Oh wow it’s been a while. I’ve been super busy in regards to school and whatnot. Speaking of which, I wanted to share my experiences regarding an activity that I recently participated in for my English class. Our class did a sort of informal class debate where we answered questions regarding the assigned text in the form of a short presentation but more rapid-fire and within a shorter amount of allotted time, I guess. It’s a bit hard to explain. We called it the Brawl.
Although the overall experience of watching other groups perform and execute their arguments, make funny tweets in accordance with what was being debated, and make funny noises as part of character was rather enjoyable, my own experience from the Brawl was not exactly something I would say was the highlight of my year. It was not only extremely difficult to make intertextual connections, but also there was a requirement to have the presentation entertaining and to make funny tweets to go along with it. I made quite a few funny tweets, but it got outshined by others.
I am not a fan of informal debate. I like structure and organization and having a set agenda. I have to plan all the points I want to hit and all the points the opposition would hit. It was difficult for me because of time constraints and that it was a group effort and I had no control over what happened in the latter half.
My approach towards answering the questions for the debate was to think of something that I had already read before or had seen in an article somewhere. It was not difficult to figure out what I wanted to address, but there were too many questions to plan for and I didn’t know which one I would have to focus on. The biggest factor was that I needed to be on my toes and be able to improvise what I would have to refute instead of being able to have time in between and sit and gather and make a formal rebuttal. That’s not what I’ve been trained to do and it’s not what I excel in. In middle school I was assigned an improv class as one of my electives, but I never enjoyed it (people always make it out to be so great but the atmosphere of that class was way too hectic and suffocating for me) and I always was overwhelmed by the projects. I think this project did the same thing to me.
I have gathered from my peers who had the same class at a different time say that their class’s Brawl was very entertaining and engaging. Now in our classroom, activities are rarely engaging considering that there is a large rift between more ‘popular’ students and other students. This makes it very difficult for the class to interact as a whole.
There’s the awkward stage in the beginning of the year where nobody really knows each other or talks to each other if they were not friends previously. That same awkward atmosphere has followed my class through the entire year. IT IS JUNE!
What I can conclude from this is that the best results in these kinds of activities can be achieved by forming a stronger sense of community within a classroom. Overall I think that we were unable to perform at our maximum potential, but it was good to learn from.