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.