Reflections after class 13 – November 20th

“It’s easier to get into trouble than it is to get out of trouble” — I have used that line on my kids about 10 times since Dr. Muth said it in class.  Thank you for that…I think it has worked well so far.

I took the Adult Development course in the spring and was fairly familiar with yesterday’s class topic.  I, personally, am a firm believer that development is less about age and reaching certain stages by a particular age and more about events and when an adult experiences those events.  For example, the death of a parent can strike a person at any age but brings about a life-changing event.  Career changes can also occur at anytime but often have the same impact regardless of age. 

I do think that the physical process of aging does bring with it developmental changes, however I don’t think they can be neatly defined into a chart that describes all development of adults.



Reflections of class 12 – November 6th

Educating Rita reminded me a bit of my own mother and her family.  She is from a small blue-collar town in Idaho.  She always knew that she wanted to live in a different environment…one that was a bit more intellectually stimulating.  But like most of her friends she married at age 19.  By 21 she knew that it was a mistake and could not spend the rest of her life in that scenario.  She divorced and moved to Boise where she worked for the state government.  Eventually she met my father– who was 13 years her senior and well-educated.  They married and moved to Washington DC

Mom is constantly pursuing education either formally through courses or informally.  I think she truly does enjoy learning, however I wonder how much of it is wanting to not go back to the place she grew up.

I often thought the simplistic life without the constant need for challenge sounded kind of nice.  But I am grateful that I have been raised in a family and environment that supports and encourages life-long learning.



Reflections after class 11 – October 30th

Peer pressure and that need to feel accepted is very powerful.  I wonder what makes some people feel that the reward of breaking out of the expected norm is worth the fight.  My mother is the only one in her family that broke the cycle of staying in rural Idaho to raise a family.  Instead, she and my father moved to Washington DC and she eventually went to college and then on to run a successful business.   I know that a lot of her motivation came from a desire to not go back to a life in Idaho.  Yet my extended family who are all still there raising families never seemed to want any other type of life.  They are complacent and happy to be surrounded by relatives.  My mom often remarks how lucky we are to have had a lot of opportunity and although I do agree, I have never felt sorry for my family.  They seem to be perfectly happy.  It’s all about being true to yourself.

Reflections after class 10 – October 23rd

I am digressing a bit here but I wanted to touch on the micro-aggression topic again.  We discussed in class that everyone commits acts of micro-aggression. I know I do but I think I would rather take the risk in good faith that I may offend someone than to remain silent.  My concern is that I might miss an opportunity to get to know someone or learn more about them by remaining silent or ignoring.  It is a humbling experience to reach out in unfamiliar territory — however if the intentions are honest I think it can be very rewarding. 

Now..onto learning styles.  I did not feel that 12 questions related to one particular learning instance is enough to determine the type of learner.  Although I do have to say that my results were fairly on target with my characteristics.  I do not like the title of accommodating…seems a bit timid.  Maybe conflict avoider??   I do worry about labels.  On one hand it is perhaps helpful for people to understand why they do things a certain way, but on the other hand perhaps it can be limiting.   It would be a shame for someone to shy away from an opportunity merely because they thought they would not be successful. 

As for the



Reflections after class 9- October 16th

Last week I heard an interesting story on NPR.  I only caught part of it, but they were interviewing a high school student who was doing homework on his computer.  He was describing his monitor. He had Microsoft Word open and was typing a paper.  Also on his screen was an open internet window for surfing the web, an instant message window where he was talking to a classmate, and a chat room where some other classmates were having a discussion.  He was not in an on-line class…he was simply doing homework.  So the discussion was surrounding a student’s ability to concentrate with all of the other stimuli vying for his attention.   It got me thinking about the way children and adults learn these days.  It seems increasingly difficult to concentrate.  There is always something ringing, buzzing, or popping up.   As for children — are they having a more difficult time doing their school work now with all the interuptions or are they learning how to adapt in an increasingly chaotic world?  

My first reaction is to think what a bad homework environment.  Then I thought…well, if this is the world he is growing up in is it better that he learn how to multitask now.   And is it difficult for parents to set a good example for concentrating when their Blackberry keeps buzzing throughout helping their child with homework?

Reflections after class 8 – October 9

The question about how to tailor instruction to a class full of different personalities, backgrounds, experience, etc.  was a great one.  I am not an instructor but I can only imagine how difficult that must be.  I do, however, read professor evaluations and am a sounding board for students having issues in class.  This week’s class session gave me reason to pause and think that maybe I can be evaluating the student comments in a different way.  Too bad everyone’s locus of control or personality type isn’t plastered on their forehead.  It might make it easier to understand how the same professor can get horrible and glowing rating all in the same course — and not just make the assumption that the student doing poorly isn’t motivated enough.

But perhaps asking some directed questions might be helpful enough as a starting point.  The question would be what to do next?  Counsel the student?  ask the professor to adjust the course slightly (ha!)….  maybe those answers will be found by the end of the semester!

Reflections after class 7 — October 2nd

Ok, I’m finally on-line…discovered that Firefox works better than explorer.  Was that discussed in class?

