CAS Mentor Interview

CAS Mentor Interview

On Wednesday November 9, I had my first CAS Mentor Interview with my mentor, Mr Fitzpatrick. We discussed my current progress and plans for CAS, which helped me gain a better idea of what I need to improve on and think about in order to be successful. These are the following things that I discussed with my mentor.

So far for Creativity, I’ve completed one collaborative project for the Performing Arts department, Moving Parts Collective, on designing their logo. For a few weeks now, I’ve also been designing the poster, banner, tickets, and programme for the school play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Both of these were very graphic-design and illustration heavy, which I loved. I would definitely say that my Creativity experience has been a great one so far. I’ve learned so much about collaborating with other people and following the other person’s criteria. Everything I did was based on what Ms Fisher, the Head of Performing Arts, wanted. I also had to work at a fast pace because the play is only in a few weeks time. I am also working on a Learning Profile project with three other people and Ms Crossland in Primary to teach primary kids the BSJ learning profile. I’ve just started this project, and Ms Crossland wanted us to find books that reflected the Learning Profile. I might also be able to do more graphic design things because she also wanted a logo to be designed for each Learning Profile. As for my other Creativity plans in the future, I am planning to teach underprivileged children art over the winter holiday. I think it would be really good to combine both the Creativity and Service aspect of CAS as it would be benefiting me and the community both. I am also planning on partaking in Mr Gleeson’s ‘Horizons’ project, where I’ll be submitting some artwork. However, I’m not entirely sure if this will count as a project, because although creating artwork takes a long time, there’s no specific progress or outcome I can strive towards. My mentor advised me to not let CAS overtake my life so much, because the two Creativity projects I have so far are quite time-consuming. So far in my Creativity engagements, I feel like I have addressed the following Learning Outcomes:

1. LO3 – I plan and initiate: The ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ project required the most planning. I sketched out several initial ideas and then made my favourite one on Adobe Illustrator, and even after sketching the design out, I still made changes while making it on the computer. I spent a lot of time messing around with the layouts, typefaces (I had to find a good balance between a decorative font for the title and a simpler easy-to-read font for the information), and decorative aspects of the design. After I finished the poster, although the rest of the designs sort of followed the theme of the poster, I still had to plan (even if it’s in my head) what I wanted it to look like. As for the logo, I did not sketch out and brainstorm, but I still did some planning by creating four initial ideas on Adobe Illustrator.

2. LO5 – I demonstrate collaborative skills, I recognise the benefits of collaboration: For both the MPC logo and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ projects, I had to collaborate with Ms Fisher, the Head of Performing Arts. I went through so many drafts (especially for AMND), attempting to get the design into what Ms Fisher would deem as ‘perfect’. If she thought something wasn’t right, even if it’s something really small, it would still be a change I had to make. This was also the case with the MPC logo, although I went through a few less drafts because of the simpler and more straightforward design. Collaborating with Ms Fisher has been such a great and new experience for me, because I have never worked with someone in this manner before, in which I have to listen to their demands. I learned a lot of skills on Illustrator that I didn’t know how to do before, because if there’s something she wanted done that I didn’t know how to do, I pushed myself to say ‘Yes, that is possible’ and then googled how to do it. I think this would be really beneficial for me in the future, since I might be interested in being a graphic designer.

My Activity experiences have been very tiring to say the least. I am currently doing Nike Fitness every week in PE and starting Pilates again next week (my instructor has been away for training). For Nike Fitness, I’ve measured my resting heart rate (82 beats per minute) and after exercise. My mentor advised me to consult with one of the PE teachers about different ways of measuring progress. Because I’d like to improve my cardiovascular fitness, I feel like measuring my heart rate would be the best option. I could even measure how long it takes for my heart rate to go back to normal after exercise. As for activities in the future, my mentor and I also talked about possibly joining in a more competitive sport for my Activity. Since I am not very athletic, I think this will pose as a challenge for me. I am also terrified of balls, so I would have to join sports such as badminton. So far, I feel like I’ve addressed the following Learning Outcomes:

1. LO2 – I undertake challenges, I develop new skills: Nike Fitness has been very challenging for me. By the end of each session, I’m always sweating a lot, out of breath, and having sore muscles the next day. Hopefully as the weeks go by, I am able to improve my physical fitness so my muscles are more accustomed to the intense exercise.

