Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Off-class thought: share my stories

This is also my first time to join a group discussion. I enjoyed the moment when we shared our stories and experiences because I like watching movies. How can they be related? The primary reason why I like watching movies is that I can sense actors/actresses' feeling even if I don't have a chance to stand in the same situation in real life. In this way, their stories either arouse similar emotion from my own event or breathe wonderful expedition into my mind.

I was taught long time ago that everything is a double-edge sword. But one edge was getting blunt ever since I entered college to be trained as a technician. It's a world containing only bounded, charged, individual's voice and long-time meditation. No one is going to break the rule; no one feel the need to do so.

Two years later, I was shocked by a success and a failure when I tutored two high school students. They were of the same age, similar performance in school when I first started and I taught them almost at the same time with the same tone. I stayed humorous, brought in real-world object and phenomenon to explain the obscure formulas, and kept the course active. It worked out for the first student as he told me that he got 30% overall improvement in the exam. However, the second one started to hate me and finally he politely complained, "I don't care about your analogy and example. They will not show up in the exam. Just give me what the exam requires - a shortcut that helps to gain a ticket to college." So, was I doing wrong? Yes, because I failed to realize that teaching should put the right gear to fit the right machine. "But when my students refuse to dance with me, my strength turns to weakness." I do not agree with the attitude and motivation of the second student, but I feel guilty, really.

I suddenly find out my paragraph above is a reflection-on-action. What a surprise! We talked a lot on knowing-in-action and reflection-in/on-action in class but I am especially interested in "reflective transfer" - carrying practice over into new situations. I smelt it last weekend when I was moving to a new apartment. Since I have no license, I rent a U-Haul and asked my friend to help me drive.
"No, I can't."
"Why? You have a license and you drive your Camry every day. Do you mean different licenses are issued to different vehicle drivers?"
"Yes, but I am allowed to drive a U-Haul of this size. But's different."
Finally I ended up finding another friend who owned a pick-up.

I am also amused by the MIT project. I used to develop an application like 'program A' which turned out to be a total failure. My application is to pick up every two documents which actually come from students' homework, extract main content out of it, and compare them to see if there is any plagiarism. Of course the student disliked it. But the instructor also hated because the students always figured out tricks to crash my application or simply protected their documents from being inspected by my program. Unfortunately, that's exactly the project for my B.S. degree :(

Sorry guys, it's a long post. But some directors mean to make movies longer, right? Oh, by the way, I watched 'Uninvited' last week but it made me drowsy !