In-Depth Blog post #2

In-Depth Post #2

So, I’m 3 weeks into my project.

I have encountered a lot of difficulty in finding a mentor. I have emailed community centers, music studios, local bands, and other organizations to see if any instructors would be willing to mentor me. Nobody emailed back from these groups. I then realized I could use the website “meetup” (which I had been using for my invasive plant removal leadership project) to try and get in touch with local guitar circles. I have sent out many texts on the website, and surprisingly got a plethora of answers! Unfortunately, those who were available to meet had their groups scheduled at the same time I had extracurricular activities. All others were also willing to mentor me, but at absurd rates such as $100 per hour. Of course, I didn’t accept these mentorship offers, so I had to make a last-minute decision that I would have a family friend teach me guitar, even though he isn’t a professional.

My mentor’s name is Bogdan. He is a close friend of my parents and used to have a lot of experience in music. He played violin in a music university for seven years and taught himself many other instruments on the side, such as guitar. During my first session with him, I learned all the basic and essential chords on a guitar and started learning the tune to multiple different songs. I learned that with 9 basic chords, I would be able to play along with almost every mainstream song, and I’m currently trying to learn “Chasing Cars” by applying what he taught me. I am planning to meet with him every week from here on.

Apart from my struggles finding a mentor, I have made lots of progress in learning and practicing guitar. First of all, I am taking the Getting started with Playing Guitar Udemy course online, taught by one of the top 5 instructors online. I am doing at least one lesson per day and I am very quickly growing comfortable with my guitar. I am also practicing daily a new chord strumming technique I have found in the hopes of increasing my speed over time. If I continue to practice this routine 10 minutes per day, I will be able to play fast enough to play complex songs soon. After this Udemy course, I have another one planned, AND a third if I get the time to do that one as well, so I have plenty of online content that will last me for the rest of the project.

I am also planning to meet with a friend of mine that goes to the university transfer program at UBC, as he is very skilled in musical composition, and he can begin to teach me basic music theory so I can create my own music. He can share his knowledge with me, as he is already a certified music tutor.

Finally, I have learned how to read tab format music sheets for guitar, which means that if I have the skill needed to play a song, I will be able to play it following the music sheet.

Below I have 2 videos. One from my first week of in-depth, and one from now. These will show the current progress of my guitar skills.

How to agree

During my time with my mentor, I tried to keep my mind open as much as possible, as he was obviously more professional than me, and knew a lot more about both the theory and the practice on the topic than I did. At one point, I was positioning my fingers wrong on a chord, and he showed me the correct way of placing my fingers on the fretboard. I listened to him without hesitation, as I instantly noticed how much easier playing became when I took his advice and began playing with the proper finger arrangement.

How to disagree

Sometimes it is necessary to disagree with your mentor, or someone that has more knowledge than you, simply because they may have a false trust in their own beliefs and knowledge because they are more professional than you, but in reality, you may understand the concept better from a fresh point of view. This can open your mentor’s eyes to possibilities they had not yet noticed, or other correct points of view that they had not yet considered. During this practice session with my mentor, I had no disagreements with him about my in-depth, but as I learn more and more, we will no doubt have disagreements about certain aspects of playing guitar, and it is important that we solve them through respect and listening to one another’s points of view.

How to differ

Differing is a natural part of human nature. Everyone will have their own preferences, and ways of doing things. It is important to recognize the discrepancy between disagreeing and differing. Generally, when you disagree, someone will have the right opinion, and someone will have a wrong opinion, this will be sorted out through conversation. Differing however means that both people have a correct opinion, and they need to learn how to accommodate their separate points of view. For example, I use slightly different finger layouts on the fretboard than my mentor does. But after doing some research, we realized both methods are viable, and it’s a matter of personal preference. This distinction allowed us to keep working efficiently together, while I still used a method that felt more comfortable to me.

Final ZIP post

My inquiry question is how to can use different language tools and strategies to create more effective debate arguments and rebuttals. My question remained exactly the same, as I feel like it was a question with good size and depth, that wouldn’t take me too long to learn, but also could require further research if I was still interested. I think that during the planning phase of zip, I did very well choosing an inquiry question that would suit my project well.

