One of the main reasons I decided to enroll in political science last spring was because I felt that I didn't have enough knowledge about politics. Through the campaign blog post project and the current issue powerpoint project, I was able to develop a growth mindset and learn more about how campaigns are run and what the main issues were in the present. In the campaign project, I was assigned Lyndon Johnson's campaign, and everyone else was assigned a different campaign. Once everyone had posted their report, I was able to read about many different campaign's and see the striking similarities between them. I learned a lot about how important it is for candidates to connect with the people, an how extremism is almost always unpopular with voters. By having a growth mindset and wanting to learn more about the subject, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about campaigning form this project.
Another project that helped me gain more knowledge about politics was the current issue project. Everyone was assigned a current campaign issue to research and prepare a lesson for the class on that issue. I was assigned to research gun control, which before doing the project I never really expressed an opinion about. I noticed that I didn't have strong opinions on many of the current issues facing our country today. I adopted a growth mindset to learn more about these issues so that I can have my own opinion and not just repeat what other people say. This project helped me learn a lot about current issues, and my growth mindset has helped me become a more well-informed citizen.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Grant KaplanWhen I first signed up for political science I had basic knowledge about the structure of the federal government, the two main political parties, and the ideas of the two presidential candidates. I craved more knowledge, however. I had heard of the major issues that were absorbing each candidate’s time and energy, but I had trouble understanding their points because I was so uninformed on the issues they would discuss. Through current events assignments and the current issue study project I have become better equipped to understand and participate in more political debates and provide support for my arguments. I have used current events assignments to challenge myself with a variety of news pieces ranging from “Syrian rebels gain weaponry from extremist groups” to “Facebook reaches 1 Billion Users,” in an attempt to determine how seemingly unrelated events such as Facebook reaching 1 billion users can impact the presidential election. Another major issue that I had trouble understanding was the deficit and its impact. Thankfully, I was stuck with it as my topic for the current issue study project and was forced to become an expert in order to teach the class. First, I found a diverse group of reliable resources to gather my information from, and then I went to work studying the history of the deficit as well as the opinions of economists and the candidates. I had learned both from last year’s junior thesis, as well as this year’s current events, how to find great, reliable sources for a research project, and used this knowledge to secure my understanding of the deficit with websites, scholarly journals, primary sources, and books. I have not received any feedback on my deficit lesson because I haven’t taught it yet, and I have not received too much feedback on my current events besides the first assignment when I forgot to answer one of the guiding questions on the instruction page. I am very glad that I chose to take Political Science because I believe I have learned a great amount of information about current issues, political campaign finance and strategies, and researching techniques as well as added information in the structure of the federal government among other topics previously discussed briefly in other history courses.
During the first term of Political Science we had two debates. The first debate was about the Electoral College and whether it should remain in effect or whether a new system should be implemented. I was on Pro-electoral college team. I chose to rebuttal against someone in the other group. I thought my rebuttal went very well. I felt as though I made multiple good points. The debate finished and my team lost by a slight margin. I was proud of myself and felt that I had done the best I could. However, when I received feedback I was confused. I was told that my argument had lacked structure and was more rambling than anything. I was told that I had to slow down and structure my argument better. At first I was surprised and frustrated that I had not done as well as I had once thought. However, when I went back to check over what I had prepared, I realized that the feedback was correct. The points I had brought up were simply stated facts. I failed to analyze what I discovered. This led to my rebuttal feeling like a rambling rant as opposed to an organized comeback.
The next debate we had was on whether Super PACS were legal or whether the constitution should be amended to make them illegal. For this debate I was on the pro side, arguing that super PACS should remain legal. For this debate I demonstrated a growth mindset and carefully organized my argument. I stated a piece of relevant evidence, immediately followed by thoughtful analysis. During the actual debate I made sure to slow down, and focus on what I was saying. I demonstrated a growth mindset by changing my debate preparations, and rhetoric in order to appear more composed as opposed to rambling. I was able to use feedback I received from the first debate to improve my performance in the second debate.
The assignment I used a growth mindset in was the research blog post on our presidents. Coming out of U.S. History and writing the junior thesis, I kept in mind the problems I had when researching and writing my thesis as well as the feedback I received about it. Ultimately, my growth mindset was to use the knowledge I gained from writing that paper and apply it to this blog post. One thing I learned when writing my junior thesis was that it is easier to write a thesis after gathering evidence. The way the junior thesis was set up, we had to turn in our thesis before we had completed our research. When I wrote the blog post, I solidified my idea after my research had been completed. I think this made for a stronger, more provable paper. I think junior thesis also taught me to be a better researcher by allowing me to figure out what types of sources are best. For my blog post, I mostly used concrete primary source evidence such as speeches and an election ad. Overall, by doing my blog post, I used the feedback I had gotten from my junior thesis to grow to be a better historical writer and researcher.
I did not receive feedback while working on the project, however the comment from a peer that I got after I had posted my project really showed her understanding of my post. I thought the fact that she understood my point and the evidence presented showed the success of my post. The growth mindset I used while completing this project really helped the final product to be as successful as it was in clarity, quality of research and argument. I have learned from this experience how to apply past feedback to make future research papers even more successful.
Monday, November 5, 2012
When I switched into this class in mid-September, I came in with a firm mindset on my political views. For the first month I held strongly to my convictions and defended my views on certain issues such as the economy. In October, I was assigned to spend a period educating the class about a 2012 campaign issue. I was assigned to teach Job Loss / Economic Growth. At first, I thought the project would be a breeze. I thought I knew everything about the economy and was looking forward to enlightening the class. Boy was I wrong. After spending hours upon hours researching, I realized how under informed I was about the economy and how it works. After carefully organizing my presentation to be easy to follow yet rich in information, I noticed a massive boost in my knowledge about the economy and job creation. I have not received any feedback yet because I turned the assignment in today, but I am looking forward to hearing the classes’ feedback.
This project was a great learning experience for me because I was able to gain new perspective and insight on an issue I once thought I knew so much about. I demonstrated a growth mindset by listening to the rigorous constructive feedback my father gave me and used it to modify my presentation to be the best it could be. In addition to my father’s feedback, I also learned the value of having an open mind. Before working on the presentation, I held a strict view on the economy and how to improve it in a variety of ways. Now, after stopping to listen and have an open mind, I have modified my view to be less narrow-minded in finding the endless possibilities to enable the economy to prosper.