun, I have joined with my group, (Calum, Jake, James, Oliver and I), and begun to plan out how our Project week will proceed. We’ve been bombarded with so much information about how to organise our trips, what to do, where to go, and what types of trip to do (adventure or service trip). We eventually decided on a service trip, but chose to opt for environmental service, a topic which is very close to members of our group (especially Calum). Wanting to remain within SEA (to reduce travel costs and make organisation more easy), we eventually settled on caring for elephants in the rural Luang Prabang region of Laos; a prospect which excited me, having never visited Laos in my life. Leveraging my wishes to help out with the organisational side of things, I was appointed as logistics officer; I think this will take advantage of my natural organisational abilities and, hopefully, make a significant and meaningful contribution to the team as a whole. I am hugely excited at the prospect of Project week.
LO6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
Having concluded my time in Jakarta Street Kids (joining up in Grade 11 as vice-chair until Grade 12, where I have to relinquish my position), I find myself much more aware of the scale of poverty in the world, in addition to the ways that out global community must work to address it. To be very clear, I am in no way implying that my time in JSK somehow solved poverty or even took any substantial steps towards relief efforts; we worked to sell their upcycled products, but that is in no way implying that it somehow solved the problem. However, even with COVID reducing the scale of the fundraisers we could do substantially, I find my eyes much more opened to how difficult the lives of those living in poverty are, and how those more privileged in the world should work hard to ensure that the less fortunate members of society are still cared for and looked after.
My feedback to writing my own English Paper 1 introduction is to stop myself from listing devices and techniques within the poem, as it cheapens my overall introduction and ties me to writing about the devices I list, as opposed to letting my ideas flow
✨organically✨ as I should instead.
LO2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
Despite being a very new experience for me, and my lack of previous experience with it, I have very much enjoyed the new challenges presented to me within pottery. In our first class, we went over the basics for producing a pinch pot and working with clay (when to use water, when to use slip, how clay is dried, glazed, and fired, etc.), and, after that short introduction, we were allowed to work freely with clay (though only by hand, not using wheels). I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of freedom present within making anything out of clay, but I soon found that actually making things I was satisfied with was much more difficult. I decided I wanted to make something that I, personally, would have appreciated more than a pot; I decided to make a bunch of little clay animals (whales, elephants, turtles, etc.). Obviously, the craftsmanship was shoddy, and the end product was quite lumpy, but I nonetheless enjoyed the challenge of making something I truly enjoyed over producing a pot that I invariably would not have used.
Text Preference: Atonement by Ian McEwan
Ideas for Lines of Inquiry:
To what extent does Briony occupy an antagonistic role in Atonement? [A]
How does perspective influence the reader’s experience in Atonement? [B]
[A] Introduction: Subjectivity of the work, establishment of metafiction that actively attempts to deceive and lie to the reader.
Part 1: Briony’s introduction as an unreliable
In analysing poems including Playroom, Script for Child Services, and Microaggression Bingo, I think I got a glimpse into a deeply troubled life, faced by the author in a home (America) that she simultaneously belongs to and is estranged by. The cultural incongruence between a Pakistani heritage and and the American world, combined with poems chronicling her sexual awakening and clumsy stabs at adulthood, created an interesting conflict that sparked questions regarding maturity, sexuality, culture, and privilege. Playroom, the crucible of most of our analysis, was enjoyable in its aggressive tone and flippantly sexual overtones, especially in the crude juxtaposition between children’s toys (Barbies and Beanie Babies) and the sexual acts that the author’s prepubescent self force them to conduct sparked some pretty interesting debate in our class.
For my second engagement, building on the school survey that I undertook earlier, I was able to arrange an interview with an associate researcher at the IPS (Institute of Policy Study) think tank, to help me get an academic’s perspective on the controversy surrounding the CMIO policy. Frankly, this engagement was far, far more difficult to arrange than the previous survey. I was turned down by 4 different academics from various different universities, ranging from SUSS to the sociology department of NUS. The justification provided for the abrupt declining of my offer was due to the questions being “sensitive in the political climate of coming elections”. I understand the trepidation that an academic might have in accepting an interview on such a sensitive topic, but I did not expect to be rejected as many times as I was. Nonetheless, despite the aforementioned setbacks and failed attempts, reaching out to the IPS was a good choice, as, ideally, an independent think-tank focused on objectively analysing public policy in Singapore would have been able to provide strong, unbiased answers to my questions. After some correspondence with one person at IPS, he eventually linked me to one of his colleagues, the man I interviewed for this engagement. Preceding the interview (which was done online, via Google Meets, and was recorded on my computer using Quicktime Player), I had a brief correspondence with him, sending the questions I would ask in the interview to verify that he was comfortable answering them (which he was). The interview itself went very smoothly; he was a very approachable and friendly person, and was clearly very knowledgeable on the CMIO policy and its applications. His concise answers forced me to reevaluate the necessity of the CMIO policy, and made me realise that, all this time, I had been analysing it from a very foreign perspective; one that viewed any sort of racial system or policy as inherently negative. The interview not only provided a very strong engagement, but also allowed me to widen my understanding a gain a valuable new perspective to use in my essay.