2. LO4 – I show commitment, I persevere: By coming to the sessions with my full PE kit, I am already showing some form of commitment. However, the true commitment lies in the difficult exercises I have to do. I stay committed to trying my best and I persevere through the tiredness and pain.

Service has been the most complicated one for me. My Girl Effect students did not want to come and learn anymore (they were students from last year’s Year 13 CAS), so I’ve had to search for new CAS projects. I’ve joined the Bamboo Project, although we haven’t had a meeting yet. I’m not sure how this project will be like – I still know quite little about it. I’m thinking that I can design the furniture and help fundraise, although my mentor pointed out that I really needed to survey the kampung that I’m helping (do they even want furniture?) and also the bamboo constructor (is he trustworthy?). Recently, I’ve started another service project outside of school. I’ve joined an organisation called Tri Kusuma Bangsa where volunteers teach groups of underprivileged street children different subjects. I’ve volunteered to teach them English every week on Sunday and since the location is close to my house, it will be quite convenient for me. I’ve had one session so far and I’ve found it to be more difficult than I expected. The kids were of different capabilities and some were very lazy, so my mentor advised me to think of some fun interactive games as a teaching tool. As for my future service projects, I will be teaching underprivileged children art in a different organisation (as I mentioned before) and I’m also planning on perhaps going to rural areas like Papua during the holidays with my dad to also teach there. This still needs more planning. So far, I think I have addressed the following Learning Outcomes:

1. LO3 – I plan and initiate: Every lesson, previously with Girl Effect and now with the Tri Kusuma Bangsa, has required planning. For the first session, I was just getting an idea of the skill level of the children, so I planned simple things like the alphabet, numbers, and colours. However, now that I know some of them already learned these things, I have to plan my lessons that will benefit both the beginners and the ones who already know basics (introducing oneself, greetings, etc). I’ve also had to contact different organisations to get an idea of which one would be the best choice, the safest choice, the most efficient choice, and the like.

2. LO6 – I engage with issues of global significance: Poverty is a serious global issue, and I’ve acted to help a small group of poor Indonesian children so that they might have a better future. For the Bamboo Project, the issue is also concerning poverty, and this project will act to help families have better and easier lives with proper furniture in their homes.

In these initial stages of CAS, I have learned that I love graphic design more than I thought I did (and I’m now considering it as a minor or a possible major) and that I actually really like staring at a screen for hours frying my brain with changing typefaces, changing typeface sizes, colours, layouts, and creating outlines of illustrations. I’ve also learned that I’m quite capable of exercise, which I rarely even do, and that it’s not as bad as I dreaded it to be. With the catchy music during sessions and the unity of doing it with my friends, Nike Fitness sessions can be kind of fun. Lastly, I’ve learned that I can be a lot more patient than I thought myself capable of. My service teaching projects have required so much patience with little children who can barely focus, and I’ve gotten frustrated so many times, but I’ve managed to stay patient and ‘keep my cool’. I’m not a naturally gifted teacher, so I think I surprised myself that I’m even capable of teaching children, especially in Indonesian, which is a language I struggle with. In the next stage of CAS, I’m really excited for more Creativity possibilities, since that’s my favourite area. I’m also looking forward to learning more things, not just about myself, but also different skills that I might need to acquire along the way. I think they’ll help me a lot in my future.

A Day of Being a Teacher: ATL Workshop

A Day of Being a Teacher: ATL Workshop

On Friday October 28, Year 12’s held their ATL Workshop. I taught Research to Year 7’s and Thinking to Year 12’s. My partner was Liam and we worked together to make the activities as helpful as possible.

