Flogging the blog…

I’ve tried blogging, I’ve tried personal journals, I’ve tried semi-personal journals (and by semi, I mean they were personal until others found and read them…) and always, eventually, gave up.  Thus, my ability to actually write, consistently, over a prolonger period of time, has never fully developed.

The importance of reading and writing consistently is being made abundantly clear as this program progresses.  I have to confess, that I’m neither a particularly prolific writer nor reader, so the thought of having to do both is somewhat daunting (you may be asking yourself, so… what did you think a grad program was going to be about?)  Touche, I will admit I knew it would be a lot of reading and writing, but – much like the proverbial ostrich with his sand in the head – I was hoping if the readings and writings didn’t see me, I wouldn’t see them.

Growing up, my family and I read a lot – mostly works of fiction (fantasy/sci-fi for myself, war/sci-fi for my dad, and cheesy romance magazines for my mom).  As a Doukhobor, a lot of the history of my family people was oral, and to this day continues to be.  I tend to gather more from listening to people and interacting with them, than I do from reading.  Yet I refuse to buy audio books because it seems to me, to be less significant than reading…

I’ve found myself reading Palys over and over, trying to comprehend what is stated, and even have elaborate reading notes to prove this – while this worked to a certain degree – the amount of effort required to make the reading notes is somewhat daunting, and has always in the past eventually discouraged me from continuing with this strategy.

Strategies to reading are one thing, actually doing the reading is another.  After the session on Friday, I realised that the majority of what Judith taught was actually covered in Chapters 3 & 4 of MacKeracher – of which I have now started to read.  I realised that I was waiting for Judith to say we had to do these readings.  I guess that’s another shock for me, moving into a Master’s – is the reliance on self direction and motivation, especially when doing the required course readings.  From past experiences I expected to be told what to read (the whole downloading of knowledge thing Bill spoke about); but in the end, it’s kinda refreshing to read papers and books relating to the course I’m in that I want to read, not that I have to read (realizing that I will have to do some readings in the future). 

It’s interesting trying to combine my past education experiences, my preferred learning styles, the demands of this program, my motivations for this program, and the decidedly more flexible time constraints than I’ve had before.  It’s truly and adult education program.  Even though I’m 29, and technically and “adult” much of my education has been the in the realm of adolescent (highschool) or young adult (bachelors) education – pretty directed stuff.  Should be a fun time trying to sort all this stuff out 🙂

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August 9, 2009 at 5:01 am 2 comments

Constructing Constructivist Constructs…

I had no idea what constructivism was.  I admit it.  I sat in class, while Judith provided an awesome overview of constructivist learning ideas and concepts and all I could think of was, “I must have the absolute smallest zone of proximal development ever.”

Cause, as they say “size matters.”

After an awesome session with the case study team, where there was much discussion on learning theory and specifically constructivism – I feel that I’m getting a grasp, albeit a shaky one, of this complex (ha!) learning theory.

But, as we near the end of our residency, I am concerned: the face to face interaction that I have found so needed to help my understanding of this concept develop (and in the past, similar interactions have allowed difficult concepts to also blossom) – I am faced with the reality that was somewhat focused on today: when, where and how will interactions such as the group session today take place in the virtual environment?  What strategies can I employ to assist with the adjustment from a f2f learning environment to a truly virtual learning situation? 

August 5, 2009 at 6:16 am Leave a comment

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures

There’s a little bookshop in Ucluelet that sells the most amazing coffee, as well as an assortment of various First Nations based books, trinkets, various used novels and other interesting reads.  While I considered buying “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, I settled on “Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures” by Vincent Lam.  It’s actually the first Giller Prize winning book I’ve ever read (and in all truthfulness… heh… the first literary prize winning book I’ve ever read).

In the first chapter, Lam makes an interesting observation about truth – as the two characters discuss their feelings for each other, that the “reality (of their love) was spoken directly to discount itself,” suggesting that by being direct, open and honest about their feelings, this open acknowledgement of the truth somehow diminished it’s reality.

This raised an interesting question for me – by openly and bluntly stating a truth, can we diminish the reality of that truth?

August 4, 2009 at 6:08 am 3 comments

MBTI

It’s always nice to have a nice, comfortable, light-hearted morning in which you LEARN SOMETHING!  It was also very nice to be up and about, although by the time we got to the last group “activity” I was really hoping it wouldn’t be another group write and present – very pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t. 

One thing I’ve noticed, and maybe others can fill me in here, is how much learning I’m doing from watching Judith, Bill and other present, facilitate and educate.  As a fairly new teacher, I find myself spending a lot of time focusing on observing what they are doing in class, observing class reaction, and trying to adapt and integrate into my own professional practice.  I also find myself being, at times, overly critical of what I observe – I wonder if this is endemic to only new teachers (as I is… *grammar*), or to anyone with experience in the education field who has had the opportunity to be facing to and from the “blackboard”, or going even further – do other students, who may not teach, feel the same?  Does the fact that I’m an educator lead to my assumption that I’m more justified in my critiques than say a business student or science student?

Anyways, I digress.  I’ve spent many hours going through the grad transition process for high school students, and often thought about what our specific grad transition package contains.  From memory, the students did have to complete an online version of the MBTI, and record what it said about them.  I also remember passing the whole thing off as a bunch of “mumbo jumbo”.  WOW.  Oops.

I’m not sure what effect today had on me, although I do know it has made me aware of who I am, and more willing to own up to who I am (not 100% completely though…).  I’m forced to imagine how the lives of the these high school students would be changed or enhanced if we not only got them to complete the survey, but put them through an activity such as was done today.  The survey was interesting, but the my understanding of what the designations meant, and how they were significant to me, was really cemented through the activities. 

I definitely have a new understanding of myself that I can bring to the table when starting projects, either individually or with a group.  I wonder how the lives of graduating students would be affected if they not only left knowing their true identity (according to the MBTI), but also had begun to develop a deeper understanding of what it all means?  How would their interpersonal relationships be changed and challenged?  How would their approach to school work, jobs, and other required tasks be enhanced or diminished?  Would there be any change at all, or is it only because I’ve had enough life experiences that the MBTI and its associated activities were significant to me? (Were they significant to anyone else?)

July 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm 1 comment

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