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Happy new office.

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It’s been real…

fun and wonderful to get to know you all fellow GEDIs. Big-ups and thanks to Dr. Fowler and Miko. I feel like I’ve successfully adopted a new blogging habit. I just may keep this going…

Maybe I’ll rename it to “another boring grad student blog”, or something equally mundane.

 

Claudio, I am sorry unexpected (shrill) noises can stir such anger in you. It made me think about the time I watched a scary movie with a friend who preemptively scared me during intense moments. I was so angry after the second time he did it I threatened to “knock him the fuck out” if he did it again…

Classical music can soothe the beast, no?

Sarv… small hand and thanks for being brave enough to speak your mind… all the time.

GEDI’s, I wish you all the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On “Stealing Dreams”…

Seth God(of pedagogy)in. Someone needs to give this man a bigger soap box. It was interesting to watch his TED Talk, and then read Gorden Gee’s piece “Universities can survive only with radical reform”, which felt a bit whiney in contrast.

So I’m still wondering, as Gee phrased it, how we are going to transform elephants into ballerinas in terms of revamping our archaic ivy towers of academia?

Maybe a team of pedagogical contemporaries can lobby Melinda and Bill Gates to throw some money towards a school of the future. Apply all that Humanist creative thinking towards figuring out a way to toss the guards from their high ivy towers, and start a revolution already.

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Thought I posted this already…

One last thing on medical ethics—I was sure I shared this article from the New Yorker, but maybe it was only a tweet twitch—titled “Letting Go”, What medicine should do when it can’t save your life”.

I read that nearly 5 years ago, dug it up when we got on the topic, then failed at sharing.

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Ethical Practices for Artists

While researching my subject for our PBL/case study assignment, I came across a really great piece on Ethics For Artists in the Huffington Post by writer Karen Atkinson. While it’s specifically written for “art world artist”,  I think all creative types could find value in what she has outlined.

 

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Phew! Glad someone is “Adjusting the Prescription”…

The article by Maura Singleton on the revamping of UVA’s medical school was a real breath of fresh air. Sometimes I feel troubled by our adventures in pedagogy, and the mountain that is our educational system in this country feels a bit like approaching Mordor. I know that sounds dramatic and gloomy, but the intent of this post is supposed to celebrate the opposite of that.

Let me try again… This article gives me hope that change is possible, and maybe, just maybe one day there might be a silver lining behind one of those dark rainy clouds that seem to loom heavy over our educational, and health care systems. These are big topics to umbrella in a such a small paragraph, but the hope I extracted from this piece brighten my morning.

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Teaching Philosophy and Disclaimer

It felt really great writing the first draft of my teaching philosophy, regardless of how usable it may be when I actually need it. While I know this may sound suspect coming from a person who has never stood in front of a class before, it still felt good.

Disclaimer: I wrote it with a mechanical pencil in a notebook. The smooth graphite flowed easily as the meat of my hand smudged my thoughts down the page. There may even be little bits of eraser left in the crease.

Apologies in advance fellow cohorts, this may not be transcribed into a word document by class time.

 

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Digesting ethics and the loss of self.

I’ve noticed that I have a difficult time reading the course materials and blogging about it all in the same week. Often my unfinished posts will sit in the drafts folder well past a point where they seem relevant. 10 weeks in and roughly the same thing happens every week. Hours behind the screen, often starting off with so many ideas which eventually dissolve into a post I am less than happy with. The Author Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book Outlier that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. This only reminds me that if I kept a journal—habitually, and not just when there is something that stirs my pot—blogging and writing in general might not feel so frustrating. 

ETHICS… definitely something that stirs my pedagogical pot. Good thing for this blog or I may have not figured out that the one thing that has got me worked up all semester has been ethics.  Any unfairness—life’s injustices small and large—right there the whole time, between the lines and out in the open like a nudist on a beach. I just needed someone to take the damn wooden spoon out of the pot and whack me with it.

