Archive for May, 2012

Changes in our understanding of the phenomenal world has subtle implication toward how we come to see the process of education. The world as we come to know is no longer the passive object of our academic manipulation for the attainment of educational goal. The world is as much a subject as we are. It no longer stands as cold object for our analysis. It is an organic dynamic living world that invites us to a subject-subject interaction. Translating this into the classroom setting, perhaps the era where students are treated as object has to be reevaluated. And if students remain subjects among many other subjects, perhaps as educators, they should be viewed as texts among many other texts.  Treating students as texts suggests an attitude of learning and an eagerness to explore. Educator’s role is one who facilitates intertextual conversation. And out of this process texts have been added a living breathing dimension to live on in the community that one participates in.

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The other day I was sitting in admissions committee discussing policies. I never really feel comfortable being in admissions committee for personal reason, or rather, personal bias. Bias is probably an appropriate term. How do we measure a person? How do we sit and decide that this student is qualified and the other, falling short of our standards? Who decides the standards? I am intrigued by the idea that education success changes from generation to generation, from culture to culture. And while evaluation is unavoidable, standards should be viewed with some level of suspicion.  Further, there is a definite bias in academia toward intellectual ability that clouds every other dimension. We are ever ready to admit a 4 point student even if this student has not made any contribution to the society or community. Even if this person is so engrossed in his/her education that he/she sacrifices everything else in the pursuit of good academic performance. And we will be so enthusiastic cheering this student along because this is the measure that we have decided for ourselves. But what about those students whose academic performance may be at an average but whose life demonstrates a life of service and commitment, a person who understands that people are our priority, that the soul is deeper than the mind can grasp, that linear hierarchy is just a line and so why can’t we take a pen and rewrite stories where people matter. How shall we envision future approach to educational assessment? I do not have an answer but a question, I think, that’s worth pondering.

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Over the past few years of oversea traveling I have come to observe a dimension of depression that manifests itself philosophically and through a certain perspective. This understanding is certainly not new but it is astonishing to notice its prevalence in non-clinical contexts. The domineering pessimism in ways individuals assess their lives and future projection, the level of negative emotion, the darkness of the world one lives in.  See glass half empty seems a greater indication of the presence of depression than we may wish to acknowledge.  In younger generation is can also manifest itself through anger. Anger with life, with the way things are going in life, with one’s own inability to move forward. I some time wonder what is the extend to which our society has perpetuated pessimism (and hence depression) through our idealization of what the world and life ought to be. How mass media has created a world of fantasy that reality is unable to come even close. And with increasing media comes a new world that we ought to follow but its reality is illusive and the gap gets bigger and the world seems darker even through flashing billboards and TV advertisements. The flashing lights of the world guided by the most advanced technology generate not brightness but perpetuate and evoke darkness in its midst.

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That’s how life feels sometime. Or may be not. May be it is life all of the time. I wonder if one has to learn to recognize that’s how life is. Not so much let’s work hard and deal with issues so that things will keep getting better. But more like, tiring is a part of life so deeply integrated into reality that what one needs to learn is to live with or even expect continual struggles hoping for random moments of rest just to regain ourselves, moment of rest to put ourselves back together to face more complexities. A little break here and a little break there and we keep plowing along in life.  So it is not an eschatological utopia but little moments of pleasure here and there that we savor and we move on to the normality of human day-to-day struggles. So let me catch a little rest tonight and leave tomorrow for tomorrow. Let’s dream some sweet little dream and let loose my imagination in the magical world of fantasy till reality breaks in with tomorrow’s dawn.

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