- I learnt these things about the Language used with reference to the culture of the country that I explored.
Language and meaning are largely shaped by culture and context. This is what has been taught to us by the IB. While it being true I realized that this forms a circle. Culture too is influenced by language. I learned that language is not only a form of communication but also a form of expression. Art is language and so is the way you dress. Europe is a diverse continent with about 60 indigenous regional and minority languages. We tried to embrace the cultures of few of its less popular countries to create awareness about its offerings. Belgium is known for its waffle but did you know that cute little blue creatures we know as The Smurfs were born there? And so was the infamous friendly detective, Tintin? Belgium is known as the cartoon capital of the world. There is a giant cartoon painted on a wall with a man walking with his girlfriend. But since the girl looks quite androgynous and with the increasing acceptance of LGBT people in European culture the cartoon is now known as the symbol of gay love. This is how language reflects culture.
Some of the best works of literature were inspired by Edinburg, a country in the United Kingdom. Like A Christmas Carol, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes etcetera. If you look closely you will be able to find the European culture mirroring in these extraordinary stories.
Croatia discovered ties which are now seen on every business man’s neck. We researched how culture played an important role in its invention and how it influenced the fashion industry all over the world.
These are just a few examples of how we found connections between language in cultural context. Although it is a slow process when seen from a distance, it is really surprising how much time and culture affects language.
- This is how I attempted to incorporate my ‘Language in Cultural Context’ learning into my project
We had allocated one European country to each of the participants. Our broad theme was persuasion. We demonstrated how language is used to persuade varied audiences in those countries. For example, in Croatia which is a water-dependent nation, market boats are very common. We modeled a market boat and the participant explained how their vendors persuaded the buyers. Monaco is a wealthy country with big budget hotels which are transformed from ancient heritage sights. The participant made a brochure for one of its hotels showcasing the preserved architecture of the hotel in a way that would appeal to well to do families.
We also managed to find some direct connections that linked language and culture. World-renowned author, J. K Rowling found inspirations from Edinburgh for the Harry Potter book series. The participant explored how castles inspired Hogwarts, train-inspired Hogwarts express, and how real-life locations inspired the wizarding world locations like Diagon Alley. We can see the culture of Edinburg reflecting in this magical world. This is an example of how language is influenced by culture.
- These are the things I did well in my Project
Unlike the other groups, we didn’t start working until the last week. I think it’s safe to say that we worked smart and not hard. As project assistants, I and my fellow colleague set out deadlines for the participants of our group and asked them to update us on their progress every day. This way we were able to keep track of their work. Arts being my area of interest I was able to help out the participants with a creative block. We were able to come up with ideas that were relevant and appealing at the same time.
- These are areas on which I could have worked to improve my process or final product(s).
I wouldn’t call myself a people person. I prefer working alone than with a group. Even though I took up this challenge knowing that I will have to work with a team, I still think I could have done a better job at managing. Like every other student the members of our team required constant motivation to complete their task, I tried to motivate them in the beginning but after that when they showed disinterest I took matters into my own hand and tried to complete all the work myself. I couldn’t handle all the workload alone so I soon realized that even though teamwork requires effort and understanding, there is no better way to get the work done.
- The CAS learning outcome that I met through the project is/are:
LO1-Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth. As mentioned earlier, I put my art skills in action. Along with this researching skills is something that played a crucial part in this project as looking for relevant information on reliable sources can be confusing sometimes. But I consider this as a strength because I have always been a very curious person and finding out the correct information is something that I am good at. My weaknesses include not being able to work in a team but I am working on it.
LO2-Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken developing new skills in the process. The most challenging thing was to motivate the participants because most of them weren’t taking the event seriously. I talked to them to understand what it is that is holding them back, I found out that they were disinterested in researching and didn’t want to put time because of the exams. To overcome this I researched about each country myself and knowing what would fascinate the members (because they were already my friends), I found out things that could drive them to work on their own. For example, I knew one of the participants had already been to Scotland and that she was impressed by its offerings, so we assigned her that country.
LO3-Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience. Being the project assistant it was my responsibility to carry out the whole process in an organized manner. We made a document where everyone had to add their ideas and others were allowed to comment their opinions on everyone else’s ideas. This helped us to increase our efficiency as we benefited from suggestions. In the document, we had a table where everyone had to add their requirements of resources. Having everything in one place really made the process easier.
LO4-Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences. Not keeping an update and not helping each other out was not an option. We had to encourage each other at every step of the process. We even scheduled a meeting early in the morning so that we could benefit from the extra hours. Other than this, I researched about each and every country just to make sure that the information collected is not misleading or incorrect.
LO5-Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively. Everyone in our group understood the benefits of working collaboratively, this is why nobody felt shy when it came to seeking help. This increased the productivity and efficiency of our project to a great extent. Working together also helped us in solving the last-minute crisis which involved not being able to put up the decorations. But soon with effective communication and trust, we were able to pull off making a cave out of a cloth.