1/20/2013 10:59 PM
This morning, for the first time in several months, as I drove out of my neighborhood toward the train station to catch a train into NY for class, the promise of forthcoming sun was beginning to reflect a deep rose across the horizon. Winter is moving behind us. This winter was particularly dark – holidays were marred for many in our Northeast region due to storms: literal, physical storms in the form of Sandy, and psychological emotional storms with the tragedy of Sandy Hook – and even political storms in the form of unending economic turmoil up to and beyond the last minute of 2012. Now, the new year brings opportunity and eagerness for the future.
Classes are settling in to a rhythm for our group. We have melded as a team and are learning to partner with one another more naturally. For me personally I’ve found the learning in these courses to be tremendous. The pace is rapid which I love, and the ability to apply information in real time to the work environment has been excellent.
I have found I agree with our professors that testing is a poor form of evaluation. As a former educator early in my career, I’m aware of the cognitive processing that goes on when we learn. The most effective learning is done by applying skills and knowledge in realistic scenarios that are drawn from the world around us…and we have much of that in our classes. However, I have found that the tests at the end of each class require me to memorize and regurgitate in order to do well on them. If I attempt to reason and think in a more analytical or applied manner on them, I do poorly. If I replay the steps of examples we’ve had in class literally without thinking about why I’m doing them, I do relatively ok. When I was an undergrad, with little real world experience – the realm of my understanding was what my professors taught me – so I was easily able to do the latter. Now that I’m a “historied” adult I have found that my approach to thinking about my learning is more connected and bound up with experience, and it derails me when I am attempting to prove my knowledge at the end of each class. This has little to do with any of the professors, but a lot to do with the flawed pedagogy within our educational system in the US and Canada, and the limitations of time on how much we can absorb and assimilate in this condensed program.
I’m explaining all of this on the remote chance that someone out there who might be considering this program reads this. If you are ‘long in career’ when entering the program, you will find it challenging and unnatural – even counterproductive to your actual learning - to do what is necessary to be successful on the final exam tests if that matters to you.
No worries though -- you will enjoy the program and gain tremendously from it.