Language and Literature Reflection

  • What do you understand better now than you did before about the choices made by creators of texts and how these choices affect meaning? Give examples. 

I know now that there is room for analysis everywhere. In all the mediums we have studied in Language and Literature, whether it be speech, song, propaganda, film or any other, all of the choices made by the creators have an underlying purpose. That purpose connects to how the creator wants the audience to feel after viewing the text. For example, all of the film techniques – backgrounds, characters, camera positioning, dialogue – in To Live served the primary purpose of informing the public about the truths of the treatment of people during the Communist Revolution to spark feelings of empathy and understanding. In Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a variety of symbols and dialogue was used to show the oppression or stereotyping of women that they existed to make men happy. I think that creators use a flurry of different techniques to push a particular message and feeling into the audience.

  • What do you understand better now than you did before about the ways in which the context of the production of a text and the context of the reception of a text shape meaning? Give examples. 

Usually, when people have a problem with a text, it is because it is a new, controversial idea. People often have issues with the unknown or change – which is why texts like To Live and Malcolm X’s speeches were met with distaste. A large amount of support for these texts is present as well. Supporters and people hungry for different perspectives and facts proclaim these texts as excellent and worthy of public praise. Also, as we saw in Gordon Parks’ photography, a lot of people make adjustments during each stage of the process so one needs to look carefully for the creator’s real purpose to find out if that is what the creator was hoping the text’s reception would be.

  • What do you understand better now than you did before about the ways in which texts are connected with one another across time and place? Give examples.  

There are recurring themes throughout all texts we have studied. Humans have battled many of the same problems – which we are unfortunately not yet close to finding a proper solution for. Gender and racial discrimination, authoritarian powers, the disparity between the rich and poor, corrupt and impractical institutions, human rights, identity, happiness occur in all settings. No matter which time or place, every instance of these problems are very much real. Rightfully so, most of the texts we have looked at are from the perspectives of the freedom fighters, the activists, the moral population – it would be interesting to see the other perspective of the supposed “bad guys.”

  • Of all of the texts that we have studied together this year, which has made the biggest impact on you? Why do you think that is?  

I hated and loved watching “When They See Us.” I’d try to fast-forward some especially bitter and awful moments. But, then I’d just go back and rewatch it because I wanted to understand everything and admire the beauty of the directing, screenwriting, acting and everything – the cast and crew did a fantastic job in involving the audience and making them feel. I knew that because I loved and hated it, which is a very visceral and contradictory response. Central Park Five’s arrest is relatively recent and is something that people are facing today, which is why I viewed it as so important. Not to say that earlier revolutions or events aren’t relevant, but since we are dealing with these effects now, I thought it would be prudent to understand everything so I could do something to help in my lifetime. I find myself recommending this short series to everyone I know because the themes and message need to be discussed.

  • In terms of your skill development, 
    • how has your ability to read and analyze various text types developed over the course of this year so far? 
    • how have your writing skills developed over the course of this year so far? 

My Paper 1 assignments are an instance where I have tried to improve on my ability to read, analyze and write. I think that there is a lot of room to grow, but I have gotten better than the beginning of the year. I know what to look for. I think now I need to focus on bringing it together in a formal register. I am capable of analyzing well on the DX posts and structuring it like an essay response, but I find myself flailing when having to use a formal register and I end up thinking too much and not analyzing enough. I try way too hard to make it sound charming that I forget to go deeper. I really am trying hard to change this. My writing skills work in tandem as well – casual, creative writing flows for me, but I get stuck when having to go formal. I could write blog posts or DX submissions with a formal tone to help me practice.

    • how have your speaking skills developed over the course of the year so far?

I’m a strong speaker. Speaking, especially in a presentation format, is fun for me. However, my practice orals are lacking somewhat because I find myself rushing to fit everything I want into ten minutes. Further improvement can only be made if I comb through my structure several times and find the areas or ideas that aren’t fully developed and disregard them to focus on the primary few properly. Also, it would be exciting to try a speech format for an assignment – I want to try it because Malcolm X has inspired me. 

  • Of the five Approaches to Learning skills that the IB emphasizes (attached below), which do you think that you have demonstrated the most growth in so far in this course? Which do you still need to work on?

I have demonstrated the most growth in self-management. This pandemic has made me try for more independent learning which I like. Getting high-calibre work in on time and keeping motivation high is what I have been doing. I want to be able to maintain it and go even further to show more profound understanding and analysis, which brings me to the Thinking Skills approach to learning which I would like to improve further. My mark in analysis and organization mark-band in the rubric for the exams need to improve.

  • Of the IB Learner Profile attributes that the IB promotes (attached below), which do you think that you have demonstrated the most growth in so far in this course? Which ones still require development?

I think I have been a keen communicator. I try to express my ideas as confidently and creatively as possible. I try to think outside the box and see if I can spot any new insights from the texts that we have been studying. This class has also helped me listen thoughtfully to the ideas of others and collaborate with them to reach a consensus or see on what areas do I agree or disagree with them. I think I need to work on being a risk-taker: mostly being resilient and resourceful in the face of challenges and change, which I think comes from having some ideas work in a paper one and some ideas not work and still standing up and facing the next one with a cheery and confident attitude. 

  • Looking ahead, what goals would you like to set for yourself in this course moving forward?

I am working to reach the highest mark-band in my paper one and individual oral. Grades are essential for a reason – because they show real growth and improvement in the individual. I think that nailing an analysis on a paper one where my ideas are insightful, language interesting, and organization clear would show that I’ve really succeeded in this class. Also, we have explored a lot of fascinating texts, and I hope that once I have finished the course, I have a knack for finding more texts like these that discuss real-life struggles and are just as impressive. 

I’m not sure exactly what text I want to explore for the upcoming HL essay, but I feel like I am most drawn to When They See Us and Gordon Parks’ photographs as I think I have a lot to say about them still. I want to explore another aspect of the texts – not race or empathy as I have earlier – and take it for another whirl. 


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