But one of the strengths of this program, they tell us, is the opportunity to learn from the talents, skills, and experiences shared by other "adult learners." I'm trying to look at it like that, and to stop being so overwhelmed when other people are waaay better at things than I am. How often is it that you have the the opportunity to learn from people who are way better at things than you are.
(Well, in my case, seeing as how everybody is way better at things than I am, pretty often, but that's not the point).
I'm stalling at present; rather, I'm "brainstorming" for my "Self-Assessment & Reflection With Strategies for Growth" paper, 1500 words or so, that's due Tuesday, comnplete with at least two APA reference citations. It's not the number of words that's a problem -- this LJ entry is already over 230. It's, like, what am I going to say?
"In eighteen months I'm going to overcome my fear of public speaking, complete my Master's Degree, obtain Teaching Certification, learn to create Power Point presentations and to speak French and Tagalog fluently, get totally buff so I can paddle the Molokai channel and run the Ironman and get mistaken in public for Laird Hamilton, complete and sell a book manuscript, pay off the house, purchase and drive an Audi TT, and invest so profitably in commodities futures that I won't need the teaching certification because I won't have to work. Plus, I'll get the house cleaned up because it's a mess. I shall use applied positive thinking and effective time management strategies to accomplish these goals."
I'm also supposed to address the results of my on-line "learning strategies assessments."
Solomon & Felder's "Index of Learning Styles" assessment pegs me pretty much right down the middle on most of their four either/or scales. There are two ways of interpreting these results -- results which are at odds, I might add, with the results of the ldpride.net learning styles assessment. The Solomon & Felder results indicate that either I am 1) well-balanced among the various learning styles, with no clear-cut preferences; or, 2) I am as dumb as a sack of rocks, completely unable to acquire or process knowledge no matter how it is presented.
Another alternative is the Memletic style graph (www.learning-styles-online.com), which indicates that in three key areas, Social Learning, Physical Learning, and Aural Learning, I am seriously deficient, operating at a level of interpersonal skill somewhere between that of, according to J. Celko (2001) "a technology geek" and "a sociopath." This suggests a considerable "opportunity for growth" in an educational program built entirely on a model of Cooperative Group Projects.
The real reason I'm cheezed off, I suppose, is that, as is usual in group projects, somebody got DUMPED ON at the very last minute. Yes, lest you failed to guess, that would be moi. (See, I'm working on that French thing already!) The other guys in the group are all fairly decent guys, and our group work has gone pretty smoothly so far -- but then, it's only a three week class -- but they've been submitting their pieces of our final group paper, again a 1500 word or so project. Five of us means about three-hunnert words apiece, not too bad. But, it's a "professional" paper, meaning it's supposed to have APA format reference citations. The one dude, the young guy, who is already teaching English at the high school level, turned in a crummy piece of off-the-cuff rambling with absolutely no references to support his comments. His syntax was kinda screwy, but at least he'd run it through a spell checker. I put in a couple hours last night revising, and FINDING SOME REFERENCES, for his part. Today I find another section turned in, to AN EMAIL ADDRESS I NEVER USE, even more shabbily written, with one unintelligible reference that I could not verify because I could not even understand it.
One, why, after two and a half weeks of daily emails, did the guy suddenly send off the most important data of the term to the school-assigned email box that I've never used? Another group memeber, the only other guy who's on the stick, found it in his school email, which he's never used either, and just happened to be checking out of idle curiosity. Why did this guy, our Mister Gung-Ho organizer, slap-dash off such a crummy piece of work, and how the heck is he going to get through these classes if he can't cite a reference? This time, he's getting by because I'm helping him, finding two references to fill in for the one pathetic jumble he turned in. I don't wish him ill, but I do hope that, in this next Learning Team, he has another member with as forceful a presence, who will tell him straight out, "dude, this is so not acceptable."
I was thinking that, well, these guys know more about Power Point than I do, so I guess we learn and build from our mutual strengths and weaknesses -- that is, opportunities for growth. But one of the women in class showed me how Power Point works last week -- she literally created a three panel presentation in, like, a minute using prefabricated templates. And, despite the self-proclaimed "expertise" of our "tech-savvy" group members, our first Power Point presentation looked like crap compared to the clean, simple approaches taken by the other three groups.
Initially, the other "new to all this" guy and I were somewhat concerned that, after this class, our smooth-running "Learning Team" would be disbanding, since two of us are Elementary Ed majors and three are Secondary. Turns out, we're breathing a sigh of relief. Tempered with trepidation, of course, for who knows what the next class will bring.
Believe it or not, all this rambling has been helpful, to an extent (always gotta modify everything, tone it down, don't want to be too assertive, not my style), allowing me to at least get an idea of the direction I want to go with my paper. It's just a paper, anyway, it doesn't mean I have to believe word one of what I write, right?
Hey, does anybody remember which advertising campaign it was last year or so that used the phrase "confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear?"