During the course of the inquiry, I learned multiple valuable skills that could continue to develop me as a student. First of all, I learned a lot about public speaking. This is super important to me, as ever since eminent night, I haven’t been confident in my public speaking abilities anymore, and I’ve found myself to be less and less confident when talking in front of a group. It may be a case of fear of failure, but I feel like I no longer have the confidence I once had. This project has allowed me to work on my public speaking skills and begin to improve them again in the hopes of recovering my confidence. Second, I have learned a lot of persuasion techniques, most of them stemming off logos, ethos, and pathos. I’m beginning to realize how important those three terms are in English in general, and how strong of an impact they can have in persuasive writing and speaking. Finally, I have managed to begin winning debates against my friends by learning these skills, so that’s always fun 😊.

The answer to my inquiry question comes from two different places. One, you must always use Logos, Ethos, and Pathos to form good arguments (you also need to have a strong structure, but that’s common in all forms of English). Second, you must understand how you can use your opponents’ arguments against them and create powerful rebuttals. This can be done by exposing fallacies, using fallacies, or finding inconsistencies or flaws within facts in the argument.

My final learning artifact is not physical, but rather a demonstration of my learning. I do have a short script that I will be submitting, but my final product is a debate with people in the class. Now I have some pre-set debate topics if the guest doesn’t know what they want to debate about, but otherwise, I will be just having a debate with them, and making comments about debate structure and strategies. My chosen curricular competencies are: Respectfully exchange ideas and viewpoints from diverse perspectives to build shared understanding and extend thinking, which I will be demonstrating during the debate sessions. Assess and refine texts to improve clarity and impact, which I have done in my research for the pre-selected debate topics, and Use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful texts for a variety of purposes and audiences, which is also shown in my prepared debate topics, which I will be submitting.

I used this website many times to learn debate and argument formats, an get inspiration for my own arguments.

Taught me a lot of strong and effective ways to dismantle a persons argument and rebuttals through exposing their use of fallacies.

Was a very accessible and easy to understand source of information early on in the project, was accustomed to my learning style as I am a mostly visual learner.

Taught me some basic debate formats, that I then used to create my own speed debate format.

Personally, this inquiry has driven me to try and explore debate further and find the real world applications of debate. Like, how can I use debate in my future career? If I go to politics (just an example), debate will be very important in all my day to day work. But how can debate be used effectively in the office? Or in job interviews?

In-Depth Intro (Featuring a Winston Churchil cameo!!!)

This year for in-depth, I have decided to finally attempt to learn a musical instrument, despite my laughable musical skill. I hope to reach a point where I can confidently play it, and at the time of writing this post, I can play twinkle, twinkle little star! But I can tell it will be a very steep upwards climb, that I am nevertheless willing to take.

I have a few main reasons why I want to try learning guitar. First of all, I want to create a new pastime for myself, when I don’t have anything else to do. Usually I would go read, play video games, or talk to friends, but I really want a new hobby that wouldn’t require me to stay in front of my laptop many hours per day, to help my brain development and just create some self-control. Music can also be a wonderful tool to destress when I am being swamped by a task, or multiple tasks. Instead of procrastinating until I’m out of time, I can give my mind a quick break, play some relaxing songs, then hop back onto the computer to continue my work. Music can have very strong effects on my mental state and mood and being able to play it would allow me to directly control my stress levels and could be a very valuable tool in the future. I would also love to learn music as a social activity, where I could meet with other players, and make new friends. The music community is very large, and there would be no shortage of people to meet and interact with. Finally, I really want to create some kind of musical talent within myself, as I feel horrible that my passion for music has absolutely no outlets. I want to be able to express myself through music, and because I don’t have a good singing voice, and my piano skills are just as bad, I’m hoping guitar will allow a new outlet.

For my mentor, I am sending emails to the Port Moody Arts Centre, and multiple musical studios around the community to try and get in touch with a mentor. My only worry is that if I am getting a mentor from a studio that gives payed lessons, they may only accept mentorship IF they get payed If that’s the case, then I will have to find an alternate source of a mentor, such as a parent or friend of a family within talons.

To end off my years in TALONS, I’m determined to achieve my goal, to learn the guitar. Last year was my warm up, but this year is the home stretch, it will be one of my last chances to explore an area of interest within talons, and possibly even my life, as my schedule will only get busier as I get older. I will accomplish this goal. “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” Winston Churchill claims. I will prove him right, despite my massive lack of skill in music, I am determined to make my final in-depth work.

