Hello reader and welcome to another end of project reflection post, but this time with a twist. In PLP 11/12 we just completed our first project of the year, and overall it was somewhat of a flop. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned in PLP it’s that a fail is never a bad thing. In all failures, flops, or whatever you’d like to call them there are positives that can be taken out. This concept of examining failures and successes in a project is how I will be going about this blog post. This idea takes inspiration from a Formula 1 journalist who puts together an article after every F1 race and picks out a number of winners and losers. This list examines each driver’s story over the race instead of just picking out the fastest and slowest people. My take on this idea is picking out the “wins” and “losses” of the “Think you can do better” PLP project by reflecting on what worked and what didn’t.
1. Winner: Driving Question
One of the biggest wins I see in this project was the topic and driving question. A question as straight forward as “How Should We Govern Ourselves” led to extensive thought and discussion among us students. I found myself thinking about it even outside of class, as the right answer would be the answer to so many real issues in the world. If anyone truly knew the best possible way to govern ourselves then there wouldn’t be wars or disagreements. I kept looking at interesting sources I could find online to add to my notes and increase my knowledge about what goes into a government. Many of my classmates, including me, came to the conclusion that, structurally, the best way for Canadians to govern ourselves would be to introduce proportional representation (Check out Fraser’s blog about Proportional Representation). Our government needs accountability, honesty, diversity, and the drive to improve Canada. Being forced to generate ideas on how to fix something that affects us in real life was a really strong aspect to this project.
2. Loser: Party Campaign Ads
Whilst the idea of grade 11 and 12 students creating political parties and making campaign ads for them seems fun and educational, personally it didn’t work the best for me. Firstly, as a class of students with VERY similar political views, I was slightly disappointed when we weren’t given assigned ideologies to represent. I had a feeling all the parties would end up being extremely similar in their views and goals and I was correct. I think if groups were given a specific view to represent and would’ve been given lots of time to research policies and values of that POV, it would’ve been a total win with a unique way of learning, it’s not often you learn about and fight for ideologies you oppose. The video also felt rushed as well as creating the parties so instead of it helping us students learn more it just gave us tasks to do that didn’t really push our thinking. That being said I think the videos are fun to watch, and I’m especially happy with my group (Ben, Natalie, Zoe, Rhiann, and I) for choosing a creative approach and going for a comedic ad.
3. Winner: Zettelkasten
Now this choice may be a slightly different one from the rest of my classmates but personally I love the use of the Zettelkasten notes system, and using craft for it. However my bias definitely comes from the fact that I did an entire unit with this system last year and loved it. While I wish it was slightly more clear of when to be making notes and what of I still thought including the Zettelkasten into this project was a win. On our last day to makeup for the slight miss in the campaign ad’s, Ms Willemse had us write a paragraph answering the driving question with all the knowledge and sources we had collected throughout the project. Since I had been taking many notes and connecting ideas I was able to put together a well written piece of work in a very short amount of time. I will continue to use this system in all of my learning, however I do believe it works the best in a lecture structured class.
4. Loser: Statement of Intent
My biggest issue with the statement of intent we created for our political parties was just lack of information. The statement of intent is basically who your party are so to very quickly form ideas with a group of people about how to best run a government wasn’t exactly easy. I felt overwhelmed and like I wasn’t putting my all into it as I didn’t have enough understanding. Our group didn’t really know what we wanted to do so a lot of our answers for different sections ended up sounding the same once we had decided our uniqueness was going to be a structure reform party. I think had this project been longer or if it had been laid out slightly differently I would’ve enjoyed this milestone more and definitely gotten more out of it. Instead I feel as though my group and I only thought on the surface level.
There were many other small wins and small losses throughout the entire project and while I may say it was overall more of a fail for me I still have growth, learning, and products gained from it. I think this project was super strong when it comes to the communication competency. Working with four other people to create an entire political party in a few days is no easy task but with communication and teamwork we were able to achieve that, as well as make a fun video to represent it. I also felt in this project I made many personal and social connections via my zettelkasten. Doing a project about politics and linking it to a current federal election was a super engaging concept for me, as I’m someone who pays a lot of attention to the world around me and the current events. I think the biggest “loss” of this project was the lack of the thinking competency. Now I’m not saying I didn’t think during this project but in comparison to other units I’ve had in the past I feel as though I didn’t gain as much educationally.
Not everything can be a total win, even in school, but what’s important is learning from failures. Finding the opportunities to grow instead of dwelling on “losses” is the way true learners think.