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Brie Stark's picture

A got a lot out of this

A got a lot out of this morning's session.  First, I think we brought up the important point of "fear of failure" and the notion that being uncomfortable is okay.  I believe that individual progress needs to be seen in terms of grades for most students, and this seemed to be a general consensus in the class.  How do we overcome this?  How do we encourage that the development is key, rather than just the outcome?  We are pushed against standardized tests, which test and encourage conclusions -- we are therefore up against a machine that is very hard to change, just as we mentioned how teaching styles are difficult to change.

A problem with changing standardized tests revolves around why we use standardized tests, in general.  It seems to me that standardized testing is really just an efficient, no-sweat way to gauge students and rank them amongst the masses.  If we change these assessments to better foster development instead of conclusions, will we lose this efficiency?  Is it this need for efficiency that is holding us back?  Or will we be reluctant to change these assessments for other reasons (fiscal, lack of good alternative..)?

Another topic brought up today was that there are several keys to successful emergence.  To me, I believe that the teachers must be just as willing to learn as the students in every lesson.  They must expect to learn, not just to teach.  They must be willing to see new ideas and consider them objectively, even against their own values or environmental background.  I think this breeds new ideas in a discussion.  I also believe that encouraging the facts as secondary information and discussion as the primary information is a key to emergence.  For example, Langdon's ant: we encouraged the fact that there was programming over the concept that there could be many stories describing the ant's action.  This was a failure on our part.  If had encouraged the construction of new ideas over the pronunciation of the programmed ant, we could've lead a more successful emergent discussion.

Today, we seemed to be arguging to convince one another about a "right answer" --> we can't just say "trust me," I've found.  Emergence stresses experience and development.  To be successful, we must let others experience and develop -- we cannot say "trust me," for science doesn't reolve around this concept.  If it did, new observations would never be made; the loop wouldn't exist.  I think that we should focus on seeing where discussions lead us by using our own experiences as examples but not stressing them as concrete facts (tried and true), therefore not stressing the "one truth" mentality.

We saw a real example to illustrate that our world is indeed a construction of the brain, and that each world is different.  When Paul said "think of the first 3 words you associate with the word 'science,'" none of us had the same 3 words, or in the same order.  This supports the fact that all of our brain architecture is indeed different, and thus our perceptions and learning styles differ.

This brought me to thinking about religion and spirituality.  Could it be that, perhaps, some brains are created with more aptitude toward "faith" -- either by genetics or learned environment?  Different brains could be a huge reason as to why so many religions exist and why one is not more "right" than another.  Just understanding this concept can open the eyes of many extremists (example, the Crusades; suicide bomers) who believe one religion to be supreme over another.  If religion is indeed a construct of the brain, as everything else is, I don't think religion (or lack-of) can be seen as a hierarchy.

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