This new year of socials has already brought up some very interesting topics that have been keeping me up at night, other than the fact I read Pride and Prejudice twenty minutes before I hit the hay. So far in the week of TALONS socials we have talked mainly about Columbus and the new world, and the underlaying idea of social development along with the subjects that closely relate to that. It is a big jump away from our discussions last year during socials, as that semester our learning was based on Canadian history and development. I believe that this subject will have a more profound impact on the the class in terms of our discussions, and it certainly has already made me think more deeply about some of the topics that are brought up each class.
As I mentioned, our last main topic discussed in socials from the year prior was based on Canadian history. My final for the term was created around the prompt and I explored quite a few of the ideas such as aboriginal rights, and also power and control of government. The format that my finals was presented in was a fictional story loosely based on historical events that affected the development of the modern Canadian government. The plot of my story was about a trader captain recalling his days working in labour as part of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and how he witnessed the growth of Canadian social and political structure. In addition, I mentioned in my story the effects and consequences of aboriginal abuse and mistreatment, which was another important topic discussed in class sessions. Through my socials finals told in the format of a short historical fiction story, I was able to effectively show my learning and understanding of the ideas taught.
From my time in socials last year, I have become very interested and engaged in the topics and ideas examined in class. This semester with a new main topic in mind, there are quite a few goals that I have given to myself for this socials. The first of my goals relate closely to what I quite enjoyed as a part of class last year, which is the active and thoughtful conversations that we have. To improve on that, I would like to be more active in class discussions, and also try to think deeper about the topics we bring up and create inferences. Another goal I have in mind is to be more open-minded, for I believe that will let me get more out of each class session. In addition, this year I would like to actively look to accomplish daily tasks that will benefit my learning, such as the ones mentioned in the “Philosophy pop quizzes”. In conclusion, my goals for this semester of socials is to be more engaged and active in the material.
There are also many interests that arose for me as the topic was introduced to the class. Mainly, I am very keen on learning more of world history and the motives behind some of the events that shaped the idea of society that we consider acceptable today. I am excited that the subjects of this term will be more distant from Canadian history, and I believe that this broader range of topics will be much more interesting and engaging.
As for the core competencies that the class was presented during this first week, I have found them quite thought provoking to read and consider. I found that many of the skills mentioned I have already practiced to some extent in class, however there are many that I believe I can still improve on. By bettering some of the core competencies, I think I can perceive the knowledge bestowed during class and discussions. Communication and thinking are some of the skills that I find I have firmly grasped already, though there are still ways that I can advance them to be more effective in my learning, such as doing more unassigned research on ideas that peak my interest and also looking at topics from many viewpoints. The personal and social competencies listed is one that I am not so familiar with, but look forward to analyzing more specifically through these few months in socials.
The “big” or “main” idea that I found most compelling from the new, revised curriculum, and the one that I explored as part of our first assignment was: “Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.” The baseline idea of the prompt made me connect to many points of the socials topics we have covered. Relating most evidently to the passage we discussed over the pass week pertaining to Columbus and his adventures, I found that this prompt demonstrated how I viewed the relationship between Columbus and the natives he encountered. I consider that the rise of the “new world” and the development of new ideas of trade and commerce in Europe drove Columbus and many others on their journeys. Their thoughts of conquest, gold, and natural resources that would eventually allow their home country to grow and expand roused explorers to search for new routes. Their culture that they hold would then be used as their reason for many of their actions that they play out upon discovering new territories. In that sense, the newfound idea of conquest grasped by European explorers and conquerors alike changed the face of European society and more so guided the beginning of modern North America.
There are also other big idea’s that I found connections with which pertain to the content we studied. “Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies” is a topic I related to the Columbus reading, for the power differences of the two societies decided the course of events that would dictate the outcome of American as well as European history for the better or worse. In addition, I found details in the idea: “The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change” that correlate to Columbus, since his origin in Europe did give him a natural advantage in this affairs.
I passionately find that these “Big Ideas” very fascinating and am more than ready to delve deeper on these eye-opening topics.
Curricular Competencies and questions
The many curricular competencies of the curriculum gave me more insight on the reading of Columbus in Howard Zinn’s book, “A People’s History of the United States.” I have formed many new ideas and also questions about topics of the reading. First of my questions related with the passage is: what is the driving motive behind Columbus on this many voyages, and what goal in mind did he have to have acted in the manner depicted in historic accounts? Secondly, I wonder about the moral logic of European conquerors, and how there could have been such an absence of such a concept? The last of my questions of the reading is: what would have been the consequences and results if the series of events mentioned in the passage were played out in a different but closely identical manner, such as Columbus “discovering” a different more hostile environment, and would the conclusion of such a episode be drastically different?
All of these topics and idea’s I would surely like to and hope to explore on more in class. In addition however, I do also have some questions on the course. I do wonder how the layout of the content will be and how exactly it will be taught. I am informed that it would look somewhat like last year’s study, however I am curious to see if the new subjects and topics will present new methods of learning.
I’m quite excited to see what socials might bring this year, and from this week alone, I can see that there are many interesting topics to be explored.