Sunday, February 24, 2008

Down Times and Wonders ...

One thing which brings me down a lot of times is when I see the wrong path people are going, try to avoid them, and not being able to do anything positive eventually. This happens to me a lot while I witness the progress of the students I teach in classes. Now I don't necessarily mean that I know whats best for people and their optimum paths in life, but in the small domain of education, when people have goals for themselves and they believe in those goals, then helping them move in that direction is a priority for me and not seeing this happen is quite sad. I usually don't feel sorrow for things that are not in my control and happen outside my domain but in this specific issue, I usually think that there are still lots of other things that I can do to have better effects on these people. I often feel that being a teacher is one of the most critical jobs in this world. Thinking that a few moves and reactions might have big consequences on important issues for people is just frightening sometimes. These effects can originate from any person anywhere but the academic domain magnifies it and provides an arena for the possibilities of affecting people.
I'm experiencing some down times currently.
It wasn't long ago that I was a student myself and thought about what teachers do and how they should be and how I can be ideal if I become a teacher one day. How you see all the problems and wrong doings of the teachers and you think you know all the solutions but once you cross the line and start performing from the other side, everyday you see that a lot of these issues are not trivial at all and the more you witness the years go by, the more you feel that maybe what all those teachers did was at last the best thing that can be done and thats how things should be and the reality is far from the ideal visions.
Actually I haven't quite given up in this regard and the above belief has not quite conquered me yet and I'll try to experience and realize my ideal or semi ideal beliefs through academia while I can... there are still more things that can be tried ... although a lot of down times can be generated in this struggle too.

Most of the complexity arises from the fact that you have to deal different with different people and what you do to have positive effects on X has probably negative effects on Y. So it seems like in order to be most effective, you need to ride a spiral and find a dynamic solution to this complex problem. This fact needs solutions that are radically different from what happens in education right now.
One of the main questions here is, should you focus on being best for a specific group or being average for most? Some believe that a good teacher should be the best for all, not focusing on a specific group, I don't agree with this sub-consciously but I'm not sure if I'm right. Sometimes I feel that it is the elite few that need most care and they are the ones that can make things happen and by supporting this group, great things can happen in the world, the energy spent for the common group might not lead to anywhere. At other times I think that maybe this elite group can do good on their own and small effects on the common group can have good effects for the community, since they are the majority. Not sure about the correct answer yet. If there are any correct answers at all.
Another big question is the effect of discipline in education. Should it be used in a strict manner or should the students be rather free and follow a liberal experience in education? To what degree is discipline needed? When is it too much? How much will you lose by not following proper discipline or forcing too much of it? This parameter is one that I've been slanted towards linearly more and more as years go by, I used to think that zero discipline is ideal and the way to go but have believed in it more and more as time goes.

I might have some answers some day ...

4 comments:

Danesh said...

Amirossssss! I miss you buddy and specially our morning workouts and the last but not the least the complementary shirkhorma!
Let me give you my two cents on this topic:
In my opinion - im a complexity science guy of course as you know - education has to be self-organized, I always think that best teaching methodologies are those who lean towards coaching. Coaching is giving people space to learn and grow but with a lot more degrees of freedom as opposed to traditional parental-fashioned teaching. The other thing is that coaching is flexible to different types of personalities and maturity level, you know how coaching philosophies are different in colleges in comparison to profossional levels. Baby-sitting students and forcing them to learn things that they are not really inclined to, usually fails like any attempt to control everything. Cheers.

Amir H. Fassihi said...

Dan man,

Ok so the terrible news is that my last workout session was actually your last here !!! I'll change this soon :)..

Thanks for the complexity science analysis ... and you are quite right, but there is still a gray area for me, some will just not move when placed in an environment with a high degree of freedom and the main question would be, can anything be done in this case or absolutely nothing can be done if the motivation factor is low.. just like some people sometimes say:" .. man that teacher I had made me do this and NOW I understand how good it was ..."
Or maybe what "Kavoos" did sometimes .... ;)

Danesh said...

What do you mean you gonna change this soon? you're gonna bring me over or you're gonna go to gym more often?!!!
I have two words for you Chaordic Education!!!:-)

Amir H. Fassihi said...

Yeah I should probably bring you over here again :)...

the chaordic thing seems really cool but I still have some gray areas regarding it... needs more thought.. let me know if you got more content on the area...