On to feminism…

A colleague of mine made a comment in a speech today that we are thankful to all of the businessmen who donated time and money to the School….

A reference letter that I read said “[Sue] is very motivated for a young woman”…

When I returned to work I was asked by my older male counterparts who was watching my children during the day and my husband received no similar comments…

Is it wrong that none of these situations above made me angry?  Does that mean that I am not a “feminist”?  I wasn’t angry though…I just chalked it up to ignorance and a generation gap.

What does make me angry though is the environment of competition vs. cooperation among women and our generation.   Instead of being supportive of one another regardless of the decision to work/stay home, kids/no kids, traditional career/non-traditional, there seems to be a lot of criticism.  I would imagine that for most this is a way to compensate for a lack of self-confidence.   If we could all focus on the common goal of a society which allows us to choose the life best for each of us, perhaps we would be further along in creating more forward-thinking environments….telecommuting, job sharing, professional retraining for women going back to work, better child care, etc.

I am the only female director in our School and there are no female department chairs or senior administrators.  In my opinion women should not be granted positions merely based on gender if they are not truly qualified for the position, however, we should go back deeper and determine why there are not more qualified women in line for these types of positions.  Is it that the tenure process is near impossible for women wanting to start a family?  Are they being pushed into different lines of work based on gender stereotypes?  Or do a larger percentage of the female population feel that a PhD is just out of their reach?

Reflections after class 6 – September 25th

Unfortunately I had to miss class 6.  I was up at a career fair at UMD with fifty of our best and brightest grad students who are trying to find a job in this economy, ugh…

I am sorry to have missed this class especially because I find the topic of race micro-agression and other similar issues very relevant and interesting. 

I definitely feel there is a subconscious or maybe sometimes not so subconscious bias based on ethnic background in the classroom.  The blend of different backgrounds and cultures also leads to an interesting mix of beliefs and values. 

Asian students are generally thought to have better quantitative skills than many other ethnic groups.  This is due to the fact that their undergraduate or secondary school curriculum heavily emphasized math and science.  This does vary by region in Asia, however, and may put a student who does not have that particular background in a situation where they are held to a higher standard.

Beliefs and values play a large role on the perception of both the student and the teacher in terms of expectation.  Different cultures have varied views on showing respect, assisting fellow students in studies, feelings of women in roles of authority, etc.  This can affect the learning process as it sets a tone for the learning environment. 

Initially I was not very engaged with our international student population because I felt a bit intimidated.   But as I got to know students from different backgrounds I have come to appreciate them and feel having them in our classrooms adds real value.




Reflections after class 5 — September 18th

As an administrator of academic programs I found the following section in the Adkins and Carter article very interesting:

Choi & Hannafin (1995) … claiming that decontextualized skills and knowledge are operationalized very differently from the ways that experts and practitioners use these same skills in real life. Therefore, students who can convincingly pass exams may still be unable to apply that same knowledge to everyday situations.

I have often heard the argument that there is no education quite like the on-the-job experience.  And this makes me wonder, how do you design a program where students gain the knowledge but are also able to go out and apply it to everyday situations.  And because no one stays at a firm for the life of their career does this mean that an individual is constantly being retrained in basically the same skillset simply because the social framework is different.  In our programs students do quite a bit of case study and applied work, but is it truly enough to mirror the social dynamics they might be faced with in an organization?  If not, how do you add that component…roleplay?

I enjoyed the grocery store case study.  It helped to bring some of the previous text into a context I could understand.  The example reminded me of my husband.  He is a whiz at math when he is applying it to work problems.  He can balance budgets, make forecasting models, etc.  But when it comes to simply on the fly math it takes him forever.  He makes me add the tip at restaurants.  I accused him of being lazy…but maybe there is a more plausible reason.

On another note, I am trying to learn how to meditate.  I tried this weekend.  Who would have thought that just being still and thought-free for 5 minutes would be so difficult.  People actually do this for long periods of time.  I just could not turn it off.  We actually have to practice at being still…amazing.  I am going to keep at it.  Any tips would be appreciated….

Reflections after class 4- September 11

Thursday’s exercise was helpful in realizing that the five views of learning overlap.  I found that the social cognitive theory applied to a great many of the situations we were exploring.  The educational biography and the group discussion were very therapeutic. 


I absolutely relate to the YPOOPY (or should it be YPOOPOY) effect.  This pretty much sums up my learning experiences.  I was also very interested in the comments about expectancy.  I find that phenomenon frequently in the workplace.  People base their actions and motivation for learning on their expectation of what will happen with their increased knowledge.  IE…I go to training, boss is happy. 


On a side note:  I do wonder why there are so many people that are resistant to learning.  Is it a fear that life will change once the new knowledge is acquired?  You would think that someone would be more fearful of being in the dark – but it appears that the opposite is true.  Womens Ways of Knowing has brought some interesting insight into this area.  Perhaps I have been a bit of a snob about the whole thing…they must not be motivated enough to learn, etc.  Much similar to my change in feeling about the poor (please don’t judge me here) but I have learned a lot more on the plight of the poor and homeless after working and living in an urban environment.  Perhaps there are major similarities here:  I didn’t learn more about it because of fear.  Hmmmm……