Posted on March 5, 2019
For my I-search paper, I have tentatively decided on three topics. While I thought long and hard on what they should be, I am still unsure on whether they will stay the way the are or transform into something different altogether. For my first research topic I decided to look to myself and my own experiences with the educational system. Being a Muslim student, I was reminded of an annual occasion that can be challenging to deal with during the school year. Ramadan is coming this May, falling exactly when finals weeks starts, just as it has been for the past six years. While considering this I thought about how students of my own and other faiths deal with their religious obligations during school. As I wondered a few questions came to mind- how well do colleges accommodate those students with religious obligations? Does it vary between regions of the United States? Does the political climate of that region shape the degree of accommodation and maybe even create favor-ability towards one religion? These are all questions I am curious to know the answer to, not just for the sake of a research paper, but to see how it might affect my own personal life.
For my second topic of research I pondered over another important aspect of society, that being language. Having taken Mandarin Chinese classes in high school I often contemplate how little I learned compared to students of other languages. My sisters, students of Italian and Spanish, could speak fluently with native speakers while I on the other hand couldn’t hold even simple conversations. Eventually I discovered that my fellow students of Mandarin encountered the same problems as me. This made me consider the following questions – do schools teach all their languages to the same degree of fluency? How do schools view fluency and is it different for every language? Lastly, how much utility do students end up getting from the languages that are offered in school and is it affected by the linguistic environment they live in?
For my last topic of research I thought of technology, how it’s advanced in schools, and how its changed the classroom. When I first started elementary school, smart boards seem to be the new trend and the rare occasions we went to the computer labs we used old fashioned, large desktops. In middle school those desktops turned into macs and in high school a few classrooms even used i-Pads. Rather than just going to computer labs, each class had a cart filled with laptops that students could use freely. This made me question whether so much accessibility to technology was really a good thing. Several have said that the pen and paper is the best way to learn and that computer screens ruin your memory retention. That being said how does that translate to a student’s performance in school? Do students now show a better grasp of knowledge than students from perhaps the nineties, when computers and the idea of the internet just began trickling into the education system? As I begin my research I hope to get answers to all of the questions posed by each topic, while at the same time, further pursuing the topic which produces the most interesting findings.