To futureBIS300 students, I have learned a lot during this class, which has helped me grow to be abetter writer and facilitator. Thanks to all the work I’ve done throughout thisclass, my writing and writing skills have improved dramatically. As a student, whenit comes to writing essays, I have been able to polish my skills in creatingideas. Through working on my artifacts, I have gained even more skills that aregoing to be useful when I enter the real world working in global business. The part of theartifacts I enjoyed working on the most was writing imaginative letters betweenthe famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and myself. Weheld a deep discussion about the banking and problem-posing methods ofeducation. Specifically, I penned a letter from Freire to me explaining why Iam in an admissions bubble. I followed that up with a second letter where I appealedthat decision to Freire using philosophical arguments aligned with hisrationale.
In order to truly engage with this assignment, I had to becomeengrossed in each of our characters and creatively formulate the dialoguebetween us. Writing from Freire’s point of view, I had to think deeply aboutthe motives underlying his problem-posing model and why it was important tohim. In my response, I then had to relate those theories to the specificcontext of my own education. Despite the challenging nature of this assignment,it was exciting to write something so different than what I had done before.
Iam proud of this essay, and will include it in my portfolio, because it showsmy creative thinking, my critical understanding of the theory, and showcases mydeveloping writing skills. The second artifact worth mentioning is our groupfacilitation. We did two facilitations in this portion of the class and mygroup was responsible for filmmaking. Even though I chose the filmmaking groupas my top choice because it simply seemed interesting, it turned out to be morefun than I had even expected. Of the two facilitations, my favorite was thefirst one. We created a Google doc so that our group could share ideas in realtime. We also decided to have our classmates play the role as Hollywood filminvestors, such as Save the Children and the Valentino Achak Deng Nonprofit Fund.
After allocating how much money they each had available for funding and whattheir missions are, we asked our classmate investors to debate about whichgroup would be best for funding the film. For our second facilitation, we again were the filmmakers, but this timeour classmates were trying out for roles as cast members in our upcoming film. Wewanted them to participate in an activity to be aware of the situations thattheir characters actually experience. We introduced maps, discussed differencesin income, and explained how characters would be from different areas.
Peoplefrom South Sudan do not have the resources to complete primary school andprepare themselves for a better life. We finished our activity as neither ofthe characters from Southern Sudan are able to cross the room and completetheir course of life. Even the female student from the Republic of Sudan is notable to be as successful as the male student because of the significant gendergap and expectations between male and female students. After executing the second facilitation, I was aware of how a good facilitatormust have some basic characteristics. First, it is very difficult to facilitatea group activity if one is not knowledgeable of the context. I previously didnot know a lot about what had happened in South Sudan, and especially the livesof the Lost Boys and Lost Girls. In order to facilitate well, we spent aconsiderable amount of time researching about the history of the conflict andits impact on the lives of the children.
Our increased awareness of thesituation, and of organizational issues, allowed us to effectively guide theteam through its proceedings.In addition to contextual knowledge, a good facilitator must haveeffective facilitation skills. Such skills include the ability to communicateproperly and lead people, and interpersonal skills. The group facilitator mustalso be skilled in resolving conflicts between individuals and creativelysolving problems.
Third, our natural desire as humans is to associate withindividuals who possess a positive attitude and deal with others pleasantly. Agood group facilitator has to be able to maintain a positive attitude even whenthe team encounters difficulties; in fact, we should be the ones to encourage ourcolleagues during difficult moments. This demands a person with a highlypositive attitude and confidence. Also, for people to listen and follow theguidance of the facilitator, we must be respectable. Personally, my extensivebackground and research lead to me having an endless source of creative ideasand relevant knowledge as a facilitator. However, my weakness is that I lacksome of the needed group facilitation skills.
It is these that I must developin order to become a better facilitator. Another two assignmentsincluded discussion posts and factoids about (a) Freire’s education system and (b)Dave Eggers and Deng. Through these assignments, I have become better atanalyzing texts and formulating responses. I greatly enjoyed the Egger and Dengautobiography, as well as the book that we read in class named “What is the What.”Writing always poses a challenge for me, not just in terms of grammar andvocabulary, but also in trying to emulate appropriate structure and content.Because of our discussion assignments, I am feeling far more confident in myability to properly formulate a creative answer.
For mylast artifact, I have chosen Essay 3, a dialogue style essay. I chose to writeabout a conversation between Valentino Deng, Grissom, and myself. I providedthem a map showing the percentage of children finishing elementary school fromvarious regions of Sudan and South Sudan. I asked Valentino to tell us abouthis experience from both the United States and Sudan. In particular, I invitedhim to share about the reality of education for Sudanese children, such as whyeducation rates are lower among the Lost Girls than they are among the Lost Boys.I then asked Grissom to compare the United States and South Sudan in terms ofeducation. This essay honed my communication skills and, similar to the Freireletters, sharpened my creative thinking. As with the Freire letters, I also hadto dive deeply into another person’s mind and empathize with their viewpoints.
I am including this essay because I learned a lot of new things. I was eager tohave an opportunity to research about the education systems in the U.S. andSouth Sudan, so that I could then reflect on their ways of thought. The artifacts I havechosen to be present in my portfolio are ones that show my progress in mywriting abilities. These pieces are Essay 1: Letters between Freire and I;factoids and discussions, and my two facilitations with the filmmaking team;and Essay 3: Dialogue Deng, Grissom, and I. These pieces best underscore how Ihave changed and improved as a writer.
I organized the three pieces fromeasiest to hardest in order to show the progression of my improvement. Theseartifacts allowed me to systematically develop my writing skills and my groupfacilitation skills. This portfolio showssnapshots along my journey towards becoming a better writer and facilitator.This portfolio will not just portray my writing progress but also me as aperson. I have invested much of myself into these artifacts and believe theytruly resemble me. I entered this classwith many weaknesses, and through much effort and perseverance, some of thoseweaknesses have gradually developed into strengths. For example, early on, Iwas unable to figure out how to start writing a paper, how to dialogue in a letter-writingstyle, and how to organize my papers in a way that the readers could clearlyfollow them. Through this course, I steadily pushed my boundaries and evendeveloped my creativity.
Moreover, if you devote yourself to this class, youcan improve your collaboration and leadership skills in addition to yourwriting skills. I really hope thisportfolio is helpful for your understanding in BIS300. I want you to see howyou can strengthen your writing and communication skills through a series ofessays and facilitated facilitations.
By paying attention to how I have grownthrough the course of this class, I hope you can envision your own potentialgrowth. These pieces are more than just papers; they represent different partsof my life that I only had a brief time to explain. Moreover, I hope the coursecan be a similar opportunity for you. I truly would like you to enjoy yourfuture quarter in BIS300 even if you don’t always agree with everything in it. Withall of this said, thank you for taking the time to read my portfolio.