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Asking Questions and Writing Articles: 3 Part Series
Recently, Imagine Scholar 10th, 11th, and 12th graders thought about questions that meant something to them as Imagine Scholars and students in their communities. From these ideas, our 10th graders wrote articles explaining various aspects of their time at Imagine Scholar, ranging from inquiries about the true personality of Imagine Scholar founder and Executive Director, Corey Johnson, to articles about the importance of sacrificing for Imagine Scholar. Students in the 11th grader class took their queries to the broader community, writing about issues that they saw in their neighborhoods and schools. Just as the topics of the 10th grade class were broad, the 11th grade students also dug into a variety of topics. These included drug use among young people, teenage pregnancy, and the ever looming killer of time, procrastination. With their final year exams on the horizon, grade 12 students wrote about the final matriculation tests, known as the ‘Matric,’ required for all grade 12s in South Africa to pass secondary school and move on to tertiary studies.
After reviewing all the student articles, the facilitators agreed that the students all did a great job exploring their topics! We have shared some of their articles with partner schools as well as other audiences to overwhelmingly positive feedback. For the next few posts, we also invite you, our Imagine Scholar supporters and blog readers, to read some of the students articles we will share with you and contribute your own thoughts through comments and emails! To start us off, we have 10th grader Zinzi Nsingwane’s article titled “What are Good Questions”.
WHAT ARE GOOD QUESTIONS?
BY: NSINGWANE ZINZI
We all have different questions roaming in our heads, but do we ever think about what a good question
is? It’s true that we all have descriptions that vary, because of the different examples of what a good
question may be. What does it really mean to be a true Imagine Scholar student? This is a common
question that two Imagine Scholar students, Clara Mashwama and Thenjiwe Ndimande, said is an
example of a good question.
A local Tonga interrogating officer, Dennis Mbombi, stated that, “good questions are the root cause to
revealing a good and direct answer. It is vital to always have one good important reason why you are
asking a question.” Most of the determined and reliable students in the Imagine Scholar Class of 2013
suggest that a meaningful, clear and specific answer comes from a good question. I couldn’t agree more
with them, because it is not possible for someone to ask a good question without him/her expecting
to get a clear and purposeful answer. When you propose a question to someone you must ask in a way
that you understand well.
Jostein Gaarder’s international bestselling novel, Sophie’s World, addresses questions that require you
to concentrate in order for you to answer them. An example is ‘does everything come from something’?
There will be different reasons, facts and opinions of why you say so. The best way to answer such
questions is to think about them from different angles and to take your time to answer them.
Good questions lead to more questions. Questions may create thoughts that will disturb your daily
routine, and thus make you think deeper instead of letting ideas float away. We may not consider those
questions at that very moment, but we surely think about them when we are alone. South African
president Jacob Zuma usually addresses questions in his speeches concerning the new democracy. For
example, he addresses issues about how South Africa came to be an Apartheid free country. Although
this is a good question, sometimes we may not find it to be important because we feel that our answers
are not valid enough. Feeling this way shouldn’t stop you from exploring an idea. Instead, we should
end up asking ourselves more questions that will help us go deeper on the issue. The point is not
necessarily having the one correct answer to the question, but rather to think more or deeper about the
question or issue.
Are you a curious Imagine Scholar? If you are, WHAT IS YOUR ONE GOOD QUESTION?
2013 Mock Trial and Human Rights Commission Unit
Imagine Scholar’s second unit of the year, the Mock Trial/ Mock Human Rights Commission Unit, was a big hit! 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students read either Of Mice and Men or Flowers for Algernon and split into teams to try cases based on issues in the book they were assigned. Read below for reviews straight from the students’ mouths!
Grade 10 Of Mice and Men mock trial:
“It is a book about two most unusual friends, George and Lenny. George is smart, short, and controlling, while Lenny is a delusional man-child who has huge and intimidating features. Pressure rises when Lenny is threatened by a jealous husband with a flirtatious wife…”- Elaine
“One day, Lenny killed Curley’s wife, but not intentionally, and people wanted to kill him. George killed Lenny himself because he wanted his death to be peaceful.”- Mandisa
“The main point of the book was that not all people commit murder or cause trouble on purpose. Some people do terrible things not knowing what they are doing will hurt someone or not…”- Mandisa
“[The book] involves a lot of things like discrimination, murder and friendship. I think it leaves the reader thinking about these things.”- Elaine
Mock Trial review by Christina Khumalo
“Our mock trial was very interesting. We were representing Lenny Smalls on the case titled The People v.s Lenny Smalls. We were trying to prove that Lenny is not guilty of killing Curley’s wife. We were part of the defence team. I will say that the trial needed a lot of preparation and you are required to know all your facts. It was really fun working in a group because you got to contribute ideas and also hear ideas from other group members.