ZIP blog post #3

“Reflect on your inquiry question and how your understanding is changing, becoming more focused, or is perhaps being reaffirmed by your research. What do you now know that you didn’t know at the start of the inquiry?”
“How can I use different language tools and strategies to create more effective debate arguments and rebuttals.” This was my initial inquiry question. Going in, I thought of debate as a kind of dance battle, where two opponents carefully choose specific moves to try and show dominance and outdo the other’s moves. I was always astounded by the hidden layer of twisted statements and rebuttals, which made debate super captivating to watch and perform in. However, as I have begun to progress more and more, and gain more knowledge, I am beginning to uncover something new. Where before I thought that most of the strength came from the argument, and the rebuttals just granted justification for your initial point, I realized that debate is much more focused on the rebuttal instead. Yes, having a strong structured argument is essential, but its what comes after that truly defines the victor. Carefully laying traps four your opponent, while trying not to fall into theirs, and doing your best to de-validate their stance, so yours seems like an obvious better view. In a way, debate is a lot more like judo then a dance. The point of judo is to use the enemy’s power and punches to throw them off balance and take them down. Debate is very similar. While you need to be strong, and good at throwing punches, your victory stems from your ability to completely decimate your opponent’s punch.

Zip Document of Learning #2

“Related to your learning evidence, what have you done to make retrieving information easier or more effectiveness in class”

A strategy that I have begun to develop and am trying to test for the first time in this project is instead of studying tips, facts, and bulk information about the topic area, I am now trying to study from direct sources. For example, I have been finding debates online, then studying the different arguments and rebuttals made by both sides. This allows me to get a more in-depth understanding of the argument by observing and eventually recognizing patterns and trends, I train my mind to immediately distinguish them, and use them or argue against them if needed. This method of research requires a lot more time and patience on my part, as I need to slowly practice recognizing these patterns over and over again. In a way, it reminds me of riding a bike, you can learn how to ride a bike by reading about what you need to do with your balance, legs, etc., or you can learn the proper skills by watching people ride their bikes, learning the movements, and then slowly beginning to practice them yourself. Sure, it’s a harder, longer and more tedious process, but the end result is of higher quality, and you finish off feeling a lot more accomplished and proud of yourself.

Zip Blog Post #1

The source which I have found valuable is the same one which Mr. Morris suggested to me on out first work period: At first, this link seemed to be more of an interesting side source, that would be fun to use while having casual debates, but I studied it nevertheless, as I did find some of the strategies, and their counters, quite interesting. After the work period was over, I kept some in my head, as I pondered over them for the rest of the day. And then, before I went to sleep, I got into a debate with a friend over sleeping schedules and healthy sleeping habits. As we were arguing, I immediately noticed similar trends in their arguments as to the ones referred to in the fallacy chart, and as such, I was able to shut down many arguments, without even much practice. I think this is allowing me to fully recognize the power rebuttals can have in an argument, and a strong rebuttal can demolish the opponent’s platform.


Zip proposal-Debate

My chosen topic of inquiry for zip is debate. To be more exact, I want to study how we can use different language tools and strategies to create more effective debate arguments and rebuttals. I choose this topic because although I’ve had some experience with debate and public speaking, I never had the chance to investigate it independently. I feel like whenever I get into a debate with friends, my arguments are always muddled and unclear, and my entire debate structure is too informal. I also want to learn debate as it is a powerful skill to have within your career or future ventures. I think that this inquiry question is going to be fun and engaging for me to study, as it’s a very broad and diversified subject area, and it will be very easy for me to find a subject area of interest for me within debate.

Because of previous experiences, I have some knowledge in the area of debate. I already learned proper debate structure and some of the attributes of a good argument. However, as is evident by my debate performance, I have a lot of room for improvement still. However, that course did teach me a lot about researching arguments and debate topics, so that will be very helpful during zip, especially during my researching period.

By the end of the assignment, I want to have developed a much better debate style and clearer arguments, as stated earlier. I also want to make my rebuttals have clearer points, as most of the time the clearly formulated ideas in my head come out as crazy ramblings towards the opposing side. I also want to learn about a specific debate in the process (although this idea may change). I was planning to study whether the future of modern democratic countries is drifting towards democratic socialism or nationalism, as both extremes seem to be gaining more and more popularity in the modern world.

For support on my project, I can very easily find a class, club or mentor of sorts to teach me debate. At the same time, there are a plethora of online resources from debate judges or professional debate participants, so finding firsthand resources will not be a challenge at all for me.

For the final presentation of my topic, I’m still not sure how I could present it. I was thinking that during the rotations, I let the visitor bring a random topic, and then they simply debate with me. During the debate, I would point out certain strategies I am using and give them tips and instructions on how to better their arguments and improve their rebuttals and confidence.

Jan 8th to 11th: Preliminary research, get all the basics for further studying

Jan 11th to 22nd: Study professionals in the profession, maybe try and get a mentor, receive first-hand sources. Interview? Practice for the final presentation.

