An Honest Reflection about Reflections (and CAS)

I strongly dislike reflections. And when we were told that we had to “reflect” on all of our activities in CAS, I disliked that as well. I found reflecting on CAS activities particularly annoying because I didn’t really know when I was doing CAS. What is generally considered CAS activities to most people are to me just, activities.

From STUCO to swimming, I was unable to see what the fuss was about reflections. I debate in MUN because I want to and not because I need Creativity. I swim because I want to and not because I need Action. I work on solar panels because I want to and not because I need Service. None of these activities were intentionally done in order to fulfill CAS requirement, and thus I was never too inclined to write those reflections on ManageBac. 

To me, CAS should not be just a requirement that must be fulfilled in order to get an IB diploma. Rather, it should be done almost subconsciously. CAS is not a burden (even if reflections may seem), and should be something that the students do because they want to. 

Speaking of reflections, a discussion with Ms. Cho revealed to me that not all reflections have to be as boring as the ‘generic’  portfolio reflections   we were instructed to write in most of our classes after report cards and tests. When I was up on the roof watching the installation of the solar panel frame, I was asked a few quick questions about the process. I responded excitedly and truthfully, and little did I know at the time, I had reflected on the project. 

I find it interesting that it isn’t until the last few months of my Senior year do I learn exactly what a reflection is and can be and that it is not, in fact, the tedious process I once dreaded . Look, I’m even doing so right now!

中国新年Reflection

最近,我们学校组织了很多活动让我们学到中国春节的风俗。首先,SIS举行了China Day的一个活动,让从各个国家来的人学到一些中国过年的习惯。我的advisory被派去组织limbo的一个活动。在这个活动里,我的任务就是举着一根棍子,然后吧卡发给那一些小孩子们。

虽然在这个活动上我没有学到太多,但是在周一的中文课上我们班了很多跟春节游官的活动。我们用了毛笔写对联,做剪纸和做灯笼。这些活动都是中国人平时过春节回干的事情。我觉得这样子叫我们学会做这些东西可以让我们更好理解中国的习俗。

还有一个非常有意思的活动时喝茶。我们星期五上课时学会了茶道,然后又品尝了中国的茶。 我感到从茶道里,我们可以学到中国人对客人的态度。喝茶时,主任需要非常礼貌地对客人:茶壶的嘴不可以对折客人,茶杯需要正对着客人。这可以反映到中国人请客人的文化。

Solar Project Reflection

A Short Poem

The solar panels are on the roof,

I am very happy.

The working panels are the proof

of our determination.

To make the school a better place,

Is what we want to do.

We hope to fill up the entire space,

with many solar panels.

Our project aims to make school greener,

And save some energy.

We make the world a little cleaner,

and this is a short poem.

Physics Reflection

After watching the video about the gamma ray bursts, I was surprised by the way that the physicists acted in order to make the discovery about the bursts. The competition between the Americans and the other team of scientists was very interesting to me, because I was surprised about how the Italians (I think) gave the other team the coordinates to the gamma ray burst on the condition that they only scan using the visible wavelength and not ultraviolet. And after the team booked the use of the most advanced telescope available, they agreed to do so. But when the coordinate points set down under the horizon, the team decided to use the ultraviolet wavelength detector and discovered a gamma ray burst. This information confirmed that these bursts were not within the Milky Way Galaxy, but rather in a distant place and most likely caused by an hypernova explosion that then forms a neutron star.

Chemistry Reflection

1. Are you happy with your grade in Chemistry?

I am very happy about the grade that I am receiving in Chemistry. I believe that the topics that we learn in class are easier for me to understand, thus I am able to learn content faster.

2. Are you happy with your overall progress in the IB Chemistry program?

I think that chemistry is one of the few classes that I am confident in. I think that with a bit of review (a week or two) will be sufficient to prepare me for all of the topics that we have covered, since I find that chemistry is a subject that I only need slight reminder in to remember all the information we learned. And now that we only have 2 options left to learn, I think we are very near completion of the program.

3. If you want to improve your grade this semester, how will you do so?

I would continue to study topics by watching videos and reading the books together. I find that sometimes I am able to take tests with only watching the videos, whereas other times it requires reading of the textbook as well. I think if I continue to do so, I will be able to maintain my grades.