It was educational and also insightful. I learned a lot about a career which I thought was bad and was for students who liked to learn easy things. That day everything changed, I discovered a whole new side to law. It was really captivating in a really weird way. “
Grade 11 and 12 Flowers for Algernon Human Rights Commission:
“Charlie is retarded and his life differs from those around him. People make fun of him but because he doesn’t even understand what they imply about him, he laughs along and calls them his friends. He then learns that he can be smart like other people [through an operation] and he jumps at the chance of being normal. After the operation that was to make him smart, he becomes a completely different person. He now understands when people make fun of him and he learns that none of them were ever his friends. After some time, he becomes smarter than the people who made him smart and they too become intimidated by him. He learns that t ey made a mistake and that he will go back to being his old self. His companion Algernon is dead and he’s unsure of his own conclusion.”- Zodwa Madonsela
“The author’s main point was that we should never undermine retarded people. We should never take them for granted just because they are slow learners. We should also try not to make decisions for them. They also have the right to freedom of choice. They are also normal people. We ought to love, support and help them. The author’s main point was that we should never deny people’s rights just because they are disabled. We should all be equal.”- Tandzile Dlamini
Human Rights Commission review by Themba Mncina
“The human rights commission was a very fun topic to do. Basically the human rights commission was about us all students, it was trying to make us stand up for what to believe in. Our mock trial was based on the book ‘Flowers for Algernon.’ The case was titled: Were Charlie’s rights violated or not? The trial was very fun to work on.”
Wow!! The students all did an amazing job during the trial and commission; thanks also to all our guest judges and commissioners. This is just one unit out of many that we do with the students to increase critical thinking, leadership skills, and academic ability. For more information and updates, sign up for our quarterly newsletter, like us on Facebook, or visit our Imagine Scholar blog for more student unit reviews and examples of student work.
Imagine Scholar provides unique, personalized education to promising youth in South Africa’s disadvantaged Nkomazi region. We strive to effect profound change on individual lives and empower the next generation of African leaders through creative, multidimensional development.
Imagine Scholar aspires not to help students merely get by, but to give them the tools to be the difference makers of their generation and bring lasting change to their communities.
A New Type of Holiday Giving
Educational Movies & Games – Help make education fun! Whether it’s having a philosophical discussion about Avatar, or hosting chess competitions before class, our Imagine Scholar family loves to explore education creatively. Gift DVDs and/or movies here.
- One DVD – $7
- One Game – $15
Spread the Love of Reading – Book discussions have inspired some of the most dynamic and fascinating classes at Imagine Scholar! With 35 students, we need quite a few book sets to make this happen. Have a beloved bookworm in your life? Consider honoring their passion for literature through the gift of books.
- Book Set for 25 students ($5 per book) – $125
Feed a Family – About ¼ of all Imagine Scholar students face hunger at home. $35 a month will provide enough food and nutrition to feed an Imagine Scholar student’s family for a month! Gift food here.
- Sponsor a family for a year – $35 a month/$420 a year
- General food fund pledge – Any amount is welcome!
Student Scholarship – All Imagine Scholar students have a financial need, and need your assistance to be able to attend our program! Providing a full or partial scholarship gives a talented student access to positive peer role models, development of civic-minded leadership skills, personalized academic tutoring, university preparation, and four years of Imagine Scholar’s unique curriculum. Get started by choosing a student here!
- Full scholarship of one student - $100 a month/$1200 a year
- Partial scholarship (any monthly or one time amount) – equally welcome!
***Gift recipients have the amazing opportunity to build a relationship with the student they are directly impacting. Communication is normally done through letter writing, emails, videos, etc. We love sharing our students progress, updates, and their student work with our student supporters!
All gift recipients will receive a direct notification from Imagine Scholar, along with more information on the project you donated on their behalf to. If applicable, we will also send pictures/videos of the project their gift supported. Imagine Scholar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible (EIN: 27- 3014517). Please fee free to contact Megan at Megan@imaginescholar.org with any questions, comments, and/or ideas. Happy Holidays and many well wishes!