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Reflecting on Gender & Equality Unit

October 27, 2011

1. Which of the books you have read for this unit has the most literary value and why?
2. Which book did you find the most valuable and why?
3. Which task/project did you find the most challenging and why?
4. Which task/project seemed the most valuable?
5. What changes would you recommend to the unit in order to enhance learning and opportunities to think more deeply (do not consider grades when you answer this)?

From the many books we have discussed in this unit, I would say Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See has the most literary value. Although I can agree that all of the books were entertaining, Snow Flower and The Secret Fan was entertaining and informative at the same time. While engaging the reader, the book presents cultural values, which is most likely a very boring topic. Yet, the book successfully maintains the interest of the reader, and thus by the end of the novel, the reader has gained much insights into the cultural values discussed in the book. For this reason, I think Snow Flower and The Secret Fan is the most valuable book as well, because I enjoyed and learned so much from it at the same time. The most challenging project of this unit was undoubtedly the cultural persuasive writing. Like Lisa See, the students were challenged to present cultural values while keeping the reader engaged and interested. In order to do so, careful balancing of the story and information is crucial. Keeping the balance and using the right voice and story was certainly one of the most challenging tasks in this unit. The most valuable project was the Snow Flower letter writing project. The project allowed me to successfully organize the main themes of the book, and also write in a different manner, which was an interesting experience. The project was a perfect complement of recapping the novel.I think it would have been great if we were to discuss about the goals and purpose of the cultural persuasive writing because many, including me, did not understand the project fully and took a different approach to the project. If there were some time spent discussing and possibly reviewing some of the good examples of the assignment may have helped guide the students the “right” way to completing the assignment.

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Discussion on Banning Literature.

October 25, 2011

Why are books banned or censored?

I would say books are banned or censored for the benefit of the majority and the stability of the society. As members of societies, people have implicitly agreed to yield some of their innately given freedom for their guaranteed safety. If some books were to pose a threat to the stability of the society and inspire people to revoke their agreement to becoming the member of the society, then they should certainly be banned for peace to be maintained. Certainly, the book may have tremendous values in terms of ideas, but if those ideas were to bring a negative consequence to the society, then for the benefit of the people and the world, it should be banned. Such reasoning stems from Jeremy Benthem’s utilitarianism, where the minority should sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the majority. The author and publisher of the banned books, in this case, should sacrifice their potentially valuable books in order to maintain harmony in a society.

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What I acquired in my sophomore year English class.

June 1, 2010

It’s already been a year since I first entered Ms.Patterson’s classroom… I can’t believe it. I still remember the intense mood of the first day of English class. The class began with a brief, but a detailed quiz on the summer reading books. Well, anyways, thinking back to the beginning of the year, it really seems that I have come a long way. In the hope of improving my reading and writing skills, I worked hard to participate in class as the year progressed. Through such effort, I strongly believe that I have improved in my reading and writing skills. Though, on top of everything else, what I think I really acquired through this year’s English class is definitely the skill of critical thinking.

After few months into the year, it soon became clear that Ms.Patterson’s English is heavily focused in class discussions. Everytime we read a book, we spent numerous classes just discussing about the hidden meanings within the book, or even just what we thought about the book. Listening to my classmates’ ideas, I began to become more open-minded; I was a stubborn kid since 5th grade. I always thought my ideas were always right, and refused to listen to what other people has to say. As the first semester progressed, I began to listen to my classmates’ ideas and analyzed them. In doing so, I always asked myself, how do they differ from my thoughts? I guess this is how I began to become trained in critical thinking; thinking about certain topic in variety of ways.

The bulk of my improvement would probably be about midway into the second semester. During the second semester, I had to lead discussions with my friends. This really gave me an opportunity to ask my classmates about what they think about something that I have an opinion of. As I made my questions, I wondered how my classmates would answer them, filling me with excitement. I became eager to know what other people think, not thinking only about my ideas. Then, as discussions continued throughout the entire year, my eagerness continued to grow, making me into an entirely different person. Now, when I write essays or read books, I think in various ways, as I have developed to analyze other ideas during discussions. Through such thinking process, I realized that my ideans and contents became more interesting, because they would evoke many different ideas when they are looked at from various point of views. This skill was only able to be achieved through Ms.Patterson’s English class, and I really thank Ms.Patterson for her exciting and inspiring class. Thank you Ms.Patterson.

picture from: financewithafp.com/blog/%3Fp%3D233

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Finding a New Goal of My Life.

