Is it possible to hold onto age-old traditions but also make progress? This is the question we investigated this quarter through our humanities class. We focused our investigation on China during the 19th and 20th centuries. We researched how the Opium War and foreign imperialism affected China. We read about the Boxer Rebellion, a violent uprising against foreign influence in China that left many foreigners and Chinese dead. Finally, we took an in depth look into the tradition of footbinding. We studied the novel Ties that Bind, Ties that Break to give us a narrative, fiction account of the tension between tradition and change during this time in China. These topics, readings, and discussions allowed us to deeply explore our guiding question: Can progress be made while traditions are maintained?
This investigation was challenging for me as a learner because we not only were dealing with a complex topic, but we had many challenging readings and we did quite a bit of writing, which sometimes has been a struggle for me in the past since I don’t think writing is a strength of mine. When I was able to, I chose the simpler reading passages because I thought they were more at my level and allowed me to think more clearly about the topics.
I grew both as a writer and a discussion participant this quarter. As a writer, I learned how to incorporate textual evidence to support my inferences. This is evident in the two paragraphs below.
In the first paragraph, from the beginning of the quarter, you will notice I did not use any textual evidence in my writing. In the second paragraph, part of my compare and contrast summative essay about Ties that Bind, Ties that Break, I not only use a quote from the text, but I also introduce and analyze it so that the reader understands why it is in my essay. Textual evidence is really important to support your ideas in both discussions and writing, especially since it helps you add depth to your writing and keep you from repeating yourself.
To master this learning target I showed the core value critical thinker because I really had to evaluate whether a quote supported my ideas or not when deciding what textual evidence to use in my writing and discussions. I want to continue to use this core value next quarter because I still think my analysis of evidence can be stronger. I can more clearly explain how my evidence supports my ideas.