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Personal Learning and Capacity Essay

Reading through the following pages you are able to see my weekly entries of the text I read. My interpretations and questions that occurred towards reading, my initial reactions or developments after reading and some conclusions about text and literacy.

As a person I never really enjoy literature. I am not the kind of person who enjoy reading big books or long articles because is difficult for me just to know that I had to read a very long article and remember it. When I saw a big one-coloured cover book I connecting it with small letters, no space between the lines that is hard to read it and remembers me an encyclopaedia. I was always prefer reading numbers due to that I like very much maths and science. There is no long theory to remember. So as you can see on the following journal, my reading collection is very limited on books and long text except whenever is needed. Regarding the way, where and how I read, depends on what I am reading. (see Appendix 4, p.17).

When the reading had to do with study I have to be very concentrate and I prefer to sit straight on a chair and open all the books and papers on a big desk. This helping me to underline or write down useful key words. On the other hand reading as a hobby, I prefer to read when is dark, lying in my bed and holding my book. In addition I find it excellent trick to listen to the music when I am reading in both ways. I like to put smooth, chill out music, because it eliminates all the rest noises and distractions and help me to get clear mind from other things I might thinking.

According to first’s week directed task I had to write everything that I read for a week. The following are reflections of the most important kinds of texts I read, and those that made me reconsidered the way I looked them before. A list of other kinds of texts I gathered and a short reflection, are available in Appendix 1, p.14. As well, on the following pages you can find, my reflections towards next weeks directed activities.


Even though that cooking instructions are in written form are also available to read in the form of small representing pictures. Doing this activity I notice that when I am looking for the cooking instructions my eyes always focus on that tiny pictures and can’t see the written form of the instructions. Is the first think I looked for and I realized that my eyes used to focus there first. Then I had to explore those pictures in my mind to understand the preparation for cooking the product. “ Image can be used to reinforce the meaning of what is said, what is written and so on” (Jewitt, 2005 p.316). In addition I notice that after seen the pictures I look for the written form too, to make sure that I read and understand the pictures right.


It just came into my mind a funny situation I had with cooking instructions, when I first came to England. Now I am not really sure if it is good idea to put it in the log but is shows the difference of reading a text, expectations, and differences between cultures, ideologies and perspectives. You can see the above funny incident by reading Appendix 2 p.15.


Text messages and e-mails, that I send to my friends back to Cyprus contained a lot of information in just few sentences. I have so many to say and is a bit expensive to send messages. Due to that I limited my words by putting symbols, write only the first letter or just the half word. (instead “and” I use the symbol +). After I read again those messages I send, I realized that if someone else was reading them couldn’t be able to understand them. This is because of the “code” of the written form and the long background and ideologies that are connecting me and my friends. For example in my first message I wrote “how is c.” , but only she is able to understand the name of the person I asked about. I also recognized that in just five sentences -that represent a whole message- I wrote so many things, that if I was writing them to a paper and to someone else it would take me probably 10 sentence to write them all.

Though I prefer e-mails more than the messages, because is free, and I can write as many sentence I want in just one e-mail and send it when I feel like. “With e-mail you just write your message and send it.. Even during the early hours of the morning” (Lyle, 2005).E-mail offers fast receipt and enables the recipient to reply immediately. In addition I can write it more easier and quicker using the keyboard and looking through a bigger and more clear screen. Furthermore I can add emotions in the style of J and use from a large list of font style and size and even colour. Even though I use more Msn to communicate with my friends due to the fact that it has the same advantages as e-mailing and in addition I can send those things I write and take reply back at the same time. Is like speaking by the phone but in written form. Also I can send and take files and connect a web camera to see each other.