May 28, 2010

It’s almost been a month since I last posted about discovering a new goal. So, I have come up with a new goal for myself. This time, it is a much long term goal: becoming a great doctor. I knew since when I was young, that I had a keen interest science, especially in terms of biological field. It may be due to the influences of my father and grandfather, who I believe is, one of the greatest doctors in today’s world. Anyways, back to the topic, so I chose to become a doctor because I finally feel that what I truly am talented and interested in is mostly related to medical field materials. I know becoming a doctor is not all that fun and easy, but I feel that it is fun for me, and I would feel proud of myself by becoming a doctor. No matter how hard it is, I am going to become one of the greatest doctors in the world. I know, it may sound like an impossible goal, and you might think that I am even crazy, but you never know unless you give it a shot. I am going to try to become a doctor to the best of my abilities, and if I become one in the future, I would surely write a blog post about it.

picture from: http://www.thecolor.com/images/Doctor.gif

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Connections Between Society and BNW (Brave New World)?

May 21, 2010

Well, today’s school day was a snow make up day; we missed two school days due to harsh snow days during the winter. However, I was lucky because I went on a trip to the Chinatown in Incheon, Korea. The rest of my friends, who are not going to the trip, which, in fact, was only one, stayed in school and followed regular school schedule. My friend told me that there was a film that he watched about the new book we are reading right now, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Apparently, we were supposed to write a blog post about connections between the film and the book, but since I missed the film due to the trip, I am going to write about connections between the society and the book.

When I first heard about the story of the book, I thought that it was a book written by an unusual author, because the content was extremely surprising. The book Brave New World shows a world where human beings are produced scientifically, in test tubes. When I actually read the first chapter of the book, I was disgusted by the ideas of the author, of creating a world where science dominates over morality. In the world of Brave New World, people forgot about the values of human life; they seem to work for the well being of the society, not for the well being of themselves. What is the point of life if you are going to spend your entire life working for something else’s benefit and not your your own good? Though, at the rate of scientific development in today’s world, Huxley’s ideas did not seem to be too surprising.

With the rapid developments and discoveries in science, as far as what I believe, people are starting to cross the line that violates the moral values we have in today’s world. For example, the debate over the development of cloning technology, is an issue in today’s world. Cloning technology involves giving birth to babies artificially, through scientific technology. This violates the religious and moral beliefs that people in today’s world firmly believe in. Although it may be a momentous development in the area of science and that it may be extraordinarily useful in curing illness of millions of people over the world, what is right and what is wrong must clearly be distinguished. In this essence, I believe Huxley is not really off track, but the creation of such society, to me, seems to be a complete nonsense.

picture from: http://www.musowls.com/library/images/Brave-New-World-Book.jpg

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AP Exam is Over.

May 15, 2010

Finally, today is the day I have been dreaming about since the last blog post. Since I am in my room, by myself, writing this blog post at 7:13 PM, it means that I am finally done with my AP World History exam. Though, to be honest, I don’t feel as happy as I thought I would be; I rather feel numb. Since Monday,, I have been reviewing my notes, reading them over and over again, looking at maps, and making connections between civilizations that have similar characteristics. I spent everyday just studying for the AP exam, brutally working towards my goal of achieving a 5 on my exam. For the last three days, my goal was just doing well on the AP exam, and now that I am over with the exam, I feel like I have no goal in my life anymore. What I have worked really hard for, is now finished. It is time to find a new goal for me to work towards. Discovering my new goal would be my next goal, what would my next goal be?

picture from: http://www.greenexamacademy.com/wp-content/uploads/theme-uploads/leed-practice-exam.jpg

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AP Test Coming Up

April 26, 2010

(This is an image that one of my friends found on the internet, but I couldn’t find the source for this image.)

Wow, it’s already the last week of April, which means that there is less than a month left until my AP exam! The AP course I am taking this year is World History, and it feels as if I just began studying this subject. Throughout the year, I had a really good time, laughing and crying together with my friends, as we all worked very hard to do well on the exam. With only about two weeks left until the exam, I pictured myself entering school on the exam day, filled with both excitement and nervousness, asking myself two questions: What would the prompt be? Would it be hard? Then I pictured myself opening the test booklet, waiting for the proctor yell “Begin!” Just by imagining the exam day makes me feel stressed to death. Nowadays, I receive so much stress that I spend hours just listening to calm music, trying to comfort myself.

As I listened to music, I arrived at a conclusion that really saved me from the deathly stress that has been disturbing me since three days ago. It was that no matter how difficult the test is, and no matter how severely I might fail the exam, the exam score is not the only thing that I worked for during my entire sophomore year. All the good memories I made with my friends, all the historical knowledge I acquired in class, and all the accomplishments I have achieved, will never be forgotten. To think about it now, the exam is not worth merely as much as such memorable memories of my AP World History class. This doesn’t mean that I will not study for the exam and fail it, I will study very hard to receive the highest score, but even if I don’t receive the score that I wanted , there are other things that are worth much more than the exam.

I realized that school isn’t all about getting good grades and good test scores, there are a lot more things that I have probably achieved during my school life that are worth much more than academics. If you are taking AP exams this May and are feeling so stressed, think about things that you have accomplished during your school years, it will certainly ease your mind. Do not feel too stressed about the test, do your best, then you will do fine. I wish everyone who are taking AP exams a good luck.