Working in groups to create the project helped clarify many things for me – things that I very may well have not learned had it been an individual assignment.For example, one of my group members put in a slide in the google presentation titled “Reasons Why the US Invaded Cuba”. Before talking to her about the slide and asking her to explain a couple of the reasons, I was unclear as to the real motives behind the invasion. I had known that the explosion of the USS Maine was what prompted the invasion, and that the US was eager to expand its influence, both politically and economically, but didn’t know the specific reasons as well. Thanks to her, I learned that the US wanted to establish a naval base to protect trade, and was also looking for a opportunity for a revivial of patriotism in the country, which the Spanish-American War achieved. Something that I did learn but failed to really fully realize is the fact that although the atmosphere of the time was patriotic and nationalistic, there were still two sides to the issue. One of the enduring understandings we added was, “In a country’s decision to gain power over other countries, the citizens of the country trying to take over debate the validity of taking over places and people of the other countries.” When reading the required reading, I focused my attention more on why most people thought that expanding the US would be a moral and beneficial decision, and less on who the opposition was and what they had to say about the subject. It surprised me to find out that people like Andrew Carnegie were in the American Anti-imperialist League, and then I started to draw paralells to some of the most wealthy people of modern times, such as Bill Gates, who is a devout anthropologist. This enduring understanding helped me gain both perspectives on the issue, making it easier to be unbiased.
One of the things that worked really well in our group was the fact that everybody was willing to compromise and come to agreements fairly easily. Nobody was standoffish when it came to which key terms or enduring understandings to add, and through talking about each one we agreed on the most important ones pretty quickly. One thing I wish we had done better is establishing what the requirements of the project were before diving right into it. We made slides and got pictures and everything before taking a good look at the rubric itself – I believe that if we had looked at how we were being graded before trying to put everything together, it would have gone at least a bit more smoothly. For me personally, I think I need to do a better job of asking for help/clarification when I need it. Sometimes I just assume that what I’m doing is the right thing and that other people will tell me otherwise.