Considering second week’s directed activity on session 2, I choose “Vampires Breath” (Greek Version) of “Goosebumps” collection to cope with the activity for identifying the ideological assumptions within its text. (see Appendix 3 p.16 for a short summary)

“Vampires breath” put me in the action part from the first pages and all the action happened in only one day (in the story). Stine is very illustrative within the story because is putting many descriptions to the story’s persons and places that it seems like you can imagine them as real, as you can see them now, in reality. The motivation theory proposed by Glenberg and Langston (1992) also suggest that “illustrations may make a book more appealing and engage the reader better” (Cited in Andrews, Scharff and Moses, 2002). There is a lot of conversation and I had the feeling that I was taking part in the story and this make me curious to read more and see what happens after to the main characters. Also the double identity of the “bad” characters, who could transformed their appearance from human into buds and the tricks they were doing to trapped the 2 heroes, just made me to want to finish it.

The main characters are small children that get trapped from their curiosity and naivety of searching places and things that not supposed to do. The “happy ending” though is show up at the very last pages and I like it because it gives hope that things are going to be happy again but also leaves a hind that things are going to repeat again from the same mistake. A weird and peculiar ending that allocates a twist in the tail. Even that it was a kind of low level to me, reading the book it make me wondered, what can be happened again to those two kids. Children that the book refers to (9-12) by reading it can find themselves into the heroes situations and bad positions that might have. Reading this book I remembered mine childhood phobias and related with those in the story, and this what makes the story more interesting. Children can encountered within the story’s heroes and happenings because they can feel the same in their life as the heroes and have the similar phobias.

Moreover I notice that the good and nice language and vocabulary is approaching with the children’s age ability to read and also can reflect positive to improve their language and reading skills. With the use of big letters and large space between the lines it helps me to read it more easily and quick. For children will be very appealing and smooth to read. The soft cover, full of bright colours, is the first thing I notice to choose to read the certain book, its cover’s appearance is something that make you wonder what is the story about. Genette (1997) comes to agree by saying that “a book’s cover is a threshold that a reader is invited to interpret and step across if induced to read on” (Cited in Harris and McKenzie, 2005 p.32) Additionally I enjoyed read this book because I like scary horror books like this collection, and also I can get very afraid sometimes and at the same time so excited.


In view of directed activities of session 3 you can refer to Appendix 4, p.17-24 which include detailed answers, information and reflections regarding both online texts and my personal appreciations on ways of reading, my fears, and my imagination journey.

The following are short reflections from the activities as whole, based on the following two main questions: What are the essential differences between reading on line and the more traditional way How these books (texts) tell us about the nature of childhood

The Secret Garden as well as The Journey to the Centre of the Earth were easy to cope with by reading online. The vocabulary and language were easy to read and comprehend, apart from 3-4 words I didn’t know (and I had to look for their meaning in a dictionary). I find harder to understand The Secret Garden because of the conversation that was held between the interact persons of the story. It was very complicated to understand them due to there were missing some letters. I had to read all the dialogues again and again for 5-6 times until I understand what actually was written on the lines. I realize then that this was the dialect of the story’s heroes.

Although reading onscreen those text was much easier for me because I am a big fun of technology and especially of computers. I find it more relax and quick due to the fact that just by pressing one button you can transfer from the top of the page and through the lines until the bottom of the page and also to turn on to the next page. Letters and generally the whole view was more clear to read and easily could copy and paste the unknown words in my pc’s dictionary. Even if technology is developing more each day to help us, I can outline some disadvantages towards the traditional way of reading a text, ex from books. Through my online reading there were missing colourful covers of the books, and as I mentioned in a previous entry book’s covers are very important as a first impression of the text. And this is because covers are the first thing you see and considered when you are going to buy or read a book. The illustrations of pictures which help you to empathize better the story’s happening didn’t included on screen.

Although Jewitt (2005, p329) argues about online book’s illustrations by saying that “The multimode character of the screen does not indicate a single entry point, beginning or end. This offers the reader new potentials for reading a text. Reading a written text on pages is usually a linear event in which the author and illustrator guide the eye in particular direction connected to the reading of the text” Another thing is that the lines are too long and sometimes, people that don’t used to it can get bored and tired only by looking them. In addition another disadvantage is that you can’t save this texts to your library collection except if you keep your pc’s library with books and text from internet. Although is much nicer to collect the original books in your house library and have them for a life.

