Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 6 years 4 months ago
To start off our inquiry projects, we were given a list of possible topics to learn about during our month in Xizhou. These included government graffiti, farming, architecture, et cetera. After looking through the list, the three that caught my attention were local history, local recreation and hobbies, and tie-dye under textile production. As I read through the topic descriptions, I knew that I would have to pick a topic that really captivated me and would hold my interest for the 28 days in Xizhou. 
I created a few "guidelines" while looking to make sure the topic I picked would fulfill my standards on what I was interested in, and what would help me expand my knowledge. I centred these around the fact that if I chose the wrong topic, I wouldn't be motivated enough to push myself to learn as much as I could. The guidelines are as follows: The topic has to hold personal interest and value in order for me to best gain depth in my understanding of said topic. The topic also has to be educationally beneficial for me as a student, a learner, and a global minded citizen. Lastly, the topic will challenge me to push and expand my educational and personal boundaries.

Initial Thoughts:
The first topic that caught my interest was the local history of Xizhou Village or the Flying Tigers. What intrigued me was a chance to focus on the history of one village. The Flying Tigers page on the Linden Centre website gave me a brief overview of who the Flying Tigers were and what they did for the Bai Minority. I would love to talk to locals and ask them about their viewpoints and experiences of their history, including the Flying Tigers, political movements, or other historical events that hold a significant impact on their society, as well as the changes that have happened over time and how they feel Xizhou has grown since then. I would like to do a past to present comparison, focusing mostly on the history but also incorporating the aspect of change.
My second topic that I chose was tie-dye under textile production. This topic provides a more hands-on factor that I would really enjoy. I would also like to learn about the history and significance of tie-dye in Xizhou, the methods used in the process of tie-dyeing, as well as how those methods might have changed over time. I am sure that there is plenty of information on Chinese tie-dye on the internet that would really bring another perspective once I am in Xizhou and am able to see the possible differences. Tie-dye is on the more creative, artistic side that I would love to explore. 
The final topic was local recreation and hobbies. I chose this topic because it would definitely be different level of interaction with the locals, and more of it with people my age. Their idea of a hobby might not be the same as ours, and obviously what they do might not be the same either. I would also be interested in learning about the daily life of the locals with different jobs or ages. Hobbies and recreational activities are a huge part of culture, and learning about what people do in Xizhou specifically would provide an in-depth understanding of their culture.

Final Selection:
I have narrowed my topic down to the local history of Xizhou, specifically the impact of the Flying Tigers and how they affected the village during World War II. Originally, I planned to focus mainly on the Flying Tigers but also include changes in other aspects of Xizhou's history. After receiving Mr. T's feedback, I realised that I could only focus on one area, so I have chosen the Flying Tigers. It is and was an important part of Xizhou's history (from what I know), and I am very excited to discover the different opinions and experiences of the locals. The reason for this decision is that I think learning about the local history will not only help me grow as a learner, but also help me reach new levels in terms of interaction with different people and embracing history and culture. 
The two topics I eliminated upon reaching my final decision were tie-dye and local recreation and hobbies. These two both interested me because tie-dye provided a creative, hands-on aspect, while local recreation and hobbies provided a higher level of interaction among the locals and especially the ones my age. Tie-dye would have been a chance to channel my artistic side and learn about the process of tie-dyeing, but it was not something that would give the in-depth knowledge I wanted. Local recreation and hobbies would, on some level, but I decided against this topic on the sheer fact that I was not as interested in it as I was in local history. This reasoning helped me make my final decision.

In Phase 0, I explored the different topics available and finalised my decision on the Flying Tigers as my focus. Next is Phase 1: Posing Real Questions, where I will build on my knowledge of this topic and start research.

Hello! My name is Kelly and I am fourteen years old. I have an Australian passport although I was born in Hong Kong and lived there for four years before coming to Shanghai. Xizhou is so beautiful and Microcampus was an incredible experience. I hope to visit again soon!