Monday, 5 December 2016

My Academic Journey Through a Course Like no Other

My Academic Journey Through a Course Like no Other:

Throughout this term, I, Sahil Arora was a student at Cedar Ridge High School, who participated in a unique course called, the 21st Century Literacy course. This course was able to further develop my literacy skills through the incorporation of two courses, in English and Business Technology. Throughout this course which operated for 13 weeks, I have gained a deeper understanding on many skills, and have used many skills such as, oral communication, reading, writing, media studies, and the use of desktop/design software. Through the incorporation of all these skills, I have been able to produce and publish several pieces of work, which you can see by clicking here anytime.

This course really stuck with me, and I personally believe that I was able to thrive under pressure, in order to complete my tasks on time. I also strongly believe that my high-tempoed, disciplined, and organized mindset, really played a key role in transforming my work into the best quality of my ability. Many of my previous educators have told me I was a dominate writer and oral communicator, but one thing I personally believed I was lacking, was the ability to read for recreation.Throughout this course, I have been able to practice my reading skills with all three of the books we conducted in, Flowers for Algernon, All American Boys, and King Lear. All of these have aided me within the area of reading, as I now have a different perspective on books. I can officially say I have developed my former reading habits, as I am open to reading a book pretty frequently.

Every week, we (students) would receive a weekly task list which contained all of our tasks which we would have to complete for the week. Along with the weekly task list, we were given a specific theme to focus on while conducting our work. Over the course of the 13 weeks which this course operated for, we were given the following themes to focus on; Getting on the Same Page, Leadership, Technology/Poetry, Project Management, Individualization, Curiosity, Organization, Design, Respect, Perspective/Point of View, Adaptation, Responsibility, Self Regulation, and Initiative. These themes really helped me, because I then knew what themes to focus my attention on while producing work. I also feel like this was a great tool to help improve upon themes which I might not have had much experience on, or was lacking. I was often told to separate from one group of friends in particular, which I was spending way too much time working with, because our work was ending up almost identical. On week five, I really feel like I kickstarted my road to working on the theme of individualization, as I tried to separate into different environments, which ultimately led to finding my unique voice for future weeks. One theme which I found I used more often than not was Technology. I feel like this theme was very important, because I found myself using technology in everything, from presentations to writing a post for my blog. Finally, I found myself working on different aspects of the theme perspective/point of view. Whether it was the book All American Boys or just the presidential election, I often found myself making my own conclusions, because we often see a point portrayed in a controversial way. This ultimately allowed me to use my critical thinking skills, and come up with a conclusion which I felt best matched my current understanding.

One of the units which I conducted was a comparison between the book “Flowers for Algernon” and the film “Charly.” This book/film was a very heartwarming story, which featured a 32-year-old man named Charlie, who was born with a mental disability, which ultimately limited his ability to process and retain information. Charlie undergoes an operation which restores his ability to retain and process information, but this ability soon recedes after he conducts reports on the experimental operation itself. Throughout this unit, we split up into reading groups in order to discuss different events which occurred in the book Flowers for Algernon. From here we gained a deeper understanding on events which occurred in the book. After concluding the book, we watched a film called “Charly” which gave a brief understanding on the book which we read in Flowers for Algernon. Once the film concluded, I conducted a detailed comparison between the film and the book which you can see here anytime. This unit really corresponds with the theme of perspective/point of view, because many people concluded with different perspectives on the book, and it was great to see all of the different perspectives from members in the group discussions. It is also great to see how your perspective/intake on the book can be different than mine even though we underwent the same unit. This unit also helped me with my area of need in reading.

Another unit which was involved inside of many other units was “Presentation skills.” Some key factors in an effective presentation are, limited text, substantial amount of quality images, projecting voice, attentive body language, and limited speech off of a script. Some key assignments which presentation skills came into handy was; The Gord Downie poem analysis, Ethics presentation Business summative presentation, Weekly slideshow, and an optional King Lear Scene Study. I think this unit best corresponds with the themes of Technology and Individualization. All aspects of the Audio Visual presentation require technological skills, such as making the actual powerpoint itself and inputting the text into the powerpoint. This also ties in with the theme of individualization, as your presentation should really be unique to you, as you want your creativity to show while you are presenting.

I am extremely grateful for my time in the 21st Century Literacy Course and I hope I can do it again in the future. I praise all of the skills which I was able to retain from this course, and I was happy that I was able to develop my weakness in reading. I am also grateful for all of the new things I was introduced to such as the critical thinking chart. At the beginning of the term, I am almost certain that my critical thinking skills were hitting the Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, and Analysis stages, but now I truly believe that I have been able to hit many aspects of the Synthesis and Evaluation categories. Although I have not been able to officially master the Synthesis and Evaluation categories, I am certain that I will continue to further develop my skills in these categories.

1.)"Flowers For Algernon - Google Search". N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.
2.)"Flowers For Algernon". emaze presentations. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

3.)"CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS CHART - EFL Magazine". EFL Magazine. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

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