Natalie SemanWorld Lit/Comp HLester/Hamilton2 May 2011 Summative Learning Reflections 1. Over the course of this project, I have learned so much about Sexual Trauma to Women in the Military. The interesting part about this topic is that I dove in head first with no previous knowledge about the issue. In all honesty, it hadn’t occurred to me until this unit on wartime illnesses that sexual violence is an issue at all. I learned that sexual trauma causes PTSD in victims, and that though officers and military spokespersons make it seem like the issue is taken seriously, it is not. That fact in itself is horrifying. The biggest insight I gained from my research is that the key issue these women are facing is stand up for yourself and risk ridicule or follow your dreams. Victims face the worst form of bullying possible, and are looked down upon for reporting it. Despite all I learned, I still wonder what is stopping military officers from putting a stop to sexual abuse. If military officials can scream and yell at soldiers for not standing in line, why can’t they do the same for sexual violence? 2. The biggest challenge I found in researching my topic was keeping my heart out of the facts. It is very difficult to read about the stories of these women without being angry and ranting on paper. The hardest thing for me was straightening myself up, clearing my mind, and treating these heart-wrenching facts like strictly numbers. Additionally, I found myself relying on the school computers for the bulk of my research. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve been able to design my project on the computers at my home. The main problem in doing this was getting all the databases to function outside of school. Nearly every time I would enter the off-campus
password, it would ask for more information or give me an error. I dealt with this by coming into the library early in the mornings and working diligently in class.3. The most difficult thing about this project was ridding myself of all the opinionated articles. This heavy topic seemed to bring out the ranting from many authors, and it was difficult for me to see past that and find facts I could actually use. This made things difficult because, often times, the best, most information-filled articles were found in the back pages of databases like Academic Search complete. Another struggle came in using efficient search terms. After trial and error for many days, I finally found good terms that would produce results. My favorite part about research projects and this one in particular is the freedom they allow. It is refreshing to have all the pressure on me and what I can get done in the allotted time. I love knowing that I have a large amount of time to utilize as I please. This freedom allowed me to test my decision making skills and my academic drive to complete a solid product.4. The fishbowl discussions, All Quiet on the Western Front and What Was Asked of Us all influenced my project in the same way. All of these sources of information and discussion provided a basis for the atmosphere of deployed soldiers. Knowing how things were with Paul Baumer and his comrades allowed me to compare his experience of common cause and commradery to the betrayal and horrifying existence of a victim of sexual abuse. This knowledge helped me better understand the trauma this type of abuse can cause. After this project, I have a new-found respect for female soldiers because of what they put at stake to defend our country.5. Studying this topic influenced me greatly, but the most impactful aspect of the process was watching the interviews these women took part in on CNN. Throughout the time we have been working on this project, the network has had an influx of segments on military victims of sexual trauma, which provided really great sources of information. Along with this source of
information, reading personal accounts of sexual violence on Gale databases also stuck me. It is amazing that these women are still fighting through the things they had to experience and the decisions they had to make (namely, reporting the accident). It really struck me that in one account I found on CNN, the victim’s higher officer ripped her abuse report papers in half, right in front of her face.6. I am most proud of my time management in this project. Using the mistakes I made in the fall, such as not utilizing Symbaloo or Scoop.it, I was able to learn and organize my thoughts efficiently. Symbaloo proved to be a very helpful tool for organizing, and I really saved time through the use of Easybib.7. The most challenging thing for me in this project was focusing on writing the facts. It was very difficult to not type a paper about how sexual violence in the military makes me feel, because if I had the power, I would imprison every single soldier who ever laid a hand on a female like that. I overcame this by focusing on the final product, and using the organization of words that I used in the fall, which was based on a standard, three sub-topic paper.8. This semester, I have improved on the following literacy skills in the following ways: a. 1.1.5 Evaluate info found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity… i. I show mastery in this skill because of my ability to find facts on such a heavy topic like sexual abuse. Weeding through “fluff” to find usable facts was much more difficult than it sounds, and I am proud to say I did it well. b. 1.1.3 Develop a range of questions to frame search… i. I show mastery in this skill because I have always struggled in this aspect of learning and through this research project, I learned how important it really is. Framing my design into three main sub-topics was difficult, but I managed it well and I am happy with the organized outcome.
c. 1.2.1 Display initiative by posing questions and investigating… i. This skill was utilized in the interview aspect of this project, one of the most difficult parts for me. I show mastery and diligence in completing this aspect of the project, having to email four different people for information. All in all, I am satisfied with the person I ended up learning from. d. 1.2.2 Demonstrate direction by making independent choices on resources… i. I was a solo worker for this project, and I am satisfied with the way I was able to focus and stay on task. A research project has to have many different components to be successful, including organization, time management, creativity, diligence, and dedication. Working by myself was difficult and rigorous, but by staying focused on those skills, I found success. e. 1.3.1 Respect copyright/intellectual property… i. Finding photos that were both aesthetically pleasing and copyright friendly was difficult. Flickr provided a wide range of photos with creative commons licenses, however, which aided significantly to my mastery of this skill.9. The process of composing a Voice thread helped me to learn because it forced me to find both qualitive and quantitive information. I had to balance the right type of information with the right amount of information, a task that proved to be more difficult than it sounds. Additionally, it caused me to be a better organizer, having to frame specific questions for each slide. All in all, it was a very helpful and beneficial process.10. My information dashboard was Symbaloo, which I have fallen in love with. It has a clean interface with easy to use tiles and is always reliable. I added both my emails, my citation tools (easybib), the class wiki, and all the Gale databases from the Unquiet Library page to my Symbaloo mix. I would definitely use this tool again. I have even added it as my home page on
my personal laptop. I think my symbaloo says that I am a very diverse learner, utilizing a wide variety of interfaces to gain knowledge, and organizing them in a pattern based on function.11. I am prepared to use the skills I have acquired this year in American Lit next year. The most important skills I have gained include time management, organization of thoughts (shaping sheet and mindmap), organization of tools (Symbaloo), utilization of online tools (Easybib), and the diligence to get the job done. The research projects of the 2011-2012 school year have been the sole causes of this expansion of my knowledge.