4. Do you think your current study habits in and out of class are going to help you be successful when you sit your exam?  If yes, why? If no, why not? And if no, what can you do differently over the next few months?

I do believe that my study habits are working very well for me, because I know when I am not as solid in a topic and require extra help by asking questions, and I can do so because we are given so much free time during chemistry. I think that it would be good to take some more review quizzes in order to act as a reminder for me. This way, I will be more prepared for topics that we learned before and know which ones I am less confident with.

学校用电脑学习好处和坏处

因为学校想要让学生们吧自己的学习效率提高,决定给每一个人一部苹果电脑。老师们认为这样子做的话,学生们就会更好地学习。

我同意学校的想法:用电脑学习带来了很多好处。因为我们可以很容易寻找资料,打字速度也更快,学生做作业的效率也就更快。我们用电脑就可以干完更多的事情,所以学到的东西也就更多。

用电脑学习也非常方便。电脑可以代替我们所需要的书本,因为我们可以在电脑上读到电子书,写电子笔记。要是学生们不需要那么多书本的话,可以减少书包的重量也会让他们变的更整齐。

虽然学生用电脑学习带来了很多的好处,但是我们也不能忽略它带来的坏处。因为电脑成了我们生活中必不可少的一件东西,我们每天都会在电脑前面坐好几个小时。这样子对我们身体带来一些坏处,比如说手腕酸痛还有眼睛近视。

用电脑做作业也可能会引起浪费时间的现象。在电脑上,学生的自由很多。要是他们没有能力控制好自己的话,就会有可能不专心学习。而且,这样浪费时间也会影响到学生睡觉时间和作业质量。

我自己认为用电脑学习是非常好的事情,但是有肯能会对一些学生有害。

THIMUN 2014 Exit Ticket

1. Using this year’s common application prompts, please choose one prompt and limit your answer to 650 words as indicated: 

  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea.  What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Not all the judges in ICJ agree with each other – in fact, its a very rare occasion that there is a unanimous vote by the judges. The first case on the topic of Chile V.S Bolivia was no exception. Throughout the debate, my bias continuously switched between the two opposing parties. Starting off, I thought that I’d vote for Bolivia due to the fact that they were much better prepared and had argued better. The arguments that they had were much more clear to me. The advocates of Chile were much more disorganized and unprepared, thus resulting my lack of clarity with their argument. However, as the case progressed, I suddenly realized my flaw. I was looking at who was right based on who was a better speaker, not according to the legitimacy  of their argument. I quickly re-evaluated the evidence submitted by the two parties, and then suddenly realized that in the eyes of the law, Chile had a stronger argument. Bolivia, on the other hand, argued their points better, but the points were not in accordance to the law. Thus I quickly changed my support to Chile, standing against many of the other judges. Yet as we deliberated, I argued my points that Bolivia had not fulfilled its burden of proof to accuse Chile, thus we must vote for Chile. Yet still many opposed me, but I stood firm. After 2 hours of contention, it was finally time to vote. As the number climbed up, the number slowly approached  a total of 17 votes. 16 of the judges (including the Dep. Pres. and the Registrar) had voted already, and the vote stood at 8-8 for Chile and Bolivia. Finally, the President of ICJ voted for Chile, tipping the vote 9-8 for Chile. I was extremely elated, because I managed to persuade a large majority of the judges to agree with me, and it paid of in the end.

If i were to become Judge again in the future, then I will continue to do so, as I find it very important to stay firm with my ideas and beliefs. I think that in the case of the law, it is very important to have multiple perspectives shared by the judges to consider before being ablate make a reasonable judgement of the situation. I look forwards to participating in the International Court of Justice in the future.

-How was the conference different from your expectations?

I was never really all that interested in court and debate, as I had never had exposure to that type of experience before. I went in to the ICJ as a judge without having any expectations or knowledge of what what I wanted to accomplish during the conference. I actually was expecting the stereotypical courtroom styled case before I arrived, but I was surprised to realize that it was completely different. Instead, I learned all the new ICJ lingo, the procedure and process of debate that I had never seen before. I was fascinated by the advocates and their opening speeches, the direct and cross examination of witnesses, and deliberation of judges. I had a lot more fun than I had expected, and has really given me an insight into international law and relations.

