Thursday, November 27, 2008

RAMAK SIADATAN: Teaching and Learning

1. People learn in different ways. It's now commonly A common terminology for these learning styles has been developed since some time ago. And thus, we are thought to be visual, kinesthetic, or auditory. Each of these, having its particularities. What's your learning style? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?

I am an auditory learner. Found this out in college. My professor used me as an example, and asked me to tell him something about my activities the previous weekend. I described going home to visit my mom, while he watched my eyes, my body language and my word choice before telling me I was an auditory learner. Oddly enough, the thing that most stood out about that weekend visiting mom was that she had left the stereo on in “tape” mode and the only one who couldn’t think until it (and the accompanying feedback noise) were gone was me. We are all a little visual, a little kinesthetic and a little auditory...but we all each lean more so in one direction. I like being auditory because I like remembering conversations. You know, little stories in my head. It also makes learning fun for me, as I can run a play-by-play of what I learned and never lose it. What I don’t like is how long it takes me to drown out outside noises before I can concentrate on certain things. For example, the first forty pages of any book are the toughest for me because my brain is constantly distracted by any and every noise.

2. What's the most useful thing you have learned that can be applied both, to your personal and to your professional life?

I’ve mentioned this one in an earlier week. The world is based on people’s perceptions. No statement has affected me more in my personal and professional life. I think what enables me to be successful is being thoughtful and considerate of other people’s feelings, looking at the world through their eyes, and truly understanding their unique perspectives. It has helped me relate better to my family, my friends, my students when I was teaching, my peers and my supervisors at name it.

3. Good learners aren't always good teachers. I have the feeling that everyone in this group has become a pretty good teacher, some way or another. Can you share what's been the most useful thing you have ever taught? (To whom? Why?)

In general, I think the most useful thing I have taught people is to not be so hard on themselves. Again, both in my personal and professional life, I see people who convince themselves that the world is out to get them, that they can’t learn something, that they aren’t as good as other people. And these are intelligent, hard working people who get so focused and driven they don’t stop to be thankful for what they have and what they have accomplished.

4. This one question I got it from an interview to Mr. Obama I saw in ESPN a couple days ago. What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten? Why?

I already shared one piece of advice from which I have learned a great deal. So I’ll give a different one here. Be yourself. Short and simple. Life is a lot easier when you accept who you are and chase your passions.

5. This question comes from the idealist in me... If there was one thing you wished everyone in this planet learned, what would it be?

That human beings, for the most part, are wonderfully flawed. And that each of us is just trying to live our lives with the minds and bodies we were given at birth, doing the best we can.

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