As our class studied anthropology, we looked into the various societies, both ancient and current, from around the world to understand their cultural disparities and societal development over time. As the course came to its conclusion, we were each tasked with the assignment to look into our own anthropolical studies, but also tie in our research with our major.
The artifact that I am reflecting on is this research paper, titled “The Views on Disabilities Across Cultures”. This paper is important to me for a few reasons. First, this was my first paper assigned to me at Longwood that exceeded a five-paged limit. It also was the first, heavily research based project that I had been given, as none of our topics had actually been taught in class. This topic was also very dear to me, as my future career is a special educator, and this assignment would only allow me to connect more with what I want to do.
At first, I was worried about the assignment; while not the longest paper I had ever written, it was my first ‘big’ paper in a college setting and I wanted to do well. Once I actually started researching, the writing just came to me, and I ended up writing more than needed. The cultures were very different, as I had studied China, the U.S., Vietnam, and a collaboration of multiple East African countries. Small differences in their cultural beliefs, whether it related to religion or superstition, could drastically change the treatment of individuals with exceptionalities. In some countries, like in China or Vietnam, religion made it seem as if the disabled were being punished due to transgressions from a past life, and they were therefore shamed, whereas the U.S. has adopted a very accepting sentiment. Overall, this assignment made me look forward to being able to wrote about things that mattered to me, and the research only prepared me for future courses.
What I had been troubled over the most, however, was the twenty minute presentation that we would have to give on our research. Seeing my peers’ present worried me; I didn’t want to deducted for not talking for the entire time slot, and I didn’t want to present by simply repeating my paper word-for-word, and I needed to be able to answer any questions that Dr, Jordan might ask of me. In the end, with all of my preparations I had actually been stopped so that the next person could have their fill amount of time. This experience was a great take-away for me, and now I am not nervous for future presentations. In fact, I presented a research project to the Dean of Special Education during the following semester for my Special Education class.