Be Conscious about Unconsciousness

The idea of this blog stroke my mind the second I got the result from the implicit bias test (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html). For some of the implicit biases, I got pretty strong biases on some of the categories that I do not think I have biases on. The experience of taking the test also showed me how the feeling is when one acting follow an instinct that he/she cannot resist. Combining this experience with the reading about “The Hidden Brain”, I’m convinced that there is a great part of unconsciousness of my brain. Accept the existence of the unconsciousness leaves me a question about how should I get along with it.

Obviously, the unconsciousness is not a thing that we can fight with since it is actually part of ourselves that formed possibly by the culture, family, values, and status of us as we grow up. However, it is probably neither a good thing that we cut it loose and let it form us. Therefore, not only accept the unconsciousness, we should keep conscious about when we are leading by the unconsciousness intend to control the consequence of it.

I also figure the awareness of unconsciousness could also be the starting point for me open up to diversity. By reading news, I find out that sometimes the reasons for one group of people dislike the others are completely irrational, in contrast, the reasons are always merely feelings coming from their instincts. “I just don’t like blablabla..” they probably may say. If we can be conscious of our instincts and be retrospective about the feelings, we may become more open-minded to a diversity of cultures and people and easier agree with disagreements. Borrow the argument mentioned in the article “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter” (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/?wt.mc=SA_Facebook-Share): Diversity increase creativity. The argument makes our awareness of our unconsciousness the stepping stone of better group learning and teamwork as individuals in a group.

Advertisements

Discovering Authentic Teaching Self

I never teched any kind of classes in my life yet. When I was trying to come up with the idea of authentic teaching self, the first word desperately popped up in my mind was preciseness. As a non-native speaker imaging himself teaching in a foreign country, the word preciseness could have a great chance be the first thing on his mind. Aspects like preciseness could be a few steps away from a teaching philosophy but it is definitely an important principle for teaching. Similar to a society need ethics and laws to keep both humanity and order, education needs to have the upper-level philosophy as well as fundamental principles.

The requirement of preciseness coming from my personal concern about the language, since teaching a class is way different from one-on-one conversation. Misinterpretations can be effectively and easily clarified during the in-person conversation but can be hard to be explained in a class. If confusion keeps happening in a classroom, students may gradually lose interest in the class. We definitely will have the chance and method to appropriately adjust what we imperfect on our early stage teaching. Addition to that, aware that as an experienceless teacher, making mistakes is inevitable, but I would believe that having a mind caring about preciseness in advance will help guarantee the convey of messages.

The article “Finding My Teaching Voice” by Sarah Dell mentioned a perspective that I never thought of before, maintaining the boundary between students and teachers. I once had an instructor who was really close to his students, everyone feels like friends to him. Surprisingly, he is also one of the instructors that gained most of the respects from students and the course that semester worked out pretty good. Thus I see a sustainable boundary as a formation of respects and trusts from both students and instructors. It’s not about the way of teaching, it can be either intimating way of teaching or lecturing methods, but building up an atmosphere that students are willing to learn that at the same time motivate instructors.

Motivation and Mindfulness

When trying to understand mindful learning, I read through Ellen Langer’s article and get the sense of this new culture of learning which stresses on the self-consciousness of learners while learning. The article also shows how mindful learning looks like from a more methodological perspective. The whole idea was inspiring, but I always have this question in my mind while reading: why would I willing to learn?

I feel enlighted when the word motivation comes up in videos. I think motivation is the solution to my question. I see Dr. Emily Satterwhite’s talk today about their actions against mountain valley pipeline as a good example of full of motivation. By knowing what’s important to ourselves and the aspects we care about, motivations generate. Then decide to take actions. Of course, the real world cases are not this simple, but I personally believe they all start somehow in this way.

In the first place, I would define motivation is the lead of mindful learning, however; now I figure they are two different and interactive aspects. A motivation may not last long or become important enough if we lack the self-awareness about what we are motivated by. Motivation coming up from mindful thinking, are those can support us to get through tough times.

 

A Travel

Years ago I woke up in the morning and found that everything seems different than it used to be. I’m probably teleported to a random universe. How different this world is? I would say it feels like I live in the internet. I figure that the appearance and physical laws of this world probably work the same as my home universe. The major difference is that whenever I think about doing anything through the internet, what I need will pop-up or be done automatically as I think of them. This is actually not hard to figure out because the second I woke up in the morning, I asked myself where I’m I?, and the “Wikipedia” in this world somehow showed up immediately in front of my eyes.

