To me grow to be a better writer

To future
BIS300 students,

I have learned a lot during this class, which has helped me grow to be a
better writer and facilitator. Thanks to all the work I’ve done throughout this
class, my writing and writing skills have improved dramatically. As a student, when
it comes to writing essays, I have been able to polish my skills in creating
ideas. Through working on my artifacts, I have gained even more skills that are
going to be useful when I enter the real world working in global business.

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            The part of the
artifacts I enjoyed working on the most was writing imaginative letters between
the famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and myself. We
held a deep discussion about the banking and problem-posing methods of
education. Specifically, I penned a letter from Freire to me explaining why I
am in an admissions bubble. I followed that up with a second letter where I appealed
that decision to Freire using philosophical arguments aligned with his
rationale. In order to truly engage with this assignment, I had to become
engrossed in each of our characters and creatively formulate the dialogue
between us. Writing from Freire’s point of view, I had to think deeply about
the motives underlying his problem-posing model and why it was important to
him. In my response, I then had to relate those theories to the specific
context 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. I
am proud of this essay, and will include it in my portfolio, because it shows
my creative thinking, my critical understanding of the theory, and showcases my
developing writing skills.

The second artifact worth mentioning is our group
facilitation. We did two facilitations in this portion of the class and my
group was responsible for filmmaking. Even though I chose the filmmaking group
as my top choice because it simply seemed interesting, it turned out to be more
fun than I had even expected. Of the two facilitations, my favorite was the
first one. We created a Google doc so that our group could share ideas in real
time. We also decided to have our classmates play the role as Hollywood film
investors, such as Save the Children and the Valentino Achak Deng Nonprofit Fund.
After allocating how much money they each had available for funding and what
their missions are, we asked our classmate investors to debate about which
group would be best for funding the film.  

For our second facilitation, we again were the filmmakers, but this time
our classmates were trying out for roles as cast members in our upcoming film. We
wanted them to participate in an activity to be aware of the situations that
their characters actually experience. We introduced maps, discussed differences
in income, and explained how characters would be from different areas. People
from South Sudan do not have the resources to complete primary school and
prepare themselves for a better life. We finished our activity as neither of
the characters from Southern Sudan are able to cross the room and complete
their course of life. Even the female student from the Republic of Sudan is not
able to be as successful as the male student because of the significant gender
gap and expectations between male and female students.

After executing the second facilitation, I was aware of how a good facilitator
must have some basic characteristics. First, it is very difficult to facilitate
a group activity if one is not knowledgeable of the context. I previously did
not know a lot about what had happened in South Sudan, and especially the lives
of the Lost Boys and Lost Girls. In order to facilitate well, we spent a
considerable amount of time researching about the history of the conflict and
its impact on the lives of the children. Our increased awareness of the
situation, and of organizational issues, allowed us to effectively guide the
team through its proceedings.

In addition to contextual knowledge, a good facilitator must have
effective facilitation skills. Such skills include the ability to communicate
properly and lead people, and interpersonal skills. The group facilitator must
also be skilled in resolving conflicts between individuals and creatively
solving problems. Third, our natural desire as humans is to associate with
individuals who possess a positive attitude and deal with others pleasantly. A
good group facilitator has to be able to maintain a positive attitude even when
the team encounters difficulties; in fact, we should be the ones to encourage our
colleagues during difficult moments. This demands a person with a highly
positive attitude and confidence. Also, for people to listen and follow the
guidance of the facilitator, we must be respectable. Personally, my extensive
background and research lead to me having an endless source of creative ideas
and relevant knowledge as a facilitator. However, my weakness is that I lack
some of the needed group facilitation skills. It is these that I must develop
in order to become a better facilitator.

Another two assignments
included discussion posts and factoids about (a) Freire’s education system and (b)
Dave Eggers and Deng. Through these assignments, I have become better at
analyzing texts and formulating responses. I greatly enjoyed the Egger and Deng
autobiography, 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 and
vocabulary, but also in trying to emulate appropriate structure and content.
Because of our discussion assignments, I am feeling far more confident in my
ability to properly formulate a creative answer.

            For my
last artifact, I have chosen Essay 3, a dialogue style essay. I chose to write
about a conversation between Valentino Deng, Grissom, and myself. I provided
them a map showing the percentage of children finishing elementary school from
various regions of Sudan and South Sudan. I asked Valentino to tell us about
his experience from both the United States and Sudan. In particular, I invited
him to share about the reality of education for Sudanese children, such as why
education 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 of
education. This essay honed my communication skills and, similar to the Freire
letters, sharpened my creative thinking. As with the Freire letters, I also had
to 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 to
have an opportunity to research about the education systems in the U.S. and
South Sudan, so that I could then reflect on their ways of thought.  

            The artifacts I have
chosen to be present in my portfolio are ones that show my progress in my
writing 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 I
have changed and improved as a writer. I organized the three pieces from
easiest to hardest in order to show the progression of my improvement. These
artifacts allowed me to systematically develop my writing skills and my group
facilitation skills.

            This portfolio shows
snapshots along my journey towards becoming a better writer and facilitator.
This portfolio will not just portray my writing progress but also me as a
person. I have invested much of myself into these artifacts and believe they
truly resemble me.

            I entered this class
with many weaknesses, and through much effort and perseverance, some of those
weaknesses have gradually developed into strengths. For example, early on, I
was unable to figure out how to start writing a paper, how to dialogue in a letter-writing
style, and how to organize my papers in a way that the readers could clearly
follow them. Through this course, I steadily pushed my boundaries and even
developed my creativity. Moreover, if you devote yourself to this class, you
can improve your collaboration and leadership skills in addition to your
writing skills.

            I really hope this
portfolio is helpful for your understanding in BIS300. I want you to see how
you can strengthen your writing and communication skills through a series of
essays and facilitated facilitations. By paying attention to how I have grown
through the course of this class, I hope you can envision your own potential
growth. These pieces are more than just papers; they represent different parts
of my life that I only had a brief time to explain. Moreover, I hope the course
can be a similar opportunity for you. I truly would like you to enjoy your
future quarter in BIS300 even if you don’t always agree with everything in it. With
all of this said, thank you for taking the time to read my portfolio.

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