Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 3 Reflections

In the class, we talked about what truth is and how to teach students. When we teach students the theories, since we can never reach truth, we should teach them as well as how to think critically. In this way, teaching in a class is like publishing a paper. An excellent teacher needs to “cite” the theories he or she wants to present. At the same time, attending a class is like reading a paper. Students need to learn how to think critically to approach the truth and how to collect useful information from the class to reach their own goals.

In engineering research, thinking critically is essential. When I read papers on my topic, it is not unusual to find contradictory conclusions from different works. Sometimes it is because the criteria for different works are different; sometimes it is because the control groups are different; sometimes it is because of the specialty of the authors; sometimes it is because of the limitation of knowledge of the authors; and so on. In this situation, a researcher needs to sort out what he or she needs and if the materials are correct to build his or her background. Without thinking critically, one just gets confused and can do nothing innovative.