What is your topic and why did you choose it?
In fourth grade we were asked to choose a human ‘celebrity’ figure, living or dead, to talk about. We were meant to make it so it were like a wax museum, where we’d talk about them in first person. We’d come to class dressed like them and we’d talk as if we were them. My historical figure was Helen Keller. Helen Keller was a woman who was blind. She couldn’t see and also was one of the people who spent her time not only learning math, science, and all the regular classes, but also was one of them people who spent her entire life dedicated to learning braille, and teaching it. I have always been interested in learning about Helen Keller, and because of that I got interested in learning about braille. Therefore, I chose learning about braille for my SML project this year.
Describe your experience so far: What challenges have you faced? Did you overcome these challenges?
Through the time I had for my SML project, I had some struggles. One of the struggles that really impacted my time through learning braille was the fact that I was learning a whole new language altogether. Learning a new language is hard. For example, I have been learning Chinese since I was a toddler, and yet I still am not fluent in the language. I feel that learning a whole new language, such as braille which also brings some other harder aspects to it, was hard, but because of perseverance I was able to learn at least some letters by heart.
Has your project changed since the beginning? If so, how?
When I first handed in my project idea the teachers didn’t accept my idea because I was planning on learning a whole new different language in 12 weeks. This was unrealistic and hard, so then I decided to learn a few letters to write an introductory paragraph about myself. This was still quite challenging, but I am glad that I chose to not learn an entire language as it would be most likely impossible for me given the time I have.
What are you proud of so far?
I am very proud of what I have accomplished so far, I have finished writing my sentence as well as made a whole booklet documenting my days during the SML time we are given. This has taken lots of time for me, and because of that, I am very proud of what I have accomplished so far.
Do you feel creative when doing SML? If so, what are the conditions that help you to be creative?
I don’t think that there are many creative aspects in learning braille, I just think that it takes lots of memorisation and time because it’s just like learning a whole new language.
Can you share any specific samples of your learning?
I have learnt a couple letters, such as A, B, C, D, R, and L, as those are the easiest letters in the braille alphabet in my perspective. I also documented all my days of learning braille on paper, which I will put together in my presentation later on when I am completely finished with my whole SML.
What have you learned about yourself as a learner? How do you learn best? Does the structure of SML help? Or is the structure frustrating you?
I don’t think I learned much about myself because I have known my habits because of my past experience in school since the second grade, but I think that through this I have taught myself to persevere through tough times because you can do anything if you are persistent and determined to get the work done.