Saturday, January 31, 2015

Learning to Listen

I am currently reading T.Berry Brazelton's book on 'Learning to Listen'. It's a very interesting book, an autobiography and research findings on child development all over the world all bunched up into one hardback copy. I borrowed this one off the library. Only about 30 pages in (I started this late afternoon), already I can relate to some of his points. 

Three particular things:

1. Great lecturers aren't always appreciated by students.

I've been feeling pretty down as it appeared that my students from the course I'd just finished teaching last semester did not really felt moved by the subject. despite so many SCL acitivities, trips, workshops, etc., they just didn't find it interesting enough (they thought I was a great lecturer, so my teaching skill wasn't to blame, but it was more like they couldn't see the point of the class - Creative Design - in helping them securing a job in the future. Don't you hate exam-oriented or job-oriented minds?). I felt like I had wasted my time. I had spent hours preparing for the course (burnt the midnight oil on some) and had enthusiastically taught the course (it really was close to my heart what I am teaching), so to hear this, I was totally deflated. 

This morning I told Hubs that next semester I am going to change my strategy and just read my notes monotonously at the front of the class for the entire hour (like so many other teachers/lecturers do anyway) and not plan on anything extra. When it's exam time, I'll give just them a list of stuff to memorize, and they'll gleefully be reciting and regurgigating them back exactly as they were on my notes and everyone gets an A and they'll be happy with and the course and or course, with me, and then we all go our merry ways. Don't understand? Not my problem. Boring? Not my problem. Fail the course? Not my problem. My time and energy could be spent on research,which carries more weight anyway. 

But Hubs had talked me into being 'ikhlas', or do the best that I can without hoping for anything in return, especially not human recognition. Let Allah be the judge, he had said. So when I read Berry's book and he mentioned that for entire time he was a medical student, he remembered nothing from any of those class, except for one. At the time, he didn't even like this professor's teaching (it was different than all the crammy notes as medical students were used to), but as he grew older, he began to appreciate the lessons more. So, I guess, there's still hope. 

2. Listen and observe before making any move. On children, adult, animals, any living being.

As parents, I sometimes forget to hear out my children. Oh, I hear them crying and screaming very well, it's just that I sometimes fail to hear WHY they are screaming in the first place. But listening better, I should be able to decipher why they behave in such ways, what they are trying to say implicitly, what they need, and when to know that a meltdown is on its way to stop it before it's too late. Sorry Zayd and Aisyah. I'm human and I forget. But reading this helps me correct what my mistakes.

3. A good researcher observes, observes and observes. 

I'm inspired by Dr. Brazelton's work. Stuff that he writes are from his study. He's very passionate about his field of study. He observes a lot, and then he writes. This is something that doesn't happen often in the academics world anymore, which is a shame. It is always a race against time. Publish or Perish, that's our motto. Very few observation gets done. Especially in my field (computing), a lot of it is number crunching. You plug in some variables, you crunch some numbers, you study them briefly, and voila, you get a paper. You tweak some other parameters, get different numbers, study them briefly, and voila, another paper. Wash, rinse, repeat. Which gets very exhausting. Which is why I am so glad that in my smaller area which I am focusing on, I get to study the psychology and cognitive behind human behaviours when interacting with computers. I deal with humans. I deal with numbers. It's a great mix of sciences, and certainly utilises both left and right hemisphere of the brains. Dr. Brazelton's story has motivated me to do research which are closer to my heart, and not really get swept away with the 'in' studies, though I must admit the lure of grants on these 'in' issues is hard to resist.

So yeah. It's definitely a good read. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Start Again

Had just started doing exercises again this week. Every Tuesday and Thursday, our work place does this program 'Fit by the Beat' from 4-5 pm, at the Main Hall's parking lot, organised by the University Health Centre for their staff. It's free, it's fun and it's legal! Like you can shut off your PC at 4 p.m., and be gone by 5 p.m., and not only can you do that, it is actually encouraged as us staff will get 1-hour training point on our e-latihan record. How cool is that?

So yeah. It feels great to be able to exercise again. Have been giving myself excuses since pregnant with Zayd to NOT lift a finger. Time to get back into shape again. Even if it only burns less than 200-cal a session (it's pretty mild, taking into consideration the average fitness level of all staff). But I figure I have to start somewhere. Same goes to blogging. Have left it for ages. No real stories to write about, but if I don't get started, i might as well shut this blog. Small, random updates are better than no updates, I guess. So let's hope these two things stick then - blogging and exercising.

The exercise must've done me a lot of good. I have been sweating madly even like 36 hours since the exercise. Since I'd just attended a session earlier this evening, NOW I am sweating like mad. Yeah, at 2 a.m. Metabolism or what?

Ok logging off now. Got an early meeting tomorrow. Was working on a paper to bring into the the meeting. Nighty night.

PS: Having serious earworm on Rude by Magic! "Why you gotta be so rude? I'm gonna marry her anyway...." Didn't know I was a fan of reggae, much less a Canadian reggae group at that? I continue to surprise myself on a daily basis, haish!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015

Selamat tahun baru semua!

Smg thn 2015 ini membawa lebih byk elemen positif dlm semua aspek kehidupan dunia n akhirat, Insya Allah....