-Describe one challenge you overcame at THIMUN and how you overcame it.

My main challenge that I faced was being afraid to speak. I sat in a room full of people who have already known each other for years through ICJ and are all highly experienced. I was intimidated by the vast knowledge of the President of the ICJ, Deputy President, Registrar, all the advocates, and most judges. Yet as the conference progressed, I became more confident in my ability to convey my ideas and questions, and I began to participate in the discussions more. I questioned the witnesses and advocates with confidence as I began to adjust and assimilate the ICJ culture. One thing that really made me more confident was when I asked a question which I thought had to be answered before voting could occur, and then realized that the other judges thought that my question was very important too. I also became more confident when I voted for the same consul as the President/Deputy President/Registrar voted for, as it meant that my reasons for voting were valid.

-What would you do differently to prepare for THIMUN next year? (Yes, even if you are a senior.)

If I were to continue to do ICJ, something that I really want to do as I find it much more fun than being a delegate, I would prepare differently by doing much more research on the issues that were discussed. This year, I came in with only basic knowledge of the topic, but if I wish to participate more actively throughout future conferences, then I must do more research before I start the debating. Also, I have to read and fully understand the stipulations and prayers of relief submitted by each side before the conference too.

 

 

 

 

 

Something I Learned Last Week…

I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things in the past week as I spent time in Singapore for Model United Nations. Something new that I learned was how the International Court of Justice operated.

It’s not every day that you get to judge a court case about the dispute of two countries. As a Judge of the ICJ, I was provided with the opportunity to learn of the proceedings of an international court. I listened as the Advocates of Chile and Bolivia made their opening speeches, read their stipulations, and listed their evidence. I learned about the dispute the two countries had over Chile’s obligation to negotiate access to the Pacific with Bolivia. I watched as the witnesses were questioned with direct examinations and cross examinations.

I was quite shy at the beginning of the conference – everything was so new! Everyone knew so much more than I did. I was afraid to ask questions or speak my mind. But after hours upon hours of listening, observing, watching, I finally knew enough to ask a question. And after mustering enough courage, I stood up and asked the witness my question and then quickly sat down afterwards. I was immediately met with approval by judges next to me, who whispered “Good question” to me. I was proud that I asked a question that others agreed was significant, and with that, became more and more drawn in to the debate.

Soon I had every step of the debate process memorized. I knew which points of information I should take notes on. I knew what questions were good and required answering before concluding the case. I knew how to vote fairly and justly. I ended the conference having learned something new, something that I never before had experienced. I really enjoyed being a part of the ICJ and I look forwards to participating again in the future.

Why English should NOT be the official language of the US

Hello, Nope Fish! (and the occasional Yuppie that decides to come spy on my information…)

Below is a post with researched information presented in paragraphs that relate to specific subtopics that will hopefully assist you in your debate. So rather than presenting the information according to which source it came from, I decided to dissect all the sources and put together relevant arguments to the topic that will be debated. Sources from which the information is from will be shown at the end of each block of information, and that source identification (e.g. Source x) can be matched with a citation at the end of this post. This information is divided into the following categories:

1. Points of Argument – These will be the main points against making English the official language of the US. Some are longer than others, but nevertheless each one is still a (hopefully) valid argument you can make against the Yuppies.

2. Further Argument – This is just a single argument that you can make that goes beyond the topic. It’s not mandatory, but I put it here in case you want to use it.

3. Rebuttals – These are possible comebacks to possible arguments that the Yuppies might have against your argument. I guess you can use these as Points of Argument too, but I put them down as rebuttals because they can help you with fighting back against the Yup arguments. I think that having rebuttals and knowing what the Yuppies might say  is important if you want to fight them off and win. So prepare your own rebuttals too.