Dr.Yanna Lambrinidou asked us to discuss our story of self, and presented three questions; What do you stand for? What conditions tend to erode your moral compass? Do you remember a time when you lost your moral self. At first glance these questions seemed pretty easy, and while I could simply answer them, the ethics behind the possibly consequences of writing them out made it an extremely difficult exercise to fulfill.

Writing about a time where you possessed a strong sense of self, or what I stood for?—seemed easy enough. My writings on self were how consistently, throughout my life I’ve always fought for the underdog. A natural tendency that really became prominent in high school when I developed a strong sense of self. It was the ethics behind the situation that made stand up to the bullies for my classmates that hadn’t found their voice yet to do so, or hadn’t yet developed a strong sense of “self” for themselves. Picking on the little guy always made me stand up to the big guy, and somehow I was always able to mediate in an ethical and friendly way.

The real tough one to answer honestly was remembering a time when I’ve lost my moral compass? One memory stood out immediately, when I was 13 or 14  years old, roughly a year or two after my father, and his vices, had passed away. The thought of that memory instantly put a pit in my stomach. I am lucky to have come away from such a dark place. I came very close to sharing the story in class, cold sweat and clammy hands… Ethically I could not answer.

 

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Stigmatic Pressures

Before I get into my post, I would just like to say that I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be a student again, and even more so for having this course in my first term. Crucial… #nottryingtosoundlikeakissass

Since we’ve taken the plunge into the complexities of “inclusive pedagogy” and diversity in the classroom, I’ve found myself on a newly elevated plane. A hyper-awareness of stigmatic pressures that are all around me, and have been all around me the whole time… maybe even to a fault. Am I that sensitive and so easily affected the deeper truths of being a female?

Are females more sensitive and in-tune emotionally—and in turn more vulnerable—as a result of evolution, because we are equipped to give birth and be mothers? Why even by the mere suggestion that we are not as good at math as our male counterparts is enough to offset our test scores by 30%? The research presented by Dr. Claude M. Steele in Whistling Vivaldi has been a valuable take away. Now, just like magic the topic seems to be popping up everywhere.

Just yesterday there was a Planet Money podcast on NPR titled “When Woman Stopped Coding”, which tries to dissect why the number of women who were studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men, (for decades) and then suddenly in 1984 the percentage took a nose dive. Stigma pressure that Steele theorized about. I’ve been trying to figure out how to play GEDI mind tricks to convince myself that I am good at math, and I will be able to figure out this programming code in the next 4 weeks. (aloud self talk… “Liz, you are good at math”. “Liz, you will be a great programmer”.) Now that I am aware of this research how do I move forward with it?

Last week, my partner (who is in the Science Technology in Society program here at Tech) was griping about how all of her STS classes all have a week of feminist theory built in. That materials presented during that week seem haphazardly chosen and often having nothing to do with their current studies. She feels strongly that women should be included throughout the term and not thrown into a week that seems forced and out of place, “stinking of a liberal agenda” as she put it. She acknowledged that she sounded like an anti-feminist, but to her it made the playing field seem uneven.

Maybe the origins of Feminist theory week was created with good intentions, but like all topics of diversity, the execution and presentation is everything.

 

 

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Digressions

Alfie kahn… Alfie, Alfie, Alfie Kahn. Add a little beat box to that, rinse, and repeat. I want to thank him for presenting his arguments in a clear and straight forward manor. There’s been a lot to digest with the various assessments and practices of all things pedagogical. Did anyone else have a tough time getting through Dr. Donna M. Riley’s paper? I just read it a second time and feel like I need electric shock therapy.

Alas I digress….

I’m really at a point where I can imagine completely doing away with letter grades. There was just an article in the Wall Street Journal on how New York City school Chancellor Carmen Fariña is doing away with the letter grade system. I would post the link here but unless you subscribe you will be blocked from seeing the full article. BTW, a great hack around not being able to see full articles posted by online publications such as The Wall Street Journal or NY Times, is to google search the title of the article—in this case “no letter grades in school”—and you will be able to access the article through a little backdoor loop-hole… For this search it will be the third listed result.

I digress again…

Whether you read the article or not, it will be interesting to see how a major change like this will go over in a city like New York.

 

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