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For our Year 7 Research workshop, we focused on how to distinguish between good and bad sources so that their research will be good and effective. I felt that it would be very beneficial and helpful for Year 7’s who will have to write their first research papers and essays to know which sources are reliable and which sources aren’t. We prepared a starter activity to get an idea of how much they know about sources. There were cut up slips of paper with different examples of sources, which the Year 7’s had to separate into ‘good sources’ and ‘bad sources’. None of them got everything right, which validated our prediction that they did not know much yet about good research. After the activity, we presented a powerpoint explaining reliable and unreliable sources to them with examples, and explained things like bias and provenance. We tried to make the presentation as interactive as possible, with many questions that set the students thinking. We questioned them about why bad sources were bad, and why the good sources were good, so that they might gain a clearer understanding by trying to explain it out loud. Whoever answered a question earned a prize, which made a lot of them eager to interact and cooperate. Originally, it was hard to control them or get them to do the activity because they wanted to go on their laptops and play games, but once we showed that they got prizes for answering questions, they became a lot more enthusiastic about the topic at hand. The feedback we received was mostly good, although we were graded higher for helpfulness than for how fun our workshop was. I would say that overall, our workshop went pretty well because the Year 7’s found it helpful. However, if we were to do things differently, I would perhaps try to incorporate more games into the activity so some of them wouldn’t feel like it was too boring. I should have also probably been a bit more stricter so that not so much candy was required to control the students, especially the boys. After this ATL workshop, I’ve decided that I would be a very poor teacher. I definitely respect teachers for their effort on keeping the class together and thinking up activities to keep us interested.

The Year 12’s on the other hand, were much more cooperative. We did not need candy or any other persuasive items to get them to listen and do the activities. Our ATL for the Year 12 workshop was Thinking, so Liam and I prepared a simple starter activity that was meant to enhance thinking. The participants had to discuss a topic with each other (we picked Pro-Choice VS Pro-Life) but only through writing and no speaking. The activity was a success, because we noticed how the participants would often stop writing to think about what they wrote next and they began linking their ideas together. This was meant to show how helpful it is to think deeper and more critically when you plan, write out your ideas, and discuss them with your friends, so that values can be questioned and themes can be linked together. Afterwards, we presented a powerpoint presentation that further explained how to critically think, with examples of questions that could be asked to help think deeper and an educational video to help. Our workshop consisted a lot of discussion on methods of thinking and planning that we found helpful for specific subjects. I think that a discussion was more suitable for our Year 12 workshop because all of us already know about the ATL’s and teaching them further would be of little use, so a discussion on how best to improve and what thinking methods were useful was much more beneficial. Both participants rated us 5 and 5, commenting that our workshop was very helpful, so I would say that it was a success. If I were to do the workshop again, I would hope that there were more participants so that pairs could rotate and add to each other’s ‘silent conversation’, making the activity much more effective.

Overall, I enjoyed the ATL workshop, which came as a surprise because it was something that I had sort of been dreading prior to the workshop. It was fun and interesting (albeit tiring) as well as a new experience to be a teacher for a day, especially to the Year 7’s. We faced some difficulties, such as controlling the Year 7’s, thinking of interesting activities for not-so-interesting ATL’s, splitting up roles, and completing everything on time. Liam and I really worked together for the Year 7 Research activity – he did the ‘good sources’ examples while I did the ‘bad sources’ examples. We also created the presentation together. The Year 12 activity did not require much planning, but I did the Year 12 presentation alone because I realised the previous night that the activity itself was not going to last the whole session like we originally planned, since it turned out we only had two people sign up for our workshop. If I were to do the ATL workshop again, I think it would be much easier for the both of us if we were better prepared and had a Plan B in case things didn’t turn out the way we originally planned.

During this workshop, I felt that we addressed the following learning objectives:

LO3 – I plan and initiate: All of the activities and presentations required a lot of planning, thinking, and the process of creating it took longer than I expected.

LO4 – I show commitment and I persevere: I completed this learning objecting by finishing all the presentations and activities on time, by showing up to the workshop, and by persevering through the difficulties I faced, especially with the Year 7 group.

LO5 – I demonstrate collaborative skills and I recognise the benefits of collaboration: This was a partnered project, so I was had to collaborate with someone that I normally don’t talk to. I never would’ve finished everything by myself, so having a partner was definitely very helpful.

This was a really great experience! I’m glad that I had the chance to participate in something this helpful – not just for me, but for other people.