Thursday, April 7, 2011
journal 14 - Isel Lee
Most of the teaching strategies I have encountered were more of the “banking system” where I was fed information and expected to regurgitate them on very objectively designed tests. Through these experiences, I realized how “hollow” I became—whatever information/knowledge I had learned had always been spilled out, leaving nothing left in my mind. My mind felt so empty and numb that it was difficult to adjust to the learning environment demanded at Cal. Many of the humanities courses I took here demanded a different type of learning—one where I needed to REALLY understand and know the material that I read and learned in class, and also show my mastery within the tests. I was also expected to interact with other students and professors through discussions and office hours. The existence of an environment where students were allowed to speak in class, present their opinions, and also participate actively was an overwhelming experience for me, who was used to sitting quietly as a submissive student in class. I remember my surprise and confusion when the GSI in my English writing class explained to the class that she wants to see our own interpretation and ideas in the essays assigned. I was always taught to integrate the themes and ideas presented by the teacher rather than coming up with our own in our literary essays—I had an experience where I got a bad grade because my interpretation of symbols within the book were wrong and was given a better grade when I only included the interpretations and ideas presented by the teacher in class. Thus I had come to think that whatever I thought never mattered because it was wrong and whatever the teacher says was right. Yet, now they’re telling me to do something I have always thought was wrong?! Adjusting to my new educational environment was a slow and difficult task, but it was worth it because I feel like I own my education more. Before, whatever I learned was only at a level where I was able to “recognize” the information without actually “knowing” it. My approach to educational material has begun to change to one that is more subjective. I wish that I encountered such a learning environment earlier in life as an active member in my learning community rather than being brought up to be a passive, mindless student.