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Monthly Archives: November 2010

I tried on a different pair of shoes, but I didn’t like the way they fit.

My participation in last week’s in-class activity didn’t feel like a success to me.  I enjoyed viewing my classmates’ vignettes and trying to determine which epistemological stances they were representing, but when it came time for our skit, I think we missed it.  In our minds, we had it down.  We purposely mixed up the roles to challenge ourselves, but I think we — or at least I — stepped too far out of my comfort zone.  When the initial exchange didn’t have the desired effect and we had to keep it going with improvisation, I fell out of character almost immediately and was unsure how to respond to my partner.

I’m wondering now what I can learn from that mishap in terms of the practice of teaching.  Both this class and 603 (Adult Learning Strategies) stress the importance of being aware that students have different learning styles and suggest that a blended approach to teaching is desirable.  Is it that I’m holding on too tightly to my own preferred learning styles?  Or is it that I don’t fully understand yet the concepts and theories that underlie alternative styles?  I normally think of myself as someone who can react on the fly and think on my feet, but that didn’t happen in class last week.

Practice makes perfect, so as long as I know I’ll have a few more flops ahead of me, I’ll keep striving toward better understanding my non-dominant strategies.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in ADLT 601

 

Oh, no… not again!

I can’t believe the thought of withdrawing from this class even crossed my mind, but it did.  And not just withdrawing from this class, but dropping out of the program altogether.  Dropping out of grad school… again.  The first time I dropped out of the MPA program because I felt that my career and my educational pursuits were not aligned, and I was having a hard time balancing what felt like two different and separate worlds.

When I enrolled in the M.Ed. program, I thought it was going to compliment a career move for me into the training field.  Unfortunately, my desired career switch was ill-timed.  The job market has been such for the last couple of years that employers are no longer thinking outside the box when it comes to filling job vacancies.  If they’re looking for a training professional, they’re going to hire someone with that exact background because there are so many good professionals out there who do that.  There is no need for a company to invest in someone who has a strong business background but needs to learn the specifics when such an experienced pool of available candidates exists.  So I turned my job search back to where my strength and experience lies in Marketing, so I am again feeling some distance between work and school, but I see enough commonality that I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy being in school.  Our classroom discussions are exciting and fascinating for me.  Desire and motivation are not lacking.  What is lacking is simply a matter of time.  Even if I’m able to keep up with the readings for class, I find that that’s all I’m doing — getting the reading done.  I’m not finding or making the time to reflect on what I’m reading, so I’m compartmentalizing the ideas into their own spaces in my mind instead of stringing together the concepts into a framework for adult learning.

I don’t know what the answer is because work will always take up the biggest portion of my time, thus leaving the rest of my time to be split among my work with the rescue group (my ultimate passion), school, and just life in general (cooking, cleaning, errands, etc.).  I still feel that this program is going to be beneficial for me no matter what career path I’m on, so I guess I need to figure out the right way to study so that my learning is significant and meaningful.

As for the problem of not enough hours in the day, maybe Hermione will let me borrow her time turner.

 

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2010 in ADLT 601

 

Learning as Adult Development

“If learning is the restructuring of meaning as adults engage in life experience, then learning can be conceptualized as the vehicle of adult development.” ~ M. Carolyn Clark

This quote struck me as significant when I read it, and it stuck with me all last night and into today.  This seems to be a pivotal different in learning between children and adults.  I imagine if you asked most children “where do you learn,” their answer would be in school.  It’s there that they learn math, science, English, and history.  But if you ask an adult “where do you learn,” you’ll probably get an array of answers that might include where they work, go to church, or volunteer.  You might even get an answer like “I learn something new every day!”

As a child, I thought that once you grew up, that was it, you were done.  You had arrived.  Where you’d arrived at I’m not really sure, but I don’t think it ever dawned on me how much I would continue to learn after I’d “grown up.”  My career in Marketing didn’t spring from anything I learned in school.  In fact, I never took any Marketing classes in college.  Almost everything I’ve learned in my career has been through experience instead of formal learning.  And now, as I stand on the brink of embarking on the next journey in my career, I am anxious to take what I’ve learned in the past and combine it — maybe even restructure it — with what I’ll learn about the world of mergers and acquisitions.  In addition, I will have  experiences with new technologies and new marketing tactics that weren’t even available five or ten years ago.  If I want to excel in this new role, I will have to continue to learn new things, assess their applicability to this audience, and restructure my action plans accordingly.

One of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult didn’t have anything to do with school or work.  Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.  That was a lesson that finally resonated with me about 10 years ago as I was learning to share my living space with a significant other, something I hadn’t done so well when I had been married.  It started out with stupid things like how you load a dishwasher, but the overall lesson has much broader implications for tolerance and acceptance.  Instead of just rejecting the way someone does something or the way someone thinks because it’s different from your perspective, I view it as an opportunity to learn.  I don’t always agree with or accept what I’ve learned about it, but it’s an interesting exercise, and one that always carries the potential for development.

I like the idea of learning something new every day.  The new thing I learn doesn’t have to be rocket science, but I fear that if I stop wanting to learn, life might not be as much fun.

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2010 in ADLT 601