CAS Project – Young Masters Gavel Club

Young Masters Gavel Club is a public speaking after-school activity that I have been engaging with since 2015. It is my second year in this club, and now hold the “Sergeant of Arms” executive position. For my CAS project,students present prepared and improvised speeches, as well as acquire feedback for improvement, ultimately with the goal of improving the public speaking skills of our students. Not only this, but my fellow executive members and I wish to achieve another goal of collaboration with our school’s GIN clubs in order to advocate the issues our school addresses.

For the first goal, our club needed to develop a system that helps engage our club members in public speaking. To do that, we looked into the Toastmasters activities, as they are a well established public speaking organisation. Based on their activities, we had created a meeting plan consisting of 4 main parts to fill our 1 hour long meetings. First, are the prepared speeches where our club members prepare a speech before hand, and present them during the first 20 minutes of our club. The next section is a tradition that has been in Toastmasters and our Young Masters Gavel Club for many years, which is the tea break section. Here our members are able to discuss what they please over some food or drinks. Third, we have our improvised speeches called “table topics”. Table topics involves our students presenting a 2-3 minute speech on a randomly given topic individually, to strengthen their individual abilities. Lastly, is likely the most important part of our meeting, which is the facilitator’s reports. With a 1 hour session, it is difficult to have all of our members engage in a speech, however that does not mean that they are not developing their skills outside of speeches. We have facilitator roles that our members can sign up for each week, such as: The “Ah” Counter (ums, long pauses, general time fillers” where the facilitator tally how many time fillers each speaker has, allowing them to learn where people are typically using fillers. Another role is the language master, where they listen to speeches with the intention of identifying grammatical or general English language errors, and inform the speaker, allowing them to work on their general English skills. On top of these facilitators, are the speech evaluators, where they identify the pros and cons of a speech, giving feedback, allowing themselves to see examples of good and poorer speeches, as well as continuously reflecting on how to make speeches better.

Generally, this plan was very well done, and was very effective when using it, however upon putting it into action, a suggestion had been made where another method of table topics is introduced. This method is where all members sit around a large desk, and we present collaboratively, building on each others’ speeches to train our members’ ability to build off ideas. Since the recommendation, it has now been employed in a week-on week-off method, where the first type of table topics is employed the first week, and the second type is employed the second week, cycling every session to work on different aspects of public speaking.

On top of that, we sometimes add new activities to change up the activities and work on different things, such as doing short debates, focusing on using a “word of the day”, or speaking games. This links to the second goal, as one of the methods that my fellow executive members and I have come up with to engage with GIN clubs was to do a collaborative speech competition, where our members paired up with GIN club ambassadors, to write a speech about what the GIN club does, and how people could help, where the winner of the competition would gain $1,000 to support the club/organisation that they represented. In the future, we aim to have more competitions like this.

Overall, I think that the plan that we have created and our action to engage with our school’s GIN clubs was quite effective. Looking back, the executive team and I aimed to create new activities that we could incorporate into our meetings to work on new skills, and to add some variety. Another goal we have for the future would be to not only hold more speech competitions, but also to spread more word about our competition, as the whole purpose of the competition was to spread awareness of the issues our school is trying to address, however during the competition, many more people could have appeared, so awareness of the competition could be worked on.

At the end of each year, we celebrate the achievements of our students through an end of the year party, where we reflect on the greatness of our progress!

History

Is it possible for historical writing to be free from perspective?

Perspectives will always be considered in historical writing, whether reliable/unreliable, biased/unbiased, complete/incomplete, and so on, however it is through the combination of these perspectives that give modern day people a better understanding of the past.

Is it a problem that it might not be free from perspective?

There is definitely a problem, as sometimes perspectives attached to historical writing can be unreliable, biased, and/or incomplete. Firstly, there is the issue that not all perspectives can be considered when looking at historical writing. There are bound to be ones that are left out, leaving the historical writing to be incomplete. Also, the perspectives attached to the historical writing can have issues with it. Bias is not a very big problem if most of the perspectives are considered, however whether or not the perspective is reliable and complete is an issue. If the perspective is unreliable, it brings the question as to whether or not it should be considered and associated with the historical writing, as it may bring false information to it. An example would be vaccines and autism, as although there are many studies that suggest that there is no correlation between the two, the perspective still exists today, and there is the question of whether or not that perspective should be considered. Another issue is with the completeness of a perspective. If a perspective is incomplete, should it really be considered when looking at historical writing?

Not only should the perspectives of those at the time be considered, but also our own personal perspectives, as multiple people are bound to interpret different pieces of historical writing in different ways, leading to further discrepancies when looking at historical writing.

History

What is History?

History is not only what happened in the past and why it happened, but it further revolves around how people interpret it and how it shapes identity. Identity is made up of the things of the past, and if the perception of past were to be altered or removed, identity would be changed and this is made up of how people and historians choose to interpret the evidence of the past, thus history is composed of both the event, and how people interpret it. Looking at China, the Tiananmen Square incident occurred, however they are trying to remove it from things like textbooks, altering the identity of China, and this is ultimately due to how historians interpreted the past.

