Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ways of Knowing Reflective Blog: Language

I feel like my lesson was good at prompting more questions than answers. Of course, this has its drawbacks too, but it is my belief that any good discussion should leave you wanting more and should compel you to research more, on your own. I was surprised at how much I had felt this, even though it was my project. I felt like our video on post-structuralism did a good job of explaining a pretty complicated subject, and even if it didn't have everyone on the same page, I felt that our discussion did a good job filling in the gaps. I also felt that Emily's slide about the Linguistic Relativity Principle vs. Noam Chomsky's idea of innate knowledge of grammar was a success and that brought about good discussion. The concepts we spent the most time discussing showed me where our content was working, and post-structuralism and structuralism was something we'd hinted at in the past so the discussion already had some ground to stand on. I feel like our background with these ideas was what made them work so well in the discussion, as we'd gotten our feet wet with these concepts in the first weeks of TOK.

However, the main weakness I noticed immediately once we started presenting was that our presentation was a bit all-over-the-place when it came to our concepts, especially the slides I had worked on the most. Our presentation wasn't as pointed and specific as some of the others (specifically, the emotion group). I'd chalk this up to a lack of communication between Emily and me. She did a great job being specific with her content and I spread myself too thin over all the different concepts in language. Next time, I'll try to communicate better and make a general thread of discussion to link all the points we bring up. However, I am glad that my TOK classmates were able to jump through such a wide variety of topics without getting lost. That's a real talent my classmates have and I'm very thankful that they were good sports about it.

If I could add anything to the lesson, it'd probably be a Vsauce video on language. His videos are all really long, so that's why I stuck to the TED Talk, but I watch Vsauce just for fun and think it would be really good at sparking discussion. Additionally, I'd probably drop the first couple of slides. They were intended to be lighthearted openings to the importance of language, but ended up sounding like tangents to the main ideas we presented. As a whole, I enjoyed taking on the role of teacher (and I'm really scared that I'll end up being a teacher for my career. I'm sure I'd enjoy some of it but it's not something I'm aspiring to right now). I also learned, or rather, became absolutely certain, that when I have to present on a topic I'm really interested but not very knowledgeable in, I end up taking the spread out bits from that topic and throwing them in even when they aren't necessary or helpful for the main idea. I like talking about those interesting tidbits, but I'm not good at throwing out the unnecessary parts in order to preserve the main idea. I'll try to learn how to kill my darlings, and hopefully get better at developing an argument free of superfluous and less relevant information.