Jan 22 to 27th: Create debate topics? Practice with friends, parents, teachers, whoever possible.

After 27th: Hope I don’t mess up on my final presentation


Chapter 1 questions

The main thing that stood out in the first part of Ersula Le Guin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” is her unique and fresh writing style, compared to many modern authors. One of the first things I noticed is that she doesn’t go into the different points of view of the characters within the book. An example of this third-person perspective is: “’Speak!’ she said to test the spell. The boy could not speak, but he laughed.” (9) When I used to read fantasy novels, there was always at least one character that the story was told from. You would see all their thoughts and their perspective of the story. But Le Guin has more of a camera point of view, where she describes everything from a third person point of view and can’t see the direct thoughts of the character. The second thing I noticed about the story is that there is very heavy expanded moments and imagery. Le Guin tries to add as much detail as possible into every scene and passage. A very good example of this is the scene where the witch puts a spell on Duny, right before the previous quote. “He sat while his aunt bound back her uncombed hair, and knotted the belt of her dress, and again sat cross-legged throwing handfuls of leaves into the firepit, so that a smoke spread and filled the darkness of the hut.” (9) This adds an extreme example of “show not tell” that’s almost overdone in my opinion. The imagery is so overdone to an extent where all we are seeing is pretty pictures, but I personally feel like there is a bit of character development lacking. The last thing I noticed in her writing style is her strong understanding of the in-world environment. I feel like when she wrote the book, she understood very well, what the setting of this fantasy world looks like, and she is able to convey that setting very well to us. We can see this in the opening of the story: “ From the towns in its high valleys and the ports on its dark narrow bays many a Gontishman has gone forth to serve the Lords of Archipelago in their cities as wizard as wizard or mage, or looking for adventure, to wander working from isle to isle of all Earthsea.” (1). It feels like this imaginary world of hers was in her head for a while and she knows its inner workings, even better then the novel describes it. I’m sure there are many dreamt up places in her universe that will never be displayed in her books, only in her imagination.

Anticipation guide

“People are their own worst enemies”

I strongly agree with this statement.

The way I see this statement, I completely agree with it, in all possible implications. Now the first thing that you would probably think of when you see this statement is something along the lines of “There will always be others out there that will hurt you! Wouldn’t they be more harmful then you are to yourself?”. To respond to this, I want to reference a quote, which I have been using kind of heavily recently, just because of how powerful it is, especially considering who said the quote. “Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” (Richard Nixon). This quote was said by the resigning president of the United States of America. Nixon said this as he was leaving the White House, as he realized that he had allowed himself to slowly tunnel vision on defending himself from the Democrats and the press, which in turn made him run the white house through hate, not passion or service. I feel like this quote fully encompasses the point I am trying to prove. It shows that before you (or Nixon in this example) hate those who hate or try to bring you down, you can still proceed through life with ease. As soon as you lose self-control and let others underneath your skin though, you slowly bring yourself down in a pitiful collapse.

Harrison Bergeron

Generally, after the release of a popular or insightful book release, a movie spin-off is created after. Such is the case with Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”. The movie 2081, by Chandler Tuttle, takes an interesting new approach on the story, and changes the narrative a bit, to try and create a different impact on the reader. “Harrison Bergeron” and 2081 is a story about a dystopian society where all humans have been made equal. The laws are enforced by an all-powerful “handicapper general”, and her elite police unit.   But at the end of the day, which version of the story is better? Personally, I think the original short story has a better overall story for these two reasons. The story does a better job of showing Georges internal conflicts. Throughout the short story, the narrator gives us insight into Georges mind, and describes Georges emotions and feelings and emotions to the audience. An example would be: “George was toying with the vague notion that the dancers shouldn’t be handicapped” (1). This quote from the narrator shows an internalized conflict that George is facing against societies rules, but we don’t get to see these conflicts during the film. Another reason why I think the story is better is the climax of the story. In the film, they take a very realistic approach to the dancing scene and try and make the scene seem real. Meanwhile in the book, the scene is very obviously over-exaggerated for dramatic effect, which I reel adds to the overall power of the scene, and the message it is trying to portray. As the narrator from the short story quotes, “it became their obvious attempt to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it” (4). Overall, for these two reasons, and a few more, I think the book is able to better communicate the image in the authors mind. Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, to me, has a better potential at leaving an impact on the reader by Chandler Tuttle’s 2081. Therefore, I believe it is crucial to read the short story, if you want to get a possible glimpse of a futuristic socialist society.