GCD- Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Over the previous years, I have helped prepare meals for the homeless people in Ishikawacho as part of a service activity. With more than 800 meals being prepared, homelessness and hunger is a genuine issue in the community.

 

In order to act upon this issue, I have participated in the Chiku Service group as I considered this the most ‘direct’ and hands-on way to tackle the issue. Rather than raising awareness or advocating the issue, I wanted to do something that would have a direct impact, hence I chose to volunteer in this service activity.

 

Whether it was during the morning sessions or the lunch sessions, I felt that I was always able to create a positive impact both for myself and the community there. During the sessions, I found that there was often a shortage in volunteers and thus I had to help according to the situation. Thus, sometimes I would be helping to distribute the meals, but when I realized that other processes were not running efficiently, I would switch and help out in those necessary areas. Although this was a challenge in the sense that I had to constantly be aware of my surroundings and monitor other processes as well, I enjoyed these experiences as I was able to interact with others and learn more about them.

 

Although I had to wake up early for some mornings or miss class during other times, I felt that this volunteering experience was a crucial experience for me. Overall, I think that I was involved in this activity for 5 sessions, and it was a really beneficial activity for both me and the community around me.

GCD- Academics

Academic Skills

I believe that the development of ATL skills are just as important as the academic grades. These skills can be applied in daily situations as well as the future. Although I have not developed all of these skills to my greatest extent, I believe that I am proficient in many areas- such areas include my research, communication, and thinking skills.

 

My research skills have greatly developed over the past years in the sense that I am now able to access relevant information faster and more accurately. I have learned to digest information from a range of sources while effectively checking to see if these sources are unbiased and credible. Finally, I have learnt to present my work through different platforms that are most appropriate for each project.

 

For instance, in Individuals and Societies, I have practised researching from a mixed range of media sources such as videos, articles, charts, maps, and diagrams. I have realized that each of these media types require specific skills to comprehend and therefore I have developed these skills such as literary analysis or symbolism. In addition, ever since I was taught the CRAAP method (evaluating a source based on its currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose), I have been able to evaluate the credibility of sources as well as distinguishing fact from opinion. I am now also able to present my work in different ways because of the varying projects I have completed in the past. I have learned that some methods such as videos and presentations are more engaging at times, while posters and diagrams are easier and faster to understand in other circumstances. With this in mind, my research skills are proficient in the fact that I am able to select the most appropriate form of presentation.

 

Another class where my research skills are evident is in Science. Primarily, I have to use a variety of sources during science class- this includes the use of graphs, data charts, models, and diagrams. I have learnt to use and understand these mediums and I am able to comprehend the benefits and limitations that each possesses. Hence, I often make appropriate decisions on selecting the right medium to use to convey my information in an easy and simple manner.

 

In terms of my thinking skills, I have developed in this area through the subject of English. Over the previous years, I have learnt to think critically when analyzing a text or evaluating a source. I have learnt of several methods such as visual and literary techniques to convey a certain theme or message. Moreover, I was able to apply my creative thinking skills when producing a text based on my personal opinion. I constantly thought of new ways in which I could express a certain point, such as when I had to recreate a scene in “Romeo and Juliet” in grade 9. Rather than writing in the form of a story or acting it out, I decided to try something new and write in a newspaper format. This was the result of my creative thinking- something that I would not usually think of doing.

In addition, I have been able to use my thinking skills when in Music class. I often apply my critical thinking skills when analyzing or “breaking” down a piece. This helps me to not only identify the composer’s choices but also their intentions when creating the piece. Similarly, I have practiced using my creative thinking skills mainly when composing or performing. For instance, rather than playing the same phrase when I solo each time, I constantly think about trying new techniques when playing on my instrument to establish an interesting sound or tone. In addition, I often use rare and uncommon instruments in my compositions to discover new sounds and to further enhance my creative mindset.

 

Thus, over the previous years, I have developed my approaches to learning (ATL) skills to enhance not only my learning, but myself as a person as well.