The Secret Garden and The Journey to the Centre of the Earth are showing the writers’ thoughts and appreciations about the world and the aspect of child, considering the matter of friendship and cultural perspectives on children behaviours. In my opinion, the matter of friendship appeared more clear in the Secret Garden, than in the Journey in the Centre of the Earth. In the first text, the Heroine is a young children that was neglected during her life. Although Mary finds someone to socialised with, in Dickon’s personality, even if he is from lower social class. The matter of friendship also reflect on me and make me bring in mind my own appreciations of friendship.

Is showing that it doesn’t matter how rich you are in money or goods, but how rich you are in sole. Also that children supposed to be free from ideologies and believes of their environment and social background. As a children, Mary is more free and innocent than adults to do things and she is not afraid to be friend with “a common moor boy”. (See Appendix 4, p.19-20). I find secret garden revealing my perceptions because I believe that friends are very important, especially in childhood but in adolescence too. Making friends we have someone to socialize talk, laugh and do things together.

Furthermore is showing the author’s perspective towards the child, to be free, good innocent, and free from taboos and in one word to be perfect as Dickon. Although Dickon’s description make me feel that he is not a real person maybe because no one can be perfect in everything. Mary in the other hand appears to be more natural person in contrast with the “magical” description of Dickon. Mary feels free inside the garden which becomes her new home.

The secret garden is a place of adventure and everything inside it is perfect and this is one of the reason that Mary shares her secret with the magic, and good child, Dickon. All this also showing what readers expect to see about the child. How readers interpret and expect childhood years to be and that children supposed to be good and innocent . Although reading the second text make me engage with it more because as a children I had almost the same feelings and phobias as Alex (See Appendix 4, p.22-23).“Readers interstitial backgrounds provide resources for engaging with text, even amongst young children” (Crawford and Hade, 2000, Cited in Harris and McKenzie, 2005, p. 32)

Another thing that can be reveal from the texts is adults’ role in children lives even that is more evident in the second text. Adults are the persons who are expected to be responsible and take decisions about children’s future. In the Secret Garden Mary forced to go and live in another house because she didn’t have the power not to. That’s why Mary keeps the garden as a secret place. The author wants to express that when adults are in a situation they like to control and force things and that’s why the magic perfect secret garden is only for innocent, good children. This is more obvious in “The journey in the Centre of the Earth” when the hero, Alex, who is a young children and nephew of an eccentric scientist feel very terrify and scared about, both him and his uncle lives, during their experimental purposed journey.

In front of the exhaustion, thirst and hunger Alex is fainted and his uncle giving him the last drops of water, to bring him back. The Professor do not considered his thirsty because, as an adult had to take care Alex first. After Alex is terrified and express by crying his fears about the uncertain and unknown remained of the journey, his uncle take the control and the responsibility for Alex and decide to send him back to earth with the servant‘s help, to be safe.

The professor still insist to stay and continue his journey, because as a scientist was so curious and determined and nothing could stop him not even the fear of death. After all, Alex do not agree with his uncle and choose to travel along with him because he didn’t want to give up or letting down his uncle. This appeared as a conflict with the first text when Mary couldn’t choose the place to move, although Alex took his decision because he might was afraid to leave without his uncle. Here, Alex is having the change to do what he wants but he refused it. and he choose to stay knowing that his uncle will do anything to protect him.


First time listen to the song “I aint mad at cha” by Tupac Shakur, I have to admit that I didn’t understand a lot of what Tupac was saying apart from the chorus. Although I don’t really listen to rap music I find it very nice and different from other songs. It sound like a smooth, sweet melody into my ears, considering the background melody of a piano. I couldn’t believe the combination of rap music with piano, although it was something that attract me.

