Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The New Scholarship Requires a New Epistemology
In this paper, the author presents a new scholarship which is more practical. This scholarship requires a change in the epistemology. To prove this claim, the author brings in the “reflection in” and “reflection on” concepts, which are used in the paper to explain many of the examples, including the MIT’s project, and can be seen very frequently in our everyday life.

The “reflection in” and “reflection on” concepts are very important in the process of learning and teaching. From the teacher’s point of view, what is going to be taught should be based on how much the students have already known. So during the teaching process, the teacher should observe the feed backs of the students and then decided what to teach and how to teach. This process is a reflection process. From the student’s point of view, during the learning process, they should not only learn what they are learning, but also learn how to learn and what to learn. This process is also a reflection process. To promote the efficiency of learning, the teacher and the students all need to be aware of the reflection concepts.

The Hidden Wholeness-Paradox in Teaching and Learning
In this book chapter, Palmer analyzes the concept of paradox of the world and presented the application of paradox in pedagogical design. Paradox presents everywhere around us. Right and wrong cannot be separated; light and dark cannot be separated; good and bad cannot be separated. Phelps’s parents are well aware of this concept. Paradox and wholeness also exist in the classroom. The students were divided into several discussion groups. However, the students all discuss under the same topic. Furthermore, everyone can express their opinions and participate into the topic better because of the division, so that a better wholeness or integrity can be reached.

The author talked about how to handle the six paradoxical tensions in pedagogical design regarding to its range, participators, contents, etc. For the fourth tension, there is an example. The engineering textbooks should include both the “big” theories and the examples or stories happen in students’ everyday life. It can help the students remember the theories. It also tells students that these theories can be used to solve practical problems.

My own “reflections”
During the transition from engineering discipline, there are several things I should keep in mind. First, making notes is very important. In the first class, I did not make notes. Then when I sit in front of the laptop, I found I cannot remember what other people have discussed. I started to realize that notes can not only help me remind the content of the class, but also allow me to look into the class in a different angle of view. After reading more articles or experience more, when I remember the class again, I can understand more of others’ opinions and why they presented these opinions. Similar to making notes in the class, making notes during reading also help me remind the content of the materials. Different from engineering textbooks, the educational reading materials are more like assays. It is impossible for me to read them again, but notes can help me remember the ideas in the articles.

Second, summary is very important. Making summary is also a “reflection” process. This blog is a summary. By writing this blog, I get reflection on my way of reading the materials and my performances at the class.