Ethics of Choices and Actions

Many of CAS experiences revolve around artistic and creative elements such as public speaking and teaching. As such, I must take into account things like artistic ethics and teaching ethics during my CAS experiences. One experience that I especially must consider these ethics is when I am fulfilling my role as an English Ambassador for the Sir Ti Liang Yang English Ambassador Program, where I teach public speaking skills to local Hong Kong students. An immediate example that comes to mind is the HKFYG Standard Chartered English Public Speaking Competition that has recently begun. For this competition, we English Ambassadors led multiple sessions prior to the preliminary rounds of the competition for the contestants to develop their speeches. Despite participants being at various levels of preparation, the ultimate goal was for them to get us to help them. One part of ethics I must consider is the artistic ethics. Since public speaking is a very personal art, much of it comes from oneself and their personal contributions to a speech. Although it is our job to help the contestants, we must consider whether or not we are imposing ourselves or unoriginal ideas to them, as it would be artistically unethical to meddle with one’s own ideas. Another aspect of ethics we must consider is teaching ethics. We ambassadors are encouraged to add in our own comments and experiences when teaching, but ultimately the content we are delivering stems from the same thing. It is important that we recognize that those that we were teaching may have been taught different ideas and in different ways. Should we try to force our own teachings on others, would be unethical.

Collaboration Skills and the Benefits of Working With Others

One event that occurred recently was the preliminary round for the HKFYG Standard Chartered Speech Competition. As an English Ambassador for the Sir Ti Liang Yang English Ambassador Program, my roles is not just to help run things at the event, but also to teach a session for the contestants to improve their speeches. During this session, I was working with three other ambassadors, one of which was very experienced while the other two and myself were new. One of the qualities of myself that I believe is decently strong is my leadership abilities. In this situation, however, I did not have the experience or ability to lead the team thus my role in the group of ambassadors was as a supporter. As I was with fellow new ambassadors, it was a learning experience for all of us and we had to help each other along the way. One of the things we had to do was plan what to teach during each session as all participants were at varying levels of preparedness for the competition. We all had to brainstorm what was necessary. When we first went into the sessions, we thought that we would teach the entire group as a whole and listen to all their speeches. We later found out that some people had speeches, whereas others did not. We ended up splitting up the group and dividing ourselves to cover the splits.

Commitment and Perseverance

– demonstrates regular involvement and active engagement with CAS experiences and CAS project
– is able to foresee potential challenges to the initial plan and consider valid alternatives and contingencies
– demonstrates adaptability to uncertainties and changes
– gets involved in long-term CAS experiences and CAS project.

Currently, my two long-term CAS experiences is my CAS project of the Gavel Club at school, and being an English Ambassador for the Sir Ti Liang Yang English Ambassador Program. The Gavel Club is still something that I lead every Thursday. Recently, we hosted a speech competition that involved the Global Initiatives Network (GIN) Clubs at our school. Each club was to choose a representative and that representative can either present a speech themselves and get help from our club, or they could pair up with a member from the Gavel Club and inform them of their club initiatives so that our Gavelier could present a speech for the club. One of the problems that we faced was an organizational aspect as with such a large group of people being involved, there were bound to be problems. The mistake we made was allocating less time than we thought we needed when communicating with the clubs. Often times, there would be a few people took quite long to respond, thus making the entirety of the competition quite rushed. In the future, we know that we should allocate more time for the preparation of the event.

For the Sir Ti Liang Yang English Ambassador Program, I have done various sessions with students already and will be continuing to participate in it until I graduate and leave to Canada. One event that is coming up is a session with students, but also VIPs. One such VIP is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong and it is up to me and my fellow ambassadors to inform them as to how we will use virtual reality technology to assist in our teaching of public speaking. I will definitely need the necessary preparation in order to present it well!

Initiating and Planning CAS Experiences

– is able to articulate the CAS stages including investigation, preparation, action, reflection (ongoing) and demonstration, moving from conceiving an idea to carrying out a plan for a CAS experience or series of CAS experiences
– demonstrates knowledge and awareness by building on a previous CAS experience
– shows initiative by launching a new idea or process
– suggests creative ideas, proposals or solutions
– integrates reflective thoughts in planning or taking initiative
– is aware of roles and responsibilities when designing an individual or collective CAS experience
– shows responsible attitude to CAS project planning
– is able to develop a coherent action plan taking into account the aim or purpose, activities and resources.

One experience that will stick with me forever was the opportunity to be the Master of Ceremony for the commencement ceremony for the University of Tasmania. This was a new situation for me as although I have acted as MC for events at school, this was the first time doing it for an event that held such importance. Many things were different, from levels of formality in scripts, to how I dressed. The biggest part I had to plan for was the writing of the script. My employer at the time had tasked me with writing the script and presenting it in a way that was fun and interesting, will still being appropriate enough to be presented to important figures from the University. I had to research things like the proper order of presenting names and roles from an order of importance. I had to seek the help of my colleagues in order to figure out aspects such as this to ensure the script was appropriate. I also had to find secondary resources on the internet just as a final check to make sure what I was writing was appropriate. The delivery of the script was also important as I was presenting in front of important individuals, as well as students who were older than me. After the experience, I feel that I had done adequate preparation and planning in order to ensure the success in this event.

Challenges and Developing New Skills

Last year, one of most memorable events that I have taken part in was the HKFYG Standard Chartered English Public Speaking Competition. Through hard work and dedication, my classmate Eric and I managed to make it to the finals, beating over 1,000 other contestants. Upon entering the competition, I did not realize how large of a competition it was as in the finals, I was faced with judges who held important positions such as roles in the Government. This was a completely unfamiliar situation to me as typically, I practice public speaking in the Gavel Club at school, which is front of fellow students and teachers who I am comfortable with. After competing in this competition, I believe that my public speaking skills have been furthered as I now have experience presenting to an audience who I am unfamiliar with.

My Strengths and Areas for Development

Students are able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, of which some are more developed than others.
The student:
– is aware of own strengths and weaknesses
– is open to improvement and growth opportunities
– is able to propose activities according to own interests and talents
– is willing to participate in different activities
– is able to undertake a thoughtful self-evaluation
– is able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, some more developed than others.

Recently, I have joined a volunteering program called the Sir Ti Liang Yang English Ambassador Outreach and have been teaching public speaking at local Hong Kong schools as an English Ambassador. I believe one of the strengths that I have discovered is the ability to effectively work with people who I have not met before and are from different backgrounds. The program is full of students all around Hong Kong who are passionate about public speaking, and that common goal to teach it allowed us to easily collaborate. One of the weaknesses I have found is that often times in this program, I am teaching students of varying English ability. While some are quite exceptional and can easily converse with me in English, there are others where I am constantly having to turn to Cantonese. This is difficult for me as my Cantonese skills are quite poor, thus I find it hard to communicate with the students who are less fluent in English.

This opens up an area of improvement for myself, where I am trying to improve my non-English communication skills. Right now I am attempting to communicate primarily with my body language, however, I do not believe that this enough. Because of this, my fellow English ambassadors have graciously helped me improve my Cantonese schools, as the majority of them are from local schools and are fluent in Chinese.

The style of teaching that I do during this volunteering is very different from that of during the Gavel Club at school. This is due to how everyone at the Gavel Club is experienced with public speaking and are fluent in English. Due to this, the content I am teaching to the local school students is very different to the kind of activities we do in Gavel Club. At first, it was a bit offputting as the activities done as an English Ambassador seemed quite simple to me, but I immediately recognized that I was being closed-minded and now am open to teaching in various styles that may be different from what I am used to from the Gavel Club.

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.