I actually was a quite old fashion person in my homeworld, because I got annoyed when I need to learn using so many different tools for various occasions and purposes. Even though the technology was user-friendly enough and simple to learn, I still felt a lot of redundancy on all kinds of tools and manual information filtering processes. But accidentally landing on a world like this, is my first time in my life want to celebrate the existence of technology. When this kind of situation happens in the movie, the characters always want to figure out a way to go back, but I don’t, I’m thinking of living a life here.

This is my chance of starting a new life. My life back on the earth was not a decent one. I always blame that on my lack of passion for learning due to the inconvenience of technology. Now I have a perfect set up for me to learn now, I’ll figure out what I want to do and become an expert in that.

“O.K., what I really want to do?”

Well, obviously no answer would show up automatically for that question.

“What the world needs?”

“The world needs love, understanding, equality…..”

Hmm…That’s too general. Probably a doctor should still be a good occupation since I can still fell my body. “What do I need to become a good doctor?”

“Step 1:¬†Earn a Bachelor’s Degree; Step 2: Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT); Step 3: Earn a Medical Degree. …”

I can’t believe even in this hi-tech world being a doctor still takes the exact same processes. Fortunately, I can finish the degrees and testes online, even those practical experiments can be done with VR availability. Wait, what if I’ll be sent back while I’m halfway of becoming a doctor? While it will happen or not is not up to me anyway. I probably just pretend it will not happen.

So I started with the thought of living a better new life. As my learning goes on, I start to think about my career as a doctor, how I should talk to my patients, maybe I can help my daughter in the future when she does not feel good. I was learning days and nights until one day the most frustrating thing happened. I woke up back to my previous world.

I was shocked sitting in my bed looking around but at nothing. I was upset about what I’ve already done, but remained my calmness by thinking “O.K., I already know what I should do, now I just need to do it over again.”. Amazingly, learning everything again does not feel like a step back or a boring repetition. I can notice new details that I didn’t have spare attention to notice before while I was learning for the first time. Although now I need to go to real college to learn and use all different tools, those things are not as bothering as they are to me before.

Weird Classes

We once had two weird classes in one semester.

The first class was about poetry.

“Good morning everyone, in this semester we will be learning about poems. We will learn to interpret what the authors convey from their poems. I believe using the social media will be a perfect way for us to discuss with each other even after classes.”

So the class went pretty well and the online discussion was quite interactive. Although sometimes the mandatory social media discussion seems awkward, I believe most of us had the passion to express our thoughts at least once or twice for the semester.

However the class become weird at the final. Instead of trying to explain what we see from the poems, what the metaphors could be, half of the test requires us to recite the poems and fill out the blanks. The other half of the exam went as usual, but everything just felt ridiculous at the end.

The second class was Chemistry.

” I would like everyone to memorize the chemical equations, periodic table and properties of groups in the periodic table.”

Not surprisingly, the class had a lot of contents but pretty dry to listen. I fell asleep several times during the semester, probably so did my classmates. To make sure we could get good grades on this class, we tried our best to memorize everything in the class. We were even reviewing after midnight the day before the final.

The final required us to predict a super complicate reaction with the permission of using our notes and even the internet. The teacher did mention about how to use scientific searching engines to find references, however we never did it ourselves. Half of the exam we were trying to figure out what we should be searching. We were also allowed to discuss with each other during the exam, this did make us less miserable, but I did not feel very effective when discussing with others. I screwed up this one as well.

*********************************

I’m the poetry teacher.

At the very beginning, I was trying to have my students engaged in the discussion about poems, let them feel about the scene the authors depicted. I require the class share thoughts with each other, so that they could learn from different perspectives. I thought feelings and how to express them, is one of the most important thing we can learn by reading poems. However, one day, I got worried. I was worried that thoughts generated on thoughts are so overwhelming that the origin poem were left behind and forgotten. I was worried that other beauties lie in the form of poems were neglected. So I decided to make the final closer related to poems themselves. I didn’t expect they could do well on the exam, but I will explain my thoughts to them. Surprisingly, some students can still finish out the poems (or some of the poems) pretty well.

I’m the chemistry teacher.

I start my class with emphasizing the importance of memorizing everything and of deducting one from the other. But students seemed not attracted to them. Some students even fell asleep. I started to wonder what was wrong. By retrospecting my way of accomplishing tasks, I memorize the basic but always look up about things I may need but do not know. Right, that’s right. I should not let my students to memorize everything, once they graduate from school, they will need more than knowing the knowledge to adapt. I should let them know the importance of the tools. I picked up a reaction for them to predict in the final, and I encourage them using the tools they know. It should not be hard for them. Well, it turned out that they actually are not that familiar with the tools. Even for this generation that grows up with the internet, gaps exist between blocks of the flat world.