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In the first session Christy Hammer (University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College) led us participants in an exploration of learning/thinking styles. Hands-on assessments les to a spontaneous discussion. Questions included:
- How much to such assessments enhance our understanding? How much do they lead to labeling?
- Do we teach to different learning styles? Do we teach to match the content?
- What is creativity in the first place? How does it differ from innovation?
Though we did not reach any definitive answers, the questions deserve to be asked.
In the second session Jill Morris (Nova Southeastern University) looked at using linguistic shifts to foster a change in perspective. She noted how transformation can take place gradually (for ex. the aging process). She also noted how a word can have different associations depending upon one’s frame of reference. Even such a seemingly straightforward word as “apple” would carry different associations for a farmer than it would for an employee of the computer company. Language works by a negotiation of shared understanding. Morris modeled the process in a transformative dialogue, including simultaneous feedback and reflection.
These sessions gave me much to consider, especially for using the ideas in my practice. I could look at my tutorials, for instance, in light of how well they appeal to different learning styles or how well the modality suits the content. Perhaps shubtle shifts of perspective can help students select research topics that both interest them and fulfill the assignment. Either project would be a constructive goal.