Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
As I began my Inquiry Project, I was looking the possible topics from Mr. T's list of things to do in XiZhou. When I was looking through the topics, the ones that looked like they might be interesting were farming, local education system, or end of life rituals. As I thought about these topics there were some questions that I came up with:
- What are the goals of the schools funded in XiZhou?
- What is so important about End of life rituals in XiZhou?
- How much do the farmers get paid?
At this stage of the process, I had some questions about how this inquiry project was going to work. How long would we actually spend doing this topic that we choose? Do all of these topics require speaking Chinese? Are we going to get a "hands on" learning experience with our topic/topics? Mr. T's responses to my questions were:
- We will have about 2 hours each day (Monday through Friday) devoted to working on your inquiry project research.
- You will use whatever Chinese language skills you have, with support available depending on how much you need. Ms. Mai and Mr. T both speak Chinese, and there will be Linden Centre staff who can help as well. It will be important to be organized so you can reserve time for that support--and to make the most of that time when you have someone available to help.
- Yes, yes, and yes. Some topics lend themselves to more physical connections to the work (wood carving, for example, along with farming work), while others involve more observation and comparing what you see with previous experience, background reading you have done, and so on. As long as you are passionate about your topic, you will certainly be engaged in "minds on" learning . . .
With those answers, I still think I would choose Farming, Educational System, and End of Life rituals, with farming being the most interesting.
After thinking about it I chose farming because I get to see what and how people farm in southern China. I have always wondered what people farm in China? I know they farm rice, potatoes, and even apples, but I would like to learn more about how they farm it and why they farm it.
Also, this topic is important to me because I have always loved to be on the farm and help out and interact with the farmers.
When I get to XiZhou I can see myself almost I immediately interacting with the farmers. Asking them questions, helping them plant the crops and so. I can also see myself nervous when I get there because even though I love to work on the farm, but I don't know who the farmers are, how they react to something if you do it wrong. When I actually get there, I hope to start almost immediately, this way I can get to know how the farmers act to things, see what they want me to do in the month etc. I would really want to find out how the farmers plant their crops depending on the seasons. This topic is important to me because when i grow up and if I do not get a teaching job, I want to do something about farming. I plan to learn the economics of farming. Such as: Who do they sell their crops to?