Tackling Global Issues: Literacy and Speaking Skills

The global issue that I aim to address is literacy and speaking skills, and the lack there of. I have studied the issue in my higher level geography class, looking at both MEDCs and LEDCs around the world. Initially, I wished to only address literacy skills, as it was a millennium development goal, however looking with a local scope, English speaking skills could be improved since English is not the main language of Hong Kong, thus I have chosen to include speaking skills as something to address. Since both English literacy and speaking skills could be improved specifically in the context of Hong Kong, I decided to look at methods to address the issue locally.

I wanted to do something both in school, and outside of school. For an in school activity, the Young Masters Gavel Club I am a part of was a perfect activity that addressed the issue of speaking skills. Although CDNIS generally has some very strong English speakers, there are discrepancies, since our school is an international school, and improvements can be made to everyone. In the club we aim to improve speaking skills by performing speeches in front of an audience, and giving them feedback to improve their English. For an outside of school activity that tackled the issue, I searched for organisations that specialised in teaching English, however very few looked at both literacy and speaking skills, however there was one school, the Lai Chack Middle School that was looking to collaborate with other schools to work on these skills, which I was informed of by a friend. During this event, we worked with primary school children to work on skills such as creative writing and pronunciation, addressing both literacy and speaking skills.

Looking back, I am certain that I will continue to be an executive member of the Young Masters Gavel Club as it truly is an effective method of encouraging young people to practice their speaking skills. As for the session with Lai Chack Middle School, multiple hours were put into teaching the primary students, however this session ended quite quickly, however there are plans to hold another session with the school later in July. Getting feedback from the school and the students, I know that the students were working on their English skills effectively, while still maintaining a positive and fun environment.

Change Through Reflection

An interesting experience I have been through was teaching at Lai Chack Middle School, here in Hong Kong. In this session, my peers and I engaged in activities to increase the English skills of primary school children, doing things like creative writing workshops. Not only did we do more academic orientated activities, but we also did activities where the students had to be active, yet learn at the same time, doing things like performing in a short play, where they had to devise the play, yet were able to practice pronunciation and learn new words. One thing that was very interesting was working with the older students of Lai Chack that were there to help us from CDNIS teach the kids. Initially, it was very difficult to work with them as they were very shy and there were language barriers, however during activities such as the play, they had some very interesting ideas as to ways to perform a certain part of the play. Initially, we did not pay much attention to the older helpers and left them to do whatever, however upon actually interacting with them, we realised that they were very helpful and interesting people, despite the language barrier. This changed me as since I am a native English speaker with minimal Chinese, I usually don’t attempt to interact with the local community, however with this experience, it really made me try to go out of my way to become more in tune with the local community.

Hard vs. Soft Sciences

Hard Sciences are more likely to arrive at truthful knowledge claims than Soft Sciences. To what extent do you agree with this?

 

This claim states that knowledge from the hard sciences are more likely to create truthful knowledge than soft sciences. I believe that hard sciences do come up with more concrete answers, due to the capability to reproduce data collection over multiple trials to solidify conclusions and knowledge made, however that does not mean that more concrete knowledge is more truthful than less concrete knowledge. When knowledge is acquired through observation and data collection in the soft sciences, it is true that solid knowledge with a lot of reliable (through trials) evidence can be made due to the lack of ability to recreate the data collection in different trials, however this does not mean that the knowledge is any less truthful than those of the hard sciences. An example would be crashes in the economy. Although there have been multiple that have occurred, each one happened under different circumstances. There are many reasons as to why they happened, and although they are different in each situation, this does not mean that those reasons are untruthful.

Human Sciences

Oxford Dictionary Definition:

A branch of study which deals with people or their actions, including the social sciences and the humanities, as contrasted with the natural sciences or physical sciences.

My Definition:

The human sciences studies physical sciences and social sciences, and how they work in conjunction with each other. They all work together to create our world and society as we know it today.

Math 12

Oxford:

The abstract science of number quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts (pure mathematics), or as applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering (applied mathematics)

My Definition:

Math is the use of numbers, quantity, and space either conceptually/theoretically, or applying it to real life situations, such as in engineering.

11-The Arts

What is my definition of the arts?

I believe that art is a creative work (ie. visual arts, music, literature, etc.) that can be able to both convey, and evoke meaning. The artist should be able to create something demonstrates the meaning behind what they created, or able to evoke a other interpretations as to what it means.

New Skills or Challenges

Goal: Keep on schedule for working out and increasing weight

Purpose: Last year, I achieved my goal of beginning to work out more often, however I have strayed from my original workout plan as I had gotten a bit lazy in terms of actually going. My original plan included going to the gym 5 days a week, alternating different workouts focusing on different areas of muscles such as the arms or the chest. Nearing the end of the year, I started to go less, therefore my goal is to continue based on my plan. I also want to set a goal of increasing the amount of weight, as well as adding more exercises to do to set myself on track for constantly improving.

Research: A source I have read from suggested that creating a very rough plan as to the different things you will be doing, and when, during the day can help with not only organising time, but creating something similar to a to-do list that allows you to recognise the things you have to do.

In terms of increasing the amount of weight, just having that mindset to keep improving and building muscle will help myself when trying to increase the weight. For changing around the types of exercises I’m doing, I have found many great sources such as this YouTube channel, that help teach people things regarding the gym.

Timeline: As of January 6th, I have continued being on track with my originally set workout plan.