Woodstock | Student Perspective. WS Symposium and Interdisciplinary Project. Part II
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Student Perspective. WS Symposium and Interdisciplinary Project. Part II

Shikhar Grade 11

11 May Student Perspective. WS Symposium and Interdisciplinary Project. Part II

Last week we started covering the Festival of Ideas (Grade 11 and 12 projects) with a teacher’s perspective. We now bring you two student perspectives.

Shikhar, Grade 11

Shikhar, how does your class begin preparing for the project?

We get to choose any topic we are passionate about and develop our skills to argue/debate about it. Once the subject is approved, we request one or two other teachers to guide us through to the end.

What is the topic you chose?

My topic is ‘Is college education worth the money?’

Who are the teachers guiding you?

My topic is controversial, especially in the US as tuition there is very expensive. I chose Ms Renee Bowling; she is obviously the best choice since she is our college counsellor in the school. I also get a lot of help from Ms Melanie Reichwald, my English teacher. The goal is to talk to both of them. They help me find sources – either online or in books – which help support my thesis or my stance. I believe collage is worth the time and money even though it’s a lot of time and money.

Where do you source information from?

Being at Woodstock is very helpful. Luckily we have online subscriptions to many research data bases which is very expensive but Woodstock has them! Databases like EBSCOhost and JSTOR have 1000s of published journals which are all credible sources. The advisors recommend sources to us. The greater the variety of sources the better… newspaper articles, books, published journals, online publications, encyclopedias or scientific studies or surveys. First we compile them all into a file, make citations and hand them over to our advisors who look over the sources with us. It’s about working together.

How many hours do you spend on your project?

It takes time to find even one good source. We have to make notes on a word file… and annotate the source. Some of these sources are 20 pages long and we need a minimum of at least 4-5 good sources. One source could take an hour to find. In reality, if you want to be exceptional, you need many sources; we were told last year’s students had 15-20 sources.

What’s the next step in the process?

After we compile our sources, we make notes and reexamine our stance…see if we can actually argue for/against it. After we‘ve researched both sides of the topic, we may sometimes wonder, “what am I arguing about?” Finally, we make outlines and write an essay, and then do a presentation.

How long will your paper be?

It’s pretty long. 10-20 pages but the actual presentation (talk) will be a very condensed version of our paper. We’re graded with a ‘fail’, ‘pass’ or ‘distinction’ and if we do well we will present our talk in Parker Hall.

Are you excited about the project?

Very much so because it matters to me. My brother is going to college this year. He got into all the colleges he applied to but the only problem is the financial part now. I really need to research, for myself, whether it’s worth going into a high end Ivy League college or go into a less expensive college for the same education.

YeonSol, Grade 12

“The last project I would ever have in my senior year… I knew I wanted to answer some questions that might come up in my future. I am planning to become a music therapist, so I thought I should research on the ideal relationship between a therapist and a patient. I started my project by reading a book called “Call interrupted” by Susanna Kaysen. This book helped me explore the perspective of patients in mental hospitals and how they view their doctor and nurses. With this book, I am planning to further think about the line between sanity and insanity. I am going to write a seven page essay on how the book answers some of my questions about being a therapist.” -YeonSol

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