Interview Script: GCW 2011 Mt. Kilimanjaro and the African Savanna<br />*Introduction*<br />Q: What are the ways of knowin...
Senior Seminar Presentation Script
Senior Seminar Presentation Script
Senior Seminar Presentation Script
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Senior Seminar Presentation Script


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Senior Seminar Presentation Script

  1. 1. Interview Script: GCW 2011 Mt. Kilimanjaro and the African Savanna<br />*Introduction*<br />Q: What are the ways of knowing? <br />The four ways of knowing that are studied in senior seminar are perception, emotion, language and reason. We learned that each can either be beneficial or an obstacle to learning or observing the world in general. <br />Q: What example did you chose and why did you choose it? <br />I chose the trip I took this year for my 2011 Global Citizen Week, which was called Mt. Kilimanjaro and the African Savanna. I chose this example because not only did I learn about myself on this trip but I also encountered new situations and experienced new things that I have never done before. Therefore I had to learn to cope with new situations in a very short span of time. <br />Q: Why did you choose this trip? <br />Well first off this GCW trip was a 7-day visiting school program in February of 2011 at the International School of Moshi (ISM) in Tanzania. During the trip we stayed at ISM’s Kishari house and camped in Karatu. We not only visited many of the national parks but also participated in community service activities in Tanzania, along with learning more about African culture such as that of the Maasai people. What drew me to this trip was the fact that I had never before been to Africa and have always wanted to and this trip included both community service and sightseeing. I especially wanted to visit the national parks as I have always wanted to study ecology and conservation and I thought that having this experience would be worthwhile. <br />Q: What did you do on the first day of the trip?<br />On the first day in Tanzania we drove to Ndarakwai Ranch to go on an anti-poaching walk/drive. At the ranch we had the opportunity to talk to a rancher and learn how they struggled to fight poaching in the area and ultimately make the land safe for all the animals that lived on it. They also explain the successes of their vigilant program as now the ranch has cut down poaching by a significant number and brought back a number of animals that had previously not be able to grow in population due to the poaching (such as the elephants). <br />Q: What ways of knowing relate to this?<br />The way of knowing that could be related to this experience is reason. <br />Q: How could this have affected your experience? If it was negative how could the WoK be countered? <br />The explanation for why poaching was wrong and why it had to be fought was very rational and reasonable, but this argument could have been effected by the fact that the structure of arguments can make even a false premises seem logical. Moreover, belief bias could have been in play here, as I could have simply believed the argument was valid because I agreed with the conclusion. Furthermore, I already held this particular belief that poaching is wrong and that the environment should be preserved, therefore, confirmation bias could have also occurred. As I could have listened and remembered only parts of his lecture that support my beliefs. In this case the limitations of reason could be countered by looking for holes in the argument and looking for evidence that does not fit with my pre-existing beliefs.<br />Q: What did you do on the second and third day of the trip?<br />On the second and third days in Tanzania we participated in a community service activity by going to a local Tanzanian school and helping to finish classrooms. We sanded the walls down and scraped extra cement of the windows and other unwanted areas to ready it to be painted. Once that was done we painted the buildings inside and out with numerous coats of paint. We also got a chance on the third day to see some of the children, as it happened to be a school day. <br />Q: What ways of knowing relate to this?<br />The ways of knowing that could be related to this experience are emotion and language. <br />Q: How could this have affected your experience? If it was negative how could the WoK be countered? <br />The actual labor was exactly that, labor, it was hot, dusty and we worked for two full days, so when we finished the classrooms and saw the students and teachers reactions it was all worth it. Emotionally I felt a sense of accomplishment that I had done this for them and was happy that I could give them something. Moreover, I formed I strong connection with some of the children there and it was extremely hard not only to leave them but also to see what they had compared to what I have. I think that this emotional connection was a positive aspect of the experience as it helped me truly understand what I could do for other people. <br />Language was also a barrier here, like it was throughout the entire trip, as I do not speak Swahili, yet it was especially apparent here at the school. As most adults that we had encountered so far on the trip spoke enough English to hold a conversation with but the students did not have this. So I mostly had to use gestures coupled with the little Swahili I knew to communicate with them. Yet this was successful and the language barrier was broken down through the use of an alternate language, body language and gestures. <br />Q: What did you do on the fourth and fifth day of the trip?