Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking Back at Summer School

Note: In case you didn't read my previous posts, I took the course Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology for summer school.

It's ironic that I am writing this post even though I haven't finished writing the Looking Back at Grade Ten series, which I was supposed to finish a week or two ago. However, I just want to write this post as soon as possible, before my memory of summer school starts fading.

Also, I actually have quite a lot of things to say about summer school. Therefore, in this post I will have many sections,  with each section including a major aspect of summer school that I want to talk about.

Teacher's Misunderstandings
At times I was very irritated because of the teacher's own lack of understanding of the subject matter. She often gave out examples or explanations that clearly didn't apply, and at times it seemed that she really didn't understand the material herself.

As a result, it was very difficult for me to write the tests. I couldn't answer a question based on what I knew, but instead I had to answer it based on what I thought she knew. For example, she once misunderstood the meaning of "quota sampling," so on a test when we were given cases to see whether the sampling method was quota sampling or not, I had to circle the options that she would have circled (which were wrong).

This task could sometimes become even harder because her misunderstandings would often violate the laws of logic. For example, her definitions of "quota sampling" and "simple random sampling" actually overlapped! So on a test, it was extremely hard to choose the right answer simply because according her definitions, both answers could be correct.

(A mistake that isn't illogical would be switching the digit "1" with the digit "2." For example, in this case 1*1 would equal to 4 because each of the "ones" are actually a two. All the math would still work as long as it is kept in mind that the symbols for the numerical values are switched.)

Grading Method
I was very stressed during the month that I went to summer school because
of the way that my teacher marked. For every assignment, project, and test, I was very anxious about the mark that my teacher would give me, as she was quite an unpredictable marker. To be fair, she wasn't a difficult marker, for most of the time I got pretty good marks from her. However, even after one month I still couldn't grasp how she marked. 

There were one or two projects for which she gave me perfect marks, even though I thought I deserved less. On the other hand, she gave me 85% for many of the written responses even though I thought I did much better. In short, her standard seemed to change from one assignment to another. And as a result, I could never assume that she wasn't going to mark hard on a particular assignment or project, and I had to pay attention to every possible detail just in case that she was going to mark hard (and unfortunately in which case I would still get a bad mark). Also, because of this, I hated getting assignments— each assignment had the capability of bringing my mark down. (I might also add that she always announced assignments at the end of class, so everyday I would be very jumpy until I found out whether there was an assignment or not)

Actual Class Material
I found the things that I learned in the class to be quite interesting and important. For example, I learned about the various psychological disorders, which could be used in many contexts, such as daily conversations (to describe people with certain characteristics). Also, the things that I learned could potentially change my way of thinking. By learning about the various psychological and sociological theories, I could think about things from different angles and perspectives. This is very important because it could allow me analyze things in a more profound manner.

During the month, the teacher showed us at least seven to eight movies or documentaries, which I thought was a very good idea. She managed to pick films that were actually relevant to the class, so by watching these films we could actually learn the class material better. It was a very good move from her because otherwise I can't imagine what we would have done during all those hours.

Also, watching the movies actually made me want to start writing blog posts about movies. I found out that my opinions about some of the movies were quite different from those of the majority of the Internet users, and I am planning on putting my different opinions onto the Internet.

Reading Out Loud
Often, my teacher would tell the students in the class to take turns reading the text out loud. To be honest, this was probably the thing that I was the most thankful for.

I have always wanted to practice my reading-out-loud skills, but I have always been too shy to volunteer to read anything. However, if the teacher picked on me, I would feel embarrassed because I was always the worst at reading things.

In this class, though, it was different. I constantly got the chance to read even if I didn't volunteer. And more importantly, there were many others who weren't very good at reading as well. As a result, I didn't have worry about sounding bad, for even if I did I wouldn't be the only person to sound bad.

From all the experience, I think I did become better at reading out loud. I found out that the reason why I was always bad at reading was that I had always been reading too fast. This would result in unclear pronunciations of the words, stuttering, and sometimes inaccurate tones as well. But once I started reading slowly, a lot of the problems improved.