Humanities Portfolio 2012

Learning in challenging ways can help a person learn not only about ideas, but also more about themselves. This year in Mr. Block’s class there were many challenges that we had to overcome. I learned a lot of new things about my self because of that. When I think back, I realize that the whole year has had tons to do with challenges as well as identity. In many ways, the two topics were tied together. 

One big challenge was the language autobiography. That was probably the most challenging thing for me to do this year. The quote that started off my paper explains it all. “When I learned that I was going to have to write a language autobiography, I thought I was never going to be able to do it. I thought that I was doomed because I was taught to speak properly and correctly my whole life. When we were reading about people who had large opinions on language identity and what language was, I couldn’t relate to any of them.” This project challenged me a lot. However, while I was completing the autobiography, I discovered many things about myself that I had never thought about. This was the last bit of my autobiography: “Before this assignment, I never thought about any kind of language identity. I’m still not positive what mine is quite yet, or if I even have one. But I know that I am in the process of figuring it out. I might even have multiple ones. I do know one thing for sure though, I once thought I didn’t have a story to tell with language but now I know I have a huge story. It’s just still in the process.” As you can see, this shows how much I learned about myself while doing this project. I learned tons more about my background and even about my own opinions. 

Another challenge for me was the art in the open dance. When I first heard that we would have to dance, I hated the thought of doing it so much that I wished I could be absent those days. In my art in the open reflection, I explain my first and last thoughts about the whole process. “I was confident I could do something really good by the end of the weeks. Before going to the armory, I really did not want to do what we were doing and felt super nervous. After the armory, I felt confident enough to know that I could do it. I also was a bit more excited. The whole process happened in a way that was easy yet challenging at the same time.” The art in the open experience taught me a lot of things about myself. I learned that there are some things that, even though they seem impossible, I can accomplish. 

The other big challenge was the religion benchmark. We had to research two religions. I looked at the after-life in Buddhism and Christianity. When I reflected on the whole religion unit, I realized I had learned a lot about myself during it. Here is a part of the reflection I did: “I learned a lot in this unit. I basically did not know anything about religion before when we first started the unit. This unit taught me a lot about the differences between religions. I had no idea that many religions believed in reincarnation. I really enjoyed learning about different kinds of religions.” I have never really had a religion that I followed. I always hated being told what to believe. In a way, I have always had my own religion. Even then, before the religion unit, I wasn’t sure exactly what I believed. After the unit, I started to sort out my own beliefs. That let me discover much more of my identity. 

During my tenth grade year in Mr. Block’s class, everything was a challenge. Some were bigger than others but nothing was easy. I realize now, that to learn you have to overcome challenges and connect things to yourself. In doing that, you learn not only about the world but about your identity. You have to keep an open mind. Most importantly, you can not be afraid of challenges. You need to challenge yourself to learn about yourself. If you do that, your learning will expand in many ways. That is what I learned to do this year and I think that it will help me through out the rest of my education.

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