Oh, and for those of you who do choose to use my research…

(Or woman. Go equality. See credit in citation)

No seriously; you just might get a cookie. I hope to see the Surprise and Delight on your faces if you do happen to get one. 🙂

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Points of Argument:

1. Unnecessary

According to the most recent Census, Robert D King (historical linguist) cites that 94% of the people in the United States speak English willingly. Mario E Mujica (Chairman of advocacy group ‘US English’, claimed that the percentage is actually 97%, thus rendering a law that makes English the official language of the US pointless. Because most people are already speaking English primarily (79% only speak English at home), it seems that making English the official language is promoted not only to make communication clear, but also due to the fact that many English-only supporters fear “changing racial demographics” in the US. (Source 1)

With such high levels of English proficiency within the States, protection over the English language by making it the official language of the US would be unnecessary. The only logical reason to officialize English would be if the language were threatened. According to Robert D King, Americans should “relax and luxuriate in our linguistic richness and our traditional tolerance of language differences”. When facing the notion that language is a threat to unity,  King concluded that “benign neglect* is a good policy for any country when it comes to language, and it’s a good policy for America”.  (Source 1)

(Merriam-Webster) – Benign Neglect: an attitude or policy of ignoring an often delicate or undesirable situation that one is held to be responsible for dealing with”.

2. Does not necessarily unify people

Although English is spoken predominantly in the US, not all English is the same. For example, English spoken in Georgia (South) would be vastly different from the English that is spoken in Massachusetts (North). Wisconsin and Illinois have pronunciations and phrases that seem ridiculous to Texans (Yee-Haaw!) and the opposite would hold true too. With different phrases and pronunciations of the English language, miscommunication is possible (see Further Argument). (Source 1)

3. Cultural relativism

The theory of Cultural Relativism states that all cultures are valued equally, and that no culture has the right to determine the value of another. Thus immigrants that bring their own culture and language to the US should be permitted to continue with their lifestyle. Bill Pliat (Author of Only English?” Law & Language Policy in the United States) argues that people should have a right to language, rather than have one forced upon them. (Source 4)

4. Loss of culture 

According to Elliot Lam (Author of Source 3), “preserving language is necessary in order to preserve culture”. Forcing citizens to adopt English as their primary language can cause a great loss in culture, because elders will be enrolled in English study classes rather than teaching the youth of traditional stories, legends, and culture. In fact, there is no guarantee that those that are forced to learn English will achieve desired results due to lack of motivation and poorly organized lessons. (Source 3)

Conservatives believe that forcing immigrants to change their language causes a change in the people’s perspectives “for the better”, whereas liberals argue that preserving language permits greater perspectives from cultural diversity. (Source 4)

A quote by Edward Sapir (anthropologist-lingust) reads as follows:

Language is not merely a more or less systematic inventory of the various items of experience which seem relevant to the individual, . . . it is also a self-contained, creative symbolic organization, which not only refers to experience largely acquired without its help but actually defines experience for us by reason of its formal completeness and because of our unconscious projection of its implicit expectations into the field of experience.

In other words, Sapir states that preserving language is necessary for preserving culture, because language is unique to each individual, and the personal connection that we feel with our language  shapes our identities. (Source 4)

5. Burdensome

Enacting an official language policy forces people to learn English, which can be burdensome to the older generation of immigrants, who are already burdened with the transition of lifestyle and culture as they adapt to the US.

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Further Argument:

1. Making English the official language should be banned

Not only should we not make English the official language of the US, but we should even go to a further step as to ban it from ever being the official language. This is because similar languages can often cause misunderstanding and contention. For example, look at Ireland and Northern Ireland, North and South Korea, the Union and the Confederacy. (Source 2)

Prohibiting English will do for the language what Prohibition did for liquor. Those who already use it will continue to do so, and those who don’t will want to try out what has been forbidden. This negative psychology works with children. It works with speed limits. It even worked in the Garden of Eden.” (Source 2)

Basically, the idea is that by banning English from ever becoming the official language of the US, it will actually promote usage of the language due to reverse psychology.

