Monday, 16 November 2009

Cultural Encounters Blog Reflection

1. What was one thing you learned from the simulations we played in class? How did this help you understand the essential questions better?

Working with other people may have been probably the most important thing in the life of those pilgrims. Alone they were probably equal to nothing. For us, there were a couple farmers in our group who came because of religious tolerances or economic reasons. A few of the farmers had hired laborers and an indentured servant who also came to work with them in the simulation. I felt, even though it was not real life, that it must have been a hard life for the pilgrims leaving their hometown and moving to another uncivilized New World. They must have had to plow the ground to get ready for the harvest and the sowing may have been the first in centuries to have happened there. The simulations helped me understand the two essential questions ('Why do people move?' and "What do we do when people don't think, act, or speak the same way we do?') Those questions confused me until I found out about the hard or depressing lives of others, and learned more about the communications and the relationships between the Indians and the colonists. I learned that there are many answers, no right or wrong, to these questions. Everyone may have a different reason to move. Their lives might just change where they were headed to.

2. Reading was a part of Cultural Encounters. When you read the books you were asked to think about your reading. What did you learn about your reading while doing this?
I learned that laborers had usually been forced to come. Some others had been too. Some people had to escape from their country only because they were different. They may not have thought that was fair, but the people who kicked them out may have thought differently. I learned many different things about how they lived as a colony in those times. For instance, I learned that everybody, every once in a while, got together in a town meeting to report their accomplishments or complaints. Everyone in the colony was allowed to go to the town hall meeting because everyone was important. There was also another part in one of the books that told me some pilgrims may not have survived the first few years or even the boat because of poor health and food conditions, but as time went by, they had good communication between the Indians and got used to the place. The Indians helped the colonists to sow the plants that grew best in that area. Those are only some of the things I learned while reading.

3. Did the journal entries help you to better understand your character? Why or why not? Explain in detail.
Yes, they obviously helped my understandings for the character because I decided to really be in the laborer's shoes. I learned of their hard life and wrote about it. Whenever I read a book that told me more about their lives, I tried to figure out how I would write it out as if the character was writing it, so later when I read it, I would be able to figure out about what it was like. I thought that if the character did this, what would have happened? What mostly I tried to do in my journal entries was to help myself feel like I was a pilgrim living back in those times. I am sure that it was a long time ago, so I tried to really make it feel like it. I did not put any modern things in it, just to see how it felt like to not have enough technology to live luxurious lives.

4. What was the best part of your presentation? How could it have been improved?
I think the best part of my presentation is when we talked about our hopes and dreams and why we had come here to the New World. I think that the part that we were scything and pulling weeds together was pretty cool too. We did not have any modern tools such as a mower or a tractor, so we had to do them by hand. Our group decided to show the audience about how much had work you had to do back then. But I think we could still have improved by making our talking more like we were really talking, not like in a book. I felt, as I was talking, that I was the character in a book. But this was no fairytale. It had really happened. All our team members had to dress up as if we were in the 60s. It sure felt like the classroom was the town hall in the New World.

5. What was the biggest learning you gained from this unit? Explain with details.
I learned about the lives of the pilgrims back in the old time and how much they must have suffered. I always felt good acting as other people, but this was really really awesome! So, I feel that my biggest learning I gained from the Cultural Encounters unit was how much they needed teamwork in those times. When anyone has teamwork, they can experience the joy of success. It is not just those times they needed teamwork. I think we need team work now too!

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