Before seeing the video clip of the song I thought that 2puc was talking to a friend that lay him down and Tupac wanted him know that he has no harm feeling for him. First time I watch the song’s video clip I was very amazing. Surprising, the clip was a expressing a very different believes of what I first encountered. The video shows Tupac being punctured with bullets on his way, coming out of a restaurant with a friend. He is dying in the ambulance vehicle and he is attend into heaven who meets some people , probably some famous legends or relatives. The film was something like Tupac knew that he was going to be killed and seeing his life in Heaven. It seems a kind of prefigured his death. Watching the film make me feel sad and miserable about his tragic end.

It was very pessimistic film for someone to make and for others to see, especially after his actual death, hence he is appearing laughing, smoking, and be in Heaven in the clip. Also I saw his thoughts about how he considered the life after death and the image of Heaven and make me somehow confident about my thoughts and appreciations of the life after death in Heaven. Somehow my thoughts were revealing in the film illustrations. Despite the brutal language and street words Tupac is expressing, through the song lyrics an optimistic and hopeful massage towards his friends and relatives and then to the rest audience. ABT indicates some of the music video characteristics by claim that: “They must gain and hold the viewer’s attention … help establish, visualize, or maintain the artist’s image… and perhaps, carry one or several direct or indirect messages . . .” (Cited in Rybacki and Rybacki)

Through the lyrics, Tupac conveys that the change of getting out from the ghetto life, is not something bad or to be ashamed of. He has no harm feelings, he is not mad with friends that been a lot of time to talk, friends that change and get out of the streets, friends that get married, find a religion and get matured. Tupac is not mad with them for not doing the “bad” things and habits they used to do together, because they change. He has nothing but love for them. Analysing the song I realize that a large amount of life’s values and ethical ideals were encountered in it, by just few words.

The matter of religion, friendship, love, the role of the mother, and the value of God. Also the lyrics are expressing the stereotype of rap music containing offensive language between the “brothers”, a nice contribution of conflict words between the bad and good, the male and female, material world and God. An optimistic ending that he is praying for the good fortune of all. The very last sentence showing that in Tupac’s efforts to display a meaning to his family, friends and enemies that he is not mad with them and don’t want them to be sad for his lost, the song meanings refers also, to those that lost their loved ones! The song script is available in Appendix 6 p.27


I was watching an episode from The Coffee shop series and it really make me reconsidered it from a whole different aspect during this activity. The “Coffee Shop” (or “Kafeneio”* see Appendix 5, p.25 and p.25-26 for a summary of the film) is one of the most known comic series in Cyprus. All episodes are take place in the Kafeneio and showing in a funny way, some special aspects of Cypriot people’s characters. When I am in Cyprus I never watching it because there are some other new series which catch my interest. Although this day I was very miserable and sad, with nothing to do so I decide to watch Kafeneio through internet from the satellite channel of Cyprus.

The episode title was “The Fiancé”. Andreas who always trying to find cheating ways to earn money decide to married his just few days girlfriend who was a rich old women reaching death. Saying that he is truly in love with her. Although they never rich marriage because the old women dies after the party. At the end Andreas ends up with no money and owns the funeral’s costs. Watching Kafeneio made me crying from laugh because of the story’s reversed happenings and the good ability of the actresses to play with in the hilarious situation. Even though laugh its all you can expect from this type of series, I also felt like home watching it.

The traditional coffee, the language, the very strong Cypriot dialect, the place of Kafeneio, and the whole scene make me feel for a moment that I was back in Cyprus. Although Kafeneio is considered only for entertainment for those who watching it, I realised that many cultural, ethical and moral issues can express from it. Good friends are always there to help you in difficult times and also the traditions of wearing black clothes for grieving death. Another thing is that money you never work hard for, can easily lost as quick as you earned them. You have to earn your money by working hard and not trying to earn them by deceitful and cheating innocent people.