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Rebuttals: 

1. English does not automatically equate to fairness and equity. (In response to: English permits people to defend themselves)

A proficiency in English does not necessarily mean that one is guaranteed humanity and fairness in the eyes of individuals or systems. For example, the ability to communicate in English does not exempt African-Americans from accusations by police officers. (Source 1)

2. English is not a declining language, even amongst immigrants, thus doesn’t require forced learning (In response to: English is losing its prevalence in the US since immigrants are not trying to learn it)

English is not a dying language. The US has an English-speaking population of over 97%, which is higher than that of any other country with an official language law. Immigrants are not refraining from learning the language either, as today’s non-English speaking immigrants learn English faster than earlier generations did. In fact, there are so many English speaking people around the globe that French Canadians in Quebec were considering amending a law that would reduce the use of English. Thus, it can be concluded that English is as strong as it ever was, and does not need to be forced upon the population of the US as an official language to be learned. Below is a map of the world with percentage of English speakers. Use it if you can. (Source 3)

(Source: See citations)

3. Multilingualism does not corrupt the English language – English itself is a melting pot of multiple languages (In response to: permitting multiple languages to coexist within the US will cause an alteration of English) 

The US is a country made up of immigrants, and many proponents of English claim that foreign languages in the country may corrupt or damage English. Yet this somewhat hypocritical, as the English language has been affected by other languages to such an extent that it should no longer be considered ‘English’, but rather a conglomeration of French, Latin, Italian, Scandinavian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Celtic, Yiddish, Chinese, as well as the occasional smiley face thrown in. Examples of words with non-English origins include: ketchup, jungle, breeze, mattress, zombie and hurricane. (Source 2 and 3)

4. Immigrants can succeed without having to learn English (In response to: immigrants that don’t learn English will not succeed in the US)

Throughout the history of the US, immigrants from everywhere around the globe have moved to the US speaking little English, yet they have all found way to succeed in the melting pot that is America. And just because the older generations of immigrants are unable to speak English, history has shown that their children will speak English primarily and their grandchildren will speak only English. That being said, it is not at all necessary to force older generations to learn English in fear of them not succeeding in society. (Source 3)

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 Citations*:

Source 1: Miller, Eric C. “Should English Be the US Official Language?” Aeon Magazine. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. <http://aeon.co/magazine/society/does-america-need-to-make-english-its-official-language/>.

Source 2: “Don’t Make English Official.” PBS. Web. 10 Nov. 2014 <http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/officialamerican/banenglish/>.

Source 3: Lam, Elliot. “Official American Language Would Be Contrary to National Values.” Daily Titan. 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.dailytitan.com/2013/10/official-american-language-would-be-contrary-to-national-values/>.

Source 4: Barnhart, Larry. “Why English Should NOT Be America’s Official Language.” Why English Should NOT Be America’s Official Language.  June 1996. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.fluxneo.com/llbarnhart/englishonly.htm>.

Cookie Meme Source: Give That Man A Cookie. Digital image. Photobucket.  Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://i1343.photobucket.com/albums/o788/Roguesoldier678/Cookiesonthisbitch_zpsa713d92b.jpg>.

Map Source:  English Speakers. Digital image. The History of English. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. <http://www.thehistoryofenglish.com/pics/english_speakers.jpg>.

*Note: Citations are not ordered alphabetically, but in the order according the the source it is labeled.

“Im Just Not a Math Person

A. Initial Thoughts:  Agree/Disagree? Why? List various points from both perspectives with specific reasons to back up your claim.

After reading the article, I thought that I completely agreed with what it was saying. I believe that math ability is not completely genetical, and that hard work is what really determines how good a person is at anything. For example, two kids who are of different backgrounds who are both unprepared for math and claim not to be ‘math people’ will do equally as poor as compared to two people who are prepared. A person with a good mathematical background earns it from working hard and preparing for math, which boosts their confidence in their math ability. This can act as an incentive for them to work hard, whereas people that claim not to be ‘math people’ often tend to study less for the subject.

B.  IF you forget the language of mathematics and how to apply specific formulas, what does the article suggest happens to your knowledge?

If you lose the ability to do math or lose intelligence, you are able to regain it through improving your intelligence.

C.  Answer: “When Will I Ever Use This Again in My Life?” Do you study math just to learn mathematics?  How does math class expand your horizons?  Why would this be important?  What does this mean to you personally and how would it affect your life?

I think that math is a process in which we learn about how to learn. By learning math, we learn how to think and how to process and understand information. It can help us learn in the future, and learn how to solve complexed problems.