<br />On the fourth and fifth day of the trip we went several safaris to Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, as well as visiting a Maasai Village. <br />Q: What ways of knowing relate to this?<br />The ways of knowing that could be related to this experience are perception and language. <br />Q: How could this have affected your experience? If it was negative how could the WoK be countered? <br />Tanzania was not at all like what I expected it to be. I was expecting more of a desert but what I saw was lush and full of life. The safaris we went on completely changed my view and mental map of what Tanzania is like both culturally and geographically. When we went to visit the Massai village I was very surprised as I was expecting something completely different. The village looked prosperous and everyone looked extremely healthy and their housing (called a Boma) was extremely different from what I expected a traditional African house to look like. So, all my expectations about what I would see were almost all completely wrong. Next time this could be countered by looking for things that go against what I expect, such as I could have looked up information on Maasai culture and lifestyle and therefore I would have made a more realistic expectation. <br />Again language was a barrier, as we had to attempt to communicate with our safari guides as they translated all the Swahili animal names into English. Some of the times the guide could not remember the word in English and would simple describe the Swahili word using English words. Moreover, when we went to visit the Massai people, who did not speak English, we had to rely on a translator, which means that many things could have been different. As some things could have been lost in translation, such as untranslatable words and idioms, therefore we would have not heard the exact speech/conversation that was being spoken in Swahili. Nothing much could have been done to solve this unless I learned to speak Swahili, nevertheless we understood enough to get the basic points of what was being explained. <br />Q: What did you do on the sixth of the trip?<br />On the sixth day we went to go visit a coffee farm called the Burka estate which host a place called Shanga. We also went to visit a Maasai market to buy souvenirs. <br />Q: What ways of knowing relate to this?<br />The ways of knowing that could be related to this experience are perception and language. <br />Q: How could this have affected your experience? If it was negative how could the WoK be countered? <br />The Burka estate is a coffee farm that host what is known as Shanga and it is a place were handicapped people work to recycle things such as bottles to make jewelry. When we went there I sat down to make a bracelet with a guy named Will who was physical handicapped and he defied all my expectations of what I thought he would be able to do. So, these pre-existing expectations could be counter by attempting to look up information about Shanga and the people there before hand, then trying to develop more realistic expectations going in.<br />Moreover, some of the people at Shanga were deaf so we learned a little sign language and communicated using that, which was a completely new mode of communication for me. Moreover, at the Maasai craft market we had to attempt to communicate with the stall owners enough to be able to bargain for prices, which although difficult was done quite successfully. So, the language barrier was again defeated like before with the use of a different language, in this case sign language and body language/gestures. <br />Q: What does the example say about you personally or as a student? What do you know about yourself as a student that will change how you approach learning in the future?<br />This example shows that my balance between my reason and emotion is good. I do not get over emotional nor do I get overly rational. I even if I did I would be able to recognize this and work on lessening the effect. So, I do not think that these two ways of knowing would be a serious impediment to my learning. <br />Moreover, I think that this example shows with that I handle dealing with new situations very well and can adapt to situations in which communication is a problem quickly. So, I could conclude that language does not really have a limitation to my learning as I can easily overcome them. <br />However, this example shows that sometimes in terms of perception as a way of knowing, I place too many expectations on how things should be or how things will go. Most of which end up being wrong. So I should learn to either recognize my expectations and try to find information that contradicts them or try to make less of them in general. I think that this over-willingness to set up expectations could have impacted my learning. As I would always be looking towards the future and what will happen and not focusing on what is happening, which could be impacting my ability to learn and stay in the present. Yet, I think that although I do tend to set up numerous expectations for everything in my life I have the ability to acknowledge that when I find contradicting evidence to my expectations and beliefs that they must be changed. So in this sense I think my expectations and beliefs are flexible to change, which will limit the extent to which perception as a way of knowing is an obstacle to my learning. <br />*Conclude*<br />