During the module’s assessment of online presentation, as a group we choose to based our research on Cinderella story. And this, because, all group members could related with the text as it was present in our childhoods even though my group was representing 3 different cultures, countries and age groups. Doing the actual online presentation things became very complicate considering the way to present it. We wanted to make it very attractive to the audience and easy to reflect in and understand.

At the beginning the presentation was going to held in Power point accompanied with animations, pictures and music. As I said in previous entry, pictures are helping the reader to comprehend better the written part, and show better some key-issues. This was going to help audience to concentrate on the themes we wanted to express more. The animations will make it more attractive to the audience and the music was going to drift and drawn them into the story itself smoothly and easier.

Although we realized that doing it in power point it might produced a probability of confusion towards the audience and make a mess during their efforts to follow it. So we change our mind and decided to do it in movie maker as a video. With the movie film we wanted to make it easier to follow by the reader, without being confused or distracted from the importance of the written text, by clicking buttons. We also considered that it was going to be even more easier and relaxed for the reader to enhanced more, accompanied with music. (Much alike as watching a short video or movie, by sitting back and enjoy it.)

In addition we thought that if we were using a Cinderella’s song from only one version of the Cinderella story (Disney’s song) it would be so unfair and narrow-minded because the four versions that we analysed in the presentation are all of the same importance with their own special characteristics. So we choose a chill out instrumental music without speaking words for avoiding the readers’ thoughts to concentrate on music words and do not follow what we expressing throughout the presentation. Although it was hard to find that special song because we wanted one that its effects to go along with the page transactions and pictures and also focused on the most important information we include within the text.

Another thing that was with vary importance was the time we supposed to give to our audience to read the written part of the presentation. We wanted to make sure that it was enough time to read them before the next slide show up. So we double-check the time providing for each written text by using a third slow-reader person, whose English is his second language. With this we make sure that the providing time was enough for all of our audience potentials to read.


Andrews, J., Scharff, L., & Moses, L., (2002), “The influence of illustrations in Children’s Storybooks”, AERA, Reading Psychology, Vol. 23(4), pp. 323-339.[Last viewed December 2005] Burnett, H.F., “The Secret Garden-Dickon” [www]http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Frances_Hodgson_Burnett/The_Secret_Garden/Dickon_p1.html [Last viewed October 2005]

Harris, P. & McKenzie, B., (2005), “Networking around the Waterhole and other tales: the importance of relationships among texts for reading and related instruction”, UKLA, Literacy.[Last viewed December 2005]

Jewitt, C., (2005), “Multimodality ‘Reading’ and ‘Writing’ for the 21st Century”, University of London, UK, Vol26, No. 3, pp. 315-331.[Last viewed December 2005]

Lyle D., “E-mail Versus the telephone”, Last update 2005. Available from:
URL: http://writing.colostate.edu/references/documents/email/pop5d.cfm [Last viewed December 2005]

Lyrics and songs, “Tupac- I’ aint mad at cha” (Remix) [www]http://www.lyricsandsongs.com/song/135052.html Rybacki,C. K., and Rybacki, J. D., (1999),“Cultural approaches to the rhetorical analysis of selected music videos” Northern Michigan UniversityAvailable from:URL:http://www.sibetrans.com/trans/trans4/rybacki.htm[Last viewed November 2005] Stine, R.L., (1996), “Goosebumps: Vampire Breath”, Parachute Press Inc, New York USA Greek version: copyright by Kerdos 1998

SySat, RIK Chanel, (2005), CoffeShop: The Fiance [www]http://www.tv4all.com/portal.htm?http://www.tv4all.com/television/index.html?http://www.tv4all.com/television/55.htm[Last viewed November 2005] Verne, J., “Journey to the Centre of the Earth- The wrong road” [www]http://jv.qilead.org.il/vt/c_earth/18.html[Last viewed October 2005]

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